The State School Attendance Review Board (SARB), an advisory panel to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), has developed a sample policy on attendance supervision that is consistent with state laws that became effective on January 1, 2017.
With the passage of Assembly Bill 2815 in 2016, the role of attendance supervisors has been expanded to include more effective practices to address chronic absenteeism and truancy. These changes are designed to help promote a culture of attendance and improve local systems to track student attendance by grade level and subgroup.
The new laws directly relate to the priorities districts must address in their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP). Addressing chronic absence is included as a State Priority in the Pupil Engagement section of the LCAP template.
Source: Sample Policy & Administrative Regulation – School Attendance Review Boards (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today toured the Summer Learning program at Robla Elementary School in the Robla School District to voice his opposition to proposed federal budget cuts that would harm this program and many others in California and the nation.
President Trump has proposed eliminating all funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. These centers run After School, Summer Learning, and other Expanded Learning programs.
Nationally, his proposed cuts would remove $1.2 billion in funding. In California, the proposed cuts would take away $137 million of the total of $730 million spent on Expanded Learning programs, or about 18 percent of the total budget.
“Today we are shining a light on the wonderful Summer Learning and After School programs that engage, teach, and inspire 860,000 students in California each year,” Torlakson said. “President Trump’s proposed budget cuts could devastate Summer Learning and After School programs. These proposed cuts are short-sighted, counterproductive, and just wrong. As leaders, we should be searching for ways to help our students thrive, rather than blocking proven paths to success.”
Source: Torlakson Visits Local Summer Learning Program – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson was all smiles when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the 2017–18 state budget. After all, it increases funding for K-12 public schools, after-school programs, early education and child care, and teacher recruitment and training.
“When we invest more in our students, we help them succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” he said in a press release issued late last month. “This budget continues the strong growth in what I call the ‘California Way,’ where legislators, the governor, education groups, the business community, and others are working closely together to keep improving our education system.”
The Legislature approved the budget June 15, the date required by the state Constitution. Brown’s signature on the state’s key funding document kicked off the new spending plan July 1.
California has the nation’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students at nearly 10,000 public schools.
Source: Top state ed official extols budget increases for K-12 schools
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today thanked Governor Brown for signing a 2017–18 state budget that increases funding for kindergarten through twelfth grade public schools, after school programs, early education and child care, and teacher recruitment and training.
“The Legislature and Governor clearly showed their strong and ongoing support of high-quality public education in California,” Torlakson said. “When we invest more in our students, we help them succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.
“This budget continues the strong growth in what I call the ‘California Way,’ where legislators, the Governor, education groups, the business community, and others are working closely together to keep improving our education system.”
The Legislature approved the budget on June 15, the date required by the State Constitution. Governor Brown’s signature on Tuesday means the new state funding plan starts on July 1.
Source: State Budget with Increases for Education Funding – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that he has appointed Sarah Neville-Morgan as Director of the California Department of Education (CDE) Early Education and Support Division.
Neville-Morgan will oversee a division that provides leadership and support to the early learning and care community, providers, and contractors statewide, ensuring high-quality early education programs for young children.
Neville-Morgan most recently served as Deputy Director of Program Management at First 5 California, and she worked as a CDE Child Development Consultant from 2011 to 2013.
“I am pleased to have such an experienced and dynamic early education leader back on the CDE team,” Torlakson said. “Sarah brings tremendous knowledge, dedication, and teamwork that will help provide top-quality services for our earliest learners.”
Source: New Early Education and Support Division Director – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
State schools chief Tom Torlakson on Thursday met with the top-ranking education official in Mexico to promote closer ties and friendship between California and America’s southern border neighbor, to expand teacher exchange programs, and to help serve California students if their parents are deported to Mexico.
He conferred with Mexico’s Secretary of Education Aurelio Nuño Mayer as well as other government officials and discussed ways California could work more closely with Mexico, Robert Oakes, a spokesman for the California Department of Education, wrote in a press release.
