2019 Model School Attendance Review Board Winners – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 23 school attendance programs were recognized as model School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs) for outstanding strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism and increase student attendance.

“In order for students to reach their full learning potential, they need to be in school,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “These exemplary attendance programs have reduced chronic absenteeism rates at the district level and have been able to provide the necessary support to students who are the most vulnerable and at risk of becoming a chronic absentee. This recognition is well-deserved, and I hope that other districts will follow the lead of the model SARBs and replicate their methods so we can get all of our students back in class and on the pathway to graduation and a successful future.”

Source: 2019 Model School Attendance Review Board Winners – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Number of Hispanic, charter school students on the rise – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The most recent state data for California’s K–12 public schools indicates that overall enrollment is down slightly, while the number of Hispanic/Latino and charter school students has risen slightly and the number of white and black students has dropped slightly.

The 2018-19 data, announced Thursday by state schools chief Tony Thurmond, breaks down enrollment by ethnicity and grade, along with English language acquisition status, and can be sorted by county, district, or school. The data can be found at https://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest.

“This data provides a critical snapshot of all students in California, highlighting trends that show areas where students are improving, where they’re struggling and where additional resources are needed,” Thurmond said in a press release.

Source: State: Number of Hispanic, charter school students on the rise – The Reporter

2019 California Green Ribbon Schools Award Winners – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that 20 schools, three districts, and one county won 2019 California Green Ribbon Schools Awards. Among these winners, California also nominated one school district and four individual schools to compete in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition program, which honors schools that conserve resources while promoting health and environmental literacy. The full list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.

“Congratulations to this year’s honorees,” said Thurmond. “California Green Ribbon Schools engage our kids to understand and act on behalf of their environment. From global-sized problems like climate change to local challenges like water quality, sustainability education grows the creativity, critical thinking skills, and environmental literacy our students need in order to lead now and into the future.”

Source: 2019 California Green Ribbon Schools Award Winners – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

2018-2019 Enrollment Data for California Schools – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today the release of 2018–2019 enrollment data for California’s K–12 public schools. The data breaks down enrollment by ethnicity and grade, along with English Language Acquisition Status, and can be sorted by county, district, or school.

“This data provides a critical snapshot of all students in California, highlighting trends that show areas where students are improving, where they’re struggling and where additional resources are needed,” Thurmond said.

One important category updated for 2018–2019 is school-level data for Free or Reduced Price Meals, which is an effective indicator of student poverty. All data is utilized for state and federal reporting purposes, including determinations for supplemental grant funding through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

Source: 2018-2019 Enrollment Data for California Schools – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Thurmond Announces Exemplary Program Awards – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced additional honors for 22 California Distinguished middle schools and high schools selected as having an Exemplary Program in Arts Education, Career Technical Education, or Physical Activity and Nutrition. Distinguished Schools applied separately for these honors. This year’s honorees include 10 schools for Arts Education, nine for Career Technical Education, and four schools for Physical Activity and Nutrition—with one school receiving honors in two categories.

“We know that closing the achievement gap includes world-class instruction, including access to STEAM, career technical education, physical education, and nutrition education.” said Thurmond. “Instruction outside of core academic subject areas—like job training, entrepreneurship, and STEAM—helps all students prepare for 21st century jobs and sparks creative and healthy minds. I congratulate these 22 Exemplary Program Award winners for their outstanding work.”

Source: Thurmond Announces Exemplary Program Awards – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

2019 Civic Learning Award Recipients – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that 92 schools won this year’s Civic Learning Awards, which celebrate public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning. Now in its seventh year, the awards program is co-sponsored by Thurmond and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.

These schools engage students in civic learning through unique classes, clubs, and programs preparing students for participation in democracy. The awards are designed to both celebrate successful efforts to engage students in civic learning and to identify successful models that can be replicated in other schools.

“Having had the chance to teach a civics class, and from my time working with students in the Legislature, I’m a huge supporter of engaging students in civics early, which helps to engage them for life,” said Thurmond. “It was fulfilling to work with students in the State Legislature, where every year I had students help write a bill with me. I would like to continue that work by asking students to share their ideas on new bills, such as keeping college affordable, school nutrition, and student housing.”

Source: 2019 Civic Learning Award Recipients – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

2019 CA Distinguished Schools Announced – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that 162 middle and high schools are being honored under the 2019 Distinguished Schools Program. Sponsored by the California Department of Education and California Casualty, the program recognizes outstanding education programs and practices. Schools are awarded for achieving exceptional student performance for two consecutive school years or closing the achievement gap between two school years.

The list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.

“I would like to commend these schools for fighting for a better future for our students, closing achievement gaps, and improving academic performance,” Thurmond said. “Thanks to teachers, administrators, classified employees, and parents working together, these schools meet the needs of all of their students, provide high-quality educational experiences, and put kids on a pathway to great careers.”

Source: 2019 CA Distinguished Schools Announced – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

2019 Model Continuation High Schools Announced – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 31 schools were newly designated as Model Continuation High Schools for 2019. These schools are recognized for their innovative approach to instruction and helping students who have faced many challenges—including behavior issues, chronic absenteeism, and truancy—get back on the pathway to learning.

