Averting a Student Mental Health Crisis in Our Classrooms

6 Jan
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by Alicia Rozum Jared, a high school Junior had been acting different. Typically an excellent student, he started falling asleep in class or putting his head down on the desk. He seemed “out of it”, his chemistry teacher wrote, referring Jared to his high school’s comprehensive mental health program. As the school social worker managing this program, I too saw reasons to be worried about Jared’s well-being. Dramatic changes in classroom behavior, even among moody and unpredictable teens, can signal...

Lessons Learned at AEC

18 Dec
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by Hector Camacho, (courtesy of San Mateo Daily Journal) A recent report from the California School Boards Association indicates that California schools are underfunded by approximately $42 billion every year. Filling that gap would bring our state to a position of adequate funding for public schools. Just how comfortable are we with adequate? More importantly, is adequacy the goal for which we should strive to meet the educational needs of students in California? Adequacy was one of the buzz words...

Summer Matters at CSBA

30 Nov
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by Katie Brackenridge Summer learning programs are popping up all over the state. School board members and superintendents are replacing traditional summer school programming with a more interactive and engaging approach called summer learning. Using a combination of funding streams, including Local Control Funding, these school leaders are finding that the benefits – in student engagement, Common Core preparation and staff development – far outweigh the costs. A recent analysis of 50 Local Control Accountability Plans found that 76 percent...

Engaging Families from the Classroom Out

6 Nov
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By Teneh Weller I remember being a new 5th grade teacher, full of excitement and hope. I had the opportunity, in some small way, to change the world. I had a vision that all of my students, no matter where they started out, would reach proficiency in reading and math. I envisioned that they would all go to college and be happy and productive citizens. The majority of my students were at least two years below grade level in reading...

New Adult Education Program Benefits District Students

26 Oct
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by Alan Helfman School districts looking to leverage student success would be well-advised to look to $525 million on the table. The funds are from the California’s Adult Education Block Grant. This grant provides significant discretion for local planning and implementation as part of the Local Control Funding Formula and is intended to help restore and grow the adult education system. This new grant program focuses on education and workforce preparation. The program also reinforces the state’s overall effort to...

Call to Join the California Community Schools Network

19 Oct
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by Deanna Niebuhr A few years ago, I worked with a team to write a Healthy Start grant proposal for an elementary school. The principal understood that this proposal writing process presented an opportunity to offer her students a valuable leadership experience. To give students a chance to actively participate in improving their school, she made sure that a group was on the proposal writing team. These students had a real job, editing the student survey that was part of...

Survey shows California school wellness programs are bearing fruit

30 Sep
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by Dr. Lynn Silver Statewide and local efforts to support healthier schools and students have blossomed from Humboldt to Imperial Counties. These efforts are bearing fruit today. California school districts are approving and implementing increasingly innovative wellness policies and practices. To gauge progress on school wellness, the California Local School Wellness Collaborative asked members of the Association of California School Administrators for information on wellness in their districts, 366 administrators replied. The survey was carried out by California Project LEAN...

New mathematics placement law may take effect Jan. 1

18 Sep
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by Gina Dalma Starting Jan. 1, 2016, school districts across the state could be called upon to develop and adopt a fair, objective and transparent mathematics placement policy for all students entering 9th grade.  Under legislation currently awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, districts would have until the start of the 2016-17 school year to adopt a policy if they have not done so already. One would think that this policy is not needed. The problem is that it is. The ratified...

Smarter Balanced Assessments: Keep results in perspective for students and their families

14 Sep
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by Kathy Caric With the release of California’s new Common Core-aligned test results for students from the third through the eighth grades, and 11th graders, the following is a perspective from the front lines. The commentary originally appeared as a From the Field piece in California Schools magazine. In the coming years, California’s students will be graduating from high school into a 21st century world where the college and career environments demand innovative, technologically literate individuals who are critical thinkers...

Close the achievement gap by reducing the attendance gap

4 Sep
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by Hedy Chang September is attendance awareness month. To kick it off, CSBA invited Attendance Works Director Hedy Chang to address chronic absence and how school boards, superintendents and other education stakeholders can work together to help solve it. More students in California, just over 80 percent, are now graduating from high school. Sustaining and expanding this success, however, requires deepening our efforts to address a pernicious challenge that continues to undermine success for our most vulnerable students: the attendance...