CALL for RFA Proposals: California Community Engagement Initiative Lead Agency

The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) was established in 2018 under Assembly Bill 1808, section 140 (Chapter 32 of the Statutes of 2018) as part of California’s Statewide System of Support as a key lead initiative, with a $13.2 million investment. The CEI is tasked with building the capacity of communities and school districts to conduct meaningful engagement by building capacity in school districts, identifying effective models of community engagement and metrics, developing effective peer-to-peer partnerships between school districts and county offices of education (COEs). Currently, the CEI represents 44 Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) statewide, which include schools, districts, and county offices of education. The 2022-23 Education Omnibus Budget Trailer Bill (Assembly Bill 181, Chapter 52 of the Statues of 2022) funded and established an expansion of the CEI with an additional $100 million investment.

For more information on the Community Engagement Initiative or to join a future Professional Learning and Leading Network (PLLN), contact Steven Sterling Mitchell ([email protected])


RFA Program Questions: California System of Support , email: [email protected]

NEW: CA Small School District Leadership Institute

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) in partnership with the Small School Districts Association (SSDA) are collaborating on the Leadership Institute. 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.

For more information or to join the upcoming Leadership Institute Network, please contact Julie Boesch at [email protected]

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

Leadership Team:

  • Chris Hartley, Deputy Executive Director, CCEE
  • Julie Boesch, Assistant Director, State System of Support, CCEE
  • Tim Taylor, Executive Director, SSDA
  • Jana Rosborough, Consultant, CCEE
  • Melissa Hodgson, Program Specialist, CCEE

Faculty Coaching Team:

  • Jeremy Powell, Hamilton Unified School District
  • Ken Burkhart, Alpine County Unified
  • Terri Rufert, Sundale School
  • Nikol Baker, Lake Elementary School District
  • Stuart Packard, Buttonwillow School District
  • Tom O’Malley, Modoc Joint Unified
  • Merrill Grant, Fall River Joint Unified
  • Amy Alzina, Cold Springs Elementary School
  • Liz Bystedt, Jamul-Dulzura Union School District
  • Heidi Torix, Eastern Sierra School District
  • Todd Cutler, Tahoe Unified School District

NEW: CCEE Data Research Learning Network (DRLN)

CCEE’s Center for Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (i3) is launching the Data Research Learning Network (DRLN) in 2023. The i3 DRLN brings together select districts and counties from across the state of California to innovate their data systems for accelerated student learning. Through a three-pronged approach, districts and counties transform their data program and practices by conducting a Data Equity Review, promoting Deeper Learning through formative assessment practices, and communicating success with Data Dashboards.

To learn more, please visit the DRLN website. If you have any questions or would like to join the DRLN, please contact Dr. Ingrid Roberson at [email protected].

NEW: Learning Acceleration System Grant Resources

Just released for CA educators! High-quality professional learning resources for strong & rapid acceleration in math, literacy & language development with the Santa Clara County Office of Education, San Diego County Office of Education, and Lake County Office of Education.

To learn more, please visit the Learning Acceleration System Grant website or contact Stacey Wedin ([email protected]).

FAQs on Eligibility for Assistance under California’s Accountability System

Under California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), County Offices of Education, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, and the California Department of Education have specific responsibilities within the Statewide System of Support to assist local educational agencies. Along with staff from the State Board of Education, a series of frequently asked questions were identified to help ensure a consistent and responsive approach to support local educational agencies identified needs.

    CCEE Connection (January 2023)

    News & Announcements
    January Resources
    • Microlearning Modules – Designed to support substitute teachers, paraeducators, and other instructional staff, these short 5-8 minute videos share immediately applicable tips, strategies, and tools. Microlearning modules are also supplemented with downloadable handouts, instructions, and other materials and resources.
    • UDL Journey Guide – This digital travel companion guides district leaders and teams through four stages of implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL), with connections to state and national supports along the way.
    • Dashboard Communications Toolkit – This toolkit provides materials to support LEAs with sharing the 2022 California School Dashboard data to parents, community members, and educators, along with additional resources for analyzing Dashboard data.

