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Butte County Teachers To Be Honored At College Title Game

John Locher / AP Photo

A sign hangs on a wall at the Paradise Elementary School destroyed by the Camp Fire, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Paradise, Calif.

John Locher / AP Photo

Butte County teachers who lost their homes in the Camp Fire will travel to the College National Title Game at Levi Stadium on Monday, Jan. 7. Revenue from the game — between Clemson and Alabama — will be dedicated to the teachers.

Butte County School Superintendent Tim Taylor will join Insight host Beth Ruyak to talk about the honor and the school year for Butte County students. Also joining the conversation is a teacher from Provence, France, whose students raised donations for the Paradise schools.

Interview Highlights

On students returning to school after the Camp Fire

About 45 percent of the kids did not come back at that point. Either they had moved or were still looking for housing, but overall it went great. I think all the different towns of Chico, Oroville and Durham really accepted as many kids as they could accept and take.

Over the holidays we've placed dozens of portables so the kids now have more interim, temporary, nice settings versus sharing classrooms. I think we had one kindergarten class over in Durham that had about 70 kids in it with five teachers and only teachers can pull that off, and they did a great job, but they're all looking forward to having their own classrooms and temporary portables starting on Monday.

On the particular challenges faced by parents with preschoolers

We lost a lot of preschool slots up in Paradise. And so we had to scramble to find places. But you know what it's like when your kids are 3 or 4 years old, and the system is not the same as K-12. I think Governor Newsom is going to come in and I think really push to have preschool for all.

So it's a hodgepodge of state preschools, Head Starts and private preschools that don't have places for kids to go right after the fire. And we're looking for more places for them. But a lot of them lost everything. I'm really pushing now to get the early-learning students in the preschools support and help because it's not in the K-12 system, which has a lot more funding and support.

And our director, Heather Senske, has worked very closely to build a foundation specifically for the preschools to help those parents with their social needs, emotional needs, because they went through the same things as the K-12 system. They just don't have quite the same full system that we see with the high schools and middle schools.

I think most of the parents that are in our preschool program, they're definitely below the poverty line. State preschools — there's a certain income level that you stay under so it's our poorest parents who have the most needs. And our First 5 up there and all that are doing the best they can. But it's definitely an area where we can continue to use help to support them and give them resource to get back on their feet.

On the College National Title Game

I think we have a really good relation with the 49ers. And it was kind of a connection between them. They got us to the Pac 12 title game and then out of the blue, the College Playoff Football Foundation, which does all the national title games, reached out and said we're going to select you this year as the charity. And so it's super overwhelming. The teachers that are coming are going to just have the time of their life. I am going down starting tomorrow through Monday and get onstage before concerts and say hey, whip out your cell phone and text and $10 will go to the teachers. [Editor's Note: You can donate by texting the word "teacher" to 56512 through the end of the game on Monday or visiting this web page.] 

And I think it's a really good time to kick off the new year for the teachers, who will be ambassadors for all the teachers. We'll be highlighted in the second quarter. I think we're going on the field with the 50 State Teachers of the Year all throughout the country and it's gonna be a great day.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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