CCEE Connection (September 2023)

News & Announcements
Earn a berkeley UTK Leadership Certificate!

Open to candidates currently in a Preliminary ASC or Clear ASC program, or who hold a Certificate of Eligibility

New opportunity for future school leaders: As California rolls out its Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) program, 21CSLA is offering future school leaders a new opportunity to develop their skills and leadership capacity. 

The UTK Leadership Certificate is a 4-unit online and synchronous program offered through UC Berkeley Extension (UNEX) and developed by the UC Berkeley-based 21CSLA, in partnership with the California Department of Education, State Board of Education, and California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. Those who complete the two 10-session courses will receive a UC Berkeley UTK Leadership Certificate. Due to funding from the California Department of Education, this program is available at no cost to eligible participants through June 2026.

  • Enroll in no-cost, university credit-bearing courses
  • Learn about UTK policy and instructional leadership in California
  • Network and collaborate with other leaders to advance equity
  • Cultivate skills and knowledge to prepare for job searches and interviews

Access more information via this website

In Case You Missed It
Leadership Institute

New participants and mentors gathered in Newport Beach to kick-off the 23’-24’ Leadership Institute (LI). The LI is a collaborative effort between CCEE and the Small School Districts Association (SSDA) to support networking and learning opportunities for new and aspiring small school district leaders. This experience was enhanced by the participation of Dr. David Arencibia from Jimmy Casas and Associates who guided us through identifying our leadership strengths. This year-long institute will pair participants with mentors who will walk alongside them through their leadership journeys.

Looking AHEAD

Open Door Sessions

CCEE, in collaboration with LEAs and partner organizations, is hosting “open door” sessions to share best practices, tools/resources, and strategies to support student learning. These sessions will provide opportunities for county office and/or district staff to listen and learn from other LEAs across the state, and connect further, if interested. Those who express interest in connecting further will be invited to join a smaller, more intimate “Special Interest Group” session, in which the presenting LEA will be available to listen, share, and help participants with more specific questions.

Register for upcoming Open Door sessions by clicking on the links below:

To view archived materials from past Open Door sessions, please visit our Open Door Sessions Google Site. You can also check our Events Calendar or follow CCEE on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on upcoming Open Door sessions.

Equity Corner

Reasons to Celebrate in the month of September:

About the CCEE

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence is a statewide leader delivering on California’s promise of a quality, equitable education for every student.

Executive Director’s Corner

Inspiring Change for One System:

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

The use of the term “Statewide System of Support” (SSOS) to describe California’s state educational system that supports Local Educational Agencies, has been difficult to  understand for educational practitioners. The SSOS has been one that has been largely mis-understood, highly debated, largely confusing and in many cases mis-represented. The idea that California, as complex as it is, can organize ALL organizations, associations and legislative educational initiatives into ONE coherent system is a daunting task.  However, there is hope! We aren’t a system yet, but we are moving closer to that vision as all statewide partners, including County Offices, Geographic Leads, CCEE, State Board and the California Department of Education work to integrate and create a sense of interdependence in a system that has largely been independent. This newsletter highlights inspiring work to move our SSOS into ONE Coherent System that works for ALL students.

“One System for All Students”

By Dr. Chris Hartley, Deputy Executive Director, CCEE

Starting a new school year is  filled with excitement, promise,  sense of renewed energy,  and an unwavering commitment to provide the absolute best care and support for the children and youth we collectively serve.  In order to give our best for all students, it is important to also commit to the level of transformational change necessary to implement whole child initiatives, while staying focused and committed to continuous improvement processes and local implementation.  The Statewide System of Support (SSOS) has a myriad of resources and services that range from universal, targeted, and intensive that are available to support all Local Educational Agencies (LEA’s).  

The SSOS is rich with incredibly talented, resourceful, and experienced educators who provide relevant and meaningful services and support for LEA’s.  While tremendous support exists, the SSOS still lacks full coherence and clarity around services available and how districts can directly access the assistance that meets their unique needs.  SSOS lead agencies, statewide partners, educational and community partners have made tremendous progress in building coherence and setting the stage for the 2023-24 year as being pivotal in continuing our focused effort to collectively operate as “one system.” 

Being committed to a “one system” approach means remaining intentional around collaboration, while staying focused on making systemic connections between  programs, services and people.   A one system design is simply what is best for students and CCEE is a committed and excited partner and looks forward to an outstanding year!

A Different Way to Lead: System Improvement Leads Networked Improvement Community

By Sandra Park, Co-Founder, Improvement Collective

In most organizations, leaders are considered the experts.  They come up with solutions to problems and ask their employees to implement them.  However, this style of leadership no longer meets the complexity and fast-paced nature of today’s world.  Instead, leaders must create learning environments that draw on the expertise of everyone in their organizations and value learning through experimentation and failure.   

To do this, leaders must think and behave differently. In Transforming Educational Systems Toward Continuous Improvement: A Reflection Guide for K-12 Executive Leaders, Dixon and Palmer identify key dispositions and core practices of such leaders, who they identify as improvement leaders.  First, improvement leaders have a growth mindset and see every individual in their organization as a valuable and contributing member with the capacity to learn and develop.  Second, they are curious, humble and vulnerable; they recognize they do not have all the answers, are open to feedback and are willing to be wrong.  In addition, these leaders are comfortable with uncertainty, recognizing that learning is a messy process where answers aren’t always readily available.  They try out possible answers using scientific reasoning and rely on concrete evidence that something works before scaling it across the organization.  Finally, improvement leaders are systems thinkers who see interconnections across different departments and lines of work.  

Members of the System Improvement Leads Networked Improvement Community (SIL NIC) have begun to embrace this new approach to leadership.  Supported by the SIL, teams of Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs), County Offices of Education (COEs) and districts from across the state came together in September 2021 with the shared aim of accelerating learning for the 28,167 students with disabilities they serve.  They began their journey focusing on improving the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process.  

Teams of administrators, program specialists, and special education teachers from Shasta, San Luis Obispo, West Contra Costa, Sonoma, Irvine, and Clovis started by examining the IEP process in their local contexts.  With guidance from the SIL coaches, the teams approached the investigation with a sense of curiosity and an open mind to what they might discover. They also engaged in various activities designed to help leaders see the system from different angles. They created process maps to illuminate how teachers and administrators enacted the IEP process and conducted empathy interviews with teachers, parents and students to hear their thoughts and feelings about IEPs.  Finally, they mined data from individual IEP reports to illuminate potential sources of variation in IEP goal documentation and quality.  

Through the systems investigation, teams developed both a clearer and more complicated view of the IEP process. It also highlighted for leaders how little they actually knew about the intricacies of their systems, an eye-opening and humbling experience.  For example, the IEP process at individual sites varied wildly, leaving teachers to navigate it for themselves.  As a result, what was considered a high-quality IEP goal also varied.  In addition, some teams were shocked to discover the number of IEPs without documented goals when reviewing individual IEP reports.  But more problematic was the fact that they had to review a sample of reports one by one since they couldn’t easily access this data from the Special Education Information System (SEIS).  More importantly, it underscored the value and importance of systems-thinking in uncovering the contributing factors to the problem that were previously unseen.   

Continue Reading >>

Implementing UPK in your ELO-P Program

By Julie Boesch, Assistant Director, CCEE

Julie Boesch head shot

Districts are seeking support on how to implement Universal Pre-Kindergarten and integrate this age level into Expanded Learning Programs, presenting new opportunities and challenges for districts to continue to learn and grow. 

CCEE in collaboration with numerous partners including CDE, Department of Social Services, multiple County Offices of Education, non-profit organizations, and community partners, came together with a shared vision and specific tasks to create tools to communicate to the field in a cohesive, impactful, and practical way. This work included three teams:

Physical Spaces:

Objective: Identify existing resources to support the design and development of early learning spaces in expanded learning programs. This team has created a video as well as an environment checklist to support districts and those who support them. (These items will be released soon.)

Staff Capacity:

Objective:  Provide a curated and manageable set of training opportunities and resources for Expanded Learning Opportunities Program staff and the System of Support for Expanded Learning to build their capacity to serve TK-K students and families.

This group has created a slide deck which can be used for informational meetings, staff training, and communication. It will also support an improved understanding of play-based learning among ELO, some background on UPK and ELO-P, the science of learning, foundational elements of learning through play, and connections between the ELO Quality Standards and the key elements of play-based learning. They have also created an infographic which specifically highlights the importance of play-based learning and all of the learning that is going on that may not be evident to the casual observer. 

Education Code:

Objective: This group was tasked with Providing clear and concise information and guidance to the field interpreting Education Code related to health, safety, and licensing requirements.

This group has taken the Ed Code which has been emerging and created user friendly language and will be producing short videos as well as infographics and additional professional learning opportunities to both highlight and disseminate this information.

A Different Way to Lead: System Improvement Leads Networked Improvement Community

Continued from CCEE Connection September 2023

By Sandra Park, Co-Founder, Improvement Collective

<< Go Back

Approaching the work with curiosity and humility has not only provided teams with a better understanding of their systems but has also shifted leaders’ relationships with their colleagues.  As one program specialist noted, “I think personally I’ve had a shift in…my thinking around collaboration and working in a group…honestly, like active listening to [teachers] who have perspectives that I may not understand or on the surface may not have valued as much.  This work has given me more practice to kind of step back and listen and really try to understand a different perspective…I notice a difference in my professional relationships that have been really positive.”

A SELPA administrator at another district also commented on how the nature of the work has shifted her interactions with teachers and program specialists, “We have had to build a relationship with them in a different way because we’re having to say…here’s what we’re working on, we really need your help.  Here’s where we screwed up, here’s where we did well, we need your lens.  It’s been a good partnership not just for growth but for those relationships in the district.”  

These comments reflect many of the key dispositions of improvement leaders described above. This includes a growth mindset or newfound appreciation of the knowledge everyone in the organization offers, a humility and vulnerability about what they do and don’t know, and a comfort with the uncertainty that comes with tackling complex problems.  Furthermore, members of the network now realize that improving the IEP process is “not about blaming [individuals] but about working together to solve the problem [and] change the system.”

After investigating their local systems, teams began using the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle to try out potential “change ideas”  to improve the IEP goal-setting process.  These have included a rubric to evaluate the quality of IEP goals and a checklist tied to the IEP process.  A PDSA is a mini-experiment used to test ideas out in practice.  In the early stages of testing, teams often, but not always, try out ideas on a small scale; for example, one teacher with one student.  Here, the goal is to learn about the feasibility of a change idea – can it even be done in practice, does it produce the desired outcome, what are potential challenges that might need to be addressed. Ideas that show promise are then tested on a larger scale to learn how to adapt them to different contexts and then finally how to implement them across the entire system.  

This approach runs in direct contrast to how change often happens in education – find a “silver bullet,” a new curriculum or a new software, and then implement it full-scale.  However, when they fail, which they often do, there is little understanding of why they didn’t work.  The PDSA approach, on the other hand, helps teams learn what works in which contexts and for whom and equally important, what doesn’t.  Through this process, organizations learn which changes when implemented actually lead to sustained improvements.  

Conducting small-scale experiments using scientific reasoning and evidence represents a major shift in how network members have approached reform efforts in the past.  At first, some leaders were impatient with the process, wanting to move to full-scale implementation as quickly as possible. However, they soon discovered how much learning happens with each PDSA and how much more confidence they have in spreading ideas that have been vetted through early testing.  

As one director of special education commented, “I have been in special education for 22-23 years. Everybody always has these great ideas and I’ve been part of many teams where those great ideas have been put in place without much inquiry.  But many [of these] programs haven’t lasted. What’s exciting to me is all the nitty gritty work that we do [through the PDSAs].  At first, I wondered, ‘Why are we taking so long?  Why are you making us do that [cycle] again?  Every time we did a PDSA, I would [tell our coach], ‘We just did that but just a little bit different.’  But I totally get it now.  Seeing those small improvements we make every week…is super exciting.” 

PDSAs also challenge the push for full-scale implementation when they reveal that an idea doesn’t work.  For example, when testing a specific change idea and reviewing the data, one team discovered that the idea wasn’t as helpful as they thought it would be.  Abandoning the idea, however, wasn’t easy.  “It was hard to accept that we thought it was working but that it wasn’t really helping that much.  And I think [we’re] so used to just continuing with something because that’s what we’ve done or it looks shiny and new, or people like it.  And it’s a huge shift to be in a space where once we get information that something’s not working, it’s okay to just move on and abandon it,” said one team member.

For many teams, the use of data or evidence as part of the PDSAs distinguishes it from other forms of inquiry and reform efforts in general.  “There are so many books and leaders on educational reform and change theory, [but] none of it is like this. There are tons of pieces, structures, and theories that this work incorporates, but this stands out as being very different. The differentiating point is those PDSAs…it’s a more structured approach where you’re looking at data [that comes from trying something out in practice], which allows for more disciplined inquiry,” said one program specialist.  

Most notably, she contrasted this with how “data” is more commonly used.  “We always talk about making data-based decisions but in reality we typically don’t. We typically hear from maybe a few stakeholders and they bring some subjective information to the table and then we make decisions about support and professional development based on that.”

For many network members in the SIL NIC, their approach to leadership and other change efforts in their organizations has shifted profoundly.  They are looking at their systems with a more critical eye, seeking out the knowledge and expertise of others in their organizations, embracing failure as a valuable part of learning, and testing and vetting ideas with more discipline and rigor.  They are also seeing the results of this new approach; across the network, IEP data practices, IEP goal quality, and family collaboration have all improved. These improvements are making a real difference for the nearly 30,000 students with disabilities served by teams in the network. In a little over a year, the rate of annual IEP goal completion has jumped from 38% to 56%.  There is much work to be done, but these leaders are committed to keep working until they achieve their aim. As they do so, they are becoming the improvement leaders we need to transform our systems to serve all of our students.   

The System Improvement Leads (SIL) project is a collaborative grant project between the El Dorado County Office of Education, El Dorado County SELPA, and Riverside County SELPA. The SIL team builds the capacity of COEs, SELPAs and LEAs in continuous improvement, data best practices, and high-leverage change ideas in order to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.  The SIL project is supported by the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE). To learn more, visit or email [email protected]

CCEE Connection (June 2023)

News & Announcements
Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) 2.0 Lead Agency RFA Announcement

The California Department of Education has released the results of the CEI 2.0 Lead Agency RFA. You can view the results on the CDE’s website.

In Case You Missed It

System of Support Updates (June 2023)

21CSLA Showcase in Sacramento

Our 21st Century California School Leadership Academy held a showcase in Sacramento on Thursday, May 11 to celebrate the first three years of supporting equity leadership in California! More than 90 people attended from across the state, including our state partners at California Department of Education, State Board of Education, and California Collaborative for Educational Excellence who have invested in and supported this important work. Read more and see photos.

21CSLA Practice Brief: Insights from California’s TK Educators and Leaders

In this practice brief, we underscore four key themes from UTK educational leaders as areas ripe for further research. These findings underscore current pressing challenges and dilemmas facing UTK leaders and speak to the larger context in which UTK expands. We draw from semi-structured interviews with four California UTK leaders to illuminate the challenges, opportunities, and ingenuity of educators and districts in supporting UTK implementation and/or expansion. Link to the brief.

Envisioning and Leading Equitable TK Classrooms

Alameda County Regional Academy in partnership with Alameda County Office of Education will offer UTK Professional Learning Envisioning and Leading Equitable TK Classrooms on August 1 and 2, 2023. Register here:

Equity Corner

Reasons to Celebrate in the month of June:

About the Transformative Systems for Equitable Education (TSEE) Center

The TSEE team supports more than 20 unique statewide initiatives. Our Administrative Assistant II, Fiscal Analyst, and Program Specialists are the foundation of our team. They take care of all of our operational, administrative, and project management needs. The TSEE team takes pride in supporting our Deputy Executive Director, Senior Advisors, and Assistant Directors to collectively pave the way through communication, collaboration, and leadership to ensure our impact is far-reaching. While we all support different initiatives, we work together to deliver on our common goal of improving outcomes for all students.

About the CCEE

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence is a statewide leader delivering on California’s promise of a quality, equitable education for every student.

Executive Director’s Corner

Celebrating Gratitude

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

 “Sometimes it’s helpful to stop and be grateful for what we do.  Education in California, one of the largest states in the nation, is complex.  It can often make educators feel like we may never get to where we need to be, but I would like to share another perspective.  The CCEE is grateful to be part of such an incredible state when it comes to education.  Our organization has seen many other state education systems and in our opinion California is often miles ahead in both our approach to and innovation of our education systems.  

Our state board and state board staff are incredibly thoughtful and represent a great and diverse group of thinkers, led by one of the most notable researchers in Education, Linda Darling Hammond. Our California Department of Education and the State Superintendent, Tony Thurmond, are visibly traveling and engaging with parents, associations, and educational partners to figure out how best to support them.  Our associations, county offices, and state lead agencies are always willing to step up with grace and a willingness to serve.  

All these examples remind me that regardless of what we think the current state of education is, we can be grateful for the fact that everyone in this “system” has one thing in common…we all want what is best for our students, teachers and families in California.  Gratitude is something we can all benefit from once in a while.

Reflecting on the Year

By Chris Hartley Ed.D. Deputy Executive Director, CCEE

The school year is winding down, summer and planning for the next year is in full speed.  It is a natural transition in our system with educators across the state reflecting on the past year, while planning for a new one ahead.  During these times it is important to not only find time to enjoy a break for rejuvenation, but to also take a moment and recognize our partnerships and the relentless commitment to serving the students, families and communities throughout the state.

On May 12th the annual “All Leads” meeting took place and was in person for the first time since 2019.  The level of expertise, experience, creativity and innovative spirit among attendees was only surpassed by a deep commitment to serving all children and youth in our state.   Our teams at CCEE are extremely grateful for the incredible collaboration we have with all our partners and look forward to continually growing and expanding these relationships.  

When we organize, collaborate and deliver support together, a true system with minimal silos and thru line from state initiatives to direct district and school site support is magnified.  At the end of the day, there are many hands on deck, each embracing positive aspirations for developing and deepening a Statewide System of Support that is cohesive, clear and accessible.  My deepest gratitude to our many partners, let’s finish strong!

The Strengthening of the Statewide System of Support

By Mindy Fattig, Senior Advisor, CCEE

The CA Statewide System of Support (SSOS) provides coordinated, needs-based and differentiated resources and supports to LEAs that lead to improved outcomes for all students. As I reflect upon this past school year, the CA Statewide System of Support is stronger than ever. So much gratitude is given to these 13 lead initiatives and the purposeful integration and leverage of best practices across the state. 

Just a few of the many recent examples of the Statewide System of Support working together to improve outcomes for all students include the Geographic Leads continuing their strong partnership with various leads throughout the SSOS including intentional focus and support on integrating differentiated assistance and the special education monitoring processes. The Regional English Language Learner leads partnering with 21CSLA,  SELPA English Language lead and Educator Workforce Investment lead for English Language Learners  to bring proactive support to our educators and students and  all the leads collectively learning from each other and utilizing Universal Design for Learning and Community Engagement strategies so all of our students will have what they need to thrive. 

The SELPA leads have worked tirelessly and successfully over the last five years to bring resources and implementation support focusing on improving outcomes for students with disabilities. They have done this through  building the capacity of local SELPAs, integration of special education and general education monitoring activities, providing services and supports with COEs and direct support to thousands of families, students, and LEAs across CA. Their impact does not stop there as 93% of the SELPA, COE and LEA educational leaders said that they feel confident in their ability for sustained implementation at the local level on strategies and resources learned through the SELPA leads. 

The Geographic Leads,  as  connectors  in the SSOS,  have greater coherence and collaboration across statewide initiatives as evidenced by feedback from a County Office administrator,    “Working with the Geo Lead has provided me with a better understanding of where support and expertise lies.  I have been able to ‘broker’ this and connect our LEAs with professional development and other support from other COEs (work that is beyond the capacity of our own COE).”

At the recent in person “All Leads” meeting in May, when asked what the strengths are of the Statewide System of Support from the educators providing the support to the field, words such as “interagency and cross initiative collaboration”, “increased use of continuous improvement strategies” “ mindset on inclusive practices” resonated over and over again. 

 As we look forward to the 2023-24 school year and  the needs of our students in CA, we are well equipped to provide support in implementation of resources due to the hard work and neverending dedication of our collective common goal of improving outcomes for all of our students in CA. Our statewide system is stronger than we have ever been. As one educator leader summed up, Our school now uses continuous improvement to help guide initiatives, and show how the initiatives can complement each other as opposed to feeling siloed or in competition with each other.” 

Thanks again to all the educators, families, community organizations and to our students. We are collectively the Statewide System of Support. CCEE, working in collaboration  with our state agencies partners at CA Dept of Education and the State Board of Education,  look forward to continuing to build, refine and ensure the highest quality of education resources,  supports and services  throughout California. 

Gratitude – A Story of Success

By Giovanni H. Annous, Ed.D., Superintendent, Upper Lake Unified School District

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child.  For Upper Lake USD, we are blessed to have our whole community working together to create the best possible educational, social, and emotional support system for all our students. 

ULUSD’s participation and partnership with the CCEE “Continuous Improvement Model,” and for the last three years in the Community Engagement Initiative (CEI), has allowed us to sharpen the focus of our work and guide us through practices that have fundamentally changed our communication style and content with our stakeholders and the community at large.

Our introduction of the “The Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships” and our work with the “Root Cause Analysis” to identify our “Problem of Practice” has been an eye-opening experience.  Due to the current work in these areas in concert with our intentional focus on implementing with fidelity, highly effective academic and social programs, ULUSD has become a “Destination District.” 

Our “Responsive Leadership” created a culture and structure for system organization learning to include the different voices from our community in the design, development, and implementation of processes, programs, and services.  Today our local native Pomo Tribes leadership, philanthropic & service organizations, and business community are partners in shaping our organizational outcomes. This engagement raises the level of responsibility and accountability that we all collectively hold for the success of our students and youth population in general.

We believe that the absence of engagement limits growth and fosters a diminishing mindset. Gratitude for community partnerships moves educational organizations forward. 

CEI has been a catalyst on our path to success.

The Leadership Institute Delivers the Secret Sauce 

By Amy Alzina, Ed.D., Cold Spring School District Superintendent

Superintendents collaborating on and sharing best practices and strategies is the secret sauce to achieving exceptional results in public education. The Small School Districts Association (SSDA) and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) have partnered to develop the Leadership Institute, a community of leaders to collaborate, support and mentor new superintendents. The founding principle of the Leadership Institute is to empower educational leaders by providing access to the resources they need for exceptional student achievement.  The collaborative approach has resulted in statewide synergy in the field of public education. 

Small school district superintendents no longer need to feel isolated.  Within the Leadership Institute, participants are matched with a seasoned successful superintendent who serves as a trusted coach and mentor for a period of six months.  During this period, best practices are reviewed in the areas of Governance and Fiscal Management, Community Engagement, Vision and Goals, Human Resources and Effective Communication.  The purpose is to improve student outcomes and build a positive district culture and climate. 

As a coach, I value the time I spend coaching and mentoring my colleagues.  We all come to the table with unique strengths and talents.  During our time together, we tap into each other’s strengths to share best practices.   Often, I gain new knowledge from the stories and experiences shared in the group.  I also make myself available to the participants whenever they need my support or simply need a sounding board.

Unlike traditional professional development, this is not designed to add more to the plate of a superintendent.  It’s a time to support each other with the resources and knowledge we each possess.  Our conversations range from emergency recovery efforts to understanding the reading intervention strategies and programs that make a positive impact on student achievement.  We also share many of the state mandated plans and the process used to gather stakeholder input. 

The Leadership Institute is a great example of an effective means to bring equity to education.  Together, we are opening doors by providing resources that will drive the actions of all Superintendents to be effective for the students they serve.

CCEE and Santa Clara County Office of Education Collaborate on UPK Implementation 

By Amanda M. Dickey, Esq., Executive Director of Government Relations, Santa Clara County Office of Education

California policy makers have made historic investments over the last few years to bring the state closer to universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) for all 3- and 4-year-olds. This has come in the form of several new and expanded programs including TK expansion to all 4 year-olds by 2024/25, the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P), an additional 200,000 childcare vouchers, and more than 8,000 additional preschool slots.  

As local education agencies (LEAs) work toward implementation of this ambitious goal, many have expressed the need for technical assistance, tools, and training to help them address barriers and shortages in staffing and facilities. Small and rural LEAs are facing some of the most significant implementation challenges due to economy of scale issues. In response, CCEE has partnered with the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) over the last year to develop Tier 1 and 2 tools and trainings to add to the statewide system of support. To ensure that these resources support all schools, regardless of size or circumstance, the partnership has collaborated with LEAs throughout the state and with the Department of Education. 

Most recently, the CCEE/SCCOE partnership offered a UPK Blending, Braiding and Layering workshop in which LEAs were provided with a series of high-value tools that helped them identify mixed-delivery models to address their staffing, facilities, revenue, and/or cost shortage. These tools are now available online to all LEAs and include: 1) a resource hub with curated, summarized, and searchable resources for busy school administrators, 2) a planning tool to help LEAs project their staffing and facilities needs and identify issues with enrollment and costs, 3) an online technical assistance tool with AI features that provide tailored suggestions for LEAs based on their unique characteristics, and 4) a budgeting worksheet and accompanying costs/revenues template. To access these resources or learn more about how blending, braiding, and layering early learning and care programs can help your LEA address barriers to UPK implementation, please visit visit To view the workshop slide deck, visit

CCEE Connection (March 2023)

News & Announcements

New State Funding for 21st Century Skills Academy (21CSLA)

Read more at the Berkeley School of Education’s website.

Universally Designing Systems of Support: Webinar Series
Alternative Dispute Resolution

Presented as part of the California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy Spring Learning Series

More information, including registration is available here.

Registration is Open for the 2023 Spring ELO-P Academy!

The California AfterSchool Network (CAN) in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE), Expanded Learning Division (EXLD), and members of the System of Support for Expand Learning (SSEL), are excited to offer a free virtual Expanded learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P) Academy! 

Register Here

In Case You Missed It

System of Support Updates (March 2023)

Looking Ahead

Universal Pre-Kindergarten

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) has partnered with the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) to host two workshops on Universal Pre-Kindergarten Blending, Braiding, and Layering for districts, county offices, charter schools and community partners.

Workshops will be structured around guided working sessions in which LEA teams will use strategic planning tools, with the help of expert coaches, to generate solutions and strategic action plans that are specific to each LEA’s circumstances. For the best results, LEA’s are encouraged to bring a multi-disciplinary team to the workshop.  There is no fee to attend the workshops.

An information session was held on February 27, 2023, with a registration application available to all LEA’s and other entities, that was due March 10, 2023.

Workshop sessions will be held: April 18, 2023 (virtual) and May 4, 2023 (hybrid- virtual and in-person)

For more information, contact CCEE Assistant Director, Julie Boesch [email protected]

Equity Corner

Women’s History Month

Gender Equality Month

March 13 – National Good Samaritan Day

About the CCEE

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence is a statewide leader delivering on California’s promise of a quality, equitable education for every student.

Executive Director’s Corner

Investing Time in Exploring Tools

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

I am always amazed by just how much we (educators, researchers and policy makers) do in efforts to improve public education. I am also reminded that we can, at times, try to do too much. The biggest threat to public education is not allowing educators time to understand, provide professional training and use the tools, resources and support being provided.
This March 2023, Transformative Systems for Equitable Education Center (TSEE) is taking time to remind us of all the resources being provided through the Statewide System of Support (SSOS) that are designed to enhance Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in accomplishing their Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and ultimately improve public education.

A Shared Journey to Support Student Achievement

By Chris Hartley, Ed.D., Deputy Executive Director of the Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes Center

It is hard to believe that we are well into the month of March 2023! All of us in the CCEE Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes (TSEE) Center, want to express our gratitude to the many partners throughout the state that are all pulling together to support student achievement and growth. The Statewide System of Support (SSOS) is on the move with a multitude of programs and projects in full swing.
At the core of our collective work is the fact that collaboration, cooperation and communication are critical to aligning our work, fostering cohesion, building relationships and ultimately aligning support to assist districts and schools in meeting the needs of our students. Our partners throughout the state understand what it means to maximize leadership to give support where it is needed the most, inside our schools directly supporting students. No one agency can do this important work alone.
From our Community Engagement Initiative, the Leadership Institute, UPK Workshops, to the hard work of lead agencies like Geographic and SELPA Leads, we are focused on providing a through line between state initiatives and implementation at the school site level. It is critical that we keep this momentum going within the SSOS. Thank you to all the incredible partners both in the field and at the state level, who are actively engaged in aligning systems and committed to using the same compass on our collective journey to serve students.


CEI Updates: Fostering Stronger Relationships Between LEAs, Students, Families, and Community Partners

By Steven Sterling Mitchell, Assistant Director, Community Engagement & System of Support

Highlights from the Community Engagement Initiative’s past three months

The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) fosters stronger relationships between Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), their students, families, and community partners to support student success. Now in its fourth year of operation, the CEI has expanded its reach in the 2022-23 school year and now represents 36 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) across California, ranging from as far north as Shasta County to as far south as Imperial County. This growth demonstrates the increasing recognition and importance of community engagement in education systems across the state.

A major milestone for the CEI was the All-Cohorts Peer Leading & Learning Network (PLLN) meeting held in January. Over 400 educational partners from diverse communities across California attended the event to share promising practices and strategies for promoting equity and inclusion in schools and communities. Attendees had dedicated time for teams and role-alike groups to share experiences and ideas about effective approaches to community engagement.

Dr. Karen Mapp, a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of the Dual Capacity-Building Framework, was the keynote speaker at the event. She emphasized the importance of building strong relationships between schools, families, and communities and discussed strategies for effective communication and collaboration between them.

Our peer leading and learning model recognizes that our districts/LEAs who are new to the work, will learn best from their peers who are further along. Because of this our January event was dedicated to peer-led learning opportunities. The event provided foundational CEI districts in Cohorts I & II a platform to share promising practices and their own strategies for overcoming barriers to strengthen relationships within their communities. By working collaboratively with families and community partners, LEAs are helping to create more equitable and inclusive education systems across California. The work of CEI cohorts demonstrate that partnerships between educational institutions, families, and communities can positively impact student outcomes.

The experience was innovative and electrifying. To have district folks, families/students & CBO [Community Based Organizations] in the same room was the highlight of the experience. Sharing best practices & lived experiences was a highlight.

-January PLLN Attendee

In February, our Cohort III teams convened in Sacramento where team members from our Peer Leading & Learning Exchange (PLLX) (Comprised of members of our foundational Cohorts I and II teams) introduced them to improvement science concepts and how to develop their initial community engagement problems of practice (PoP). This PoP will inform their site-level work in the coming year and lead to transformational outcomes for their campuses and students in the months ahead. After our March PLLNs that included capacity building and work around data and metrics with our foundational districts earlier this month, we are well poised for our next All-Cohorts PLLN in-person in San Diego on April 26.

The CEI is part of the Statewide System of Support and is a collaborative effort led by CCEE, the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS), the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), and Families in Schools (FIS). The commitment to authentic community engagement is helping to empower educators and communities to build a more equitable and inclusive education system in California, focused on student success.

CCEE & SSDA Leadership Institute

By Dr. Julie Boesch, Assistant Director, State System of Support

The Leadership Institute is a collaborative effort between CCEE and the Small School Districts Association (SSDA) to create a safe space for new and aspiring small school district leaders to learn, grow, highlight areas of needed support, share successes, and build relationships with other small district leaders.

The ultimate goal of the Leadership Institute is to empower educational leaders in an authentic environment of learning and grace to grow in service to their students, staff, and communities.

Current Active Participants: 38
Coaches: 11
Facilitators: 5
These participants represent numerous districts and counties across the State.

We are planning monthly 90-minute virtual sessions as well as two in-person sessions to align with the dates of the two annual SSDA conferences in March and July. The scope and sequence includes topics such as leadership, communication, governance and finance, human resources, community engagement, and vision and goal setting. Our goal is to create a valuable learning experience that is driven by the field for the field and to be highly responsive to participants needs and requests.

Cohort One will wrap up in July and we will kick off cohort two. We already have participants on the waitlist for our upcoming cohort.
We are excited to announce that our Leadership Institute will be kicking off cohort II in San Diego in July! This collaborative effort between CCEE and SSDA is a great growth opportunity for new and aspiring small school district leaders. This Institute has been designed for small district leaders by small district leaders and experts in the field! Reserve your spot now by emailing [email protected]

Julie Boesch head shot

Collaboration, Cooperation, and Communication

An example of the Riverside County partnership between the County Office of Education (COE) and Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA)

By Dr. Melissa Bazanos Hutton, Executive Director of Accountability, Assessment, and Continuous Improvement &

Leah Davis, Executive Director, Riverside County SELPA

The Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) and the Riverside County Special Education Local Plan Area (RC SELPA) exist as two separate entities in the CA education system, yet their cooperative support of Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) within their region, demonstrates their shared dedication to collaboration in support of all students in Riverside County. Team members from the RCOE and RC SELPA recognized many years ago that each educational organization provided a variety of supports to LEAs that periodically overlapped, yet each agency also possessed additional unique resources and services that benefitted districts, schools, and students. In order to better align supports and to maximize resources, RCOE and RC SELPA representatives established a collaborative structure to build coherence across agencies to support LEAs, schools, and students.

In addition to regular standing meetings between the Executive Director of RC SELPA and the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, monthly meetings were initiated in 2017-2018 to bring together teams from both agencies. The teams developed purpose statements to guide their frequent collaboration which include:

  • Provide consistent communication to each other and to school districts
  • Align services and support to districts
  • Model collaboration between COEs and SELPAs
  • Connect to Statewide System of Support

To guide collaboration sessions, standing agenda items were established. Each month team members from both organizations coalesce around the following topics:

  • CA System of Support. RCOE Educational Services Division provides Geographic Lead Agency updates. RCOE Student Programs and Services Division provides Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP) Project updates. RC SELPA provides SELPA System Improvement Leads (SIL) updates. Together the teams determine how these CA System of Support opportunities may support the unique needs of the region’s individual LEAs.
  • Level 1 Support. RCOE and RC SELPA staff provide updates on services currently offered to LEAs. Opportunities for cross-agency collaboration are discussed.
  • Level 2 Support. RCOE and RC SELPA staff discuss support for LEAs eligible for Differentiated Assistance and opportunities for alignment with Special Education accountability support through Compliance and Improvement Monitoring.

