Independent Evaluation Services Within the Statewide System of Support Initiatives


Established by the Legislature in 2013 with the enactment of the Local Control Funding Formula (“LCFF”), the CCEE became operational in 2015 to “advise and assist” local educational agencies (“LEAs”) with achieving the goals set forth in their Local Accountability Plans (“LCAPs”). (Ed. Code § 52074.) CCEE is an integral part of California’s State System of Support, which is designed to build the capacity of LEAs to support the continuous improvement of pupil performance, address the achievement gaps between pupil subgroups, and improve outreach and collaboration with stakeholders to ensure that LCAPs reflect the needs of pupils and the community, especially for historically underrepresented or low-achieving populations (Ed. Code § 52059), the CCEE’s responsibilities have been updated to support this work.

The CCEE is seeking proposals to secure independent evaluation services for up to four (4) key initiatives led by the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence within the Statewide System of Support:

  • System of Support Coordination
  • Geographic Leads Initiative
  • Special Education Resource Lead Initiatives
  • Community Engagement Initiative

A brief description of each of these key initiatives is included in the Request for Proposal. CCEE is requesting services to support external evaluation services to provide both formative and summative evaluations of the activities conducted as a part of four key initiatives.

Due Date for Proposals: June 26, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. PST



Point of Contact: Mindy Fattig ([email protected])

Last Updated: May 26, 2023

CCEE Connection (May 2023)

News & Announcements
Project CLEAR (California Literacy Elevation by Accelerating Reading)

Project CLEAR builds capacity in implementing and accelerating literacy development in districts across the state. Educators can participate in one of two levels of professional learning offered through Project CLEAR – Teacher Leaders and Teachers. Participation is fully funded through Project CLEAR! For more information, see Project CLEAR’s webpage on our Learning Acceleration System Grant Website.

In Case You Missed It

System of Support Updates (May 2023)

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

Drawing from interviews with California UTK leaders, this practice brief underscores key themes from UTK educational leaders as areas ripe for further research. These findings serve to illuminate the challenges, opportunities, and ingenuity of educators and districts in supporting UTK implementation or expansion. Read the brief

May Resources
  • Mental Health Awareness Month – NAMI raises awareness and provides support to educate the public on mental health
  • Healthy Minds Innovations – an easy to use app as a guide to well-being
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month – Find ready use lesson plans, student activities, guides, and research aids in this selection of resources for teachers

About the Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center (TLLC)

Our team works in alliance with educators to improve teaching, learning, and leadership so every student is inspired and prepared to thrive as their best self.

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

Wellness in Education

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

What do we mean by wellness in education?  For us it means a myriad of support needed to address Social Emotional Learning (SEL), mental health, and well-being of students. If we can see how SEL strategies and practices impact the mental health and well-being of students, then it would allow educational practitioners to be more focused on how to utilize funding to support the wellness of students and educators. Measuring the impact of those supports and services as it relates to the education of the whole child requires an intentional awareness and design so that LEAs can efficiently and effectively address the needs of their students and the educators that support them. This newsletter highlights some resources, services, and supports that address wellness education for adults and students in education and the importance of wellness for teaching and learning.

What Do We Mean by Wellness in Education? 

By Stephanie Gregson, Ed.D. Deputy Executive Director, CCEE

Executive Director Matt Navo started off his article with the question, “What do we mean by wellness in education?” I’d like to dive into this question a little more with adding what does wellness mean and what do we mean by wellness in education for students and educators?

In 1976, Dr. Bill Hetler released the Six Dimensions of Wellness Model. The six dimensions of wellness are: Emotional, Physical, Intellectual, Occupational, Spiritual, and Social. He defines wellness as functioning optimally within your current environment. So what does this mean for students? What does this mean for educators?

Diving into wellness just a little deeper, you find that wellness involves seeing our lives from multiple sides, a holistic view, and brings about an awareness that each dimension is interconnected and contributes to a healthy or unhealthy life. How does this translate into how we are providing an education grounded in wellness? From my experience, the first step is having self-awareness of how we are showing up for ourselves, our students, and our colleagues on a daily basis. How are you as an individual and as part of a collective enhancing your wellness and creating opportunities for students to enhance their wellness?

