With schools faced with so many new initiatives, it can be helpful to have access to resources that frame analysis of the work. The National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) has resources that can be used to evaluate progress toward implementation. One such tool is the brief report (with implementation rubric) entitled Stages of Implementation Analysis: Where Are We? Access the pdf HERE.
(Albert Shanker Institute, August 19, 2015) —Devin Vodicka, superintendent of Vista Unified, a California school district serving over 22,000 students, recently wrote an article describing the process of developing, and mapping, human capital in his school district. Vista Unified was recently accepted into the League of Innovative Schools.
(Albert Shanker Institute, December 8, 2015) — In a recent article from the Albert Shanker Institute, authors Davis Sherer and Johanna Barmore explore effective collaboration, citing educational research looking into conditions that foster collaboration. Empirical research suggests that student achievement is positively impacted by teacher collaboration that leads to teacher learning.
(U.S. Dept. of Education) — Marking the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, the U.S. Department of Education released the report Latinas in the U.S., 2015 and a national catalogue of promising practices supporting education of Hispanic students. Nationally, 1 in 4 students is Hispanic. In California, more than 1 in 2 students is Hispanic (53.25%; CDE 2014).
(Education Week) — In her research, Jennifer L. Eberhardt, a Stanford University social psychologist and the winner of a 2014 MacArthur Genius grant for her research, found that black students are more likely than white students to be punished for “defiance” or “insubordination.”
Results are out from the inaugural year of the new computer-based assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics (CAASPP), based on Common Core standards provide a baseline for the implementation year. The CDE has provided a website to review results by county, district and school. Educators and policy makers are concerned about the pervasive achievement gap in educational outcomes statewide for students of color and low income students.
The Common Core Knowledge and Practice Survey, developed by the national organization Achieve the Core, is a free tool for educators to reflect on their instructional practice and understanding of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Designed for use in a professional learning community (PLC) within a school, the survey is meant to spark conversation, identify areas for growth, and offer concrete ways for teams of teachers to continue to align their practice to the Common Core shifts.
Governor Brown signed legislation this week that authorizes $490 million for teacher training in California. School districts will receive funding, based on their number of full-time equivalent certificated staff, for teacher training services.
On March 11, the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to suspend the Annual Performance Index (API) for the second year. This second year of suspension gives the board time to transform the current system, based on entirely on test score data, to a more inclusive performance index.
Again this year California SBE requested and received a waiver from the federal government regarding the NCLB requirement to use new test scores for Annual Yearly Progress accountability. (EdSource provides an excellent summary on this topic, here.) The state received the exemption letter from Assistant U.S.
A new report on lengthened school days describes the process of principal Lori Butterfield as part of a district-wide improvement effort. At her school, Guilmette Elementary, they took a year to plan an expansion learning time. At Guilmette, 300 hours per year were added. The school day now goes from 7:30 a.m. to 3:35 pm. Results in the first year have been promising.
According to CDE, the 1.4 million English learners in our state constitute 22.7% of the total enrollment in CA public schools. A total of 2.7 million CA students speak a language other than English in their homes. This number represents 43.1 percent of the state’s public school enrollment. Most EL students are born in the US. The CDE website provides current resources on EL students in CA.
Key elements of processes to help identify and support English learner students with learning disabilities can inform education leaders determining which English learner students may need placement in special education programs as opposed to other assistance.
This report identifies guiding principles that suggest ways to identify and recommend assistance for English learner students with possible learning disabilities:
The following video, entitled Peer Review in Action: the ELA EQUIP Rubric (5:11 minutes), provides an approach for teacher peer review of instructional materials and lessons for all grade levels in alignment with CCSS.
Each grade includes a year-long curriculum map outlining units of study and approximate pacing
Each unit contains: instructional strategies, common misconceptions, essential questions, evidence of learning and a wide array of tasks including those to introduce, practice and scaffold a standard. Units also include one or more performance tasks.
This report from January 20, 2015 reviews the first year of LCAP development, assesses the usefulness of the new plans. This report examines 50 LCAPs to evaluate their compliance with statutory requirements and determine whether overall the LCAPs reflect thoughtful strategic planning by districts. Below is a summary of the report’s recommendations.
In March 2015, the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to suspend the API for 2014-15 as the state develops a new accountability system. The California Department of Education (CDE) recommends that the SBE approve the PSAA Advisory Committee report and provide recommendations on the following:
LCAPs Show Districts Focusing on School Climate in California Schools, But Still Much Work to Be Done
Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP) encourage school districts to reform school discipline practices and improve school climate in support of the eight state priorities. According to the national anti-crime organization Fight Crime, in an analysis of California’s LCAPs:
County offices of education and school districts interested in participating in the field test of the 2015-16 LCAP electronic template are asked to contact Local Agency Systems Support Office (LASSO) staff by telephone at 916-319-0809 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and to provide a contact name, telephone number, and email. Participants will be notified not later than Friday, March 20, 2015, and additional information and documentation regarding the field test will be sent out shortly thereafter.
