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.

CCEE Connection (November 2022)

News & Announcements

Project CLEAR (California Literacy Elevation by Accelerating Reading)

Project CLEAR is a Learning Acceleration System grantee funded through the CCEE to build capacity within districts across California to implement and support literacy development. These evidence-based approaches to accelerated learning enable students to make strong and rapid progress in reading and writing.

Project CLEAR is looking for schools, districts, and educators interested in benefiting from this grant-funded professional learning opportunity to launch a new cohort of Teacher Leaders in January! Through this two-year program, participants will become Teacher Leaders who can train and coach teachers to implement comprehensive literacy strategies in schools and K-12 interventions for students who have reading, writing, and language-based needs. These Teacher Leaders can expand availability and access to literacy acceleration, prevention, and intervention for diverse students in their district or school, including students who are English learners, students in dual language programs, and students with disabilities, including those with dyslexia and/or phonological processing issues. Learn more on Project CLEAR’s website.

Project CLEAR Flyer (English) 

Resumen de Proyecto CLEAR  (Spanish/Español ) 

The 21st Century California School Leadership Academy (21CSLA)

21CSLA provides high quality, equity-centered professional learning for educational leaders of schools and districts in California that receive Title II funds. Programs are no-cost to participants and include leadership coaching, as well as an emphasis on improving instruction and achievement outcomes (including through distance learning) for English Learners, students with disabilities, low income students, and other historically marginalized students.

Looking Ahead

California Dyslexia Initiative Expert Webinar Series

Do you want to better understand how to support struggling readers and students with dyslexia in your school?

Join Sacramento COE and Glean Education to earn more about identifying risk factors, setting up effective MTSS/RTI school systems to prevent reading difficulties, and delivering research-based instruction to support and remediate struggling learners and students with dyslexia.

Independent Study Professional Learning Network (ISPLN)

CCEE facilitates monthly sessions where Independent Study Professional Learning Network (ISPLN) participants learn strategies, structures, practices, policies, and procedures that districts have adopted to effectively engage their local communities in support of improving student outcomes. Our next meeting on February 6th will cover assigning quality and rigorous coursework in Independent Study. Please contact Gonzalo Avila at [email protected] for more information. 

  • Register for our next meeting on February 6, 2023. 

California Collaborative for Learning Acceleration

Through the California Collaborative for Learning Acceleration (CCLA), one of three CCEE Learning Acceleration System grantees, the SCCOE and its partners are building an evidence-based professional learning model for educators that can support learning acceleration, particularly in mathematics, literacy, and language development. Accelerated learning strategies are those designated to meet pupils where they are in their learning which will enable them to make strong rapid progress in their mastery of knowledge and skills. These strategies may include individual or small group tutoring or whole class instruction using well-grounded methods with scaffolds and differentiation that meet pupils’ specific needs. This year, CCLA aims to put asynchronous content and resources in the hands of educators across the state, as well as offer opportunities to work in-person in schools and/or districts. Coming soon in January 2023, FREE asynchronous courses for learning acceleration in targeted math, literacy and language development areas that infuse critical elements of Universal Design for Learning, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, and Social-Emotional Learning will be available to all educators.

In Case You Missed It

System of Support Updates (November 2022)

November Resources

November – Native American Heritage Month

November 8 – National STEM/STEAM Day

November 12-20 – National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week

November 13 – World Kindness Day

November 16 – International Day for Tolerance

Executive Director’s Corner
Why Continuous Improvement is so Vital for School Transformation

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

Educators use many acronyms to describe their work. The field of acronyms is long and at times educators can seemingly sound like they are speaking another language to those not so familiar.  However, when it comes to Continuous Improvement (CI), this is one “buzzword” that everyone needs to understand.

CI is the basic act of “getting better at getting better” with whatever endeavor you are trying to improve. It is about looking at results compared to what you hoped to achieve, reflecting on those results, and making adjustments. The act of CI leads to school transformation because it puts those closest to the work impacting the direction. When you have those closest to the work doing the work of CI, the chances of improved outcomes and school transformation greatly improve.

This newsletter put together by our Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center (TLLC) will share the importance of CI when it comes to improving outcomes for students and transforming schools.

The Art of Practicing Gratitude within Continuous Improvement

By Dr. Stephanie Gregson, Deputy Executive Director of the Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center

Headshot of Dr. Stephanie Gregson

As our Executive Director pointed out in his article, the foundation of continuous improvement is the act of “getting better at getting better,” and for schools, this is directly related to school transformation and compassionate systems change.  One element I would like to remind us all of is how we are practicing gratitude within the continuous improvement work. We know from our learned and lived experiences that school transformation happens when those closest to the work are engaging in the act of continuous improvement, but how often are we practicing gratitude for all our colleagues engaged in this work? How does practicing gratitude positively impact our work?  

