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)
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 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)
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)
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)
California State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved California’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan.
“Given the differences between federal and state law, the plan approved by Secretary DeVos today represents the best possible outcome of our discussions with U.S. Department of Education staff,” Kirst said. “California is a national leader in supporting students with extra needs, providing local control over spending, encouraging community participation in schools, and releasing critical information on measures that indicate student success. Our ESSA plan allows that work to continue.”
Torlakson agreed: “California has the most ambitious plan in the nation to give additional resources to students with the greatest needs as we prepare all students for college and 21st century careers. The ESSA plan approved today will support those efforts.”
Signed by President Obama in 2015, ESSA requires every state that receives federal money for low-income students and English learners to submit and receive approval of a plan for managing and using the funds.
Source: State ESSA Plan Approved – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent Tom Torlakson today congratulated the La Sierra High School Adult Transition Program in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District on winning the 2018 Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) award, which recognizes outstanding programs in special education.
La Sierra High School Adult Transition Program is located on the California State Fullerton Campus and provides community, vocational, and social opportunities to students ages eighteen to twenty-two with moderate to severe support needs.
“This program is a great example of how to prepare students to become self-reliant and self-sufficient,” Torlakson said. “Providing students with career training that can lead to a job, exposing them to real world social activities, and teaching them how to live independently will enable these students to become productive, contributing, and thriving young adults.”
La Sierra High School Adult Transition Program started in 2009 with one teacher serving 12 students at a single location and is now districtwide with over 100 students enrolled. The program’s innovative practices are based on a planning structure that exposes students to a vast array of vocational, social/recreational, and independent living experiences.
Source: Winner of Special Ed Learning Award Congratulated – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
Towards the end of June, county treasurers will receive a warrant that reflects state aid for school districts; charter schools; and county offices of education for programs included in the 2017–18 Second Principal Apportionment (P-2). The California Department of Education (CDE) certified P-2 on June 19, 2018, pursuant to California Education Code (EC) Section 41335 in the amount of $34,987,702,505. County superintendents of schools should advise school districts and charter schools immediately of this apportionment.
This apportionment includes funding for 2017−18 as well as updated funding for the 2016−17 First Annual Recertification, the 2015−16 Third Annual Recertification, and adjustments to other prior year apportionments, as necessary.
A summary of the calculations that the CDE used in the P-2 Apportionment is available as an attachment to this letter. Funding exhibits and apportionment Excel files that provide detailed funding amounts related to the P-2 Apportionment are available on the CDE 2017−18 Principal Apportionment web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/pa/pa1718.asp. Additional Excel files for Special Education are available on the Special Education web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/se/.
Source: 2017-18 Second Principal Apportionment (P2) Letter – Principal Apportionment (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that disadvantaged families in California can now find updated lists of child and adult care centers offering nutritious meals at low or no cost through the California Department of Education’s website.
“Providing children with healthy meals is critical to their physical, emotional, and academic growth,” said Torlakson. “Parents who are struggling with food insecurity can find out where to go to ensure their children receive the proper nutrition they need to thrive. I encourage families to take advantage of these centers.”
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over 8,000 local child care centers and 14,000 sponsored day care home providers in California participate. These facilities provide nutritious food to infants, children, and adults.
All children enrolled in these day care homes receive meals at no charge. Most participating child care centers also provide meals at no charge, or free and reduced-price (F/RP) meals are available.
Source: Serving Nutritious Meals to Low-income Families – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today received a career recognition award from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, while calling for increased awareness and funding for mental health and suicide prevention.
Recent suicides by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade, combined with data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealing a significant increase in suicide rates have put a spotlight on this problem.
“Suicide is reaching epidemic proportions in our nation, our state, and our schools, making it even more important to focus on suicide prevention and expanding mental health services,” Torlakson said. “A suicide is a terrible, preventable loss that creates a tragedy for a family, a school, and an entire community.”
