CCEE Connection (November 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.

Project CLEAR’s Two-Unit Graduate Assessment Course

The two-unit graduate assessment course provides an overview of early literacy assessments in phonics, reading, and writing. For those who are considering the Teacher Leader or Teacher pathways, this course would offer an introduction to the opportunities sponsored by Project CLEAR, along with allowing time for district and school leaders to develop, or redesign, a literacy acceleration plan to incorporate into their Local Control and Accountability Plan.

California Collaborative for Learning Acceleration – Math and Literacy Communities of Practice (CoPs)

The California Collaborative for Learning Acceleration (CCLA) in partnership with the CCEE and six County Offices of Education (COE) will be creating an inclusive space for collaboration and learning for educators across the state through a Community of Practice (CoP). 

You can find more information using the flyers below: 



In Case You Missed It

Direct Technical Assistance Request for Proposal

CCEE is looking for respondents who can support partner LEAs in implementing State priorities. Further information is included in the Request for Proposal.

Universal PreK Resources

Looking AHEAD
Winter/Spring 2024 Courses Toward the  21CSLA UTK Leadership Certificate 

The next no-cost, university credit-bearing course toward the UTK Leadership Certificate will be Equity Centered Leadership Practices to Support, Integrate, and Align Transitional Kindergarten (TK).

This course will investigate and understand the instructional leadership practices related to preschool through third grade (P–3) education, including how to develop and enact a PK–3 vision, align and integrate Universal Transitional Kindergarten into the CA educational system, and implement strategies to build professional capacity through a culture of continuous improvement. With a focus on issues of educational inequality, course content and assignments will focus on ameliorating and improving public education with a P–3 focus.

For more information or to enroll, visit: Questions? Email us at [email protected]

California Collaborative for Learning Acceleration Summit

Save the Date for the CCLA 2023-2024 Summit! This year’s theme is Students First: Every Moment Matters and will feature virtual and in-person options.

Tuesdays @ 2 Webinar Series

Following the adoption of the 2024–25 LCAP template and instructions the CDE will be providing a series of training webinars. For information, please visit the Tuesdays @ 2 Webinar Series web page.

November Resources
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

How Do We Fix Schools?

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

This is a question that has plagued educational practitioners and policymakers alike for years. The answer in short…we don’t! We don’t fix schools, we don’t fix people, and we don’t fix students. There’s not a compliance document, accountability document, or strategic plan that I have met that can fix schools. Rather, I would argue we help schools learn to improve, we help people to learn to improve, and we help students learn to improve. The only thing that can address the issues public schools are facing is the people in the buildings coming together for deep collaboration and problem-solving.  

In this newsletter, you will read about how our Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center (TLLC) is working with County Offices and state lead partners to support LEAs in learning to improve.

It’s Fall! A Time for Reflection and Planning

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

The fall is a time for us to cozy up in our sweaters and have our hands wrapped around warm beverages. I would also say the fall is a time to reflect, especially for district and school site teams.  The school year is well underway and spring is just around the corner. How can your school team come together in an authentic way to reflect on all they have accomplished and where they want to continue to improve?  As Executive Director, Matt Navo, shared we don’t fix schools, we don’t fix people, we don’t fix students. We do, however, help school teams learn to improve, we help people learn to improve, and we help students learn to improve. How do you want to improve? 

This fall is a time to reflect and start planning for the next Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) cycle. The new three-year LCAP cycle planning begins this year, and it is the time to bring your school community together to reflect and identify where you want to improve together. This is the time to have open conversations about what’s working and what isn’t. Reflection and planning are the cornerstones of a successful Local Control Accountability Plan. They enable schools to learn from the past and strategically navigate the future. Through these practices, schools and districts can create a comprehensive LCAP that meets the unique needs of all students fostering a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement.

Our team is here to support and you’ll find this newsletter includes various resources and support on reflection and the upcoming changes expected for the LCAP.

The Power of Reflection, Together

By Jennie Wright, Ed.D., Assistant Director of the Teaching, Learning & Leading Center, CCEE

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful” (Wheatley, 2002). Much has been written about the power and importance of reflection, particularly self-reflection. There is also great power in reflecting together. To improve our systems to better serve our students and communities we must constantly strive to get better at getting better. This takes robust collaboration and internal accountability culture grounded in reflection, together.