The California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), in collaboration with BASC, CISC and other state agencies, has released the 2015-16 edition of the LCAP Approval Manual. The manual provides a guide for county offices of education to use in their LCAP oversight approval process.
A report written by Daniel C. Humphrey and Julia E. Koppich and released by SRI International emphasizes key areas of growth in our state’s education system, as LCFF and CCSS are implemented. Following are excerpts from the report, summarized in a recent EdSource article: “The LCAP process really pushed the emphasis on collaboration. We recognized that people were working in silos. And we had to change.”
Policy and practice brief from the California Collaborative on District Reform
This November 2014 policy brief highlights new areas of opportunity for school improvement. The report states that under LCFF, central office teams accustomed to implementing categorical programs must evaluate and design strategies that are based on evidence of effectiveness and alignment with district goals, not with state mandates.
The 2013 Budget Act provided $1.25 billion in one‑time Proposition 98 General Fund to support the implementation of the Common Core state standards. The 2015-16 Budget proposes more than $1.1 billion in discretionary one‑time Proposition 98 funding for school districts, charter schools and county offices of education to further their investments in the implementation of Common Core.
The California May Budget revision released on May 14, 2015 estimates an additional $6.7 billion in revenues above January proposal estimates. In total, $5.5 billion will go to K-12 and community colleges.
Legislation signed last fall by Governor Jerry Brown requires school districts and charter schools to add an informational item to their enrollment forms aimed at educating parents and legal guardians about available healthcare options and where they can get help signing up. The new mandate includes 2015-2016 school year as well as those beginning in 2016 and 2017.
The recent survey of California voters showed 66% support for a school facility bond on the November 2016 ballot. Meanwhile Governor Jerry Brown continues to oppose a bond that would compete with the water bond. “Our polling consistently shows that local school funding is the top priority,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s president and pollster.
The CEP program streamlines the paperwork and reporting process for parents, schools and districts, and virtually eliminates backups in school lunch lines because no money has to be collected. Families do not need to turn in free and reduced-price meal applications, and schools do not need to process applications or conduct verification. More information from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.
In a recent article, Sue Burr, member of the state board of education addressed the question of accountability. She writes: “Our job as a policy making body is to say what are the power indicators that are meaningful at the state level that are reasonable to use to compare across LEAs and charters and will set the expectations and targets that will accomplish all of the guiding principles we want around equity, student performance, graduation, etc. [...] We certainly want to keep faith with what the intent [of the LCFF] was but, again, in my freak-out moment when I saw all of those indicators I had an NCLB nightmare and I just don’t think any of us want to end up there.”
Identifying the collaborative educational networks in California is both an art and science. Collaborative networks are diverse, and consequently resist classification. Further, while collaboration may occur in informal settings, only formalized partnerships with a critical mass of coordination or funding establish an online presence. It is this ineffability of educational networks that makes them difficult to identify and leads to duplication of effort as individual institutions work unaware of what other parties strive to accomplish
The recently released Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education report entitled Accountability for college and career readiness: Developing a new paradigm provides suggestions for enhancing students’ college and career readiness. The report focuses on areas of accountability for meaningful learning, accountability for adequate and intelligently used resources, and professional capacity.
From the Center for Reform and Research in Education
A new study published in the American Educational Research Journal, December 2014, has shown the benefit of teaching academic vocabulary to children whose first language is not English to support learning English and academic content in English, at the same time.
New research from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) raises concerns that high-need schools in districts with comparatively low levels of high-need students may not receive adequate funding. This PPIC report highlights counties in Southern California, the Bay Area, and Sacramento that may require special attention and support to provide adequately for high-needs students due to distribution patterns. A useful resource in this report is the visual ranking of all California counties by unevenness of high-need student distribution between school and district averages.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) encompasses a skillset comprising emotional processes, social and interpersonal skills, and cognitive regulation. Numerous studies suggest that high-quality SEL programs and instruction in schools do matter, but many approaches currently lack support and validation. In this Research in Brief, we provide an overview of research, policy, and standards relating to social and emotional learning. Additionally, we cover promising approaches for integrating SEL into instruction and schooling.
The term collaboration crops up extensively throughout educational articles in many forms: among teachers, between administrators, and between students. Beyond individual interactions, the term collaboration is also employed to describe inter-agency relationships useful in promoting educational change.
School climate constitutes one of the eight priorities that school districts must address in their Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs). Addressing school climate is not only required under the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), but essential to the diverse processes comprising K-12 schools and districts.