Hispanic Heritage Month: An interview with Joaquin Rivera, CSBA Director-at-Large, Hispanic

14 Oct
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. More than half of California’s students are Hispanic and/or Latino and schools play a critical role in preparing these students for success in college, career and civic life. California School News interviewed Joaquin Rivera, CSBA’s Director-at-Large, Hispanic and trustee on the Alameda County...

Five years of CAASPP results show slow improvements in student achievement

11 Oct
students with pencils
On Oct. 9, the California Department of Education released the results of the 2018–19 Smarter Balanced English language arts/literacy and mathematics assessments. Given that these scores represent the fifth year of implementation, it is a good opportunity to reflect on the trends in California and opportunities and areas for schools, districts and county offices of education to focus on in the future. Review statewide, county, district and school CAASPP scores Outcomes for all students trending up but still not acceptable...

New resources to help districts smooth transition from pre-K to kindergarten

9 Oct
latino student
Research has long linked student participation in high-quality pre-K programs to increased college attendance rates, higher levels of academic achievement, improved cognitive and social-emotional development and the ability to better adjust to different social environments. Participation in average or low-quality programs, meanwhile, has been shown to have short-lived benefits or none at all. As students move from pre-K to kindergarten, other studies show that strong transitional activities provide academic gains for low- and middle-income children, as well as pre-K and...

Continuous improvement: What it takes and where it’s working

8 Oct
As local educational agencies throughout California strive to boost student outcomes by way of continuous improvement strategies, a new research analysis of the state’s eight CORE districts explores which conditions best support that continuous improvement in districts and schools. The findings also indicate that many educational leaders may not be as successful in implementing the approach as they believe. Through its research partnership with CORE Districts — a nonprofit collaborative of eight urban school districts formed in 2010 — Policy...

Survey finds district leaders value community trust but often lack confidence in ability

7 Oct
There is a vast chasm between the percentage of district and school leaders who think building community trust is very important and the percentage of those leaders who are very confident in their ability to do so, according to new national survey results. Roughly 65 school board members were among the 538 district and school-level leaders who responded to the survey from K12 Insight. The 2019 State of K-12 Customer Experience Survey results find further confidence gaps in areas such...

Small District Spotlight: Big Sur Unified School District

3 Oct
Eleven students were enrolled in the single K-12 school that comprises Big Sur Unified School District during the 2017–18 school year. The feeling that everyone is family is so ingrained that officials often have to remind students who have been there almost their entire lives not to call teachers by their first names — although there is some leeway, as long as the formal “Mr.” or “Miss” is used as well. School leaders believe it’s the family dynamic naturally fostered...

Poll shows a majority of California voters support stricter vaccination law

2 Oct
latino student
While protests at the State Capitol throughout this year’s legislative session surrounding Senate Bill 276 (Pan, D-Sacramento) — a bill that tightens up California’s restrictions on vaccine exemptions for public and private school attendance — grabbed headlines around the state and garnered national media attention, a new poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times shows a majority of Californians support the new law, regardless of political affiliation, income levels, education attainment and where they reside. The UC Berkeley Institute of...

CDE Virtual Town Hall lets districts and county offices speak directly with State Superintendent

1 Oct
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in partnership with county offices of education throughout the state, hosted a virtual town hall on Sept. 24 where local educational agencies spoke about some of the unique challenges they face in ongoing efforts to close the achievement gap for California’s most vulnerable students. Thirteen county offices of education acted as physical host locations where attendees could engage in an interactive live exchange with both Thurmond and Chief Deputy Superintendent Lupita Cortez Alcalá....

Districts can further increase young voter turnout by providing strong civics education

26 Sep
Teenage voting hit a historic high in the 2018 midterm elections, with voter turnout rates for 18- and 19-year-olds reaching 22 percent. High School Voter Education Weeks, officially designated as Sept. 17–29 this year, presents another opportunity for school and district leaders to spread awareness of the importance of civic participation among students. Much of the increase can be attributed to students rallying themselves and their peers. A pre-election poll conducted by the Center for Information & Research on Civic...

California initiative breeds new generation of leaders to support English learners

25 Sep
There were close to 1.2 million English learners in California public schools during the 2018–19 school year, constituting more than 19 percent of total student enrollment. While the social and political landscapes are ever shifting around these children, advocates continue to push to ensure these students receive the best possible education. The English Learner Leadership and Legacy Initiative was developed by Californians Together and the California Association for Bilingual Education to develop a new generation of well-informed and courageous leaders...