Jenni Donohoo’s (2013) collaborative inquiry, which, like improvement science, is about learning and reflecting through four phases of a Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle. There is no one path forward for everyone, if there was, we’d all be doing it already. Reflection, which lies in all four phases of the inquiry cycle, but particularly in the study and act phases is essential. Without engaging in all four phases we are not engaging in collaborative inquiry. It takes discipline through the four phases of inquiry to learn and reflect together so that the path forward reveals itself. Through disciplined rapid cycles of inquiry coupled with strong internal accountability at every level of the system, we create feedback loops and reflection so that the system and every level within it continuously improves. 

It is much easier to look out the window than in the mirror but when we can be bold and brave enough to sit in a reflective space together, we can learn so much about ourselves, our practice, our students, and the needs of students, schools, and school systems.


Donohoo, J. (2013). Collaborative Inquiry for Educators: A Facilitator’s Guide to School Improvement. Corwin.

Wheatley, M. J. (2002). It’s an Interconnected World, Shambhala Sun, April, 2002.

A reflection on applying system improvement levers to the LCAP

By Matthew Roberts, Ed.D., Senior Advisor, CCEE & Joshua Strong, Administrator of the System of Support Office, CDE, Instruction & Measurement Branch

“Every system is perfectly designed to achieve exactly the results that it gets” is a phrase commonly used in system(s) improvement language. The words imply that design has more to do with system outcomes than simple intentions for system outcomes. Designing transformation in a district requires leaders to consistently think, reflect, and act in ways that drive continuous improvement across the entire organization. Getting to that point though takes reflection on current district priorities. How many priorities does your district have? Are priorities designed to solve problems rooted in the local data or do we stay flat in the data and act like it somehow moved? Do they fit an overall design for success in student outcomes? Do priorities capture the voice of those closest to students?

As districts measure the impact of current LCAP goals and begin engagement for the new LCAP cycle, consider applying the Carnegie Foundation’s Four Levers of Transformation (2020) to help inform the development of goals for the new LCAP cycle beginning 2024-25. The Four Levers include: 1) promote radical alignment across goals and plans to create a coherent, holistic design that places student success at the center, 2) build an improvement culture that opens voice and agency while holding everyone to high expectations, 3) develop everyone’s improvement capabilities to build the collective muscle that it takes to urgently do the hard work, and this means investing in people and building collaborative time, and 4) invest in improvement infrastructure that promotes collective learning, increases analytic capacity, and empowers decision-making.

In November 2023, the State Board of Education will consider revisions to the 2024-25 LCAP template including the following:

  • Streamlining of the Plan Summary and Engaging Educational Partners sections of the LCAP
  • Inclusion of tables in the Engaging Educational Partners and Increased or Improved Services for Foster Youth, English Learners, and Low-Income Students sections of the LCAP
  • Addition of a requirement for school districts, county offices of education and charter schools that receive Local Control Funding Formula Equity Multiplier funding to include one or more goals within the LCAP
  • Addition of a requirement for school districts, county offices of education and charter schools that are eligible for technical assistance and/or that have received the lowest performance rating on one or more state indicators on the California School Dashboard for (1) a school within the LEA, (2) a student group within the LEA, and/or (3) a student group within any school within the LEA to include specific actions in the LCAP


Berwick, Don. (March 3, 2015). [Keynote Speaker Presentation]. Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education. San Francisco, CA, USA.

Dixon, C.J., & Palmer, S.N. (2020). Transforming Educational Systems Toward Continuous Improvement: A Reflection Guide for K–12 Leaders. Stanford, CA: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Intensive Assistance Model

We invite you to hear the reflections of the Federal Terrace Elementary team in Vallejo City Unified School District and their journey with the Intensive Assistance Model. They are deepening their understanding and practices of authentic collaboration focused on student results.

Balanced Assessment Systems Pilot

In January 2024, CCEE will be launching a Balanced Assessment System Pilot consisting of a micro-course with a toolkit designed to support local educational agencies (LEAs) in creating balanced assessment systems.