The National Wellness Institute developed three questions to help professionals and organizations to determine how successfully they are incorporating wellness into their strategies and initiatives:

1. Does this help individuals achieve their full potential?

2. Does this recognize and address multiple dimensions of wellness?

3. Does this affirm and mobilize an individual’s unique qualities and strengths?

I encourage us all to consider these three questions when we are developing programs, strategies, and initiatives for students and for each other.

SEL: Creating Impact To Accelerate Learning

By Barb Flores, Project Director, California Collaborative for Learning Acceleration (CCLA)

The California Collaborative for Learning Acceleration (CCLA) recognizes the importance of intentional use of evidence-based practices and integrating social-emotional learning (SEL) into every child’s school experience. SEL is a core component of CCLA, empowering educators with strategies that will impact instructional decisions moving forward.

Aligned with the  California Social Emotional Learning Guiding Principles and Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, CCLA values building positive relationships and leveraging student’s strengths as conditions for learning. CCLA focuses on developing the whole child through a systems lens, promoting equitable and inclusive learning environments with evidence-based social, emotional, and academic practices, and engaging in a process of continuous improvement. CCLA provides asynchronous courses and in-person professional learning that embeds SEL in math, literacy, and language development.

“Engaging educators in implicit and explicit SEL practices is essential to the academic success of students,” said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. “This essential instructional support provided by the California Collaborative for Learning Acceleration aims to have a great impact on student learning.”

On March 11, 2023, CCLA held its first summit – Students First: Learning Forward Together. Doug Fisher presented All Learning is Social and Emotional. “Academic learning may be the explicit focus of schooling, but what teachers say, the values we express, the materials and activities we choose, and the skills we prioritize all influence how our students think, see themselves, interact with content and with others, and assert themselves in the world.” Dr. Doug Fisher’s session is available at

A Two Pronged-Approach to Tackling Educator Burnout

By Hallie Fox, Head of Research at Educators Thriving & Tyler Hester, CEO and Founder of Educators Thriving

Tyler Hester spent his first year of teaching like many first year teachers – overwhelmed. Thanks to support from his colleagues, he made it through. During his subsequent years in the classroom and leading a teacher preparation program, he saw numerous early-career educators burnout and leave. He knew what so many of us know: it doesn’t need to be this way. There are predictable and preventable causes of educator burnout. We can and should be better equipping educators to thrive in the face of those predictable challenges. 

As a doctoral student at Harvard, Tyler worked alongside the Boston Teachers Union to pilot a well-being program open to all members – not just new teachers. Much to his surprise, the room the union had booked was too small to accommodate the number of people interested. Since then, Educators Thriving has served educators in over 26 districts and county offices across the country with demonstrated results: statistically significant reductions in burnout and increases in well-being. 

However, Tyler and our team knew that equipping individual educators wasn’t enough; we must also improve the conditions in which teachers work. Educators Thriving now offers measurement and strategic consultation to help school and district leaders improve well-being for all staff using a unique, educator-generated scale. We offer ongoing support to leaders and simultaneously address aspects of organizational structures or culture that detract from staff well-being. By equipping individual educators and enabling leaders to drive systematic change, we can help every educator achieve well-being and reach their full potential.

How We Show Up Matters 

By Erik Swanson, Senior Advisor, CCEE

When we attend meetings, whether in-person or virtual, we tend to follow a pattern or standard of behavior that determines how we interact with our teammates. This could be greeting others enthusiastically, being reserved and waiting to be called on, identifying more strongly with someone with similar experiences, or leaning in to support a teammate in need. While all of these styles can be effective in supporting our teammates, it’s important to consider whether they are effective in supporting the system as a whole.

To understand this better, we can refer to the “Ladder of Connectedness1” graphic, which represents how our connections can either support or mute our ability to foster a generative social field. A space that can support all of our teammates and move the organization forward. The three empathic stances we can take – in-group empathy, cognitive empathy, and altruistic empathy – can definitely support our teammates. However, taking somebody’s side or their feelings and/or perspective doesn’t always allow us to remain neutral and see multiple perspectives, to see the entire system.

This is where neutral awareness comes in – the ability to remain non-judgmental and non-attached, in a state of equanimity and ultimate balance. By showing up with neutral awareness, we can influence the space to be more generative, and drive the system to better outcomes for students. This doesn’t require any extra professional development – just a different way of showing up that can make a big difference. So, try it out and see what you notice – how we show up really does matter.