The research on gratitude spans over centuries, and even the definition of gratitude has morphed over time based on the research. Gratitude is a multilayered concept but is a fundamental attribute of human beings and a potential key to human flourishing.  As we participate in authentic continuous improvement, practicing gratitude with each other contributes to the shaping of our collective being and helps us all get better (Emmons & McCullough, 2004).

Reflecting on your actions, behaviors, decisions, and presence within the work is not easy, in fact, it is exhausting. However, it is the work we all need to engage in if we are to truly approach school transformation in a compassionate way.

I would like to share our gratitude and appreciation for colleagues across the state serving students who are looking within themselves, reflecting on their actions, behaviors, and presence to be able to show up as their most authentic selves for students. When we, as adults, model gratitude and compassion, our students benefit from an environment that helps them thrive, to be their best selves.  

As you engage in the act of continuous improvement, take the opportunity to also practice gratitude by acknowledging the hard work you and your team are participating in on behalf of yourself and our students. 


Emmons, Robert A., and Michael E. McCullough, eds. The psychology of gratitude. Oxford University Press, 2004.

The What and Whys of CI

By Dr. Jennie Wright, Senior Manager of the Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center

Headshot of Dr. Jennie Wright

Continuous improvement (CI) has been around for a while and is an ingrained practice in fields such as healthcare, manufacturing, and technology (Best & Dunlap, 2014). It is a relatively new approach in the field of education. The term continuous improvement has been building steam in education circles over the last decade, however the robust implementation of improvement practices across the field has lagged (Park,, 2013). Continuous improvement is a process that uses quantitative and qualitative evidence through disciplined inquiry to improve systems’ efficacy and outcomes for the end user, in the case of the field of education, that is students. 

While continuous improvement continues to be a buzz word across the field of education, it’s important to highlight why that is and why engaging in continuous improvement is an integral practice. Improvement has long been a goal for educators and the focus of those conversations is largely focused on improving the end product, student outcomes. However, how we achieve those outcomes and the collective work done to improve the system for long-term success is equally as important. Continuous improvement provides a process that breaks down improvement into smaller, more manageable pieces as we deconstruct the system and consider change ideas in shorter, smaller increments. On the heels of a global pandemic, and mounting evidence of an even greater need for improvement, now is the time to adopt continuous improvement practices that provide educators with a framework and roadmap for providing better learning experiences and outcomes for the students across the system.


Park, S., Hironaka, S., Carver, P., & Nordstrum, L. (2013). Continuous improvement in education. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Best, J. and Dunlap, A. (2014). Continuous improvement in schools and districts: Policy considerations. McRel International.

Using Continuous Improvement Cycles to Support Coherence

By Dr. Susan Tandberg, CCEE Professional Expert

Headshot of Dr. Susan Tandberg

Coherence is defined by Fullan and Quinn (2016) as the “shared depth of understanding about the purpose and nature of the work” (p 1). The purpose and nature of the work is outlined in the four components or “right drivers”: focusing direction, cultivating collaborative cultures, deepening learning, and securing accountability. In service of these drivers is the work of continuous improvement cycles of inquiry.

“Continuous improvement is a disciplined and ongoing approach to improving processes and systems that produce positive outcomes for students. It provides a structure for educators to identify problems; design interventions specific to those problems; test interventions in context; and evaluate effectiveness before scaling up the intervention.” (Myung, et al. 2020). 

Given this definition, we can see how the process of continuous improvement is one tool to support the acquisition of coherence in a system. Both are ongoing processes with a results orientation. Additionally, they are both grounded in the identification of a small number of clear targeted goals and strategies for attainment of those goals. The process for establishing learning goals and gaining agreement on pedagogical practices are grounded in intentional collaborative work resulting in increased collective efficacy. Finally, accountability is secured through the establishment of benchmark progress and relentless reflection on process and results. Achieving coherence in a system requires ongoing implementation and monitoring of the “right drivers.” Using the cycle of continuous improvement is a process for helping schools keep focused on the “right drivers” resulting in increased student outcomes. 


Fullan, M., & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence: The right drivers in action for schools, districts, and systems. Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Ca. 

Myung, J., Krausen, K., Kimner, H. Donahue, C. (2020). Continuous Improvement in Schools in the Covid-19 Context. Policy Analysis for California Education.

