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Blog posts -- Education

Facing unprepared kindergartners, a rural school district restores preschool for all [edsource.org]

In 2016, heading into her 15th year as a kindergarten teacher, Kristy Caesar knew what to expect from a room full of 5-year-olds. But what greeted her on that first day of school last year was an eye opener — she had 21 kindergartners and only four had attended preschool. Eighteen students couldn’t recognize a single phonetic letter sound, such as the sound “A” makes. “It was so challenging; they were months behind,” said Caesar, who teaches at Kennedy Elementary School in Lindsay, in...

Understanding how schools serve homeless children in California : a quick guide (edsource.org)

As California’s housing shortage intensifies, the number of homeless children is expected to climb. Since 2014, the number of homeless youth in California has jumped 20 percent, to more than 202,329, and accounts for nearly 4 percent of the overall public school population. Homeless children are enrolled in nearly every district in the state, according to the California Homeless Youth Project . An EdSource special project explored the issue in detail, and includes a map showing the number of...

Expanded rating system helps California parents understand how schools are doing (edsource.org)

California is the first state in the nation to get enhanced school ratings from GreatSchools , an Oakland-based nonprofit. The improved ratings now include course access, student progress and equity - which are intended to help parents choose schools, advocate to improve them and support their children's education. " We believe schools must serve the needs of every child, in every community, and we know that parents play an enormous role in ensuring this happens," said Matthew Nelson,...

Advocate for Early Childhood Programs in Your School District

California’s funding model for school districts is known as the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Under LCFF, school districts have flexibility—and an unprecedented opportunity—to spend district dollars on early childhood education. Researchers, economists, and educators all agree: early childhood programs set kids up for success in school and in life. Now is the time for district leaders to make sure that students in your community are getting off to a strong start. And you can help...

Teacher traveled statewide to capture the spark in California classrooms [EdSource.org]

David B. Cohen, a veteran English teacher at Palo Alto High and columnist for Education Week, spent a year crisscrossing California observing some of the state’s best teachers. The result was Capturing the Spark: Inspired Teachers, Thriving Schools, an insightful look at talented teachers, effective practices and promising schools, from Arcata to El Centro. Some interviewees were California Teachers of the Year or, like Cohen, have their national board certification, a distinguished...

Recognizing the Signs of Suicide, and Supporting Students - Free Webinar hosted by CA Dept of Education

There will be a free webinar on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 10:00am - 11:30am To register for this Free Webinar, please see the following: Register at: https://cdeevents.webex.com/cdeevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=e98afd6cd988b25234145fb3c7f4f1331 Event number: 663 922 756 Event password: 130777 TIPS FOR ATTENDEES To save time before the meeting, check your system to make sure it is ready to use WebEx. Step 1: Visit the test site at http://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html Step 2: If you experience...

Teen suicide clusters prompt mandate for California schools to confront taboo topic (calmatters.org)

In California and across the country, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens—a grim reminder that many high school students’ primary barrier to adulthood is themselves. More young people take their own lives than the number killed by cancer, heart disease, birth defects, stroke, flu, pneumonia and chronic lung disease combined. And under legislation set to take effect in January, school systems up and down the state will be forced to confront the taboo topic head-on.

Creating Equity by Teaching Equality: The Implications of California’s LGBTQ-Inclusive Framework [PSMag.com]

Imagine you’re a ninth grade student in a public high school. Everyone you know is straight and you’re not. There are no resources at school for you. The school doesn’t care about your identity. Imagine further that you go to school every day to learn only about people who do not share your identity. Nothing in the history of America depicts the life you’re living. No one who has faced the same challenges you face has made a valuable contribution to history. Do you want to go to school? Do...

New Webinar: Opportunities to Advocate for Equity in Your Local Schools

Join this free webinar to find out the latest on Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) policy developments and ways in which local groups can use these opportunities to advocate for greater equity in local schools. Children Now presenters will review the new LCAP template and the LCFF evaluation rubric. In addition, the webinar will cover opportunities in federal policy for local organizing efforts, and possible changes under the Trump administration. Opportunities to Advocate for Equity in...

Middle school incident reports top high schools for first time at LAUSD; suicidal behavior is up [LASchoolReport.com]

For the first time since LA Unified has collected such data, the number of incidents involving fights, suicidal behavior, bullying, drugs and other disruptions on campuses was higher at middle schools than at high schools. The district last week released the 2015-2016 iSTAR Annual Report, which stands for the Incident System Tracking Accountability Report. The report not only shows serious issues such as finding weapons or illegal drugs on students or staff, but also records accidents,...

Group of educators, policymakers aims to tackle preschool suspensions [EdSource.org]

California preschools are mirroring an alarming national trend, suspending or expelling children from preschools far too frequently. This is the judgment of a group of state educators, policymakers and representatives of public agencies, including the California Department of Education, who are working on a proposal that will offer solutions. The group is an unofficial committee that grew out of a project involving the Department of Defense and the WestEd Center for Child and Family Studies...

Webinar: Understanding the Local Control Funding Formula for Schools [Children Now]

On September 21, over 160 people attended a webinar to help local organizations better understand the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) process. The webinar included key information for local groups about LCFF funding for every school district in the state and advice on how to make an impact in district budget decision-making. To view the webinar go HERE

Despite progress, African Americans more likely to be expelled, less likely to excel [ModestoBee.com]

Jaimare Limbrick, 14, talks with sister Eriqua Thompson, 7, in Modesto _________________________________ Modesto City Schools has slashed its numbers of suspensions and expulsions, adding proactive programs and in-school options. But African Americans, especially boys, are still far more likely to be kicked off campus than people of other ethnicities. “Back in (2011-12) we stuck out like a sore thumb because of the expulsions. Now the numbers are way down, so something’s...

Mind Powers: Meditation Matters for Special Education Students [ChronicleofSocialChange.org]

While meditation has expanded  in recent years from a zen-seeker’s path to higher consciousness to a best practice for hard-charging CEOs, it’s now gaining a foothold at a school in Southern California serving students with serious emotional and behavioral issues. Administrators at the Five Acres School in Altadena, Calif., are testing whether meditation and mindfulness can help students succeed in the classroom. A new mindfulness program implemented there in two semesters...

Keeping Trauma-Informed Teachers in Oakland’s Schools [ChronicleofSocialChange.org]

Last New Year’s Day,  when 13-year-old  Lee Weathersby III  was shot and died in Oakland, Calif., nearly 200 of his middle school peers and teachers received therapy. In the Oakland Unified School District, Sandra Simmons’ job is to help coordinate that therapy on school campuses. As a Behavioral Health Program Manager for the district, Simmons oversees crisis response across the district. She has organized behavioral health training and counseling for students,...

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