CCEE Connection (March 2023)

News & Announcements

New State Funding for 21st Century Skills Academy (21CSLA)

Read more at the Berkeley School of Education’s website.

Universally Designing Systems of Support: Webinar Series
Alternative Dispute Resolution

Presented as part of the California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy Spring Learning Series

More information, including registration is available here.

Registration is Open for the 2023 Spring ELO-P Academy!

The California AfterSchool Network (CAN) in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE), Expanded Learning Division (EXLD), and members of the System of Support for Expand Learning (SSEL), are excited to offer a free virtual Expanded learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P) Academy! 

Register Here

In Case You Missed It

System of Support Updates (March 2023)

Looking Ahead

Universal Pre-Kindergarten

The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) has partnered with the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) to host two workshops on Universal Pre-Kindergarten Blending, Braiding, and Layering for districts, county offices, charter schools and community partners.

Workshops will be structured around guided working sessions in which LEA teams will use strategic planning tools, with the help of expert coaches, to generate solutions and strategic action plans that are specific to each LEA’s circumstances. For the best results, LEA’s are encouraged to bring a multi-disciplinary team to the workshop.  There is no fee to attend the workshops.

An information session was held on February 27, 2023, with a registration application available to all LEA’s and other entities, that was due March 10, 2023.

Workshop sessions will be held: April 18, 2023 (virtual) and May 4, 2023 (hybrid- virtual and in-person)

For more information, contact CCEE Assistant Director, Julie Boesch [email protected]

Equity Corner

Women’s History Month

Gender Equality Month

March 13 – National Good Samaritan Day

About the CCEE

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

Executive Director’s Corner

Investing Time in Exploring Tools

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

I am always amazed by just how much we (educators, researchers and policy makers) do in efforts to improve public education. I am also reminded that we can, at times, try to do too much. The biggest threat to public education is not allowing educators time to understand, provide professional training and use the tools, resources and support being provided.
This March 2023, Transformative Systems for Equitable Education Center (TSEE) is taking time to remind us of all the resources being provided through the Statewide System of Support (SSOS) that are designed to enhance Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in accomplishing their Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and ultimately improve public education.

A Shared Journey to Support Student Achievement

By Chris Hartley, Ed.D., Deputy Executive Director of the Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes Center

It is hard to believe that we are well into the month of March 2023! All of us in the CCEE Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes (TSEE) Center, want to express our gratitude to the many partners throughout the state that are all pulling together to support student achievement and growth. The Statewide System of Support (SSOS) is on the move with a multitude of programs and projects in full swing.
At the core of our collective work is the fact that collaboration, cooperation and communication are critical to aligning our work, fostering cohesion, building relationships and ultimately aligning support to assist districts and schools in meeting the needs of our students. Our partners throughout the state understand what it means to maximize leadership to give support where it is needed the most, inside our schools directly supporting students. No one agency can do this important work alone.
From our Community Engagement Initiative, the Leadership Institute, UPK Workshops, to the hard work of lead agencies like Geographic and SELPA Leads, we are focused on providing a through line between state initiatives and implementation at the school site level. It is critical that we keep this momentum going within the SSOS. Thank you to all the incredible partners both in the field and at the state level, who are actively engaged in aligning systems and committed to using the same compass on our collective journey to serve students.


CEI Updates: Fostering Stronger Relationships Between LEAs, Students, Families, and Community Partners

By Steven Sterling Mitchell, Assistant Director, Community Engagement & System of Support

Highlights from the Community Engagement Initiative’s past three months

The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) fosters stronger relationships between Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), their students, families, and community partners to support student success. Now in its fourth year of operation, the CEI has expanded its reach in the 2022-23 school year and now represents 36 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) across California, ranging from as far north as Shasta County to as far south as Imperial County. This growth demonstrates the increasing recognition and importance of community engagement in education systems across the state.

A major milestone for the CEI was the All-Cohorts Peer Leading & Learning Network (PLLN) meeting held in January. Over 400 educational partners from diverse communities across California attended the event to share promising practices and strategies for promoting equity and inclusion in schools and communities. Attendees had dedicated time for teams and role-alike groups to share experiences and ideas about effective approaches to community engagement.