Continuous Improvement Resources:

Developing Aim Statements Worksheet: As teams begin to engage in continuous improvement they must answer what are they trying to accomplish. This work can help the teams write a statement that answers this question and creates clear and specific plans for the improvement work ahead.

PDSA in Everyday: This video explains the Plan, Do, Study, Act cycle (PDSA) and how we implement PDSA cycles in our day to day.

PDSA Cycle Form: This form can be utilized for PDSA in everyday life by teams to plan their Plan, Do, Study, Act cycles.

About the Teaching, Learning & Leading Center (TLLC)

Our TLLC 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.

Meet our TLLC Team Members!

Jennie is a valued member on our TLLC team! Read more on her below.

Headshot of Dr. Jennie Wright
Jennie Wright, Ed.D.
Senior Manager
Teaching, Learning & Leading Center

Jennie partners with and supports district and county office teams using quality improvement practices to positively impact instructional practices and educational outcomes and experiences for students. Internally, she collaborates with members of the TLLC team to engage in continuous improvement around the Direct Technical Assistance process. She also collaborates across CCEE on projects such as chronic absenteeism.

Fun Fact: Fun Fact: Jennie is an avid hockey fan and has aspirations to visit every NHL stadium across North America (10 down, 22 to go)!

Click here to meet the rest of the TLLC team

About the CCEE

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

CCEE Connection (October 2022)

News & Announcements
October Resources
  • Lifting Our Voices Field Guides – Developed in partnership with the California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA), the Lifting Our Voices Field Guides document the different perspectives, experiences, and reflections of our students, teachers, parents, and families of color, allowing us to harness the power of the “lessons learned” in 2020 and 2021 to reimagine a more successful educational experience for all students in California.
  • Microlearning Modules – Short 5-8-minute videos that share immediately applicable tips, strategies, and tools. 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.

Meet the I3 Team
Headshot of Ingrid Robinson

Ingrid Robinson
Assistant Director of
Research Learning

Please join us in welcoming Ingrid Robinson, our newest member of the I3 Center! As the Assistant Director of Research Learning, Dr. Robinson will be leading CCEE’s Research Learning Network to provide data analysis support, coaching, and technical assistance for local educational agencies (LEAs). Prior to joining CCEE, she served as the Associate Superintendent of the Academic Services Division at the Alameda County Office of Education.

Fun Fact: Ingrid has been a certified scuba diver for nearly a decade, traveling the world with her teenage son and diving with dolphins, manta rays, and even sharks – at night.

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

At the core of continuous improvement is the use of data – data that allows educators to evaluate, reframe thinking, and adjust accountability for improvement. 

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local educational agencies will again focus on continuous improvement within the state’s accountability framework. At the recent State Board of Education meeting on September 14, 2022, the State Board reaffirmed its commitment to continuous improvement by approving modified accountability determination criteria on the upcoming 2022 Dashboard to support local educational agencies (LEAs). 

CCEE works in partnership with the State Board of Education and the California Department of Education to use data to inform how to best support LEAs across the state in improving student outcomes. That means that our state is working to model continuous improvement to provide the tools to examine and measure student outcomes in a way that is helpful to local educators and communities. 

The Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) Center is responsible on behalf of the CCEE to collect and provide data on projects that support the ability of the CCEE and other state lead agencies to support LEAs with their continuous improvement processes. This month’s newsletter will highlight some projects and initiatives led by the I3 Center.

Successes and Challenges in Reducing Chronic Absenteeism

By Sujie Shin, Deputy Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Sujie Shin

Chronic absenteeism has affected a significant percentage of California’s K-12 student population and is likely to continue to do so over the coming years due to the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

From January to July of 2022, CCEE convened the Chronic Absenteeism Research Learning Network (RLN) under the leadership of Aldo Ramirez, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the Salinas City Elementary School District, to understand district successes and challenges in reducing chronic absenteeism and its implications for statewide support. This working group of educational partners identified 80 school districts that had made significant progress in addressing chronic absenteeism in California over the past five years and interviewed teams from nine districts across the state, varying in size and grade spans.

The Chronic Absenteeism RLN published a brief that aims to better understand how the issue of chronic absenteeism has been addressed by districts and what improvements could yield better student outcomes. It highlights insights and best practices collected from districts that were able to decrease their chronic absenteeism rate in the past five years and offers recommendations on how local educational agencies (LEAs) could help increase student attendance.

