2019 California Teachers of the Year Announced – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today named five extraordinary educators as the 2019 California Teachers of the Year.

Torlakson, who began his career as a science teacher and coach, said he is pleased to honor five outstanding and talented teachers who have made a great impact in their schools and communities.

“These five remarkable teachers deserve thanks and admiration for their deep commitment, hard work, and creativity,” he said. “They make profound differences in their students’ lives and provide students the tools they need to succeed. They’re an inspiration and an example of the exceptional work going on in California schools.”

Presented by California Casualty and the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage new teachers to enter the profession.

Source: 2019 California Teachers of the Year Announced – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Violence Prevention and Mental Health Grant – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) secured $1 million in grant funding under the federal STOP School Violence Act. The funds will be used to provide violence prevention and mental health training to students and staff in school districts that have been the most affected by violence on their campuses.

The CDE will partner with Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit led by family members who lost loved ones in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, to implement the Project Cal-STOP training initiative.

“We are pleased to receive this grant and to partner with Sandy Hook Promise on the joint mission to keep students and schools safe,” said Torlakson.“These funds will allow us to provide the training and support to those districts battling high rates of violence and suspensions. Our goal is to stop acts of violence on campuses and allow schools to be what they should be—safe places for students to learn and thrive.”

Source: Violence Prevention and Mental Health Grant – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

CAASPP Test Scores Released – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that 2018 scores for the online California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests in English Language Arts and mathematics increased further from the gains students made in 2017.

Statewide, in all tested grades, 49.88 percent of students met or exceeded the English Language Arts/Literacy standards (Table 1), a 1.32 percentage point increase from 2017 and a 5.88 percentage point increase from 2015. In mathematics, 38.65 percent of students met or exceeded standards (Table 2), a 1.09 percentage point increase from 2017 and a 5.65 percentage point increase from 2015.

This is the fourth year of the computer-based tests, which use California’s challenging academic standards and ask students to write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, as they will need to do in college and 21st century careers.

Torlakson expressed optimism with continued progress made by students and emphasized much work still needs to be done.

Source: CAASPP Test Scores Released – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools Named – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated 12 California public schools that have been chosen as 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools. This coveted award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve high learning standards.

“Congratulations to all the schools on this list that are helping students achieve their dreams and to the leaders dedicated to and invested in finding ways to close the achievement gap,” Torlakson said. “The teachers, parents, administrators, and community members at these schools are outstanding examples of innovative things happening in California education.”

The award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. In its 36-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has presented this award to more than 8,800 schools.

Source: 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools Named – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Torlakson Applauds Dual Language Signing – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson thanked Gov. Brown for signing legislation to promote Dual Language Immersion programs in California. Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, authored the bill.

Assembly Bill 2514 creates 10 grants of $300,000 that will be available to districts to start Dual Language Immersion programs.

Money will still have to be allocated by the Department of Finance, but Torlakson said he would strongly advocate for the funding.

“This is a great first step in creating a program that will support the expansion of Dual Language Immersion programs,” he said. “Students and their families want the chance to learn more than one language.”

Torlakson said the legislation advances the goals of his initiative, Global California 2030, to vastly increase the number of students who are fluent in two languages.

“Numerous studies show that fluency in another language boosts students’ mental flexibility and enhances their ability to learn all subjects. This legislation could open the door by giving more students the opportunity to become fluent in a world language by making it easier for districts to launch Dual Language Immersion programs, allowing students to start learning a world language in kindergarten.”

Source: Torlakson Applauds Dual Language Signing – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Record Number of Biliteracy Seals Awarded – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that a record 55,000 State Seals of Biliteracy, which signify fluency in another language, were awarded in 2017–2018. That means more graduating high school seniors than ever before can read, write, and speak at least two languages.

The soaring number of biliteracy seals represent progress in Torlakson’s Global California 2030 initiative, which seeks to rapidly expand the teaching and learning of world languages, in part by increasing the number of biliteracy seals awarded and by expanding the number of dual language immersion programs.

“I’m thrilled that so many of our students are learning a second language that will improve their cognitive abilities, better prepare them for the global economy, and broaden their horizons and understanding of other cultures and nations,” Torlakson said. “This is a great start in meeting the goals of Global California 2030.”

