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.