“These schools have created exemplary programs and strategies that provide students with a second chance at academic success,” said Thurmond. “The commitment demonstrated by the teachers and administrative staff, combined with a culture of caring that focuses on the emotional and education needs of the unique populations they serve, are what make these continuation high schools the best examples of how to help kids strive and reach their full potential.”

Source: 2019 Model Continuation High Schools Announced – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Classified School Employees of the Year Program (CA Dept of Education)

I would like to invite each County Office of Education (COE) to participate in the 2019 Classified School Employees of the Year (CSEY) Program. Presented by the California Department of Education (CDE), the Classified School Employees Association, and California Casualty, the CSEY Program highlights the contributions of classified school employees who support the education of California’s public school students in preschool through grade twelve.

The program goals are to identify six exemplary classified school employees throughout California for the CSEY award. The 2019 CSEY Program will identify and honor classified employees working in the following categories: Child Nutrition; Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities; Office and Technical; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; Support Services and Security; and Transportation.

Source: Classified School Employees of the Year Program – Letters (CA Dept of Education)

New K-12 California Arts Standards – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond praised the recent adoption of new California Arts standards by the State Board of Education, stating it is a critical step in enhancing creativity in students and preparing students for California’s “creative economy.” The last update to the state’s arts standards was in 2001.

“This was long overdue. Creativity and appreciation for the arts is important for all students to have a well-rounded education, exposing them to new ideas and perspectives. Arts education boosts school attendance, academic achievement, and college attendance rates; improves school climate; and promotes higher self-esteem and social-emotional development.” Thurmond said. “In addition, proficiency in the technology related to creative work is becoming an important skill for students as they progress into college and career.”

According to a 2018 report External link opens in new window or tab. by the Otis College of Art and Design, California’s creative economy generated $407.1 billion in economic output and 1.6 billion jobs, resulting in $141.5 billion in wages earned statewide. In the Los Angeles region alone, the creative economy generated $198 billion in economic output with $59.6 billion in wages earned.

Source: New K-12 California Arts Standards – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Applications for Summer Meal Programs – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that applications are available for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO), both federally funded, state-administered programs that serve free meals to children eighteen and younger when school is out of session.

“Food insecurity impacts families throughout the state. When schools are out of session, our most economically disadvantaged students are not only missing academic instruction, they are also missing meals,” said Thurmond. “Access to nutritious and healthy food during the summer months helps students return to school ready to engage and ready to learn.”

According to the California Association of Food Banks, 85 percent of children who benefit from the federally funded free or reduced-price lunches during the school year miss similar lunch programs available during the summer. Every summer, 17 of 20 low-income students fall into the summer nutrition gap.

Source: Applications for Summer Meal Programs – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Superintendent Thurmond Appoints Chief Counsel – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Keith Yamanaka as Chief Counsel for the Legal Division of the California Department of Education (CDE). His division provides legal advice and representation to the Superintendent of Public Instruction, CDE, and State Board of Education.

Yamanaka will both lead the Legal Division and serve as CDE’s delegate at the CalSTRS Retirement Board. He has a diverse background in legal and executive leadership at a number of state agencies including the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) and the former California Department of Health Services.

“I am excited to have Keith join our CDE team, where he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise,” Thurmond said. “He is a strong leader and manager and will help the CDE carry out our official duties and policy goals to help all students succeed.”

Source: Superintendent Thurmond Appoints Chief Counsel – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Thurmond Appoints New Communications Director – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that he has appointed Kindra Britt as Director of Communications for the California Department of Education (CDE).

Britt heads a division that handles internal and external communications, including media activities to support State Superintendent Thurmond, and CDE as a whole. She replaces outgoing Director Bill Ainsworth.

Britt most recently served as Community Affairs Director for the Placer County Office of Education, where she started nearly 12 years ago as a Career Technical Education Instructor. Britt brings a unique perspective to her new role at CDE, having previously served in the classroom. In addition to her work in Placer County, over the last few months, she was on loan to Butte County as a Public Information Officer to assist Paradise Unified School District (PUSD) during the aftermath of the catastrophic Camp Fire. She managed media relations from all over the world in response to the devastation caused by the fire.PUSD had 3,500 students displaced after the fire, and Britt helped support the district in communications to first locate families and then provide them with vital information for recovery efforts and the return to school.

Source: Thurmond Appoints New Communications Director – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Nearly $11 Million Early Childhood Education Grant – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) was awarded a federal Preschool Development Birth Through Five Initial Grant Award for $10,620,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. It was one of 45 states/territories that received the grant award.

These grants help states analyze and enhance their early learning and care systems to maximize the availability of high-quality early learning and care options for low-income and disadvantaged families. It will also help California improve the quality of early childhood care by streamlining administrative and funding systems.

“This grant helps streamline access to early education through more effective and efficient operations,” said Thurmond. “That in turn will help us take a step towards meeting the crucial goal of expanding these programs and reducing the achievement gap.”