“The national political atmosphere at this time makes it especially important to reiterate the bonds of friendship between California and Mexico,” Torlakson, a former high school science teacher and coach, said in the prepared statement.
As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, he leads the nation’s largest public education system, with more than 6.2 million students at 10,000 schools in some 1,000 school districts. About 54 percent of California students are Latino, and nearly 1.4 million are English learners.
Source: Torlakson visits Mexico to boost cooperation with educators
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the release of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) first mobile application that offers detailed information about California’s 10,000 public schools.
The CA Schools mobile app, developed in-house by the CDE and available for iOS and Android systems, lets users locate nearby schools based on their current location and provides a wealth of details, including contacts and directions, demographics, test scores, and a school’s California School Dashboard profile page.
“Never before have we put so much school information literally in the hands of our students, parents, and community members and made the information so accessible and user-friendly,” Torlakson said. “Home buyers can check out schools in their prospective neighborhoods. Parents heading to a child’s away game can map directions to the host school. There are all kinds of potential uses.”
Source: Torlakson Announces CA Schools Mobile App Release – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders heard the first draft of the charter school’s suicide-prevention policy, which, in accordance with state law, must be adopted by July 1.
In a board of directors meeting Monday, Pat Broughton, the education services director, introduced the three-page policy and the accompanying two-page administrative regulation.
Such policies, under Assembly Bill 2246 enacted last yearare required by every California school district, and, as an independent TK-8 charter school, — a school largely governed by its own board of directors and the California Department of Education — Kairos is, essentially, its own school district.
Authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, the bill requires school districts to adopt formal suicide-prevention, intervention and follow-up plans for all middle and high school students, including provisions that specifically address the needs of “high-risk groups.”
Source: Kairos directors hear draft of suicide-prevention policy
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that nearly 500,000 California students took California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests on Tuesday May 9, the highest number of students testing simultaneously during the 2017 spring testing season.
“We are in the third year of administering these state-of-the-art assessments, and the capacity of our system and our schools to efficiently administer these tests increases every year,” Torlakson said. “Our students and families are the ultimate winners here. The information from these tests will help our schools refine their teaching, improve learning, and better prepare our students for success.”
The CAASPP assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics are given each spring to students in grades three through eight and grade eleven. More than two-thirds of the 3.3 million eligible California students have begun testing. As of Wednesday, May 10, more than 2.7 million students statewide have started a summative assessment in English language arts/literacy or mathematics. Participation peaked on May 9 with 495,463 students testing at one time.
Source: Torlakson Announces Peak of Annual CAASPP Testing – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Katy St. Clair
The California Department of Education is recognizing Benicia High School for its “Exemplary Program in Arts Education.”
Benicia High had previously been selected as a “Gold Ribbon School” by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson for representing “best practices” in education.
The Public Safety Academy in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District also received the “Exemplary” honor for its “Career Technical Education.”
Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said that both schools served their community with “model practices” and support their students with “state-of-the-art programs.”
Source: Benicia High School honored for exemplary arts education
By Richard Bammer
The Public Safety Academy, a Fairfield-Suisun Unified school, was one of 23 of 275 Golden Ribbon middle schools and high schools to receive an additional honor, of having an Exemplary Program in one of several areas: arts education, career technical education or physical activity and nutrition.
PSA, as it’s called for short, was recognized for its CTE program, according to a press release from the state Department of Education. Tom Torlakson, the state schools chief, made the announcement.
Laurie Halcomb is principal at the Atlantic Avenue school of choice, where students in grades five to 12 experience a rigorous academic program and career readiness for those interested in law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency response and other public safety-related fields.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun school recognized for its career tech program
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced additional honors for 23 of the 275 middle schools and high schools that were recognized as Gold Ribbon Schools last month.