Click on the headers below to learn more about this work. The full brief, which delves deeper into the data, best practices and strategies, and opportunities for statewide support, can be found on this webpage.

Cumulatively, the group of nine LEAs studied demonstrated a decrease of 1.4% in chronic absenteeism rates from 2017-2021, while all LEAs in California experienced an increase of 3.5% (for a total difference of 4.9 percentage points). More impressively, when we removed an outlier district from the group of nine that saw its absenteeism rates go past the 25% mark during the pandemic, the remaining eight LEAs in the study shared a collective gain of 3.0% over the 2017-21 time period — a difference of 6.5 percentage points from all California LEAs during the same time. Finally, the LEAs in this study still remained below the state average of 14.3% for SY20-21 — with or without the outlier district (see picture below).

Although the nine districts had slightly different approaches to improving attendance (based on community and context), they shared common characteristics and offered some replicable takeaways. These takeaways aligned with the CCEE’s theory of action framework of leveraging both mindsets and processes to create continuous improvement cycles that lead to change and improve student outcomes. Successful districts shared the following mindsets and practices:

  1. Shifting mindset and building understanding
  2. Leveraging strong data practices
  3. Integrating practices across the whole district
  4. Utilizing early intervention
  5. Providing consistent and focused wraparound communications
  6. Ensuring strong support and staffing
  7. Maximizing community partnerships 
  8. Developing flexible paths for students

Based on the information gleaned from district leadership teams in the course of six months, the workgroup highlighted six potential areas for implementing systemic practices that could help mitigate chronic absenteeism:

  1. Clear and consistent messaging and communication 
  2. Flexibilities around how and when learning takes place 
  3. Updates to the School Attendance Review Team (SART) and the School Attendance Review Board (SARB)
  4. Training and tools to support attendance
  5. Forging a path for a more “connected system” and inter-agency collaboration
  6. Effective data systems and practices

Leveraging Lessons Learned to Advance Educational Equity

By Dorcas Kong, Senior Specialist of Executive Projects, CCEE

The National Coalition on Education Equity (NCOEE), along with its partners, Indiana Council on Educating Students of Color, WestEd, National Council on Educating Black Children (NCEBC), and the California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA) hosted a national conference from October 5-7, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 2022 National Equity in Action Conference brought together educational stakeholders from across our nation to learn about and share transformational programs and practices to improve outcomes for students of colors, marginalized students, and students with disabilities. 

Sujie Shin, Deputy Executive Director, joined Dwight Bonds and Ken Wesson from CAAASA to present the Lifting Our Voices Field Guides, which leverage the experiences and reflections of students, teachers, and families of color during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve as guides for reimagining a more equitable educational experience for our students. Although this project came out of the pandemic to document “lessons learned” in 2020 and 2021, the Field Guides shed light on the greater equity challenges that continue to be faced by our students of color. CCEE collaborated with CAAASA to package those lessons learned into meaningful professional learning opportunities that can be assessed as a PDF or through an interactive, web-based learning path. Each Field Guide includes focused learning objectives; video clips of leading educational professionals; interviews with students, teachers, and parents; reflective questions and differentiated professional learning activities that can be used with a variety of audiences; and links to additional resources and tools.

CCEE had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with our partners at CAAASA about the Lifting Our Voices Field Guides. Click on the questions below to view their responses.

The Lifting Our Voices Field Guides lend themselves towards professional learning that provides essential information to any educator who regularly works with African American students at any grade level. It is not uncommon for educators to believe that treating all students in an identical manner meets the ethical goal of equality in education (“fairness”). However, all patients in a hospital emergency room should not be administered the same medical remedy for their Illness, since there is an almost unlimited range of medical needs. Effectiveness is a considerably more significant goal in education than sameness, acknowledging that each student comes to school with a wide array of academic needs. In any American classroom, students enter that room with unique academic histories, a wide continuum of background knowledge, various levels of competency in different subject areas, along with multiple ways of demonstrating their conceptual understanding. Most importantly, many African Americans share a long history, as well as numerous contemporary lived experiences that impact both how they view formal education and how they respond to daily educational procedures. Being cognizant of this background information is critical for anyone charged with teaching African American students from Pre-K through graduate school.

The entire collection of Field Guides offers a wealth of information, charts, graphs, statistics, questions and answers, first-person testimonies, resources, references, and videos that can also be used to support both online and in-person professional development for individuals or teams, as well as teacher training courses offered by any college of education. Focused on 12 different subject areas that impact education for today’s African American students, the Field Guides are available in a downloadable PDF format or as an online, interactive learning path, with built-in QR codes and icons with video instructions.