In partnership with the Center for Assessment, CCEE is excited to invite interested district-school leadership teams to join this six-month learning network. From January through June 2024, selected LEAs will pilot the micro-course and associated tools for self-paced implementation within their local contexts. The Center for Assessment will provide guidance on how best to utilize these resources and LEAs will have an opportunity to provide feedback that will inform future versions of these state resources.

This opportunity is a right fit for LEAs wanting to conduct a review of their current systems of assessment, especially if deciding to make further investments in interim and/or curriculum-embedded assessments.


Ingrid Roberson, Assistant Director of Research Learning, CCEE

Scott Marion, Executive Director, Center for Assessment

Carla Evans, Senior Associate, Center for Assessment

Caroline Wylie, Senior Associate, Center for Assessment

Laura Pinsonneault, Center for Assessment




Balanced Assessment System (BAS) Pilot Recruitment Flyer

BAS Pilot Interest and Readiness Survey

CCEE Connection (October 2023)

News & Announcements
Request for Proposals

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

  • Proposals Accepted Through: October 30, 2023 at 4:00pm PST
Balanced Assessment System pilot

In January 2024, CCEE will be launching a Balanced Assessment System Pilot, where selected LEAs will pilot a micro-course and toolkit, designed to support them in creating balanced assessment systems. This opportunity is a right fit for LEAs wanting to conduct a review of their current assessment systems, especially if deciding whether to make further investments in interim and/or curriculum-embedded assessments.

Interested in learning more? Register for a virtual informational session on Monday, October 16 from 1-2pm PST. If you’re not able to make the informational session, the archived recording will be posted on CCEE’s website following the session.

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 provide opportunities for county office and/or district staff to listen and learn from other LEAs across the state.

Below are archived materials from past Open Door Sessions:

Please check our Events Calendar or follow CCEE on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on upcoming Open Door sessions.

LEA Spotlights

The Spotlights Project aims to celebrate some of the innovative, inclusive, and shareable practices that LEA teams have implemented to improve outcomes for students across our state. 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.

Below are two recently published Spotlights. Click on the links below to learn more about the innovative practices taking place in these LEAs.

To recruit and retain a teacher workforce that better reflects their student population, Pittsburg USD employed a multi-pronged set of strategies anchored around collecting input and feedback from the broader school community, grounded in data, and focused on creating an inviting culture that celebrates the community and the students they serve.

Fresno CSS sought to alleviate the burden on their LEAs that resulted from the influx of plans and deadlines in response to the pandemic and its relief efforts by rooting their work in improvement science to address a specific problem through smaller, measurable changes to make a meaningful impact.

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
Return on Investment (ROI) in Education

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director

Headshot of Matt Navo

In 2021, in response to the needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Legislature funded Assembly Bill (AB) 86. The purpose of AB 86 was to provide support to local educational agencies (LEAs) in maximizing positive pupil outcomes and most effectively using funds. Basically, maximize the most effective use of funds to support students and see a return on investment (ROI).

CCEE is responsible for providing support to LEAs in maximizing positive pupil outcomes with the most effective use of funds to implement learning recovery programs. We do this by designing and implementing initiatives that explore problems of practice and emerging/best practices in the field to develop and share high quality, relevant, and usable lessons learned to support sustained improvement for students by June 30, 2024.

Under the direction of Sujie Shin, Deputy Executive Director, and Dr. Ingrid Roberson, Assistant Director of Research Learning, CCEE has elevated the work of LEA best practices to identify and share the best investments for the return on the investment of student outcomes.

This newsletter highlights some of this work and how to get involved.

Navigating Continuous Improvement Through Street Data

By Sujie Shin, Deputy Executive Director

Headshot of Sujie Shin

In education, we talk a lot about “data.” We espouse “data-driven” decision-making, have an abundance of data walk protocols; we spend much of our collective time and effort in collecting and reviewing data – test results, attendance files, disciplinary records, survey responses…it goes on. But what we don’t often ask ourselves is, “Is this the right data?”

When I was a classroom teacher, I started the year with my student roster, which was always accompanied by the final grades and their standardized test scores from the prior year. We sat in grade-level teams, sorting our students in reading/math groups according to their annual test results, and started developing our instructional plans around this data.