    About the I3 Center

    The Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) Center implements a statewide approach to improving LEA capacity by collaboratively developing, delivering, sharing, and spotlighting practices that have demonstrated the power to improve outcomes for 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

    By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

    Headshot of Matt Navo

    CCEE uses data to improve and deliver its statutory and improvement obligations across the state. The Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) Center is the backbone of data for CCEE. They support the agency in analyzing the organization’s effectiveness and in identifying “bright spots” in the state that other local educational agencies (LEAs) can learn from.

    Under the leadership of Deputy Executive Director Sujie Shin, the goal of the I3 Center is to support the work of the CCEE, collaborate with state lead agencies, and use data to improve. This month’s newsletter highlights ways you can work with the I3 Center and other LEAs on various improvement initiatives related to improving outcomes for students through the use of data in your organization.

    Measuring the Effectiveness of California’s Professional Learning Initiatives

    By Allan Taing, Senior Manager of Research & Impact Analysis, CCEE

    During the 2021-2022 budget cycle, the state invested $75 million across three grant programs to enhance the educator professional learning infrastructure within the Statewide System of Support. Through the Education Omnibus Trailer Bill of the 2021 State Budget Act, CCEE is working with our partners at the California Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education (SBE) to support the county offices of education that have been selected as program leads for these grants to develop professional learning opportunities for learning acceleration, literacy, and open educational resources. The four-year $50 million Learning Acceleration System Grant Program will be led by Lake, San Diego, and Santa Clara County Offices of Education; the four-year $10 million Reading Instruction and Intervention Grant Program will be led by Contra Costa Office of Education; and the two-year $15 million High-Quality Online Instructional Materials Initiative will be led by Kern County Superintendent of Schools. 

    In addition, evaluation leads have also been selected to lead rigorous program evaluations to determine the effectiveness of these professional learning initiatives. Education Northwest and Social Policy Research Associates will lead the evaluation of the Learning Acceleration System Grant, while the American Institutes for Research (AIR) will evaluate the Reading Instruction and Intervention Grant Program, and WestEd will evaluate the High-Quality Online Instructional Materials Initiative. 

    An important component of these program evaluations is the connection of these professional learning initiatives to supporting system transformation, improving tiered supports, and measuring impact. To support larger statewide coherence, CCEE, CDE, and SBE are coordinating the work of these evaluation teams to develop a common set of data metrics across evaluations and to support alignment not only across these evaluations and other related programs, but also within the System of Support. These evaluation teams are convening on a recurring basis with the CCEE, CDE, SBE, representatives of the Statewide System of Support, designated county offices of education, and other selected partners in support of this coherence effort.

    The first gathering was a “data boot camp” in July to support the evaluation teams with the data and resources available to them as they launched their evaluation projects. The second gathering in August brought in program evaluation teams conducting ongoing statewide system evaluations to share their lessons learned to the new evaluation teams. Moving forward, these convenings will occur on a bi-annual basis and the objective of these convenings will be to discuss data collection, analyses, interim results, and implications for ongoing development. The goal of this work on coherence and alignment is to uncover the evidence-based practices that promote educator professional development and ultimately support transforming education for all students in California. 

    Balancing Data and Assessment Systems to Accelerate Learning

    By Ingrid Roberson, Assistant Director of Research Learning, CCEE

    Headshot of Ingrid Roberson

    The Center for Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) is excited to announce the I3 Data Research Learning Network (DRLN). The I3 DRLN brings together select districts and counties to innovate around data and assessments, focusing on one of two areas: Balanced Assessment Systems or Balanced Data Systems. To promote deeper learning, districts conduct a Balanced Assessment System review, ensuring that supportive policies, programs and practices are in place for formative assessment practices that promote student agency in the classroom. For more Balanced Data Systems, districts assess their current data systems through an equity lens, identifying opportunities for innovation. Districts can also capitalize on the latest data visualization technology for continuous improvement and community engagement.   