Torlakson praised schools for the work underway to prevent suicide, while asking all educators and members of the school community to be on the lookout for students showing signs of risk, and to assist them in seeking treatment. “This is no time for silence. If you notice someone suffering or in need, please speak out and help point them toward assistance,” he said.
Source: Torlakson Receives Suicide Prevention Award – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Research indicates the learning of a foreign language results in a myriad of lifelong benefits.
With that in mind, state education leaders have decided to launch an ambitious program to increase, in the coming decade, K-12 students’ proficiency in two or more languages.
State schools chief Tom Torlakson made the announcement last week at a Southern California elementary school.
In a press release, he said “Global California 2030” would greatly expand the teaching and learning of world languages and the number of students proficient in more than one language over the next 12 years.
The initiative aims to better prepare California students for the 21st-century economy, “broaden their perspective and understanding of the world, and strengthen the diversity of backgrounds and languages that make California’s culture and economy vibrant and dynamic,” Torlakson spokesman Bill Ainsworth wrote in the prepared statement.
Source: CDE launches program to expand learning of foreign languages
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced “Global California 2030,” a bold initiative to vastly expand the teaching and learning of world languages and the number of students proficient in more than one language over the next 12 years.
The initiative aims to better prepare California students for the 21st century economy, broaden their perspective and understanding of the world, and strengthen the diversity of backgrounds and languages that make California’s culture and economy vibrant and dynamic.
“The mission of Global California 2030 is to equip our students with the world language skills to succeed in the global economy and to fully engage with the diverse mixture of cultures and languages found in California and throughout the world,” Torlakson said. “We are setting high goals and dreaming big to help our students and our state.”
Source: Torlakson Launches Global CA 2030 Initiative – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that the public comment period is now open for the Health Education Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve. It presents an approach to health education that focuses on students learning skills and practicing behaviors that will lead to a lifetime of good health.
“Students who are healthy do better in school, attend more days of classes and are ready to learn,” said Torlakson. “This new framework is another example of how California is leading the way for comprehensive health education for all students.”
The framework provides guidance on a wide range of health education topics, including nutrition, physical activity, community health, drug use, depression, obesity, relationships, and the impact of the environment on health. It also gives students the tools to reduce risky behaviors. The new health education framework is the first based on the groundbreaking Health Education Content Standards for California Public School, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (PDF), which addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of health.
Source: Public Comment Open for Health Education Framework – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today honored six outstanding classified school employees for their dedication to California’s public school students.
“In light of recent events, school climate and a nurturing environment for students are more important than ever. These outstanding employees play critical roles in creating that environment,” Torlakson said. “They are dedicated and strive for excellence. It’s the same whether they’re serving healthy meals, driving the school bus, keeping a campus safe, or checking transcripts to make sure students are on pace to graduate. I applaud their fantastic work in helping students realize their full potential.”
The annual program honors six outstanding classified school employees from the following categories: Child Nutrition; Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities; Office and Technical Support; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; Support Services and Security; and Transportation. This year’s recipients were chosen from more than 100 nominations statewide.
The 2018 Classified School Employees of the Year, who will be honored by Torlakson at a luncheon in Sacramento on May 24, are: (Information contained in the following biographical sketches was excerpted from their nomination forms.)
Source: 2018 Classified School Employees Announced – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the release of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) CA Meals for Kids mobile app. The app allows users to find the locations of California’s Summer and Afterschool Meal Programs, which are spread throughout the state. These programs provide no-cost meals to children aged eighteen and under.
“It is critical that children continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session. This helps to counter summer learning loss and ensures that students are able to return to the classroom ready to learn,” said Torlakson. “This application will make it easier for families and caregivers to locate the sites closest to them and receive other information about meal services.”
The CA Meals for Kids App draws upon information submitted to the CDE Nutrition Services Division by local program sponsors and provides the most up-to-date information about meal services available in the community. Children and families can use location-based searches to find meal sites, dates, and times. The app also allows for searches by site name, ZIP code, and city.