What I soon realized was that those standardized test results often had little relationship to what kind of support my students needed, what literacy or numeracy concepts they understood or were struggling with, and definitely showed me nothing about who they were as people. I got that through my classroom tests, formative assessment practices, getting-to-know-you interviews, and watching them interact with each other and their work.

This is not to say that standardized assessments aren’t meaningful. They tell us a lot about patterns of achievement across our students, illuminating next steps for further inquiry we might need to take to understand what our students are struggling with and where there may be larger gaps in instruction and support. But as Shane Safir and Jamila Dugan exhort us to do in Street Data, we need to get beyond only ever looking at satellite data in a systematic way, but push ourselves to examining map- and street-level data in order to both understand and act upon the needs of students.

We are so privileged to be working with a cohort of school district and county office teams who are tackling these questions of “what data?” and “for what purpose?” as they look at their internal systems for reducing chronic absenteeism, improving access and outcomes for Black students, developing internal progress monitoring dashboards, and implementing the principles of Universal Design for Learning across their classrooms.

Join us as we continue to learn with them!

Data Dashboards: The Promise of Enhanced Data, Discussions, and Decisions

By Ingrid Roberson, Assistant Director of Research Learning

Data dashboards represent a significant investment in educational technology by districts and schools. Data dashboards promise enhanced data for real-time discussions and decisions by end-users, that is, educators. CCEE’s Data Research Learning Network (DRLN) includes three districts engaged in innovation journeys with the adoption and implementation of data dashboards.

The DRLN promotes the progress monitoring of data dashboards through user statistics, that is, map data that provides a more focused direction for inquiry and action. In August, Dr. Allan Taing and Dr. Nhi Hang conducted a User Statistics Workshop for DRLN districts, covering such topics as active vs. passive use measures, as well as web traffic measures (e.g. page views, total visits, length of stay, file downloads, traffic sources, etc.). The Measuring User Statistics: Tracking Engagement of Data Dashboards resource is a good example of tools shared with districts. All three districts are now progress monitoring data dashboard use on a monthly basis.

One example is Sanger Unified School District (SUSD). Assessment leaders are collecting and analyzing user statistics such as login counts, average logins, and percent of users logging in as a measure of uptake over the last three years. SUSD is complimenting this map data with street data by conducting empathy interviews with end users to better understand their experiences with data dashboards. Through a combination of map and street data, SUSD is customizing additional supports based on trends across the district, school, and grade-levels. Given the incredible amount of investment in Data Dashboards, DRLN districts, such as Sanger Unified, will be sharing lessons learned at upcoming conferences in November and December (see below for conference list).

The UDL Network

By James McKenna, Assistant Director of Professional Learning & Leadership Development

Headshot of James McKenna

It’s no secret that the work of advancing equitable education opportunities for students is hard, lengthy, and often messy work. The opportunity to collaborate, share ideas, get feedback, and draw strength from a like-minded community can be a powerful force — for students, for teachers, and for school and district leaders. That’s why CCEE has expanded its support of learning networks to the work of implementing, and measuring the student impact of, Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Working with partners in three state grant initiatives — the California Coalition for Inclusive Learning (CCIL), Open Access (OA), and Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP), we have gathered three districts, diverse in demographics and geography but united in the pursuit of inclusive education for all. These districts are:

  • Davis Joint Unified School District
  • Nevada Joint Union High School District
  • Poway Unified School District

Over the course of the 2023-2024 school year, these districts will examine problems of practice related to the implementation of Universal Design for Learning. Engaging in data-driven collaborative inquiry, they will implement initiatives to address these problems and take formative and summative data to monitor and evaluate impact. These indicators include benchmark assessments, student engagement, teacher efficacy, teacher practice, and more. We look forward to sharing their journey with you in our June summary report.

Using Street Data to Measure ROI of Statewide Professional Learning Initiatives

By Allan Taing, Senior Manager of Research & Impact Analysis

Program evaluations employ social science research methods to assess the design, implementation, and effectiveness of social programs (Rossi et al., 2019). In 2021, the state invested $75 million to establish three grant programs led by county offices of education to enhance the educator professional learning infrastructure within the Statewide System of Support. External program evaluations are embedded in these professional learning initiatives for learning acceleration, literacy, and open educational resources to support an innovative, rigorous, and analytical examination of these projects to determine the impact and effectiveness of these investments on educator practice and student outcomes. In other words, these program evaluations are trying to measure the return on investment (ROI) for these three projects.

