Monthly Archives: July 2020

Hardships exacerbated by the pandemic can be addressed through community schools model

31 Jul
mother and child at door
Students, their families and educators continue to experience increased physical and mental health concerns, isolation and economic hardship as a result of COVID-19. To best serve their communities, many districts and schools will need to develop stronger systems of support to meet student needs. In a July 28 webinar hosted by Policy Analysis for California Education, experts pointed to the community school model as a promising approach for coordinating available resources in service of student learning and well-being. Community schools...

Officials underscore key considerations for nutrition services amid COVID-19

30 Jul
With the magnifying glass currently on when students and teachers may return to their classrooms, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter the jobs of millions of school classified and support service staff. For vital nutrition services employees, experts say that “prevention is the best medicine” and open communication is fundamental toward keeping cases out of the kitchen and campus at-large. Made available through the California Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Food Safety and the Institute...

CDE outlines timeline and stakeholder engagement in Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan

29 Jul
This school year’s Local Control and Accountability Plan has been replaced by the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan, as outlined in Senate Bill 98, the education funding trailer bill. The California Department of Education is holding a series of webinars to guide local educational agencies through the document. A July 28 webinar outlined the timeline and process for the Learning Continuity Plan and focused on the stakeholder engagement portion of the document. An additional CDE webinar is scheduled for Aug....

New report highlights ways to focus on SEL during tumultuous year

28 Jul
With the dust now settling across California as to how teaching and learning will begin in the 2020–21 school year, guidance from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning provides education leaders with recommendations for how to prioritize safe, supportive, culturally sustaining and equitable learning environments for students and adults. The robust report, Reunite, Renew, and Thrive: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Roadmap for Reopening School, offers key considerations to address the layered impact of schools closures, COVID-19, the...

Pressure to close digital divide gains urgency; learning loss funds one piece of the puzzle

27 Jul
State officials are calling California’s digital divide an “all-hands-on-deck situation” considering the very short time available to equip 700,000 students with computing devices and another 300,000 with hotspots to connect to the internet. The matter — the focus of the California Department of Education’s Closing the Digital Divide Task Force for months — takes on added urgency in light of a state order mandating that roughly 90 percent of students will begin the 2020–21 year solely with distance learning. In...

New study finds Obama-era school meal policy contributes to decline in obesity rates for children in poverty

24 Jul
A new study examining the effect of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act on children found that, since the policy was enacted in the 2012–13 school year, obesity rates for children in poverty decreased by 47 percent. While the study in Health Affairs, “Impact Of The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act On Obesity Trends,” cannot definitively say the link is causal, no such change in obesity rates was found for children overall, suggesting that the new meal and snack standards for the...

Preparing teachers for the Next Generation Science Standards

23 Jul
Elementary school teachers from the Elk Grove Unified School District, in partnership with the Sacramento Area Science Project, gathered last summer for four days of intensive and interactive professional development around the California Next Generation Science Standards. The participants, joined on different days by administrators from their school sites and experienced secondary science teachers in the district, began by examining what was needed at their school to effectively roll out NGSS instruction. Answers ranged from the need for more resources...

Waivers to reopen elementary schools explained, but questions remain

22 Jul
New state guidelines banning in-person instruction in counties on California’s monitoring list for coronavirus infections include a waiver provision that could exempt elementary schools, but little detail was provided by Gov. Gavin Newsom in announcing the regulations. Officials from the administration, the State Board of Education and the California Department of Public Health sought to provide more information about the waivers, as well as school reopening and closure requirements and more described in recently updated state guidance in a July...

CSBA webinar explores how districts can best deal with state budget deferrals

21 Jul
CSBA’s July 17 webinar, “Making sense of the budget: What do deferrals mean for school finance?” examined the 2020–21 state budget’s dependence on deferrals and its effect on how local educational agencies will finance expenditures for this year and beyond. Dennis Meyers, CSBA Assistant Executive Director of Governmental Relations, said these deferrals are more severe than those experienced in the Great Recession. “If you were there for that last round of deferrals, that was done over time,” Meyers said. “This...

Disease experts caution that community spread must be addressed before letting students on campus

21 Jul
While laying out a few of the many considerations district officials will need to account for when they reopen schools for in-person instruction, infectious disease experts made one thing abundantly clear: schools cannot safely reopen until their communities reduce the spread of COVID-19 beyond the classroom walls. “One of the really challenging things to think about is that if we go back to school and suddenly there’s a school with five cases, the assumption is going to be that there...