Source: New CDE Mobile App—CA Meals for Kids – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
The State Board of Education today unanimously approved revisions to California’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan, a document that outlines the use and management of $2.4 billion in federal assistance to the state’s neediest students. California’s revised plan now moves on to the U.S. Department of Education for approval.
Every state that receives funding under ESSA is required to submit a plan to the federal government that meets federal statutory requirements.
California’s ESSA plan has been in development for more than two years with input from thousands of Californians. The revised plan affirms California’s commitment to the state’s broad overhaul of school funding and accountability ushered in by the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which provides an extra $10.1 billion annually to districts that serve low-income students, English learners, and foster youth. LCFF also gives local communities the authority to decide for themselves how best to allocate funding to address local needs.
“Because California is on the right track, it was important to work with the federal government to develop an ESSA plan that complements our state system but doesn’t drive it,” said State Board President Michael W. Kirst, a Stanford professor emeritus. “I am pleased that we have achieved that balance.”
Source: SBE Adopts Revised Every Student Succeeds Act Plan – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has announced his support for proposed legislation aimed at helping school districts maintain and improve safe public school campuses and increase engagement with parents and local communities.
Torlakson on Tuesday appeared at a Sacramento news conference with Californians for Justice, a student advocacy group that is also supporting the bill.
“Gathering school climate information each year is an important starting point in improving our children’s learning environments,” he said in a press release. “Safe and supportive schools are essential for all students as they navigate their way to college and 21st century careers.
Source: Torlakson supports proposed law to boost school climates, create safe environments
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced his support today for legislation aimed at helping school districts maintain and improve safe and inclusive learning environments for students and increase engagement with parents and their respective communities.
Torlakson appeared at a news conference on Tuesday with Californians for Justice, a student advocacy group that is also supporting the bill. “Gathering school climate information each year is an important starting point in improving our children’s learning environments. Safe and supportive schools are essential for all students as they navigate their way to college and 21st century careers,” Torlakson said. “In light of recent events at schools across our country, supporting districts in hearing their students’ voices and improving engagement with parents and communities is more vital than ever.”
AB 2820 was introduced by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). The bill sets up a “Community Engagement and School Climate for Continuous Improvement Block Grant.” This fund would provide school districts, at no cost, the option of using state-vetted school climate surveys, along with support and technical assistance on the administration of the surveys and utilization of results to improve school conditions and climate. If districts choose to use the surveys, they would be conducted annually with students, parents, teachers, and school staff.
Source: Torlakson Supports AB 2820 – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today the appointment of Kim Frinzell as the new Director of the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) at the California Department of Education (CDE). She began her new assignment on April 1.
Frinzell has over two decades of administrative and operations expertise in both federal and state nutrition programs and policy. She formerly served as the NSD’s Associate Director.
“Kim’s extensive experience, dedication, and comprehensive knowledge make her the perfect choice for this position,” said Torlakson. “She has played a key role in successfully collaborating with our schools, districts, and community centers to provide access to nutritious and healthy food for California students so they can be focused, alert, and ready to learn.”
Frinzell received her bachelor of science degree in agricultural science: dietetics and food administration from Fresno State University and later became a Registered Dietitian.
Source: Torlakson Names New Nutrition Services Director – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today applauded new guidelines to protect the rights of undocumented students and their families at California’s more than 10,000 public schools.
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra developed the Promoting a Safe and Secure Learning Environment for All: Guidance and Model Policies to Assist California K–12 Schools in Responding to Immigration Issues guide External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), to help schools develop policies to safeguard the privacy and personal information of students.
“This guide gives students, parents, educators, and the public, valuable information about the laws and the limits of immigration enforcement,” said Torlakson. “It’s a big step forward in support of all of our efforts to make sure students and their parents, regardless of citizenship status, feel safe and welcome at public schools.”
Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation requiring the Attorney General to issue guidance to help California’s public K–12 schools and other local educational agencies develop policies to protect the rights of undocumented students.
Source: New Guidelines for Undocumented Students – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)