The three program evaluation teams are moving into the second year of their evaluations, concluding their initial planning evaluations and moving onto formative evaluations for these projects. Investigating and determining the impact of these projects on educator practice and student outcomes requires a “Street Data” research approach. Measures of student impact — including results on the California School Dashboard — are satellite data answering the “what”. In addition, program evaluators leverage map data and street data through surveys, focus groups, document reviews, and observations, to answer the “why” and “how”. CCEE has created a Statewide Evaluation webpage to serve as a repository as program evaluation teams release their findings and recommendations.

To support program evaluation teams in this work, CCEE hosts bi-annual evaluation convenings to bring program evaluation teams, state agency partners, and other evaluation, program, and policy stakeholders and experts together to share findings, best practices, and lessons learned for ongoing development. The most recent evaluation convening on September 27 focused on developing a shared vision and common language across teams for evaluation approaches and methods for measuring student impact. Materials from this convening and prior convenings are available on the Statewide Program Evaluation Convening website.

Let’s Connect Beyond the Virtual Realm!

This fall, CCEE staff will be presenting at various conferences. If you will be attending any of the conferences below, we would love to see you there! Please let us know if you would like more information about any of these sessions.

Session & Presenter(s)
California Teachers Association (CTA)’s 2023 Special Education Conference
(October 6-8)
Foundations of Universal Design for LearningJames McKenna, Assistant Director of Professional Learning & Leadership Development
California Assessment Conference (CAC)
(October 9-10)
Balanced Assessment Systems: A Case Study of One District’s Journey to Rebalance their Assessment System for Improved Student Math Outcomes Ingrid Roberson, Assistant Director of Research Learning and Dorcas Kong, Sr. Specialist of Executive Projects
California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing’s 2023 Fall Conference
(October 12-13)
The Practice of Educating Very Young Children: Curriculum Drives the Built Environment – Julie Boesch, Assistant Director of the System of Support
Ventura County Superintendent of Schools
(October 19)
Transforming Schools – Matt Navo, Executive Director
What’s Right in Education
(October 24-26)
State and National Leaders Panel: Current and Future Trends in Education – Chris Hartley, Deputy Executive Director
2023 Charter School Development Center (CSDC) Conference
(November 8-10)
Shifting Mindsets, Changing Culture: Systems that Support All StudentsDavid Toston, Sr. Advisor of Strategic Initiatives
2023 California Educational Research Association (CERA) Conference
(November 13-15)
Supporting Black Student Achievement: Lessons Learned from Year 1 of the African American Student Success NetworkSujie Shin, Deputy Executive Director and Italo Ciccarelli, Program Specialist

Balanced Assessment Systems: A Case Study of One District’s Journey to Rebalance their Assessment System for Improved Student OutcomesIngrid Roberson, Assistant Director of Research Learning and Dorcas Kong, Sr. Specialist of Executive Projects

Guiding Our Schools Forward: Best Practices For Districts Utilizing Assessment Dashboards to Improve Data Literacy and Target Student SupportsAllan Taing, Sr. Manager of Research & Impact Analysis and Nhi Hang, Program Specialist

Amplifying Community Engagement for Continuous ImprovementDavid Toston, Sr. Advisor of Strategic Initiatives
Breaking Barriers Integrated Care Symposium
(November 14-16)
Stories from the Field: Applying the Ecosystem Recommendations to Regional & Local Implementation – Chris Hartley, Deputy Executive Director and Mindy Fattig, Sr. Advisor of the System of Support
California School Boards Association (CSBA)’s Annual Education Conference
(November 30 – December 2)
Data Dashboards: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Ingrid Roberson, Assistant Director of Research Learning and Allan Taing, Sr. Manager of Research & Impact Analysis
System Improvement Leads (SIL) Summit
(December 12-13)
CA Statewide System of Support: It is Us (Opening/Keynote) – Mindy Fattig, Sr. Advisor of the System of Support