California Thursdays: Making the Case for Farm to School Programs

27 Oct
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by Nathaniel Browning, Policy & Programs Officer The growing prevalence of schools acquiring food from local farms makes me wish I could once again eat at school. The increasing popularity of Farm to School (F2S) programs is for good reason: they have a positive impact on student learning and health as well as the greater community and environment. Many districts and county offices of education have incorporated school gardens and seasonal fruit and vegetable curriculum into classroom instruction. Many are...

Lead, arsenic, nitrates, OH MY!

22 Oct
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by Nathaniel Browning, Policy & Programs Officer, CSBA Research has shown that adequate consumption of healthy water ensures proper motor functioning, mental acuity and stress reduction. Access to safe drinking water helps promote greater student achievement, physical fitness and a positive school climate. Unfortunately, many students in rural communities throughout parts of California are worried about the ills that face them as they tip their glass for a drink of water. They are concerned about the chemicals lurking in their...

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...

September Attendance Awareness Month

29 Sep
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by Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction September is a busy time of year for all of us. Our schools are back in session – students and teachers around the state are hard at work – expectations are high. And we are charged with the responsibility of continuing our work to make sure they have all the right resources they need to achieve their goals. We’ve made some very big, very fundamental improvements in the last year – not because schools...

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...

Making a Difference in Student Attendance–Lessons Learned

18 Sep
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by Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Ph.D., President, Santa Ana Unified School District Board and CSBA Director-at-large, Asian Pacific Islander Attendance is especially challenging in a district where the majority of families qualify for free/reduced lunch and the majority of families are immigrants. Cultural differences can lead to a lack of understanding about the importance of daily attendance – not because parents don’t care, but because their life situations are complex and frequently unreliable. As CSBA’s Director-at-Large Asian/Pacific Islander, I would like to...

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...