Dr. Karen Mapp, a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of the Dual Capacity-Building Framework, was the keynote speaker at the event. She emphasized the importance of building strong relationships between schools, families, and communities and discussed strategies for effective communication and collaboration between them.

Our peer leading and learning model recognizes that our districts/LEAs who are new to the work, will learn best from their peers who are further along. Because of this our January event was dedicated to peer-led learning opportunities. The event provided foundational CEI districts in Cohorts I & II a platform to share promising practices and their own strategies for overcoming barriers to strengthen relationships within their communities. By working collaboratively with families and community partners, LEAs are helping to create more equitable and inclusive education systems across California. The work of CEI cohorts demonstrate that partnerships between educational institutions, families, and communities can positively impact student outcomes.

The experience was innovative and electrifying. To have district folks, families/students & CBO [Community Based Organizations] in the same room was the highlight of the experience. Sharing best practices & lived experiences was a highlight.

-January PLLN Attendee

In February, our Cohort III teams convened in Sacramento where team members from our Peer Leading & Learning Exchange (PLLX) (Comprised of members of our foundational Cohorts I and II teams) introduced them to improvement science concepts and how to develop their initial community engagement problems of practice (PoP). This PoP will inform their site-level work in the coming year and lead to transformational outcomes for their campuses and students in the months ahead. After our March PLLNs that included capacity building and work around data and metrics with our foundational districts earlier this month, we are well poised for our next All-Cohorts PLLN in-person in San Diego on April 26.

The CEI is part of the Statewide System of Support and is a collaborative effort led by CCEE, the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS), the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), and Families in Schools (FIS). The commitment to authentic community engagement is helping to empower educators and communities to build a more equitable and inclusive education system in California, focused on student success.

CCEE & SSDA Leadership Institute

By Dr. Julie Boesch, Assistant Director, State System of Support

The Leadership Institute is a collaborative effort between CCEE and the Small School Districts Association (SSDA) to create a safe space for new and aspiring small school district leaders to learn, grow, highlight areas of needed support, share successes, and build relationships with other small district leaders.

The ultimate goal of the Leadership Institute is to empower educational leaders in an authentic environment of learning and grace to grow in service to their students, staff, and communities.

Current Active Participants: 38
Coaches: 11
Facilitators: 5
These participants represent numerous districts and counties across the State.

We are planning monthly 90-minute virtual sessions as well as two in-person sessions to align with the dates of the two annual SSDA conferences in March and July. The scope and sequence includes topics such as leadership, communication, governance and finance, human resources, community engagement, and vision and goal setting. Our goal is to create a valuable learning experience that is driven by the field for the field and to be highly responsive to participants needs and requests.

Cohort One will wrap up in July and we will kick off cohort two. We already have participants on the waitlist for our upcoming cohort.
We are excited to announce that our Leadership Institute will be kicking off cohort II in San Diego in July! This collaborative effort between CCEE and SSDA is a great growth opportunity for new and aspiring small school district leaders. This Institute has been designed for small district leaders by small district leaders and experts in the field! Reserve your spot now by emailing [email protected]

Julie Boesch head shot

Collaboration, Cooperation, and Communication

An example of the Riverside County partnership between the County Office of Education (COE) and Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA)

By Dr. Melissa Bazanos Hutton, Executive Director of Accountability, Assessment, and Continuous Improvement &

Leah Davis, Executive Director, Riverside County SELPA

The Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) and the Riverside County Special Education Local Plan Area (RC SELPA) exist as two separate entities in the CA education system, yet their cooperative support of Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) within their region, demonstrates their shared dedication to collaboration in support of all students in Riverside County. Team members from the RCOE and RC SELPA recognized many years ago that each educational organization provided a variety of supports to LEAs that periodically overlapped, yet each agency also possessed additional unique resources and services that benefitted districts, schools, and students. In order to better align supports and to maximize resources, RCOE and RC SELPA representatives established a collaborative structure to build coherence across agencies to support LEAs, schools, and students.