The most important equity challenge facing educators can be found in the question, “What do I need to know about the daily experiences of African American students for my own teaching effectiveness?” It is difficult to successfully teach students knowing little or nothing about their culture, backgrounds, needs, lived experiences, etc. — all vital information for successful educators.

Middle-class teachers are frequently unaware of the daily difficulties that students of color and poverty experience, which affect how those children both behave in school and learn in class. When students cannot relate to the values presented by the teacher, the content, and/or illustrations in the curriculum, student engagement will be minimal at best. The values of the dominant culture are often so foreign to students of poverty and of color that those values are rejected because there is no correlation with the lived experiences of black and brown students.

Educators are cognizant that student engagement comes by way of the relevance that students see in the curriculum or by the linkages that a teacher makes between students and the adopted curriculum. Among the most significant lessons that we have learned about formal education is that a clear distinction must be made between “equality” (treating the same) and “equity” (giving each student what he or she personally needs). The Lifting Our Voices Field Guides unashamedly focus on the equity needs of African American students and students from other communities of color. Meeting their specific needs is how education can truly be advanced.

Upcoming Resources for UDL Implementation

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

Headshot of James McKenna

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) is committed to advancing the implementation of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in California and is actively partnering with county offices, System of Support leads, and national organizations in that effort. We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the new resources we will be releasing later this fall.  

The UDL Journey Guide is getting an upgrade! First released in February of this year, the Journey Guide supports district leaders and teams to plan their implementation of UDL and connects them with state and national partners that can support them in those efforts. CCEE is currently partnering with CAST, the Center for Applied Special Technology and the inventors of UDL, to refine the Journey Guide to provide implementation guidance in alignment with CAST’s UDL School Implementation Certification Criteria.  

CCEE has also partnered with TextHelp to produce the “Why UDL” video series, connecting UDL to key efforts such as advancing equity and antiracism, supporting students with disabilities and language learners, aligning to California’s Multi-tiered System of Supports (CA MTSS), and more. These videos can support your learning as well as become part of your communication and engagement efforts within your community. The full series will be released in November, but below is the first video – “What is UDL?”.  

Finally, we are hard at work on our first UDL learning path made specifically for teachers. Working with partners in the field and guided by an advisory group of classroom teachers, we will offer this asynchronous, interactive online learning option openly and freely to all who are interested in learning more about classroom implementation of UDL. We hope to launch this learning path by mid-November.  

For more information on CCEE’s work in UDL and to share your thoughts, needs, questions, and more, contact us at [email protected]

NEW: Learning Path for High-Impact Tutoring

By Nhi Hang, Program Specialist, CCEE

Headshot of Nhi Hang

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) partnered to develop an interactive learning path on Implementing Evidence-Based Tutoring for High Impact. The learning path features seven modules to support district leaders looking to implement, improve, and reflect on the impact of their tutoring programs. 

With each module including videos and supporting resources, district and charter school leaders can deepen their understanding of the research behind tutoring before diving into the elements of highly impactful programs. Such elements include the importance of engaging stakeholders, finding effective tutors and training, as well as evidence-based components of program delivery. Furthermore, the interactive learning path describes how to conduct process and impact evaluations to assess the implementation as well as the results of a program.

CCEE Connection (September 2022)

News & Announcements
Looking Ahead

2022-2023 CA Budget Act Highlights

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

Whole-Child Aligned Changes in Practice

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

Phase 3 MTSS Grant Application Now Open!

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

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

Important Dates:

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

Grant  Period:

  • March 1, 2023-March 30,2026

 For questions, please email [email protected] 

Equity Corner

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

Free Training for Teachers to Strengthen Their Family Engagement Practices

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

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

In Case You Missed It

September System  of Support Update

About the CCEE

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

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

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

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

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

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

A Relationship-Based Approach to Student Success

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

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

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

Families in Schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Santa Ana Unified School District

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Alexander Den Heijer

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

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

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

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

One More Tool for the Community Engagement Toolbox

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

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

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

Contact Andrew at [email protected]

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

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

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

CCEE Connection (August 2022)

News & Announcements
Call to Participate in Professional Learning Opportunity through Project CLEAR

Project CLEAR, one of three CCEE Learning Acceleration System Grantees, is recruiting educators from across the state interested in becoming a teacher leader with expertise in reading intervention. This grant-funded professional learning opportunity will cover the cost of participation in graduate coursework, including tuition and materials. Please see the fliers linked below for more information about how Project CLEAR can support students in your district.