    The I3 DRLN is a timely opportunity, especially for small to mid-size districts and counties, to leverage their data and assessment systems (and investments) to accelerate learning. According to Hilary Kjaer, Director of Teaching and Learning at one of the selected districts, “Rincon Valley Union School District is excited to embark on this journey with the I3 DRLN team! As we strive to develop a strategic plan for accelerating student learning, we know this is the perfect collaborative partnership.” The DRLN is a three-phase initiative with the Planning Phase starting in January 2023 and running through June 2023. To learn more about this innovative initiative, please see the I3 DRLN website which will be updated throughout the year.

    Why Universal Design for Learning?

    By James McKenna, Assistant Director of Professional Learning and Leadership Development, CCEE

    Headshot of James McKenna

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is the bedrock of best first instruction; it’s in every state curriculum framework and is the only framework required by the Every Student Succeeds Act. However, that’s not necessarily a compelling argument to engage educators to begin their implementation of UDL. They’re working hard as it is, and no one has time for “one more thing”. 

    Except UDL isn’t one more thing. It’s a way to better achieve the things educators are already working hard to do — support language acquisition, engage students socially and emotionally, implement multi-tiered systems of support, and more. 

    That’s why CCEE has partnered to develop the “Why UDL?” series of videos — to connect UDL to the work that people are already doing and to show how UDL can help them in those efforts. Working with our friends at TextHelp, we’ve recruited state and national experts to engage in conversations and presentations to better communicate how UDL connects to a variety of key initiatives. Housed on the Why UDL page of the UDL Journey Guide, these videos serve as learning opportunities for leaders and teams seeking to implement UDL who can then leverage them as part of their communications and stakeholder engagement efforts. 

    CCEE is tremendously grateful for the collaboration provided by TextHelp and our speakers, all of whom volunteered their time and contributions to be able to offer these resources to educators across the state at no cost. 

    UDL and…Speaker(s)
    Blended LearningDr. Catlin Tucker, author, educator, and expert in blended learning
    CA MTSSRhonda Marriot-Spencer, CA SUMS and Orange County Department of Education
    Equity and AntiracismAndratesha Fritzgerald, author, educator, and expert in UDL, equity, and antiracism;
    David Toston, Senior Advisor of Equity and Innovation, CCEE
    Expert LearningDr. James McKenna, Assistant Director, CCEE and expert in Universal Design for Learning 
    Language LearnersDr. Soomin Chao, Multilingual Academic Support;
    Elise Yerkey, Inclusive Design, from the Los Angeles County Office of Education
    Social Emotional Learning (SEL)Lisa Bosio, expert and consultant at Novak Education
    Special EducationHeather Calomese, Director of Special Education, CA Dept of Education;
    Kevin Schaefer, Director of Equity and Inclusive Practices, Supporting Inclusive Practices;
    Mindy Fattig, Senior Advisor of System of Support, CCEE

    Amplifying Innovative Practices Through District Spotlights

    By Dorcas Kong, Senior Specialist of Executive Projects, CCEE

    Headshot of Dorcas Kong

    The Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) Center is excited to soon be launching what we’re calling the Spotlights Project. Aligned with the goal of the I3 Center, the Spotlights aim to curate stories that identify and amplify emerging practices from school and district teams to collaboratively provide students in California with what they need to thrive. 

    In the coming weeks, the I3 Center will be publishing Spotlights on different local educational agencies (LEAs) that have implemented innovative and inclusive practices to improve 1) student academic outcomes; 2) student/family engagement and well-being; 3) staff and community supports; or 4) systems, policies, and governance. The Spotlights will shine a light on not only the successes, but also the challenges, pitfalls, and lessons learned to serve as blueprints for other LEAs facing similar issues. Although LEAs across California vary in size and demographics, we hope these documented success stories can pave a way for LEAs to become learning organizations — absorbing the lessons learned, leveraging those perspectives to create accessible points of conversation, and generating ideas around other innovative pathways to replicate some of these successes across the state.

    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.