  1. Peter Senge & Mette Boell, Compassionate Systems Framework

CCEE Connection (April 2023)

News & Announcements
Request for Proposals

Development and Delivery of Resources and Services to Support Professional Learning Activities for Local Educational Agencies

  • Review of Proposals Begins: May 1, 2023
  • Proposals Accepted Through: October 30, 2023 at 4:00pm PST

CCEE hosted a Respondent’s Conference on Thursday, April 6, 2023. Please click on this link to view the recording of the webinar.

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.

Check out the “In Case You Missed It” section of our newsletter to view materials from past Open Door Sessions.

To stay up-to-date on upcoming Open Door sessions, make sure to check our Events Calendar or follow CCEE on Twitter and LinkedIn!

2023-24 Leadership institute

In collaboration with the Small School Districts Association (SSDA), CCEE is excited to bring to you the 2023-24 Leadership Institute, which will kick off in July 2023 during the SSDA Superintendent and High School Leaders Conference in Newport Beach. Please click on this link to register for the conference.

This year-long institute will provide high quality professional learning, partnerships with a community of other small district leaders, and seasoned leaders to help increase your network of professional and support. For more information about the institute, please click on this flyer.

In Case You Missed It

Open Door Sessions:

System of Support Updates (April 2023)

April Resources

Microlearning Modules – CCEE has partnered with content experts and experienced educators to develop short videos sharing and explaining concepts, tools, and resources for a wide range of topics to support substitute teachers, paraeducators, and other instructional staff in the classroom. All microlearning modules are accompanied by easy-to-follow instructions, downloadable handouts, and additional resources to support immediate implementation. New videos are added periodically, covering various topics, tips, and strategies.

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

Research continues to show that when educational practitioners have time to share insights, ideas, practices, and research with one another, they learn more and improve more. The CCEE is focused on bringing educational practitioners and partners together to share and highlight evidence-based practices and research that will help them improve student outcomes. The bulk of how we do the work is by convening and gathering professional learning networks (PLNs) and Research-Practice Partnerships (RPPs). This newsletter highlights a number of opportunities for educational practitioners to engage in partnerships where they can learn from each other.

Data Research Learning Network: Data Literacy is Deep Need

By Ingrid Roberson, Assistant Director of Research Learning, CCEE

Headshot of Ingrid Roberson

The Data Research Learning Network (DRLN) consists of seven select districts and counties engaged in innovating data and assessment practices to accelerate student learning. DRLN districts and counties have discovered a deep need for data and assessment literacy across all levels in the education system, including analyzing data, discussing data, and decision-making or as the network likes to say, “Data, Discussion, and Decisions.”

As a Research and Development (R&D) network, these seven districts and counties are designing innovations to be piloted in the 2023-2024 school year.  For example, Imperial County Office of Education (ICOE) is developing a data literacy learning series for their districts with special attention to the context of small districts (i.e. districts with enrollments less than 2,000 students). Already a leader in creating data tools for the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), ICOE’s data literacy learning series will focus on data for instructional and curricular decision-making.

Another example is Rincon Valley Union School District (RVUSD) who is exploring the role of formative assessment in accelerating student learning. Informed by research from the Center for Assessment on a Balanced Assessment System, Rincon Valley USD seeks to leverage the power of curriculum-embedded, unit-based assessments that are instructionally useful to classroom teachers. RVUSD will be piloting a Math Formative Assessment, enhancing teacher assessment literacy and promoting student agency in the assessment process.

As DRLN districts and counties represent small to mid-size local educational agencies (LEAs), this emerging trend is one that CCEE’s Center for Innovation, Instruction and Impact (I3) intends to address through statewide data literacy resources in partnership with recognized experts and practitioners in the field (see current Request for Proposals).

CAAASA-CCEE Partnership to
Re-envision Black Student Success

By Sujie Shin, Deputy Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Sujie Shin

The partnership between CCEE and the California Association of African-American Superintendents & Administrators (CAAASA) began in 2017 with a professional learning network (PLN) that focused on identifying the inequities experienced by African American students in California K-12 schools. The original network, made up of four districts and three county offices, examined these inequities and identified systems-change approaches to addressing them within their local educational agencies (LEAs).

