Category Archives: Closing the Achievement Gap

Closing the Achievement Gap

Classrooms or Crime?

8 Apr
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This is the second in a series of blog posts by the Council for a Strong  America highlighting creative partnerships between communities, boards and school districts. By Sheriff Adam Christianson Preventing kids from turning to a life of crime, that’s basically what it comes down to: classrooms or crime. The steps we take to address student absences and misbehavior in the K-12 years have a direct impact on whether or not that student will drop out and potentially end up...

Freedom Schools and Summer Learning Loss

6 Oct
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group of children
by Nathaniel Browning, CSBA Policy & Programs Officer Imagine an excited group of elementary students gathering in a school cafeteria. It’s the middle of summer and these students are enrolled in a local summer enrichment program. Now picture them singing, chanting and dancing to Swahili rhyme. The message is clear: we are proud of ourselves, of our families and we stand tall. The students glow as the lyrics resonate within them, and the onlookers are struck with emotion and goose...

Closing the Achievement Gap With Attendance

23 Sep
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by Kathryn Ramirez, Trustee, Salinas Union High School District and CSBA Director-at-large, Hispanic While I am optimistic about the direction education is headed in California, we must acknowledge that far more needs to be done if we are going to close race-based achievement gaps that are all too persistent in California. The solution begins with attendance. After all, how can we hope to close the academic achievement gap if Latino students go to school less than their peers? Unfortunately, in...

Two Languages: Multiple Benefits

12 Sep
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students reading
by Julie Maxwell-Jolly, Programs & Policy Officer In an increasingly globalized economy, California will need a population with the skills and understanding to thrive in multiple settings, languages, and cultures. One way to prepare our young people for this interconnected future is by providing them with the fluency in two languages, cross cultural experience and understanding, and increased brain flexibility that they can gain through dual language or two-way immersion (TWI) programs. Two-way immersion programs use English and a partner...

Why Attendance Matters; At Least To Me

9 Sep
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by Mike Walsh, Trustee, Butte County Office of Education and CSBA Director-at-large County I’ve come to appreciate a few accomplishments in my life thus far.  Some were planned, such as starting my own company, completing my graduate degree, and learning to play the guitar.  Many of them were not planned.  They just seemed to have happened.  One of the more interesting unplanned events that just sort of happened was an award I received for perfect attendance in high school.  I...

Reducing Chronic Absence: An Overlooked Opportunity for Raising Student Achievement

2 Sep
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September is Attendance awareness month! To celebrate, we have invited four guest bloggers to provide insight throughout the month about the importance of student attendance.  In this first installment, guest blogger Hedy Chang explores how reducing chronic absence can raise student achievement. By Hedy Chang, Director, Attendance Works Do you know why the Local Control Funding Formula holds districts accountable for monitoring chronic absence?  It is because investments in improving curriculum and instruction, including adoption of the Common Core –...

Common Core is Like the Grateful Dead

25 Aug
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California School Boards Association logo; www.csba.org
by Christopher Maricle, Policy and Programs Officer Words are powerful things. When I was in college, a friend tried unsuccessfully to convince me to listen to the Grateful Dead.  But the word ‘dead’ had a strong negative image for me—and their trademark symbol, the skull, didn’t help. My resistance had nothing to do with music itself, which I actually hadn’t heard. My resistance was to some assumptions I made about the music based on the band name and symbol. I...

Hungry kids can’t learn: More districts are expanding their free lunch programs

15 Apr
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Lunch will now be free for students in the Palm Springs Unified School District who used to receive a reduced lunch price of 40 cents per meal, the Board of Education recently decided. This will positively impact the achievement of some low-income students whose families still cannot afford the reduced meal prices. Research has shown that children learn better when they are properly nourished. The change is set to go into effect at the start of the 2014-15 school...

New suspension/expulsion stats confirm use of discipline alternatives

5 Feb
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The report that suspensions are down in California schools is welcome news to educators, students and their families—and a focus on alternative disciplinary strategies is getting the credit. A reduction in the number of actions for willful defiance (called student defiance in the official report) and a shift to programs like restorative justice that promote respect and personal responsibility have helped reduce expulsions by 12.3 percent and suspensions by 14.1 percent during 2012-13, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson...