Hot Topics: Strengthening Coherence Across Initiatives

In line with the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence’s (CCEE) strategic commitment to reducing friction and enhancing coherence within the Statewide System of Support (SSOS) for Local Education Agencies (LEAs), we are pleased to share the Center for Whole-Child Education’s latest report: “Strengthening Coherence Across Initiatives: A Whole-Child Lens.” This pivotal report emerges at a time when educators throughout California face the challenging task of deciphering and integrating numerous state-wide initiatives. By drawing on a unified whole-child approach, the report illuminates the intrinsic connections and shared values underpinning these diverse initiatives, offering a fresh perspective that seeks to simplify and align efforts. Furthermore, it provides valuable insights and practical strategies from experienced educational leaders, aimed at fostering a more cohesive and streamlined approach to system-wide improvement. This comprehensive guide is an essential resource for educators aiming to enhance coherence and ensure consistent application of whole-child practices across California’s educational landscape.

If you have any questions about CCEE and how to engage with our resources and professional learning opportunities, please visit our website. Stay Ahead in Education! 📚 Check out our Podcast Rising from the Margins, Statewide System of Support Directory, and Friday Feature ! Join CCEE’s ListServ & Calendar Updates to Never Miss an Event. Sign Up Now for Limitless Learning Opportunities. 🌟 #CCEEConnections”

Hot Topics: Join Cohort V and Elevate Community Engagement

Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) is a statewide initiative in California that is dedicated to improving the relationships between Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), such as school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education, and their local communities. Administered by the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence and the San Diego County Office of Education, CEI partners with Eskolta School Research and Design and the University of San Diego to bring about positive change in our education system.

What’s in Store for Cohort V?
As a member of Cohort V, you will have the unique opportunity to engage with passionate educators and community leaders from across the state. CEI hosts a series of in-person and online gatherings throughout the year, where you’ll lead and learn from your peers on a wide range of community engagement topics and strategies. Plus, we’ve got you covered with travel costs and an additional stipend for your valuable participation!

Ready to Take the Next Step?
For all the details on the application process, requirements, commitments, deadlines, and the fantastic benefits of joining CEI, please visit our website by clicking on the button below. 

Feel free to share this exciting news with colleagues, friends, and anyone who might be interested in joining Cohort V of the Community Engagement Initiative. Together, we can create meaningful change and strengthen the bond between education and communities in our state.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our shared mission.

If you have any questions about CCEE and how to engage with our resources and professional learning opportunities, please visit our website. Stay Ahead in Education! 📚 Check out our Podcast Rising from the Margins, Statewide System of Support Directory, and Friday 5! Join CCEE’s ListServ & Calendar Updates to Never Miss an Event. Sign Up Now for Limitless Learning Opportunities. 🌟 #CCEEConnections”

Hot Topic: Transforming California’s Educational Landscape: A Call to Action for UDL

In recent months, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) has been at the forefront of a groundbreaking initiative, leading a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Advisory Group. Comprised of both internal and external partners, this group embarked on a mission to explore and evaluate California’s infrastructure in supporting UDL in education. The resultant memo synthesizes their findings and recommendations, underlining the need for a strategic, systemic approach to UDL’s expansion in California. This blog will delve into the key insights from the memo, outlining the path towards a more inclusive and effective educational system in the state.

Understanding the UDL Landscape

The UDL Advisory Group’s work was informed by collaborative efforts between CCEE and pivotal organizations like the California Coalition for Inclusive Learning (CCIL), Open Access, and Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP). In addition, empathy interviews with frontline educators and practitioners were conducted, offering a comprehensive view of the UDL landscape in California’s education system.

Four Critical Areas of Discussion

The data collection and analysis led to the identification of four critical areas that require attention and action to drive UDL forward in California:

  • Awareness: The first area of concern centers around educators’ awareness of UDL and its significance within the existing instructional systems in California. Do educators understand the “why” behind UDL and how it fits into the broader educational framework?
  • Alignment: Is there a coherent alignment between the state’s support system and the foundational concepts of UDL? Are California educators equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively implement UDL principles in their classrooms?
  • Application: Are educators provided with statewide systems that motivate, prepare, and consistently support the incremental application of UDL in their classrooms? Do existing educational systems facilitate or inhibit the adoption of UDL-style instruction?
  • Assessment: How can educators measure the effectiveness of UDL implementation at various levels, from the classroom to the district? To what extent are existing assessment measures universally designed to accommodate diverse learners?

The Call for Action
The memo concludes with a resounding call to action for policymakers, educators, and stakeholders in California’s education system. The recommendations are as follows:

  • Develop a Coherent Vision: Policymakers are urged to prioritize a strategic, systemic approach to UDL’s expansion. This includes crafting a compelling vision for implementing UDL in California, emphasizing its coherence with best instructional practices and tiered levels of support.
  • Support Flexible Resources: Promote, encourage, and fund the development of curriculum and resources that align with UDL principles. These resources should be flexible and supportive, catering to diverse learning needs.
  • Align Timelines and Evaluations: Align timelines and evaluations of existing state funding initiatives with a focus on UDL. Facilitate collaboration and integration between these initiatives to ensure a cohesive approach to UDL implementation.
  • Enhance Best First Instruction: Shift the focus of future initiatives towards enhancing best first instruction and supporting the whole child. Avoid relying solely on special education as the primary application of UDL.

The release of the UDL memo by the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence is a pivotal moment in the state’s educational landscape. It highlights the urgent need for a systemic transformation that embraces Universal Design for Learning as a core principle. By addressing the areas of awareness, alignment, application, and assessment, California can create a more inclusive, equitable, and effective education system that empowers all learners to thrive. The call to action provides a clear roadmap for policymakers and educators to follow as they work towards this important goal. It’s time for California to lead the way in reimagining education for the 21st century.

Hot Topics: A Game-Changer for Educational Equity and Excellence

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) has made equitable access to educational resources and support a central priority for 2024. To achieve this, we are focused on minimizing obstacles and “friction” within the Statewide System of Support (SSOS) that make it difficult for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to understand and access available resources.

A significant solution is the creation of the Statewide System of Support Resource Hub – an online portal that consolidates information and resources from state programs and initiatives into a single, universally accessible source. Over 130 resources are currently available.

The Statewide System of Support was established to ensure all LEAs in California have access to essential expertise and support. However, there are challenges in coordinating and delivering these resources equitably and in a timely manner. The new Resource Hub aims to increase availability and accessibility of crucial resources for all County Offices of Education, districts, charter schools and educational partners.

The CCEE is working with the California Department of Education and other educational partners to transform the state’s educational landscape and ensure every student has the chance to thrive, regardless of location. The Resource Hub is a game-changer in working towards more educational equity and excellence across California.

If you have any questions about CCEE and how to engage with our resources and professional learning opportunities, please visit our website. Stay Ahead in Education! 📚 Check out our Podcast Rising from the Margins, Statewide System of Support Directory, and Friday 5! Join CCEE’s ListServ & Calendar Updates to Never Miss an Event. Sign Up Now for Limitless Learning Opportunities. 🌟 #CCEEConnections”

Hot Topics: Transforming Inglewood Unified Part II

Part II of “Rising From the Margins-Inglewood Unified” focuses on three essential elements needed for the Intensive Assistance Model to succeed at Highland Elementary: Leadership, Culture, and Coherence. Teachers engage in shared leadership to establish common language, continuous collaboration, and consistent communication. This allows them to discover and solve instructional challenges in real-time.

Key Highlights:

1. The Intensive Assistance Model is guided by key questions about student learning and teacher response.
2. Teachers value the increased collaboration time, sharing what works and what doesn’t.
3. The district prioritizes this collaboration, listening to what teachers need to be effective instructors.

As one Guiding Coalition teacher noted:

One of the things I’ve loved the most about it…is the collaboration piece. The focus is really on how everyone can collaborate with each other. And I think for so long with receivership and then COVID, so many teachers were acting in isolation. There wasn’t a lot of collaboration going on. And so everyone’s feeling so stretched doing all these extra things and yet not collaborating with other people…because some of the sharing is also things that don’t work, you know, so we can learn from those too…really trying to find time for teachers to have that collaboration time is our goal …so the school and the district making it a priority just means that it allows you to actually be able to do it. So I think the benefit to this collaboration time is the district is also listening in. What do teachers really need to learn and what are the tools and skills that they really need to be more effective instructors and teach the curriculum?

Call to Action:
The collaboration facilitated by the Intensive Assistance Model is key to teacher development and student success. School districts should follow Highland Elementary’s model by providing designated collaboration time for teachers. This allows for real-time problem solving and innovation through a shared leadership culture focused on student learning outcomes.

#JoinIAMMovement #EducationRevolution #CaliforniaSchools

If you have any questions about CCEE and how to engage with our resources and professional learning opportunities, please visit our website. Stay Ahead in Education! 📚 Check out our Podcast Rising from the Margins, Statewide System of Support Directory, and Friday 5! Join CCEE’s ListServ & Calendar Updates to Never Miss an Event. Sign Up Now for Limitless Learning Opportunities. 🌟 #CCEEConnections”

Hot Topics: Fostering Mental Health and Well-being in Education – Lessons from the Frontline

In the challenging yet rewarding field of education, the mental health and well-being of educators are paramount. Recently, a vibrant discussion amongst 22 county and local superintendents from the CCEE Advisory Council anchored around the following question: What innovations, policies, structures, and strategies are you using that might be good considerations for state policymakers when it comes to the improved mental health and well-being of educators? 

The insights shared provide invaluable guidance for state policymakers and educational leaders, emphasizing innovative strategies to support educator mental health.

The Power of Partnerships and Communication

Ventura County Office of Education’s collaboration with MIT exemplifies the power of partnerships in exploring compassionate systems. The Systems Leadership Learning Network is an approach that can significantly impact how educators handle stress and maintain mental health. Similarly, the “squad” model shared by Hemet Unified School District, where principals are grouped to facilitate shared learning and communication, and the daily morning check-ins for administrators, underscore the importance of effective communication structures in promoting mental well-being.

Shared Learning and Support Networks

Kings Canyon Unified shared that the use of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) was highlighted as a critical strategy for shared learning and support among educators. Such models not only enhance professional development but also provide a support network to alleviate work-related stress. To learn more about building the infrastructure to support this deep collaboration among teachers, we encourage you to listen to Rising from the Margins podcast episodes. 

Understanding and Addressing Challenges for New Educators

The discussion recognized that new Superintendents or those with less diverse experience might face more significant challenges in stress management. This insight calls for tailored support strategies for these educators.

Survey Insights and Holistic Approaches

Modesto Unified School District recently distributed a districtwide survey that resulted in a high response rate and revealed mental health as a priority concern. Effective solutions like addressing burnout, setting boundaries, fostering gratitude, and encouraging physical wellness strategies were identified. These approaches stress the need for a holistic view of educator well-being.

The Role of Wellness Champions and Accessible Resources

The importance of having a wellness champion and providing free resources for staff was another vital point discussed. These champions can play a crucial role in advocating for and implementing wellness initiatives within educational institutions.

The Human Connection

Advisory members emphasized the necessity of finding ways to connect as humans beyond professional roles. This human connection is crucial in creating a supportive and empathetic educational environment.

Flexibility and Stress Management

The case of a successful new Principal stepping down due to stress highlights the urgent need to make roles more flexible and less stressful. This is a call to reevaluate job structures to better support educators.

Kindness as a Core Value

Gary Waddell’s sharing of Santa Clara Unified’s “Kindness Campaign” illustrates the impact of promoting kindness and connection alongside achievement. This campaign has been well-received, demonstrating the positive effects of such values on staff and community morale.

A Call to Action: Implementing Change for Better Mental Health

This rich discussion brings to the forefront actionable strategies that can significantly improve the mental health and well-being of educators. As stakeholders in education, here’s how you can contribute:

  • Advocate for Partnerships: Encourage your educational institution to form partnerships focusing on mental health and compassionate systems.
  • Implement Support Structures: Promote the adoption of models like the “squad” system or regular check-ins for enhanced communication and support.
  • Support New Educators: Develop tailored support programs for educators new to the profession.
  • Promote Holistic Wellness: Encourage initiatives that address mental health from multiple angles, including physical wellness and gratitude practices.
  • Champion Wellness Leaders: Identify and support wellness champions within your institutions.
  • Foster Human Connections: Create environments that prioritize human connections and empathy.
  • Advocate for Flexibility: Work towards more flexible job structures that reduce stress and burnout.
  • Promote Kindness and Connection: Incorporate values like kindness into your educational culture.

By taking these steps, we can collectively create a more supportive and healthy environment for our educators, ultimately leading to a more effective and nurturing educational system for all.

#EducatorWellBeing #InnovativeEducationLeadership #CaliforniaSchools

If you have any questions about CCEE and how to engage with our resources and professional learning opportunities, please visit our website. Stay Ahead in Education! 📚 Check out our Podcast Rising from the Margins, Statewide System of Support Directory, and Friday 5! Join CCEE’s ListServ & Calendar Updates to Never Miss an Event. Sign Up Now for Limitless Learning Opportunities. 🌟 #CCEEConnections”

Hot Topics: Transforming Inglewood Unified

Episode Two of the inspiring podcast series Rising From The Margins centers on Highland Elementary in the Inglewood Unified School District, a beacon of hope and transformation amidst the challenging landscape of post-COVID-19 education.

Highlights:

  • The Journey of Highland Elementary: Discover how Highland Elementary, after receiving state emergency funds, embarked on a transformative journey under the Intensive Assistance Model (IAM), driven by the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence.
  • Shift to Local Control: Following the enactment of AB 1840, Highland Elementary experienced a significant shift in management, moving from a state-centric to a locally controlled approach. This change fostered new opportunities and challenges, reshaping the educational experience.
  • Leadership and Innovation: Under the combined leadership of Los Angeles County Superintendent Dr. Debra Duardo, County Administrator Dr. James Morris, and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Bernadette Lucas, the school has become a model of educational innovation.
  • Piloting Intensive Assistance Model: Led by Principal Mr. Jones, Highland Elementary’s pilot of the Intensive Assitance Model program is a case study in effective adaptation and implementation, with potential implications for district-wide adoption.
  • Teacher Leadership and Collaboration: The episode shines a spotlight on the critical role of teacher leadership, the power of collaboration, and the effectiveness of data-driven strategies in addressing the unique needs of students.

#JoinIAMMovement #EducationRevolution #CaliforniaSchools

If you have any questions about CCEE and how to engage with our resources and professional learning opportunities, please visit our website. Stay Ahead in Education! 📚 Check out our Podcast Rising from the Margins, Statewide System of Support Directory, and Friday 5! Join CCEE’s ListServ & Calendar Updates to Never Miss an Event. Sign Up Now for Limitless Learning Opportunities. 🌟 #CCEEConnections”

Hot Topics: Pioneering Educational Excellence with the Intensive Assistance Model Pilot in California

The Challenge We Face

As we navigate the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, it’s clear that California’s students and educators face a critical juncture. The stark reality is this: student achievement in English Language Arts (ELA) and math has suffered, attendance rates have plummeted, and mental health, social development, and behavioral challenges are more prevalent than ever. Teachers, tasked with the monumental role of educating our youth, are often isolated, lacking the support and collaborative opportunities needed to excel in their roles.

A Beacon of Hope: The Intensive Assistance Model Pilot

In response to these challenges, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence has launched the Intensive Assistance Model (IAM) pilot project. This initiative isn’t just another program; it’s a beacon of hope, a pathway to rebuilding and revitalizing our education system. The heart of this project is the Professional Learning Community (PLC) at Work model, which empowers teachers as instructional leaders. It focuses on collaborative planning, data analysis, and the creation of tailored interventions based on individual student needs.

Promising Results and the Road Ahead

The early results are inspiring. A recent report from PACE, found that schools involved in the pilot are not just recovering; they’re thriving. They report improved academic outcomes, increased teacher satisfaction, and a newfound ability to swiftly and effectively respond to students’ needs. However, these successes aren’t just self-contained victories. They are proof of what can be achieved with the right support, collaboration, and leadership.

Call to Action:

  1. Educators and School Leaders: Explore the Intensive Assistance Model pilot project findings to understand the PLC at Work model and the strategies to support teacher collaborative structures.
  2. Policymakers and Educational Authorities: Learn about the Intensive Assistance Model and PLC at Work model to explore funding and policies that support collaborative teaching models and provide the necessary resources for effective implementation.
The Road to Educational Excellence

The PLC at Work model aligns seamlessly with California’s educational policies, emphasizing continuous improvement and local control. It’s adaptable, scalable, and, most importantly, centers on empowering those who know our students best – our teachers.

Join us in this mission to transform California’s educational landscape. Together, we can overcome the challenges of the post-pandemic era and pave the way for a future where every student has the opportunity to thrive.

#JoinIAMMovement #EducationRevolution #CaliforniaSchools

If you have any questions about CCEE and how to engage with our resources and professional learning opportunities, please visit our website. Stay Ahead in Education! 📚 Check out our Statewide System of Support Directory, Podcast Rising from the Margins and Friday 5! Join CCEE’s ListServ & Calendar Updates to Never Miss an Event. Sign Up Now for Limitless Learning Opportunities. 🌟 #CCEEConnections”

Hot Topics: Transforming Education Through Community Engagement – A Deep Dive into the New Training Series

The educational landscape is evolving, and at the heart of this transformation is the power of community engagement. Recognizing its importance, the Community Engagement Initiative has announced an in-depth training series aimed at deepening pupil, family, and community involvement in schools. These comprehensive resources and modules are designed to foster effective engagement strategies.

Purpose and Objectives: The training series, set to launch on December 1, 2023, was developed in collaboration with esteemed partners, including the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, San Diego County Office of Education, Eskolta, University of San Diego, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Families In Schools, California Association for Bilingual Educators, WestEd, Dr. Jennifer Edic-Bryant, Inform2Inspire, and the California Community Schools Partnership Program. The goal is to equip key school staff with the knowledge, skills, and commitment to enhance their community and family engagement strategies, per the mandate in Education Code Section 52073.3. By participating in these trainings, local school agencies and staff will gain best practice insights into effectively engaging with students, families, communities, and school staff to strengthen the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) process.

Training Modules Overview:

Impact and Implications:

This training series is a monumental step towards redefining the role of community in education. By equipping stakeholders with the necessary tools and knowledge, it aims to create a more collaborative, inclusive, and effective learning environment. The series not only addresses current educational challenges but also paves the way for future innovations in community engagement.

Call to Action:

I encourage educators, administrators, and community members to participate in the training series. It emphasizes the importance of their feedback and active involvement in shaping an educational system that truly reflects the needs and aspirations of the community it serves. The new training series is more than just a set of modules; it’s a movement towards a more engaged, inclusive, and effective educational system. It’s an invitation to all stakeholders to come together, learn, and contribute to the betterment of education through active community engagement.

If you have any questions about CCEE and how to engage with our resources and professional learning opportunities, please visit our website. Stay Ahead in Education! 📚 Check out our Friday 5! Join CCEE’s ListServ & Calendar Updates to Never Miss an Event. Sign Up Now for Limitless Learning Opportunities. 🌟 #CCEEConnections”