Project CLEAR Overview (English) 

Resumen de Proyecto CLEAR (Spanish/Español)

Looking Ahead

2022-2023 Independent Study Professional Learning Network (ISPLN)

Join CCEE and participating districts for solution-oriented discussions focused on a problem of practice around independent study. The ISPLN meetings will occur at 10:00 am on the first Monday of every month. Please email Gonzalo Avila at [email protected] if you have any questions or would like further information.

In Case You Missed It

CCEE’s Playbook for Accelerating Learning (updated!)

August Resources

Balloons to Heaven Day – August 6 is Balloons to Heaven Day when we remember the countless lives lost to gun violence.

International Youth Day – August 12 is International Youth Day, a United Nations holiday to raise awareness to the issues that many children and teenagers around the world, especially those affected by poverty, who can’t get access to an appropriate education.

Women’s Equality Day – August 26 is Women’s Equality Day in the United States, a day to commemorate the 19th amendment of the Constitution which, in 1920, gave women the right to vote.

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
Continuous Improvement is Essential to Building Capacity

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

All educators have something in common: we all want to improve educational outcomes for students. The tools and approaches we use to do that vary amongst educators. However, the one thing we can all agree on is that if we don’t re-evaluate our practices, self-reflect on what is and is not working, and redirect our work, we will never truly improve.  

The Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center (TLLC) has been doing just that. The Systemic Instructional Review (SIR) is an essential tool used by the CCEE for providing assistance to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) for school improvement actions.  

The TLLC team has been on a quest to assess the impact of the SIR tool, reflect on its effectiveness, and redesign the approach, resources, and design to enhance the tool’s ability to improve educational outcomes for students.

The TLLC team in this newsletter will be sharing their continuous improvement journey.

Seizing the Moment
Redesigning the Direct Technical Assistance Approach

By Dr. Stephanie Gregson, Deputy Executive Director of the Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center

Headshot of Dr. Stephanie Gregson

The past few years have been difficult in many ways and has provided the opportunity to reflect on what is important in our personal and professional lives. We have experienced those moments that have allowed us to pause, reflect and see something from a different perspective. Sometimes what we see is not always easy to look at but is necessary to help us move forward and grow. Over the past 10 months, the CCEE Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center (TLLC) team has experienced many reflective and learning moments in our Direct Technical Assistance work. The TLLC team has engaged in learning and understanding different school improvement frameworks, hearing from our partners about their experiences, and became certified quality improvement coaches through International Health Institute (IHI) Quality Improvement Coaching Certification Program.

Over the summer, the TLLC Team engaged in a redesign process of the Systemic Instructional Review (SIR) and the Direct Technical Assistance approach grounded in Michael Fullan & Joann Quinn’s Coherence Framework and the IHI quality improvement tools and practices. We will be presenting our redesign to the CCEE Board on September 29th and invite you to tune in and learn more about our journey.

Our team is here to support and is ready to show up in a way that honors, respects, and values all that a district team has done. We look forward to learning from the district team’s application of their work and amplifying their successes.

Mt. Diablo Unified School District 

Dr. Adam Clark, Superintendent, Mt. Diablo Unified School District 

Jennifer Sachs, Chief of Educational Services, Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Headshot of Dr. Adam Clarke
Headshot of Jennifer Sachs

In 2020, at the very beginning of the pandemic, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) began its close relationship with CCEE. With a focus on capacity building for sustainability as a base, the Systemic Instructional Review (SIR) process helped us create a laser-like focus on instruction and continuous improvement. In collaboration with our Contra Costa County Office of Education, and other partner agencies, an action plan was developed focusing on increasing the quality of instruction and improving student outcomes, most specifically for historically underserved student groups. 

This intense need for coherence and alignment in Mt. Diablo Unified led to the creation of an instructional framework focusing on “simplexity”- to make the District’s instructional initiatives digestible for staff and the community to understand. 

Mt Diablo’s and CCEE’s work has focused on the capacity building of district and site leaders, instructional equity, increased student improvement, restorative practices, and building relationships with families and community partners. Mt. Diablo Unified is currently partnering with The New Teacher Project (TNTP) to enhance our focus on standards-based instruction with an emphasis on learning acceleration and instructional rigor. This partnership includes monthly professional development for site leaders and classroom teachers with educational equity at its core and classroom walk-throughs, strengthening our professional learning networks across our district. The work with CCEE has helped strengthen outreach and collaboration, address inequities across our system – specifically for African American students, students experiencing homelessness, and foster youth – and has built the capacity of district educators at all levels to improve student outcomes.