Over the past five years, opportunities for collaboration have evolved and expanded. For example, RC SELPA presents information at RCOE’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) workshops and Instructional Leaders Network (ILN) including updates such as requirements for consultation with SELPA in LCAP development along with facilitating differentiated assistance inquiry sessions with LEA teams. RCOE and RC SELPA team members join district teams in analyzing student data, identifying potential root causes for student outcomes, and determining high leverage practices to address student needs. RC SELPA has co-presented with RCOE staff regarding opportunities for plan alignment between the LCAP and and the Special Education improvement activities as required by the Compliance and Improvement Monitoring (CIM) process (previously the Performance Indicator Review (PIR) and Special Education Plan (SEP). RCOE and RC SELPA staff have co-presented to Riverside County English Learner Directors regarding resources and services for English Learners with Disabilities.

During school closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, RCOE and RC SELPA continued to collaborate virtually. Staff supported LEA teams with strategic plan alignment as part of the Differentiated Assistance process in 2020-2021 and are exploring how to further this support in recognition of Special Education technical assistance requirements. RCOE and RC SELPA staff continue to collaborate when providing Differentiated Assistance support to LEAs, specifically those meeting DA eligibility criteria based outcomes for Students with Disabilities.

While a common purpose and structured agenda have supported the collaborative efforts of RC SELPA and RCOE, the success in providing high quality technical assistance to our local LEAs evolved through building the trust and shared commitment of individual team members. Relationships matter and are critical to the success of Riverside’s collaborative support structure. Team members from both RC SELPA and RCOE took great interest in each others’ expertise and found opportunities to highlight and complement each others’ work. Monthly collaborative meetings were prioritized and time to meet was protected. Ultimately by leveraging the strengths of each organization, focusing on relationships, trust, and camaraderie, RCOE and RC SELPA have been better able to serve Riverside County LEAS as they strive toward improved outcomes for students with disabilities.

About the Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes

Meet two of our Transformative Systems Team Members!

Steven Sterling Mitchell, Assistant Director, Community Engagement & System of Support

Steven has worked in public education for over 25 years. He joined the CCEE team over 4 years ago, and has supported the growth and development of the Community Engagement Initiative.  

Fun Fact: Steven’s favorite foods are Mofongo and Pozole, and he searches the world to try and find the best one.

Mayra Mendoza-Flores, Administrative Assistant II

Mayra recently joined CCEE. She previously worked for Twin Rivers Unified School District as an Administrative Secretary for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Department. Her focus with CCEE will be to help provide administrative and program support within the Community Engagement Initiative. 

Fun Fact: Mayra enjoys mini family getaways. Her favorite place is anywhere where there’s a beach.

CCEE Connection (December 2022)

News & Announcements

IEP Data Visualization Tool

The CDE funded four SELPAs (East County, Fresno County, Humboldt-Del Norte, and Riverside) to provide IEP Technical Support and Assistance to LEAs across the state. As these SELPAs provided technical support across the state a need was identified for LEAs to be able to have a quick way to visually represent their compliance data to determine where there were improvements, and where support was needed.  The IEP Data Visualization tool was developed by these SELPAs to support LEAs across the state, to allow an easy and quick way to analyze their local data.  The IEP Data Visualization tool can be used with multiple Special Education Data Systems (SEDS) to monitor overdue Initials and Annuals by LEA, School Site and Case Manager, and can track progress over time.

CCEE Posts Request for Proposals for the Community Engagement Initiative Professional Learning Services

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence and its Administrative Agent, the Marin County Office of Education, has issued a Request for Proposals for Professional Learning Services on behalf of the Community Engagement Initiative on November 1, 2022. Review of submissions will begin November 30th. Details on the RFP are now available. Visit the CCEE website for more information about this RFP.

Looking Ahead

Universally Designing Systems of Support:
SSTs, IEPs and Family Partnerships

California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy (CCIL) Winter Learning Series

Join CAST for this upcoming webinar series in January and February of 2023! 

Read More Here

Leadership Institute

CCEE and SSDA are thrilled to have partnered together to invite small school district leaders and aspiring leaders to our inaugural CA Small School District Leadership Institute!! This Institute is designed by leaders for leaders!

This exciting partnership is an opportunity to engage in a collaborative space, focus specifically on building capacity among small district leaders in our state and build relationships! 

This dynamic experience will provide an opportunity to work with new and aspiring leaders and learn from these participants as a community to benefit children, students and families across the state. 

The Institute is built around three system pillars:

  • Transformational Leadership
  • High Impact Data and Instruction
  • Effective Governance 

Anticipated areas of focus include:

  • Development of clear goals with impact for the Board and the Superintendent
  • Alignment and allocation of resources for transformative system improvement
  • Recruitment and retention
  • Capacity building to sustain and scale

Institute Structure

  • Full Institute Workshops (dates to be determined by participants)
  • Common Characteristic Learning Groups (dates to be determined by participants)
  • Coaching sessions after each Learning Group (scheduled individually)
  • In-person meeting(s) to celebrate the learnings

If you would like additional information please contact: Julie Boesch at [email protected]

Equity Corner

CCEE aims to continuously celebrate culture, promote equity, and embrace diversity.

In the month of December there are many reasons to celebrate. Explore just a few reasons to celebrate this month.

December 2-Special Education Day

December 18-26-Hanukkah

December 25-Christmas

December 26-January1- Kwanzaa

Executive Director’s Corner
CCEE Major Impact Projects

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

As I reflect on the end of my first year with the CCEE, I am reminded of just how much education has been impacted over the last 3 years. How CCEE best supports Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) (inclusive of charter schools) has often been a challenge for our organization given the magnitude of already developed resources, tools, services and supports.  However, with the work of integral partners there are three CCEE resources and tools that standout as helpful to LEAs as we execute our role in the Statewide System of Support for  advice and assisting LEAs in accomplishing their Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).  

The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) website developed with the CEI Agency partners has provided incredible resources to the field for engaging with the community to form authentic relationships between districts and the community. See the website here.

 In the 2022 Legislative Budget Act, CEI was provided with 100 million dollars to leverage the their work for transformational school investments and authentic pupil, family, community, and educator engagement. This includes, but is not limited to, Local Control and Accountability Plans, Expanded Learning Opportunity Programs, and California Community School Partnership Act grants. CEI has a network of over 40 LEAs (including charters) who with the collaboration  of Lead Agency Partners, regularly engage one another in identifying effective models of community engagement, developing metrics, having challenging conversations, and building trusting relationships.

Our Innovation, Instruction and Impact (I3) Center developed the Playbook for Accelerated Learning (PAL). This tool was developed in collaboration with State Board and expert partners to provide guidance to LEAs for how to think about and provide professional development to accelerate student learning.