Source: Record Number of Biliteracy Seals Awarded – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

CA Math & Science Teachers Receive Honors – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated two California teachers who are among the 104 educators nationwide recently announced by the White House as recipients of the 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). He also announced six outstanding teachers as the 2018 California state finalists.

The California mathematics winner is Gabriela Cárdenas, a first and second grade dual language teacher at the UCLA Lab School, the laboratory for the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies in Los Angeles. The California science winner is Nancy Wright, who teaches grades three through six at Lorin Eden Elementary School and serves as the Science Teacher on Special Assignment for Hayward Unified School District in Hayward, leading the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards for her district.

“I applaud these teachers who play an essential role in shaping and inspiring our students in the areas of mathematics and science—which is so critical especially in California, where technology reigns, “said Torlakson, a former science teacher. “Their students are our future scientists, engineers, and inventors who can make a huge impact in our country.”

Source: CA Math & Science Teachers Receive Honors – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Torlakson Recognizes Suicide Prevention Month – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson marked Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month today by reminding students, teachers, and staff at C.K. McClatchy High School to recognize the risk factors of suicide so they can help identify students who might be in crisis and need assistance.

Students from the C.K. McClatchy National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on Campus Club and the California Department of Education (CDE) conducted the event to focus on student suicide risks.

“The suicide of a student is a terrible tragedy that devastates a family, a school, and an entire community. We must do everything we can to prevent suicide,” said Torlakson. “Every suicide threat made by a student should be taken seriously.”

Torlakson said peer-to-peer assistance programs, school mental health professionals, and trained school and district staff can reassure and support a student who might be struggling with depression, stress, anxiety, loneliness, or bullying.

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics stated that nearly one in five high school students in California experienced suicidal ideation.

Source: Torlakson Recognizes Suicide Prevention Month – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

High School Voter Education Weeks for 2018 – Letters (CA Dept of Education)

As we approach the upcoming November 6 statewide general election, it is important to ensure that our students are learning to become active and engaged participants in our democracy. It is never too early to motivate our students to get involved. That’s why we strongly encourage your school to observe High School Voter Education Weeks on September 17–28 to put our students on the path to a lifetime of civic engagement and voting. With online pre-registration available for sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds, it’s now easier than ever to get students prepared to cast their own ballots. Once pre-registered, they will automatically become active voters on their eighteenth birthday.

California Education Code designates the last two weeks of September as High School Voter Education Weeks and authorizes schools to designate students as “voter outreach coordinators.” With county elections officials as partners, we provide resources to make it easy for schools to participate. Teachers can help eligible students pre-register or register to vote either on a paper form or online. Voter outreach coordinators can lead registration drives and other school activities aimed at civic participation.

Source: High School Voter Education Weeks for 2018 – Letters (CA Dept of Education)

CA Adopts First-Ever Computer Science Standards – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

The State Board of Education on Thursday approved California’s first-ever computer science standards—learning expectations that will help each student reach their creative potential in our digitally connected world.

“As a forward-leaning state and home to Silicon Valley, California’s new standards will not only enable students to understand how their digital world works but will encourage critical thinking and discussion about the broader ethical and social implications and questions related to the growing capabilities of technology,” said State Board Member Trish Williams, who serves as the Board’s computer science liaison.

Developed by educators, the standards are designed to help students move from passive users of technology to creators and innovators who interact with computers. Beyond simply learning to code, the standards push students to communicate as scientists and find creative solutions to difficult problems.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said the standards would help improve computer science education in California.

Source: CA Adopts First-Ever Computer Science Standards – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

September is Attendance Awareness Month – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, in recognition of September as Attendance Awareness Month, said school districts, public agencies, community groups, students, and their families must work together to combat chronic absenteeism.

“Students aren’t learning if they are not in class. Cohesive partnerships, intervention strategies, and solid support services create attendance teams that are armed with the necessary tools to identify and help students struggling with attendance problems,” said Torlakson. “By combining resources and working together, school attendance administrators, parents, and community organizations can build systems to reduce chronic absenteeism rates that are positive and effective, not negative and punitive.”

