CEO’s note: The 2019–20 State Budget Act: A reflection of our values? Maybe …

30 Oct
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By CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy While speaking about the release of his first state budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, “I know it’s rote and cliché to say it’s a reflection of our values, but it is a reflection of our values.” This year’s budget is the largest spending package in the state’s history, one that pumped more than $3 billion above the Proposition 98 guarantee into schools and school supports. The “Affordability Budget” makes its mark...

Resources can guide leaders through difficult decisions during wildfire season

29 Oct
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A challenging combination of raging wildfires, poor air quality and planned power outages meant to prevent further fires has already led to myriad school closures up and down the Golden State this fall — with significant time left in the state’s wildfire season. California’s dynamic weather patterns, climate change, historic winds and dangerously low humidity will likely pose severe risks well through November, if not beyond. Considering the paramount importance of student and staff safety, school district and county office...

Oakland Unified program for black males leads to positive results, key lessons

28 Oct
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A decade-old program that provides targeted educational supports for African American males in the Oakland Unified School District has lowered dropout rates and increased graduation rates, new research finds. With a meaningful reduction of dropouts — 3.6 percentage points — My Brother’s Keeper? The Impact of Targeted Education Supports authors concluded that, particularly among ninth-graders, access to the African American Male Achievement program in the ninth and 10th grades increased the on-time high school graduation rate of black males by...

New Laws for California Schools: AB 1666, 2020 Census info for schools

25 Oct
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CSBA’s “New Laws for California Schools” series highlights new laws signed in 2019 affecting K-12 education. The What’s New for 2020 report on all new laws affecting education is available at www.csba.org/whatsnewfor2020. Assembly Bill 1666 (Reyes, D-San Bernardino) requires the California Complete Count – Census 2020 office to partner with local education agencies to make information about the 2020 Census available to students and parents. Providing information to local schools is already one of the key focus areas of California Complete Count;...

Federal funding to improve school-based mental health access for students

24 Oct
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school safety
Roughly $71 million in new federal funding will be available to enhance school safety and improve student access to mental health resources, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced earlier this month. The money — allocated through four grants to schools, districts and county offices of education throughout the country — is primarily to support helping children deal with trauma. More than $11.3 million will go to 15 school districts through the Project Prevent grant program, which aims to increase...

Study shows importance of helping children understand different social identities

23 Oct
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Girl Writing in Notebook
The results of a recent nationwide survey show that many teachers believe different social and demographic identities have an impact on children’s success in school, but far fewer feel comfortable discussing these in the classroom. Researchers from NORC at the University of Chicago and Sesame Workshop found that out of more than 1,000 pre-K through fifth-grade teachers across the country, more than 80 percent said social class impacts student success — 40 percent said it has a major impact. Yet,...

Education conference highlights need for funding, better data

22 Oct
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public school building
The “Birth to Twelfth Grade Water Cooler Conference: Building a Shared California for All Students” brought together experts from across the educational spectrum to support greater alignment across systems. Early childhood education and K-12 stakeholders from throughout California gathered in Sacramento on Oct. 14–15 to discuss and begin work on a collective agenda that breaks down barriers across systems and recognizes the critical role both early childhood education and K-12 play in the development of the whole child. Panels throughout...

With model curriculum process paused, expert panel discusses ethnic studies

21 Oct
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Shelved due to its controversy amid an overwhelming amount of public interest and input, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Oct. 15 hosted a panel discussion on the next steps in the redevelopment and implementation of the Model Ethnic Studies Curriculum. The State Board of Education will now vote on the curriculum in 2020, after the California Department of Education conducts statewide listening sessions and coordinates visits to school districts that have implemented strong ethnic studies programs, said...

New Laws for California Schools: SB 223, administration of medical cannabis at school sites

18 Oct
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CSBA’s “New Laws for California Schools” series highlights new laws signed in 2019 affecting K-12 education. New laws are effective Jan. 1, 2020, unless otherwise noted. The What’s New for 2020 report on all new laws affecting education is available at www.csba.org/whatsnewfor2020. Senate Bill 223 (Hill, D-San Mateo) is nicknamed “Jojo’s Act,” named for a teenager in South San Francisco who suffers from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy that causes debilitating seizures. Lennox-Gastaut is one of a number...

October President’s Message: The importance of equity-driven leadership

17 Oct
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By CSBA President Dr. Emma Turner One of the greatest responsibilities of school district and county office of education board members is to support the achievement of all students by providing them with the educational opportunities that will promote student success. This work begins by developing a vision and goals that support the particular needs of your district. Aligning resources to those goals is the next step, and one that should be informed by examining data in your district —...