The CCEE also developed the Basic Levers Tool 1.0 (2.0 is in progress now) that will help LEAs think about and design systems for improving outcomes for Students with Disabilities (SWD).
We continue to evolve and expand our resources and tools that LEAs can utilize to help accomplish the goals within their Local Control Accountability Plans. Visit our CCEE website here (

A Commitment to Collaboration in 2023

By Chris Hartley, Deputy Executive Director of the Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes

We each have our own organizational and individual improvement journeys, experiences, and efforts to reflect on as we collectively work to improve outcomes for the students we serve.  Reflecting on the past is an important process in celebrating, acknowledging the hard work of our teams, assessing areas for growth and setting a course for future core strategic actions and initiatives that improve student outcomes. There is much to celebrate and be proud of as we transition to the 2023 year, at the heart of which rests the incredible commitment, expertise and collaboration from the dedicated educators leading the work throughout California! 

The groundwork and foundation for improving universal, targeted and intensive support within the Statewide System of Support (SSOS) for districts is instrumental to our sustained efforts and design of new impact initiatives. The growing collaboration and partnerships with leaders from the California Department of Education, State Board of Education and the numerous SSOS Lead Agencies and initiatives is significant to ensuring alignment of efforts and strategic actions. The programs highlighted in this newsletter serve as examples of how our collective efficacy and shared ownership continues to strengthen our foundation for the work ahead.

From interagency collaboration, to student leadership and involvement in Community Engagement Initiative, to conscious utilization of  improvement science strategies, the real super heroes are all the folks focused on improving outcomes for the children and youth we serve. My most sincere gratitude to the teams at CCEE and our many partners throughout the state for exceptional service this past year.

21CSLA Center Highlights Leadership Lessons from Early UTK Implementers in California in Research-Practice Webinar

By Erik Swanson Senior Advisor – Teaching, Learning & Leading, & David M. Toston – Senior Advisor Transformative Systems

Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) is an umbrella that includes Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) and other programs and services that provide rich early learning opportunities for all three and four year old children in the year or two before kindergarten. By 2025-2026, families in the State of California will have the opportunity to choose among the programs and services offered under UPK to best serve the needs of their children.

The webinar panelists acknowledge that tackling UTK, UPK, and early education can be overwhelming. There is a wide variance in experience, resources, and support, and the majority of districts in the state don’t have other early learning programs beyond Transitional Kindergarten (TK), which has been implemented differently across districts. 

In the webinar, early TK implementers highlight the following pieces of advice for the field:

Reach out to local early childhood contacts: Look into the resources that already exist in your community, including in your county office of education. Share information about inclusion and professional development; all counties should have a First Five Commission that Local Education Associations can reach out to. 

Trust the process: Don’t implement too much, too fast. They are 4-year-olds, so trust your instincts and don’t force them to sit too long. And the same goes for the adult leaders. Check in emotionally. Make sure we don’t pile on too much. 

Remember brain development: Here is where we can make an impact. Learning happens when people—both children and adults—are enjoying the process. Go outside: “There is value to playing with mud in a mud kitchen.” Empower teachers and students. “I want my teachers to know they are brain developers and not babysitters.” 

Apply for grants to hire coaches from the beginning: Recruit the best TK and UPK teachers to be coaches. High-quality coaching tied to PD can have an impact. 

Go into an early learning classroom: K-12 educators need to know what’s happening in our TK classrooms. “If you’re not in early learning, become best friends with the early learning director, coordinator, principal in your district…. Being able to speak about it, to promote it, is really important.” 

Read the full webinar summary here: 2022 21CSLA UTK Webinar Highlights.pdf

Watch the webinar here:

About 21st Century School Leadership Academy

The 21CSLA initiative provides high-quality, equity-centered professional learning for educational leaders of schools and districts in California that receive Title II funds. Programs are free to participants and include leadership coaching, communities of practice, and localized professional learning to improve instruction and achievement outcomes for multilingual learners, students with disabilities, low-income students, and other historically marginalized students.

About the Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes
Meet one of our Transformative Systems Team Members!

Nicole is a valued member on our Transformative Systems team! Read more on her below.

Nicole LoBese
Program Specialist
Transformative Systems – Community Engagement Initiative

Nicole has been with the CCEE since 2020 and works primarily on the Community Engagement Initiative. For the CEI she provides project management, coordination, and facilitation supporting our partners across the state to transform Community Engagement.

Fun Fact: Nicole enjoys the simple things in life – wineries, massages, and traveling! The trifecta if you will. CCEE is safe when she’s around too since she’s a nationally certified EMT.

Click here to meet the rest of the Transformative Systems team

About the CCEE

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence is a statewide leader delivering on California’s promise of a quality, equitable education for every student.

CCEE Connection (September 2022)

News & Announcements
Looking Ahead

2022-2023 CA Budget Act Highlights

California’s historic investments in TK-12 education continue in the 2022-2023 Budget Act. Considerable funding for the Local Control Funding Formula (~$9.3B) and the Learning Recovery Emergency Fund (~$7.9B) provide local educational agencies with resources to create opportunities for every student to learn and thrive. The state is providing a substantial investment of $100 million to expand the Community Engagement Initiative (now codified in statute with a new Education Code Section, 52073.3). CCEE will receive $5 million to administer the program, significantly expanding the number of local educational agencies participating and building capacity for transformational community engagement. The CCEE also received $200,000 in one-time Federal IDEA funding to convene a panel of experts to refine the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Addendum template.

Whole-Child Aligned Changes in Practice

Turnaround for Children offers free tools and resources to support educators with whole-child-aligned changes in the classroom. Heidi Reed and Katie Brackenridge provide recommendations on planning for the year ahead and incorporating the Turnaround for Children Toolbox into everyday classroom practices.

Phase 3 MTSS Grant Application Now Open!

The California Department of Education, in partnership with the Orange County Department of Education and the Butte County Office of Education,  is pleased to announce that our Phase 3 CA MTSS grant opportunity is now open. This grant will provide an opportunity for school sites, LEAs, and county offices of education to build capacity toward full implementation of the CA MTSS framework to improve outcomes for all learners. This grant is open to public schools and LEAs, public charter schools or County offices of education and county run schools in California.

Grant details can be found on the attached flyer and on our website at:

Important Dates:

  • Application Release Date: July 15, 2022
  • Application Deadline: October 15, 2022
  • Preliminary Award Announcement: November 15, 2022
  • Appeal Deadline: November 18, 2022
  • Final Award Announcement: December 1, 2022 

Grant  Period:

  • March 1, 2023-March 30,2026

 For questions, please email [email protected] 

Equity Corner

CCEE aims to continuously celebrate culture, promote equity, and embrace diversity. In the month of September there are many reasons to celebrate. Explore just a few reasons to celebrate this month.

Free Training for Teachers to Strengthen Their Family Engagement Practices

The 4-session asynchronous series equips educators on how to build trust with families, more effectively and equitably share data, and navigate difficult conversations.

You can access the training on SBAC’s Tools for Teachers California website. Information how teachers can create a login are available here.

In Case You Missed It

September System  of Support Update

About the CCEE

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence is a statewide leader delivering on California’s promise of a quality, equitable education for every student.

Executive Director’s Corner
Community Engagement is Essential to Building Capacity

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

The goal of Family and Community Engagement is that all students have access to schools with the resources, opportunities, and supports that build connections among families, students, schools, and communities in order to improve students’ support and achievement.  