A recent report by Attendance Works, Children Now, and the UC Davis Center for Regional Change noted that high levels of chronic absence in a school are a sign that additional support from the district, other public agencies, and nonprofits is needed.

Source: September is Attendance Awareness Month – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Whole Child Resources – Initiatives & Programs (CA Dept of Education)

Select a link to display the Whole Child resources for that subject or select the Expand All link to display all the resources. To effectively address the needs of the whole child, schools should collaborate with families, caretakers, and community agencies to deliver integrated services that promote improved access to health and learning supports, high expectations, and a positive school climate – all of which are necessary for students to thrive in the twenty-first century.

Source: Whole Child Resources – Initiatives & Programs (CA Dept of Education)

Candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction – Public Policy Institute of California

By Mary Severance

In November, Californians will elect a new superintendent of public education. Education is by far the largest state spending area, and California’s public K–12 system—which educates more than 6 million children—is critical to the state’s future. What are the top priorities of the two candidates and what are their visions for California’s schools? PPIC president Mark Baldassare talked to Tony Thurmond, a member of the state assembly, and Marshall Tuck, a school improvement director, about how they would approach the job.

The candidates largely agreed on the need to increase state education funding and the importance of improving outcomes for low-income students, English Learners, and foster youth. Both are strong advocates for universal preschool. And both stressed the need to prepare all students not just for college and careers but also for civic engagement.

After noting that California currently ranks near the bottom among all states in per pupil funding, Tony Thurmond promised to prioritize moving the state into the top ten within his first four years—and to “take us to number one within eight years.” To help close achievement gaps, he would expand successful local approaches. He cited the Freedom School, an Afro-centric literacy program, and Footsteps to Brilliance, which focuses on immigrant families, as models.

Source: Video: Candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction – Public Policy Institute of California

Register for the 2018 CA STEAM Symposium – Letters (CA Dept of Education)

Join thousands of California STEAM educators for two days of professional learning, collaboration, and inspiration.

The 2018 California STEAM Symposium will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center on October 28–29, 2018. Co-hosted by the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, the California Department of Education, and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, this annual event is the largest gathering of its kind and attracts more than 3,000 teachers, administrators, students, higher education representatives, program providers, and philanthropic, and industry partners from across California.

The California STEAM Symposium is a rigorous, collaborative, and inspiring professional learning conference that showcases innovative approaches to teaching and learning happening across the state. Educators leave with hands-on strategies and resources for best practices that support high-quality science, technology, engineering, art, and math education for all students.

Source: Register for the 2018 CA STEAM Symposium – Letters (CA Dept of Education)

State schools chief forms team to update charter school law – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

It’s 26 years old and needs a tune-up. Perhaps even an overhaul.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that he has created a panel to review the 1992 law governing California charter schools.

In a recent press release, the schools chief noted by name members of the Action Team on Charter Schools to provide recommendations of needed changes to his successor, the governor, the state Board of Education, and state Legislature. Both Torlakson and Gov. Jerry Brown term out at the end of the year.

The California Charter School Act has had few changes and little top-to-bottom review since it was enacted, Torlakson noted in the prepared statement.

Source: State schools chief forms team to update charter school law

Torlakson Creates Action Team on Charter Schools – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that he is creating an Action Team on Charter Schools to review laws governing California’s charter schools, and provide recommendations about any needed changes to the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Governor, State Board of Education, and State Legislature.

The guiding law for charter schools—the California Charter School Act—was enacted 26 years ago but has had few changes and little comprehensive review since then. In the meantime, California’s population and student population have increased significantly, our demographics have shifted, and our education system has been transformed with the introduction of new academic standards and new systems for funding and evaluating schools, Torlakson said.

“In the past few years, we have updated virtually our entire K–12 education system. Now it’s time to look at the key laws governing charter schools, which have not been significantly changed in 26 years, to see how they can be modernized to better meet the needs of all public school students, including those who attend charter schools,” said Superintendent Torlakson.