With the launch of CCEE’s Research-Practice Partnership (RPP) initiative, five of our original PLN partners have rejoined the network to continue their work to support Black student achievement through their LEA-specific problem of practice, focusing on progress monitoring activities to support the measurement of student outcomes in the coming year.

Our five partnership teams and their areas of focus include:

Increasing the number of African American student leaders who are UC college bound

Addressing overrepresentation of African American male students among those receiving non-passing grades in core classes

Tackling overidentification of African American students in Special Education via “Other Health Impairment” and “Emotional Disturbance”

Increasing high school completion rate for students enrolled in the County Community Schools/Program (expelled and/or on probation)

Targeting student engagement and reduction of chronic absenteeism rates for Black students in four pilot schools part of the Community Schools Program

Empowering Educators with Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

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

CCEE has partnered with educators in the field to create our newest learning path, UDL for Educator Empowerment. This learning path aims to empower California educators with the needed knowledge and skills to apply Universal Design for Learning (UDL) holistically to their practices as professionals. Designed in partnership with teachers, for teachers, this path contains six modules of multimedia content, opportunities for reflection and community, and links to resources to deepen participants’ learning and practice.

This learning path was authored by a team of subject matter experts and professional learning providers: Karen Taylor, MA.Ed., Zach Smith, Ed.L.D., and CCEE’s own James McKenna, Ed.D. Together, and with the support of an advisory panel of educators from across the state, they created this learning path to honor and empower teachers, showing how the UDL framework equips them for the work of teaching in today’s modern equity-focused classroom. Through each of our six course modules, educators are invited on a path of professional self-discovery that equips them with the skills for creating inclusive and equitable lessons and learning environments. Embedded within these learning experiences is the knowledge for diagnosing learning barriers in real time.

The UDL for Educator Empowerment learning path is open to all, on-demand, at no cost, and is the latest in a series of resources created by the CCEE, in collaboration with local and national partners, in order to support the implementation of UDL in schools and districts across the state. Other UDL resources include the UDL for School and District Leaders learning path, the Why UDL video series, and the UDL Journey Guide, a comprehensive resource for district leaders and teams seeking to implement Universal Design for Learning.

LEA Spotlights: Shining a Light on Promising Practices

By Dorcas Kong, Senior Specialist of Executive Projects, CCEE

Headshot of Dorcas Kong

Over the past couple of months, the Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) Center has been curating stories that “spotlight” innovative practices implemented by local educational agencies (LEAs) across the state to improve educational outcomes for students. After interviewing various district teams and learning about how they tackled challenges particular to their local contexts, we’re excited to announce that we have finally launched the Spotlights Project. Each Spotlight organizes the successes, challenges, and lessons learned in a way that calls attention to emerging practices, reproducible strategies, and applicable resources, in hopes of introducing accessible points of conversation for other LEAs looking to resolve similar issues. 

While these Spotlights may focus on different domains (i.e., student academic outcomes; student/family engagement and well-being; staff and community supports; and systems, policies, and governance), they all place an emphasis on improving practices, programs, and systems to provide each and every student in California public schools with the access, opportunities, and supports to thrive (CCEE Mission & Vision). We hope the Spotlights Project can serve as a hub of inspiration and innovation where LEAs can build off these successful models to amplify their impact in the classroom, school, district, and community. Click on the links below to learn about these LEAs’ success stories.

Anaheim UHSD took a systemic approach to support families’ needs by empowering parents, authentically engaging students, and strengthening community partnerships to address the root causes of disengagement.

Compton USD took a data-driven approach to improve college and career readiness among its African American students. By looking at key data metrics, CUSD identified strategies to provide students and families with increased access to information, resources, and supports to navigate the academic, social, and financial aspects of the college preparation process.

To tackle an intricate problem such as chronic absenteeism, Fresno USD took a multilayered and holistic approach that included strong and committed district leadership, a cross-functional team of diverse staff, strong data principles, and partnerships with community-based organizations.

Napa COE concentrated their efforts on establishing meaningful partnerships and innovative approaches to learning, practicing continuous improvement strategies, and leveraging data and improvement science to guide decision-making.

