Category Archives: Closing the Achievement Gap

Closing the Achievement Gap

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...

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...

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....

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...

Board members encouraged to keep attendance issues front and center year-round

5 Sep
September is Attendance Awareness Month, but experts say a year-round focus is required of district leaders and board members to make sustainable inroads and cultural shifts. “I think that school board members really play a central role in monitoring whether chronic absence is improving or getting worse,” said Hedy N. Chang, executive director of Attendance Works. The effects of poor attendance habits on student achievement pose a major challenge to many students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. By the ninth...

Education governance and the importance of equity-centered leadership

3 Sep
By David B. DeLuz, CSBA Director, Strategic Initiatives and Development Since its inception in 1933, CSBA has been, at its core, about leadership and governance. Our work preparing education governing board members and governance teams to address the diverse needs of today’s students in the face of a rapidly changing world has increasingly focused on the role of the school board in creating conditions for student achievement. The School Board Role in Creating the Conditions for Student Achievement highlighted research...

Newly released 2017–18 California college-going rates in perspective

17 Jul
Last week, the California Department of Education released the 2017–18 college-going rates for high school graduates. This release continues to reveal an achievement gap between students of color and their white peers, but also offers an opportunity for school leaders to assess how well their high schools are doing at preparing students for college, career and life success. A quick glance at the data reveals one important point: to improve college-going rates AND college success, the focus must be on...

State Board of Education adopts new five-year graduation rate for Dashboard

11 Jul
Future versions of the California School Dashboard will include a combined four- and five-year graduation rate, which officials say provides schools with an opportunity to demonstrate their success with students who may need additional time to earn a high school diploma. The State Board of Education unanimously approved the new measure at its July 10 meeting, although with some concerns about certain schools potentially no longer being eligible for comprehensive support. The combined four- and five-year rate — which will...

CEO’s Note: What a CSBA poll tells us about Californians’ views about education funding

9 Jul
In my last CEO’s note in the spring California Schools magazine, I discussed the ongoing “big short” in how the state of California has funded its schools over the past several decades. A new statewide poll from CSBA confirms that, in a year when statewide teacher strikes persist and the financial strain of our schools becomes more prevalent in the California news cycle, the general public is also acutely aware of the funding crisis facing our schools. What is often...

Leaders dive deep into equitably expanding computer science offerings

19 Jun
Faced with stark data showing 61 percent of California’s high schools don’t offer any computer science courses, district and county office administrators attended a June 18 workshop aimed to help them equitably implement such classes. Ensuring access and inclusion for all students and teachers was key to the 2019 Summer of CS program hosted at the Sacramento County Office of Education, which also included a policy luncheon featuring an array of speakers representing industry, the Legislature and students. This annual...