Source: Torlakson Creates Action Team on Charter Schools – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Torlakson Urges Support for Mental Health Bills – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson urged educators, parents, school board members, community leaders and all residents to voice their support for state legislation that will improve mental health services for students.

Torlakson is putting a major focus on mental health awareness and treatment, suicide prevention, and school safety as the Legislature reconvenes August 6 for the final weeks of the 2017–18 session.

“Students need to have good mental health to succeed in the classroom and in life. Schools can help by creating a caring and supportive environment and by working to help identify mental health problems early so students can receive the treatment they need,” said Torlakson, who started his career as a high school science teacher and served as a track and cross country coach.

Source: Torlakson Urges Support for Mental Health Bills – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Confidentiality-School Nutrition Programs – School Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

Confidentiality is a set of rules that limits access to or places restrictions on certain types of information. All applications and records concerning any individual made or kept by any public officer or agency relating to free and reduced-price (F/RP) meal eligibility are considered confidential.

Although a program or person may be authorized under the National School Lunch Act to receive F/RP meal eligibility information, there must be a legitimate need to know in order to provide a service or carry out an authorized activity. The California Department of Education, local educational agencies (LEA), and schools must ensure that data systems, records, and other means of accessing a student’s eligibility status are limited to officials directly connected with the school meal programs, and may not be open to examination for any purpose not directly connected with the administration of any F/RP meal program.

Both federal and state laws impose strict confidentiality requirements regarding information gathered to determine a child’s eligibility for F/RP meals. The intent of these laws is to limit access to meal applications and any records concerning a child’s F/RP meal benefit eligibility status, such as the child’s name and F/RP meal category. The records shall not be available to any individual for any purpose not directly connected with the administration of any F/RP meal program. LEAs must establish procedures that limit access to only those assigned by the LEA to determine eligibility. In California, there are some state laws that supersede federal regulations pertaining to confidentiality.

Source: Confidentiality-School Nutrition Programs – School Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

Torlakson Reports 2017 High School Grad Rates – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced California’s high school graduation rates today under a new methodology that was adopted in response to a federal audit.

As part of this new methodology, three significant changes were implemented for calculating 2017 high school graduation rates: (1) Students who receive an adult education high school diploma are no longer considered regular high school graduates, and (2) students who pass the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) are no longer considered regular high school graduates, and (3) students who transfer to adult education programs or a community college will remain in the denominator for the cohort calculation.

Using this new methodology, which reduces the number of students counted as graduates, 82.7 percent of California students who started high school as ninth graders in 2013–14 graduated on-time four years later in 2017. Under the old methodology, the statewide graduation rate was 83.8 percent in 2016.

Overall, the number of graduates increased from 2016 by over 900 for a total of 408,124 students. In addition, the number of students who dropped out in 2017 decreased by over 2,200 compared to last year.

Source: Torlakson Reports 2017 High School Grad Rates – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

2018–19 Advance Apportionment Letter – Principal Apportionment (CA Dept of Education)

Towards the end of July, county treasurers will receive a warrant that reflects state aid for programs included in the 2018–19 Advance Principal Apportionment (Advance) for local educational agencies (LEA). The California Department of Education (CDE) certified the Advance on July 20, 2018, pursuant to California Education Code (EC) Section 41330. The statewide total was $38,946,148,465. County superintendents of schools should advise school districts and charter schools immediately of this apportionment.

The 2018–19 Advance is apportioned on the basis of an LEA’s Second Principal Apportionment (P-2) funding from the preceding fiscal year pursuant to EC Section 41330 and funding appropriations provided in the 2018–19 Budget Act and related trailer bills (Assembly Bill 1808, Chapter 32, Statutes of 2018, and Assembly Bill 1825, Chapter 39, Statutes of 2018).

A summary of the Advance calculations is described below. This letter, as well as Excel files that provide funding and monthly payment amounts, are available on the CDE website at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/pa/pa1819.asp. Additionally, the CDE has posted 2018–19 funding rates and updated the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Gap and cost of living adjustment (COLA) percentages on the Funding Rates and Information web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/pa/ratesandinfo.asp.

Source: 2018–19 Advance Apportionment Letter – Principal Apportionment (CA Dept of Education)