Source: Nearly $11 Million Early Childhood Education Grant – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Thurmond Appoints Deputy Supt of Govt Affairs – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed a new Deputy Superintendent for the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Government Affairs Division.

Khieem Jackson will lead the Government Affairs Division and serve as CDE’s liaison with local, state, and federal elected officials and government agencies. Jackson brings a wealth of expertise to CDE, with a diverse background in federal, state, and local government advocacy, along with extensive international experience as an officer in the United States Marine Corps (USMC).

“I am thrilled to have Khieem Jackson join our team as Deputy Superintendent of Government Affairs,” Thurmond said. “He is a strong advocate for students who need the most assistance, and brings invaluable insight from throughout the world supporting service members and their families.”

Source: Thurmond Appoints Deputy Supt of Govt Affairs – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Supt Thurmond Calls Governor’s Budget a Home Run – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019–20.

“Governor Newsom hit a home run in his first budget in education and across the board. The budget is thoughtful and balanced and makes good use of public funds, but it is appropriately aggressive in its focus on helping Californians who need it most,” he said.

Governor Newsom proposed increasing K–12 education by $2.3 billion, investing $1.8 billion in early education, and providing $3.7 billion to help all districts deal with rising pension costs, which are stressing budgets of districts throughout the state. The pension aspect of his budget includes a proposed a one-time $3 billion contribution to CalSTRS and $700 million in each of fiscal year 2019–20 and 2020–21 to reduce the rates districts are charged for their employees’ pensions.

Source: Supt Thurmond Calls Governor’s Budget a Home Run – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Lupita Cortez Alcala Appointed as Chief Deputy – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Lupita Cortez Alcalá was sworn in as Chief Deputy to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond on Wednesday, January 9, at the State Board of Education meeting after the board approved her appointment. She will be the first Latina to serve in the position.

“Lupita is a proven education leader with the experience, dedication, and talent to serve effectively as Chief Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education,” said Thurmond. “She has deep knowledge of education policy and a record filled with achievements.”

Cortez Alcalá has 20 years of experience in education. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission, and a prominent voice in the statewide discussion on college cost and financial aid reform. She also served as Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

Source: Lupita Cortez Alcala Appointed as Chief Deputy – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Tony Thurmond Sworn In as CA State Superintendent – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Tony Thurmond, educator and public school parent, took his oath of office as California’s twenty-eighth State Superintendent of Public Instruction Monday, saying that it is an honor to lead the state’s 6.2 million students and over 10,000 schools.

He said his own life story underscored the vital need for all students, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or immigration status, to have a first-class education.

“I grew up in poverty and without my parents,” he said. “But I was raised by a cousin, an amazing woman, who made certain that I got a great education. That’s what got me where I am today, and that’s what I want for my two daughters and all students. I pledge to devote all my energy, talent, experience, and all the powers of my office to ensure all students get a great education.”

“But I need help. I’m asking everyone to join me. Help with your local schools. If you can, find a way to be a mentor, a volunteer, or contribute to a fundraiser.”

Source: Tony Thurmond Sworn In as CA State Superintendent – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Torlakson Criticizes Safety Commission Report – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today on the report of the federal School Safety Commission. The commission was put together as a response to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Florida on February 14, 2018, which took the lives of 14 students and three teachers, while injuring dozens of others.

“I am extremely disappointed that the School Safety Commission report contains a misguided recommendation to eliminate a policy that has nothing to do with the continuing tragedy of school shootings—the quest for disciplining students in a proportionate, fair manner. At the same time it ignores one of the key contributors to school shootings—easy access to military-style assault weapons.

I strongly oppose this recommendation and the Department of Education’s reported plans to rescind the Obama administration’s guidance encouraging schools to work to reduce the disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates for students of color and students with disabilities that are found throughout our nation.

Source: Torlakson Criticizes Safety Commission Report – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Torlakson Announces 2019 U.S. Senate Youth – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today named two outstanding high school students to represent California in the 57th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Lauren Kong of Rancho Palos Verdes (Los Angeles County), a senior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in the Palos Verdes Unified School District, and Cindy Aguilar-Castaneda of Gonzales (Monterey County), a senior at Gonzales High School in the Gonzales Unified School District, were selected for their outstanding leadership qualities, scholastic achievement, and contributions to their schools and communities.

“These outstanding students are among the best and brightest leaders in their schools and communities and have a heart for public service,” Torlakson said. “They are strong advocates who desire to make our world a better place. I am amazed at all they have done in their young lives and look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in their future. I know they will achieve great things due to their commitment and dedication. They make me optimistic for our future.”

Torlakson also selected two alternates in the event that one or both of the delegates are unable to attend. The first alternate is Channing Lee of Fullerton (Orange County), a senior at Cornelia Connelly School in Anaheim. The second alternate is Gabriel Drill of La Cañada Flintridge (Los Angeles County), a senior at La Cañada High School in the La Cañada Unified School District.

Source: Torlakson Announces 2019 U.S. Senate Youth – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)