Our Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes (TSEE) Center, is focused on doing just that.  Through the Community Engagement Initiative, the CCEE and their educational partners, San Bernardino County Office, California Association for Bilingual Education and Family In Schools team, have been focused on building the capacity of LEAs to improve community engagement efforts.  

Please look below for highlights and efforts to build capacity for improved Community and Family Engagement.

A Relationship-Based Approach to Student Success

By Chris Hartley, Ed.D., Deputy Executive Director

California is one of the most diverse states in our country and our schools directly mirror the richness and complexities associated within each of the communities they serve.  When schools and communities align supports and services while working toward common goals, our children and youth benefit.  From urban to rural settings, our schools serve as the hub for community engagement actions like, after and before school programming and activities, extracurricular events, and a multitude of direct student support services.   

Examples of this work in action are highlighted in this newsletter. The CCEE Center for Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes (TSEE) has active initiatives and tremendous partners throughout the state collaborating to design, implement and enhance this important connection between schools and communities.  My sincere gratitude to the TSEE team and the many creative and dedicated LEA partners who are designing, implementing and modeling so many impactful programs and services.

Families in Schools

Tommy Chang, Ed.D., Acting CEO & President, Families in Schools

How community engagement and/or community schools are providing students access to schools with the resources, opportunities, and supports that build connections among educational partners to improve support and achievement

For  over 20 years, Families In Schools has partnered with schools, families, and communities to support student learning. We understand, like all of you, that when  these three facets of society work together, student achievement improves and we set up our children for lifelong success. 

Over the last 2+ years, we have all experienced the impact of a global pandemic to our lives and our neighborhoods. For the communities we serve, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated gaps in access to education, health care, and other economic prosperity. And while we have witnessed the commitment of our schools and  the families they serve to find innovative responses to tackling the disruption to schooling, social services, and community engagement, more support is needed.

More investments in socioemotional and mental health services, expanded learning opportunities, and deeper partnerships with families are critical. We must continue to support the efforts of schools and districts to partner with families and communities so resources align and opportunities are opened in order for all students to thrive.

Families In Schools is proud to co-lead the California Community Engagement Initiative over the last three years to build capacity in communities and districts, to identify the “bright spots” across the state, and to scale up this work by developing peer-to-peer partnerships and sharing best practices broadly. Because of our collective effort, this initiative will be expanding with an additional $100 million from the State over the next six years to reach more school districts and more communities throughout California.

The future of our state depends on schools, community, and government authentically working together to create true transformative and sustainable change. Let’s continue to expand the reach of this incredible work together.

Santa Ana Unified School District

Jerry Almendarez, Superintendent of Schools, Santa Ana Unified School District

Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) believes that parental engagement in education is a hallmark of academic success and key to the social-emotional well-being of every child. This value is reflected across our Board of Education Priorities, which guide our core principles as a district.

As the pandemic forced our district to pivot across a variety of areas, SAUSD remained focused on engaging our community as we developed new initiatives to continue delivering effective instructional support to our students. SAUSD launched the District System Design Partnership in late 2020. This collaborative effort included parents and other key community partners who met virtually over nearly a year with the goal of creating the SAUSD Graduate Profile, which outlines key competencies each SAUSD graduate must possess to compete globally. The Graduate Profile was adopted by our Board of Education earlier this year. 

Our district Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team was instrumental across every step of the way throughout the process of building our Graduate Profile. SAUSD remains committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure our FACE team continues to offer invaluable support for our families. This includes plans to hire a FACE liaison for every school.

Our FACE team is only one piece of our district’s comprehensive Wellness Plan, that also includes lowering our student to counselor ratios to 250 to1, having a school psychologist at every campus, hosting Wellness Centers across all schools, and implementing District Integrated Support Hubs. All these efforts are strategically aligned to build and improve connections with our students, families and overall SAUSD community.

Universally Designing Systems of Support: Accessibility, the IEP Process, and Family Partnerships Learning Series

Elise Yerkey, M. Ed., Implementation Specialist, California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

— Alexander Den Heijer

In response to practitioners and parents across our state, the California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy (CCIL) has designed three webinar series to strengthen the partnership between educators and parents/caregivers to support all learners. This academic year we will explore: Accessibility, Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Process.

Our fall series debuts on September 12th with an introduction to universally-designed state assessments and the ways all students engage with and perceive tasks, as well as, demonstrate what they know and can do.  The accessibility series continues September 19th with a look at how universally designing instruction prepares students for these next-generation assessments. The fall series culminates with the webinar “Beyond Multiple Choice: Fostering Expert Learning,” an examination of how student agency during instruction and assessment opens doors to lifelong learning.

This first series sets the groundwork for the winter series: a look at the roles parents and caregivers play in a Multi-Tiered System of Support. How can family engagement enhance the continuum of support for students whether they are being newly-considered for further intervention support or they have been receiving special education support for years as outlined in their IEPs.

The spring series offers educators insights into building family partnerships through inclusive communication to avoid alternate dispute resolution and litigation. For more information on this series, see the Fall Flyer or visit the CCIL website.

One More Tool for the Community Engagement Toolbox

Andrew Lawton, Program Specialist – Communication & Strategic Engagement, CCEE

When it comes to connecting with families and community partners, districts have many options; from the low-tech flyer, to the common social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). There is however an often overlooked platform that districts can take advantage of that offers unique benefits like geographically targeted posts, and access to a built-in audiences that you wouldn’t have to worry about growing yourself.

Nextdoor, the popular neighborhood app designed to connect neighbors, offers special accounts to local public agencies, including school districts. Popular with first responder agencies like police and fire departments, Nextdoor offers public agencies a built-in, verified local audience to communicate with. More information about signing up can be found on their website using the button below. If you sign up I’d love to hear about your experience. Don’t hesitate to reach out using my email address below.

Contact Andrew at [email protected]

Meet our Newest TSEE Team Member!
Julie Boesch, Ed.D.
Assistant Director, System of Support

Personally, Julie’s proudest accomplishment is raising her four amazing sons!! Professionally she is a strong advocate for the necessity to create an environment that encourages growth on every level, for every student, every day.  She is passionate about working collaboratively to develop systems of support, especially for small, rural districts, as we work to transform the education system with the implementation of Expanded Learning Opportunities for all, Community School’s approach to serving the whole child and Universal PK.

Fun Fact: Julie loves change and taking risks. She once jumped out of an airplane with a friend of her son’s for his 21st Birthday because all of her sons were too afraid to do it.

CCEE Connection (June 2022)

The June newsletter is brought to you by CCEE’s Center for Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes. This month highlights the work going on around providing clarity and coherence to the Statewide System of Support, a collaboration with the Santa Clara County Office of Education on UPK, as well as a highlight of the work the Lancaster School District is doing in partnership with CCEE and the CDE around its Early Literacy Support Block (ELSB) and Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) Grants.




News & Events, Reports & Publications


Board, Other, Parent, Site Administrator / Instructional Coach, Systems Leadership


Family and Community Engagement, Special Education