In addition to regular standing meetings between the Executive Director of RC SELPA and the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, monthly meetings were initiated in 2017-2018 to bring together teams from both agencies. The teams developed purpose statements to guide their frequent collaboration which include:

  • Provide consistent communication to each other and to school districts
  • Align services and support to districts
  • Model collaboration between COEs and SELPAs
  • Connect to Statewide System of Support

To guide collaboration sessions, standing agenda items were established. Each month team members from both organizations coalesce around the following topics:

  • CA System of Support. RCOE Educational Services Division provides Geographic Lead Agency updates. RCOE Student Programs and Services Division provides Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP) Project updates. RC SELPA provides SELPA System Improvement Leads (SIL) updates. Together the teams determine how these CA System of Support opportunities may support the unique needs of the region’s individual LEAs.
  • Level 1 Support. RCOE and RC SELPA staff provide updates on services currently offered to LEAs. Opportunities for cross-agency collaboration are discussed.
  • Level 2 Support. RCOE and RC SELPA staff discuss support for LEAs eligible for Differentiated Assistance and opportunities for alignment with Special Education accountability support through Compliance and Improvement Monitoring.

Over the past five years, opportunities for collaboration have evolved and expanded. For example, RC SELPA presents information at RCOE’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) workshops and Instructional Leaders Network (ILN) including updates such as requirements for consultation with SELPA in LCAP development along with facilitating differentiated assistance inquiry sessions with LEA teams. RCOE and RC SELPA team members join district teams in analyzing student data, identifying potential root causes for student outcomes, and determining high leverage practices to address student needs. RC SELPA has co-presented with RCOE staff regarding opportunities for plan alignment between the LCAP and and the Special Education improvement activities as required by the Compliance and Improvement Monitoring (CIM) process (previously the Performance Indicator Review (PIR) and Special Education Plan (SEP). RCOE and RC SELPA staff have co-presented to Riverside County English Learner Directors regarding resources and services for English Learners with Disabilities.

During school closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, RCOE and RC SELPA continued to collaborate virtually. Staff supported LEA teams with strategic plan alignment as part of the Differentiated Assistance process in 2020-2021 and are exploring how to further this support in recognition of Special Education technical assistance requirements. RCOE and RC SELPA staff continue to collaborate when providing Differentiated Assistance support to LEAs, specifically those meeting DA eligibility criteria based outcomes for Students with Disabilities.

While a common purpose and structured agenda have supported the collaborative efforts of RC SELPA and RCOE, the success in providing high quality technical assistance to our local LEAs evolved through building the trust and shared commitment of individual team members. Relationships matter and are critical to the success of Riverside’s collaborative support structure. Team members from both RC SELPA and RCOE took great interest in each others’ expertise and found opportunities to highlight and complement each others’ work. Monthly collaborative meetings were prioritized and time to meet was protected. Ultimately by leveraging the strengths of each organization, focusing on relationships, trust, and camaraderie, RCOE and RC SELPA have been better able to serve Riverside County LEAS as they strive toward improved outcomes for students with disabilities.

About the Transformative Systems for Equitable Educational Outcomes

Meet two of our Transformative Systems Team Members!

Steven Sterling Mitchell, Assistant Director, Community Engagement & System of Support

Steven has worked in public education for over 25 years. He joined the CCEE team over 4 years ago, and has supported the growth and development of the Community Engagement Initiative.  

Fun Fact: Steven’s favorite foods are Mofongo and Pozole, and he searches the world to try and find the best one.

Mayra Mendoza-Flores, Administrative Assistant II

Mayra recently joined CCEE. She previously worked for Twin Rivers Unified School District as an Administrative Secretary for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Department. Her focus with CCEE will be to help provide administrative and program support within the Community Engagement Initiative. 

Fun Fact: Mayra enjoys mini family getaways. Her favorite place is anywhere where there’s a beach.

CCEE Connection (February 2023)

News & Announcements

Request for Applications – Community Engagement Initiative 2.0 Lead Agency

The California Department of Education and the CCEE invite interested county offices of education, on behalf of a consortium of entities (e.g., LEAs, institutions of higher education, nonprofit educational services providers), to apply to be named as the Lead Agency to co-administer the expanded 2.0 work of the Community Engagement Initiative (CEI). Application details

21CSLA Research-Practice Webinar: Hate speech on social media—What can leaders do?

Featuring Dean Tina Christie and Dr. Arif Amlani (UCLA School of Education and Information Studies) in conversation with leaders from the field and facilitated by Professor Jabari Mahiri (Berkeley School of Education) on Wednesday, February 15, 3:30–4:30 pm. All webinars are free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Learn more and register here. Until then, watch recordings of past webinars.

