New CSBA guidance for reopening schools addresses challenges faced by governance teams

10 Jun
As new information about COVID-19 and guidance for the reopening of schools in the 2020–21 academic year is released at a breakneck pace, CSBA has released a document that speaks directly to the needs of its members during this time. The Uncertain Road Ahead: Reopening Schools in the Time of COVID-19 presents a robust examination of what it will take to reopen schools safely and effectively. While the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Education have...

CCEE pivots focus to distance learning needs amid COVID-19 pandemic

9 Jun
Like all other parts of California’s public education system, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence had to quickly pivot its focus in March when the COVID-19 pandemic closed classrooms throughout the state and ushered in widespread distance learning. At the CCEE’s June 4 board meeting, staff members unveiled the organization’s Continuity of Learning playbooks and spoke to how the State System of Support is serving local educational agencies during these uncertain times. Comprising two versions, one for distance learning and...

CDE releases guidebook as schools plan how to reopen campuses

9 Jun
The California Department of Education on Monday, June 8, released a 55-page document to guide local educational agencies in their planning and discussions on physically reopening schools. “What we’ve done is compiled, as best as we can, a ‘how to’ to how we can safely reopen schools,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said during a webinar unveiling the document to LEAs. The document features a 10-page health and safety checklist for LEAs for resuming in-person instruction and dives...

State releases health and safety guidance for schools; funding needed for implementation

8 Jun
The California Department of Public Health on Friday, June 5, unveiled the administration’s health and safety guidelines and considerations as schools prepare to resume in-person instruction. Among the recommendations are that all staff and students be screened before entering school facilities and that staff use cloth face coverings at all times — gloves and surgical masks are necessary for food service workers and employees with routine contact with the public. Students should be encouraged to wear the cloth coverings when...

School meals: More important this summer than ever

5 Jun
By Christina Hecht and Jennifer McNeil Unemployment hits California hard The California Employment Development Department estimates that unemployment reached nearly 25 percent by mid-May 2020. In the eight-week period between March 14 and May 14, the EDD processed 4.7 million unemployment benefit claims — nearly seven times more than over a two-month period at the height of the 2008 recession. Due to the coronavirus-related economic fallout this year, the need for food assistance is likely to be much higher in...

Legislature agrees on budget that rejects K–12 education cuts, counts on federal aid

4 Jun
The Legislature on Wednesday unveiled a 2020–21 budget proposal that prioritizes education and rejects the $8.1 billion in cuts to Proposition 98 funding called for in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May Revision proposal, including the 10 percent reduction to the Local Control Funding Formula. The Senate and the Assembly announced the agreement on the plan just six days after the Senate released its proposal. “Under the Legislature’s Version, the most draconian cuts — to schools and health and human services —...

CCEE webinar offers distance learning needs, strategies for small districts

3 Jun
Weighing the digital divide and its particular challenges in rural areas lacking needed infrastructure, experts say a blend of analog and digital learning opportunities is one practical solution to engage students as the school year ends and summer offerings begin. Also strongly encouraged during a California Collaborative for Educational Excellence May 27 webinar was that board members and school leaders understand that students, teachers and parents are exhausted from “emergency-mode” learning and need much more social and emotional support. “I...

Executive order temporarily suspends exam requirements for teacher candidates

2 Jun
math teacher
Individuals enrolled in teacher preparation programs during the 2019–20 school year will be allowed to obtain their California preliminary credential without a teaching performance assessment, if they were unable to complete the requirement due to COVID-19 school and testing center closures. The relief for prospective teachers and districts hiring for the coming school year comes under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order issued on May 29. Teachers and administrators who were on track to finish their preparation this year and have...

Protecting students’ online privacy: Special considerations during distance learning

1 Jun
With school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic having led to the widescale implementation of distance learning, local educational agencies must be vigilant in protecting the privacy of student data that may be gathered electronically. While districts and county offices of education have always had a duty to protect students’ privacy, the sheer number of students going online to communicate with teachers and participate in digital learning increases the potential for abuse. Risks include the misuse or monetization of students’...

CSBA, Education Coalition caution that schools cannot safely reopen with current funding

29 May
public school building
CSBA joined administrators, business officials, educators, classified personnel and parents on Thursday as the Education Coalition urged California’s lawmakers to adopt a 2020–21 budget that provides sufficient funding to safely reopen schools this fall. Among other severe cuts, the May Revision slashes 10 percent from the Local Control Funding Formula. The budget further lacks specific and sufficient funding to enact COVID-19 mitigation strategies in schools, such as purchasing the necessary personal protective equipment, testing, screening and deep cleaning, as well...