Executive order temporarily suspends exam requirements for teacher candidates

2 Jun
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math teacher
Individuals enrolled in teacher preparation programs during the 2019–20 school year will be allowed to obtain their California preliminary credential without a teaching performance assessment, if they were unable to complete the requirement due to COVID-19 school and testing center closures. The relief for prospective teachers and districts hiring for the coming school year comes under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order issued on May 29. Teachers and administrators who were on track to finish their preparation this year and have...

Protecting students’ online privacy: Special considerations during distance learning

1 Jun
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With school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic having led to the widescale implementation of distance learning, local educational agencies must be vigilant in protecting the privacy of student data that may be gathered electronically. While districts and county offices of education have always had a duty to protect students’ privacy, the sheer number of students going online to communicate with teachers and participate in digital learning increases the potential for abuse. Risks include the misuse or monetization of students’...

CSBA, Education Coalition caution that schools cannot safely reopen with current funding

29 May
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public school building
CSBA joined administrators, business officials, educators, classified personnel and parents on Thursday as the Education Coalition urged California’s lawmakers to adopt a 2020–21 budget that provides sufficient funding to safely reopen schools this fall. Among other severe cuts, the May Revision slashes 10 percent from the Local Control Funding Formula. The budget further lacks specific and sufficient funding to enact COVID-19 mitigation strategies in schools, such as purchasing the necessary personal protective equipment, testing, screening and deep cleaning, as well...

National guidance provides considerations to jumpstart high school athletics

27 May
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When student athletes return to campus in the fall, neither classrooms nor extracurricular activities will look the same. Under new guidance from the National Federation of State High School Associations, social distancing must be taken into account, and high-contact sports may not return for some time. “Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities” — developed by the 15-member NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee — provides a possible three-phase progression for reopening participation in athletics. The committee is composed...

A Conversation With: Debbie Raucher

26 May
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John Burton Advocates for Youth, named for the former member of the California State Assembly and President Pro Tem of the State Senate, works to improve the quality of life for California’s foster, former foster and homeless youth through three areas: housing, health and education. As the organization’s education director, Debbie Raucher oversees all of the nonprofit’s programs related to education — the majority of which focus on supporting transition-age foster youth and those who have experienced homelessness to ensure...

State guidance on reopening schools nearing; funding remains key issue

22 May
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The California Department of Education offered several insights into the development of its guidance for safely reopening schools during a May 21 webinar, with the department planning to release the document in the “days to weeks to come.” At the meeting’s outset, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said the webinar offered a chance for local educational agencies to compare notes on their reopening plans with the CDE’s guidance “to ensure we’re synchronized.” However, little detail was provided, with...

LEAs should prepare now to address mental health when schools return

21 May
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school safety
California’s district and county office of education officials are looking toward the 2020–21 school year with serious concern over how to provide a safe learning environment for students and staff, as well as the myriad academic and mental supports that will be necessary to move past the challenges brought on by COVID-19. At the same time, local educational agencies are facing the likelihood of drastic budget cuts that would lead to significant cuts in programs and services offered on campus....

School nutrition programs more necessary than ever

20 May
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Short of any official playbook dictating how to provide healthy school meals to children during a pandemic, districts throughout California have scrambled to feed students — in many instances, more than ever — and implement meal delivery systems that allow for social distancing during extended school closures. With some of the dust now settled, a May 19 webinar hosted by the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division provided district food and nutrition directors, chief business officials and community partners...

President’s Message: Building a bridge across the digital divide

19 May
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In this space last month, I commended the tireless work of trustees, administrators, teachers, classified staff and others for truly rising to the challenge and finding creative ways to teach and serve students on a massive scale and in relatively short order. And while much of the focus has been appropriately placed on the need for distance learning, what deserves equal attention is whether schools and their students have the resources to implement distance learning effectively and equitably. According to...

COVID-19 webinar explores legal, policy and instructional aspects of special education

18 May
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Of all the challenges faced by local educational agencies during the COVID-19 crisis, questions around providing services and learning opportunities to students with disabilities have been at the top of the list. Absent waivers to requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, schools have undertaken extraordinary efforts to continue these services, all while searching out further guidance and clarity — both legal and instructional. The latest webinar in CSBA’s COVID-19 governance series, “Special Education in Extraordinary Times,” on May...