In Case You Missed It

System of Support Updates (February 2023)

Looking Ahead

California Dyslexia Initiative Professional Learning Network 

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

Join Sacramento COE, the CDE, CCEE, and SBE on March 1 to learn 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.

21CSLA UTK Leadership Initiative

The 21CSLA Universal Transitional Kindergarten Leadership Initiative prepares leaders to “lead for equity” in rolling out California’s Transitional Kindergarten for all four-year-olds.

Join the 21CSLA Valley to Coast Regional Academy for two series they are hosting: 

  • Series 1: Leaders Envisioning Equitable TK Classrooms in Action
  • Series 2: Leadership Practices to Support, Integrate, and Align UTK

Join the 21CSLA  Mid-State Regional Academy for a two-day event on envisioning and leading equitable TK Classrooms they are hosting: 

  • Day 1: Leadership Practices to Support, Integrate, and Align P-3
  • Day 2: Inquiry through Play
February Resources

African American Heritage Month

Black History Month

Youth Leadership Month

Feb 1 – Global School Play Day

Feb 20 – National Leadership Day

About the Teaching Learning and Leading Center (TLLC)

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

About the CCEE

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

Executive Director’s Corner

The 2022 Dashboard results are out…Now what?

By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

Headshot of Matt Navo

The 2022 Dashboard results confirmed that the impact of COVID-19 created lasting educational challenges. Challenges that require a continued focus on providing safe and healthy school environments, an intense focus on addressing educational inequities exacerbated by learning challenges, and finding collaborative solutions for improved educational outcomes.

Now what? The good news is that there have been many investments by both local, county, and state officials to help prepare for this predictable need. The state investments in Community Schools, Expanded Learning Opportunities Grants/Programs, Universal Pre-K, Transitional Kindergarten, Social Emotional and Behavioral Health, and Learning Acceleration System Grant have all been put in place in anticipation of the challenges educators would face, and most importantly what students would need.  

In this newsletter, our Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center (TLLC) team highlights some of the resources available to help educators, administrators, and other partners address the challenges ahead.

Learning From and With Each Other

By Stephanie Gregson, Ed.D., Deputy Executive Director of the Teaching, Learning & Leading Center, CCEE

As was stated in the Executive Director’s Corner, there have been substantial investments by local, county, and the state to help educators address challenges. With these substantial investments and highlighted state initiatives, there is the opportunity to learn from each other and to learn together. There were many lessons from the pandemic, one of them being we all do better, and our students do better when we are in a learning space together. The next several articles will share the different opportunities CCEE is convening and facilitating for educators across the state to share space and to learn together. These professional learning networks are just a few examples and range in topics that are timely and relevant to different areas and contexts across our diverse state. You will see threads from Fullan and Quinn’s Coherence Framework woven throughout as we advise and assist districts in cultivating collaborative cultures, deepen learning, focus their direction, and build accountability within their system. We hope to see you in one of our future professional learning networks. 

Lifelong Learners: Professional Expert Learning Network  

By Erik Swanson, Senior Advisor of the Teaching, Learning & Leading Center, CCEE

“When you know better, you do better.” Maya Angelou 

The Teaching, Learning, and Leading Center (TLLC) works to support districts experiencing chronic systemic challenges through Direct Technical Assistance (DTA).  The team that supports these districts is comprised of CCEE employees and a diverse set of experienced educators throughout our state.  

As an organization focused on getting better at getting better, a year ago, after thoughtful discernment and reflection about the model guiding our support, the Center made the decision to adopt the Coherence Framework by Fullan and Quinn as the foundation of our support.  This framework coupled with our intentionality on fostering compassionate systems that utilize quality improvement tools and the cycle of continuous improvement is now how we are best partnering with districts and their leadership teams. 

This year, our monthly learning network meetings have been focused on grounding our professional experts in the new model.  For this reason, our convenings are focused on three main topics…

  1. The “Coherence” book study,
  2. A review of the revised phases of direct technical assistance, and
  3. Sharing and soliciting feedback on the protocols and tools being developed to best serve our partner districts.