Ontario-Montclair SD worked to engage parents as authentic partners in the school community by empowering them with tools and resources that allow them to advocate for their children’s learning.

Oxnard SD utilized the California Family Engagement Framework and recommendations from research in their efforts to systematize family engagement and empower parents in shared design-making processes to impact student learning.

Stay tuned! We will be launching the Pittsburg USD Spotlight in the coming weeks.

We are continuing to develop Spotlights that shine a light on innovative educational practices in California. If you would like to share emerging practices that have improved outcomes for students in your LEA, please share it with us by submitting this Spotlight suggestion form.

Shifting Mindsets on Chronic Absenteeism

By Sujie Shin, Deputy Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Sujie Shin

As we head into our final quarter of the 2022-23 school year, schools are continuing to rethink how we define and address chronic absenteeism. The 2022 Dashboard results saw a huge spike in chronic absenteeism rates across the State, with almost a third of our students in California missing 10% of more of their instructional days. And while the flattening of COVID rates has improved chronic absenteeism rates somewhat, the data show that schools are still struggling with student engagement and attendance. 

Shifting our collective mindsets about chronic absenteeism requires a reenvisioning of what an absence means and therefore changes how we deal with it and who gets to decide. To date, our processes for addressing chronic absenteeism are built around mental models about “truancy” that set schools and families up as adversaries–the definition of truancy is “the act of staying away from school without a good reason.” But who judges what reason is good enough? And who is responsible for providing the remedy?

There are no ready solutions, and in the meantime, children have missed millions of instructional hours. Over the next several months, join us as we navigate some of these questions with local educational agencies and partners and highlight challenges, emerging best practices, and opportunities to learn from each other.  

CCEE is hosting a series of Open Door sessions on chronic absenteeism. On Monday, April 3, 2023, Attendance Works started off the series by sharing the findings of a new PACE report, Examining Disparities in Unexcused Absences Across California Schools. If you weren’t able to attend this session, webinar materials are available on CCEE’s website. Please see below for upcoming sessions. Additional information (e.g., date/time, registration links) will be available in the coming weeks. You can always check our Events Calendar or follow CCEE on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay updated on upcoming sessions.

  • Shifting Mindsets on Chronic Absenteeism with Salinas City Elementary School District
  • Supporting Better Attendance Practices: The Evolving Role of COEs

Development and Delivery of Resources and Services to Support Professional Learning Activities for LEAs


Pursuant to Statutes 2020, Chapter 10, Sec. 8 (Assembly Bill 86), effective March 5, 2021, the California Legislature has allocated funds to the CCEE for the purpose of providing support to LEAs to maximize positive pupil outcomes in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 43521 of the Education Code. CCEE is, therefore, seeking submissions of professional learning resources and services related to the topics outlined in the RFP. The proposed professional learning opportunities should aim to build LEAs’ capacity to support student instruction and outcomes.

Respondents must describe their proposed method(s) of delivery when developing their Proposal for the development and implementation of professional learning supports. Methods of delivery may include:

  • Development of resources and tools to support professional learning, including but not limited to professional learning and training materials, documents, videos, and facilitation guides that will be utilized by CCEE and hosted on the CCEE website and can be accessed asynchronously. 
  • Development and delivery of professional learning sessions to a variety of audiences, depending on the topic and area of focus of the professional learning session.
  • Tailored consultation and coaching supports to support LEA teams in furthering their learning and support implementation within their local contexts.  
  • Expert-led “office hours” to support LEA teams and individuals and address specific discovery, development, implementation, and/or evaluation challenges that may fall outside of issues that can be addressed during professional learning sessions or consultation/coaching opportunities.
  • Other research-based, relevant methods of delivery grounded in effective instructional design.

Content areas to support instruction may include, but are not limited to:

  • Systems Leadership
  • Whole Child Design
  • Summer and Expanded Learning
  • Learning Acceleration
  • Effective Assessment
  • Formative Assessment Practices
  • Database Development and Support
  • Data Visualization

Review of Proposals Begin: Monday, May 1, 2023

Proposals Accepted Through: Monday, October 30, 2023 at 4:00pm PST




Point of Contact: Dorcas Kong ([email protected])

Last Updated: April 18, 2023

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.