Contact MDUSD at:

Inglewood Unified School District

Bernadette C. Lucas, Chief Academic Officer, Inglewood Unified School District

The SIR and CCEE’s support have been vital as Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) implements our Instructional Plan and monitors the goals for student outcomes, experiences, and growth. The SIR and CCEE have supported the IUSD team in narrowing our focus on the teaching and leadership levers that will directly impact our vision for our students. This sounds like a simple concept. When working with a team of dedicated adults who are working to move an organization, this is a complex endeavor. 

The intensely collaborative work between IUSD and CCEE has led to significant shifts in nurturing a culture of continuous improvement based on specific goals and outcomes. This culture is grounded in internal and external accountability as evidenced in the SIR process. The SIR has translated to our everyday practice. And, that has made all the difference.   

IUSD has evolved because of the SIR and CCEE. The cycle of continuous improvement and the systematic support are not only embedded in the SIR, but also in the manner in which Educational Services thinks about and conducts its work. These are cultural shifts that have directly translated to our school sites and classrooms.  Critical to this cultural shift is the constant, relentless centering of student data and student work as the clear pathway to advancing student growth and achievement. The centering of data is causing the observable transition from external accountability to internal accountability.  

Two critical changes (of many) that have resulted directly from our work with CCEE are: 

  1. a documented IUSD Instructional Plan with year-long aligned professional development and,
  1. a collaborative three-five MTSS Plan that is being developed and implemented in alignment with our Strategic Plan and Instructional Plan.  

Words cannot express the impact of the relationship between IUSD and CCEE on our brilliant students. CCEE has been a vital partner in our pursuit of equity and liberation for our students as we deliver on our promise to them. 

Contact Bernadette Lucas at:

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

Our TLLC 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.

Meet our TLLC Team Members!

Franchesca and Sandra are valued members on our TLLC team! Read more on them below.

Headshot of Franchesca Sonoyama
Franchesca Sonoyama
Program Specialist
Teaching, Learning & Leading Center

Franchesca provides programmatic and team support including process improvement, material development, and project management within TLLC. Franchesca supports the implementation of the Systemic Instructional Review (SIR).

Fun Fact: Franchesca is a legit soprano, and cheese and chocolate connoisseur! Favorites: Black truffle cheddar and a 72% dark chocolate from Ecuador.

Headshot of Sandra Brandt
Sandra Brandt
Administrative Assistant II
Teaching, Learning & Leading Center

Sandra recently joined the CCEE team as Administrative Assistant II in the Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center. She supports Deputy Executive Director Stephanie Gregson and works closely with the LAS Grant team assisting with administrative support.

Fun Fact: Sandra loves to travel and is saving up for another trip to Spain. 

Click here to meet the rest of the TLLC team

CCEE Connection (July 2022)

News & Announcements
Community Engagement Initiative

As the Community Engagement Initiative enters its 4th year, we are excited to announce that our community of participating districts is growing from 17 to 46; representing the entire geography of the state, as well as county offices of education, charter schools, and rural single-school districts. Follow the CEI on Twitter for upcoming introductions to these new partners in our work.

In Case You Missed It

System of Support Updates (June & July 2022)

Friday 5 – Parent Resources to Promote Summer Learning at Home (7/8/22)

July Resources
Microlearning Modules

CCEE is partnering with content experts and experienced educators to develop “microlearning modules” — short videos sharing and explaining concepts, tools, and resources to support substitute teachers, paraeducators, and other instructional staff in the classroom.

Universal Design for Learning for School and District Leaders

Developed in partnership with the San Joaquin County Office of Education, this learning path provides a 30,000 ft. view of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – the why, the what, and the how to begin planning for and implementing UDL — with guidance for beginning your UDL journey as a school or district.

Assessment for Learning to Support Student Achievement

Developed in partnership with Validity Partners, this learning path introduces the “Formative Assessment (FA) Moves” framework to help teachers and students recognize, evaluate, and use “soft data” that emerges during and across a set of lessons.

It offers practical tips and tools, including video-based examples, worksheets, and templates to help users make progress — minute by minute, day by day — with assessment for learning practices rooted in research.

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

We all have something in common as educators — we want our schools to improve and innovate. Sometimes we differ on what schools should improve and innovate about. But at the end of the day, if we are not focused on improving and innovating on behalf of improved learning outcomes for all students, we might be missing the boat. 

The Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) Center is designed to do just that. Its focus is to support improvement and innovation for LEAs to accomplish the goals they set in the Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP). The I3 Center also provides innovative ways to help support LEAs with challenging problems. 

Below you will read about the Research-Practice Partnerships (RPPs) that are available for LEAs to support innovation and improvement, as well as the “microlearning modules” initiative, which is an innovative way to help bridge the gap between necessary knowledge for teaching and learning.


Matt J. Navo
Executive Director, CCEE

Collaborative Learning From LEA Innovations Through Research-Practice Partnerships

By Italo Ciccarelli, Program Specialist, CCEE

Headshot of Italo Ciccarelli

The focus of CCEE’s Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) Center is in using a statewide approach to collaboratively developing, delivering, sharing, and spotlighting practices that have demonstrated the power to improve outcomes for students.

Applying lessons learned and best practices from our previous learning network initiatives, CCEE’s Research-Practice Partnership (RPP) establishes collaborative agreements between local educational agencies (LEAs) and CCEE to support the initial implementation of an early-stage project, program, or initiative that aims to improve student outcomes. Areas of focus for proposed programs or projects can include any of the State priorities as outlined in the LEA’s Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) as long as they have the explicit goal of improving student academic performance, engagement, or social-emotional well-being. This initiative will focus on the application of continuous improvement and research processes to examine formative outcomes and support informed decision-making in the early stages of systems change.

Interested LEAs can download the RPP application on CCEE’s website. Questions can be directed to Italo Ciccarelli at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an application period or a deadline to apply for the Partnership?

Currently, there is no application cycle or an established deadline to apply for the RPP. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received. CCEE will work directly with applicants LEAs to communicate on application decisions and next steps.

How long will it take for the application to be reviewed and for funds to be awarded?

The review process and the award of the funding will depend on the details specified in the application. There are many factors that will determine the timing of the approval and awarding decision. CCEE will review each application in the order in which it was received and will work in a manner to communicate with applicants on the status of the application.

How much funding is available through the RPP?

We anticipate that a typical short-cycle project may receive funding  ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. CCEE reserves the right to consider and accept proposed projects for varying timeframes and amounts based on its review of the LEA’s application pursuant to the criteria specified.

How many LEAs will be identified for a Partnership?

At this time, CCEE has not set a specific number of LEAs that will be identified for a Partnership. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received. CCEE will communicate any changes to the procedure and updates on the RPP webpage.

Is there a limit to the number of applications an LEA can submit?

Currently, there is no limit to the number of applications an LEA can submit. However, it is recommended to follow the application guidelines to ensure the projects follow the specified parameters in order to be approved and receive available funding. CCEE reserves the right to consider and accept proposed projects for varying timeframes and amounts based on its review of the LEA’s application pursuant to the criteria specified.

Tips and Tools at Your Fingertips: Microlearning Resources by Educators for Educators

By Sujie Shin, Deputy Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Sujie Shin

The Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) Center is excited to announce the launch of our microlearning modules, brief 5-8 minute video learning tools designed to support substitute teachers, paraeducators, and other instructional staff who may not have access to more robust professional learning opportunities. These modules showcase master teachers from across the state, sharing immediately applicable tips, strategies, and tools in a brief video with downloadable handouts, instructions, and other supplemental materials and resources. 

CCEE has partnered with the California Subject Matter Projects (CSMP) and master teachers from each of the nine projects in the CSMP network to develop microlearning modules that provide quick tips, tools, and guidance in the key areas of classroom management, instruction, assessment, and social-emotional well-being.  Learn more about our partnership and access the resources developed with the subject matter teams on our CSMP microlearning modules collection page.

Center for Assessment logo
Partner Spotlight
Accelerating Student Learning with Formative Assessment Practices

CCEE is also proud to continue partnering with innovative, equity-minded leaders in the assessment and accountability space, like the Center for Assessment.

The Center for Assessment, in conjunction with CCEE, has developed microlearning courses aimed at introducing formative assessment processes. These microlearning courses provide new and aspiring educators with the knowledge and skills necessary for gathering information about what students know and can do so that instructional decisions support and accelerate student learning. These micro-courses can also provide experienced educators, instructional coaches, and administrators an opportunity to reflect on formative assessment practices used throughout all classrooms.

To support the use of these microlearning courses with teachers and instructional leaders, the Center for Assessment will be facilitating a learning network in the Fall. District leaders who are interested in applying to participate, should contact Dorcas Kong at [email protected] for more information. 

Learn more about our partnership with the Center for Assessment and access all the modules on this webpage.

CCEE Connection (June 2022)

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




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