The conversations this year have been rich with the sharing of each members vast experiences in different contexts and how that expertise, aligned with the framework can continue to support the districts receiving Direct Technical Assistance.  We are excited about the opportunity to continue to learn together in a singular effort to be more prepared to serve our districts who serve the students of California most in need.   

Better Together: The Learning Acceleration System Grant Professional Learning Network

By Stacey Wedin, Assistant Director of the Teaching, Learning & Leading Center, CCEE

The Learning Acceleration System (LAS) Grant is a statewide initiative to build systems and capacity to provide California educators with professional learning around evidence-based strategies to accelerate student learning. The CCEE has partnered with three LAS grantees and their respective partner agencies to achieve our collective goals. The goals are ambitious and, indeed, strong partnerships, shared accountability, and authentic collaboration are critical ingredients to our recipe for success. The CCEE established the LAS Grant Professional Learning Network as a space where grantees, along with their teams, can cultivate collegiality, alignment, and deep learning across projects as we move through phases of implementation together. 

Two primary objectives were established for the LAS Grant PLN: 

  1. To form a learning community focused on developing, sharing, aligning, and scaling evidence-based best practices related to learning acceleration across California. 
  2. To develop strategies for systematically evaluating learning acceleration for the purposes of improvement, sustainability, and communication.

During the quarterly PLN meetings, LAS grant partners discuss a myriad of topics, including implementation successes and challenges (along with solutions), outreach strategies, and opportunities to support, connect, or align efforts. Maintaining a trusting, vulnerable, respectful learning environment is paramount. The LAS grant work is dynamic, complex, varied, and just getting started. The PLN will serve to coalesce grantees around a shared purpose despite varied approaches, calibrate expectations around impact and success, and fuel the steadfast commitment of LAS grant partners to support educators and accelerate learning. To learn more, please visit the recently launched LAS Grant website.

Independent Study Professional Learning Network 

By Gonzalo Avila, Ed.D., Senior Manager of the Teaching, Learning & Leading Center, CCEE

Is your district, school, or county office struggling with creating effective structures and processes to create a rigorous independent study program? Then this professional learning network is for you. 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.

This year, our focus is on professionals sharing their best practices for Independent Study implementation. Districts and counties from across the State are involved in this high level collaboration. Please join our next meeting on March 6th. To join our meeting, please complete registration.

Feel free to contact Gonzalo Avila at [email protected] or visit our website for more ISPLN information.

Upcoming Learning Acceleration System Grant Opportunities!

Evidence-based strategies for rapid student progress

For more information visit our new Learning Acceleration System Grant website!

Project CLEAR is offering a series of free after school virtual workshops on Literacy Learning starting February 13, 2023. Participants will explore different elements of powerful literacy teaching and learning. Learn about strategies to accelerate students’ literacy that you can apply today! For more information, see Project CLEAR’s flyer.

Just released … FREE, online, asynchronous professional learning 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. If you wish to learn more, visit the CCLA Website .

Act now! CCLA is hosting its FREE inaugural summit on March 11, 2023! Register to gain knowledge and deepen understanding of learning
acceleration to reinvigorate classroom instruction to improve student outcomes.

Coming Fall 2023… FREE, online, asynchronous professional learning modules on Multi-tiered System of Support and Universal Design for Learning in the mathematics classroom, coaching, Lesson Study, and instructional strategies and concepts from the California Mathematics Framework.

FAQs on Eligibility for Assistance under California’s Accountability System

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

    CCEE Connection (January 2023)

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

    About the I3 Center

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

    About the CCEE

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

    Executive Director’s Corner

    By Matt J. Navo, Executive Director, CCEE

    Headshot of Matt Navo

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

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

    Measuring the Effectiveness of California’s Professional Learning Initiatives

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

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

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

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

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

    Balancing Data and Assessment Systems to Accelerate Learning

    By Ingrid Roberson, Assistant Director of Research Learning, CCEE

    Headshot of Ingrid Roberson

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

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

    Why Universal Design for Learning?

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

    Headshot of James McKenna

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

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

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

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

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

    Amplifying Innovative Practices Through District Spotlights

    By Dorcas Kong, Senior Specialist of Executive Projects, CCEE

    Headshot of Dorcas Kong

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

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

    CCEE Connection (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.