Twenty-three of those Gold Ribbon Schools have been selected as having an Exemplary Program in Arts Education, Career Technical Education or Physical Activity and Nutrition. Schools applied separately for those honors. Luther Burbank Middle School in Los Angeles County and Granite Bay High School in Placer County are multiple winners recognized for Exemplary Programs in both Arts Education and Career Technical Education.
“We know that school offerings outside of core academic subject areas—in addition to sparking creative minds and producing healthy bodies—keep students engaged in school, connected, and on the path to graduation and 21st century careers and college. I congratulate these 23 Gold Ribbon schools on their outstanding work.”
Source: Torlakson Announces Exemplary Program Awards – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Four eastern Solano County schools have been recognized by the state Department of Education as 2017 Gold Ribbon Schools, it has been announced.
They are Buckingham Charter Magnet High School in Vacaville, Armijo High, Green Valley Middle School and the Public Safety Academy, the latter three all in Fairfield-Suisun Unified.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson made the announcement in a press release issued earlier this month. He cited 275 middle schools and high schools designated under annual awards program.
“These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st-century careers and college,” Torlakson said. “I look forward to travelling the state to honor these schools and to help share the programs, methods, and techniques that are working.”
Source: Buckingham Charter Magnet High School designated as Gold Ribbon School
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today the appointment of Caryn Moore as the new Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services at the California Department of Education. She began her new assignment on April 17.
Moore has almost two decades of fiscal management experience at the California Department of Education. She is the former Associate Director of the School Fiscal Services Division.
“Caryn’s extensive financial background, experience, and proven track record as a strong fiscal administrator are great qualifications to lead this division,” Torlakson said. “We are pleased to have someone with her expertise on our management team.”
Source: New Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services – Year 2017 (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.
“I started my public service career as a high school teacher and coach, and I know first-hand the vital role that classified employees have every day in our public schools,” Torlakson said. “These terrific employees keep schools clean and safe; they make sure our students get to school and can eat healthy meals; and they contribute to an overall positive school culture that cares for the whole child. I applaud the fantastic work these employees do every day.”
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.
Source: Classified School Employees Awardees Announced – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Nick Sestanovich
On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Torlakson announced that 275 California middle and high schools were being recognized as part of the state’s Gold Ribbon Schools Award Program. Among them are Benicia Middle School and Benicia High School.The Gold Ribbon program honors schools throughout the state while the previous program, California Distinguished Schools, is on hiatus as the state creates new assessment programs. Schools throughout California applied based on standards-based activities, strategies projects, programs or practices that serve as models that other schools can follow.
“These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said in a statement.
Of the thousands of secondary schools in California, 477 applied in 2016. Of these, 275 received the honor, including Benicia Middle and Benicia High.
Source: Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored as exemplary California secondary schools
By Katy St. Clair
Both Benicia High and Benicia Middle School were two of six Solano County schools to be selected for 2017’s “California Gold Ribbon” recognition.
Gold Ribbon schools are designated by the California Department of Education and represent what it considers exemplars of “best practices” in education.
“This is a tremendous honor and well-deserved recognition for these schools,” Solano County Superintendent Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.
Schools apply for the honor and are whittled down after meeting “rigorous” criteria, according to Assistant Superintendent for Solano County Victor Romualdi.
Source: Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored with ‘Gold Ribbon’ awards – Times Herald
By Todd R. Hansen
Six Solano schools have been designated as California Gold Ribbon Schools, the county Office of Education reported Wednesday.
Armijo, Benicia and Elise P. Buckingham Charter Magnet high schools were selected by the state Department of Education for the honor, as were the Public Safety Academy, and the Benicia and Green Valley middle schools.
Additionally, Benicia Middle School received an award for being a Title I Academic Achieving School.
Source: Six Solano schools earn golden grades from state
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 275 middle schools and high schools are being honored under the Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program.
The list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.
“These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said. “I look forward to travelling the state to honor these schools and to help share the programs, methods, and techniques that are working.”
The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment, accountability, and continuous improvement systems. 477 middle schools and high schools applied this year.
Schools applied for the award based on a model program or practice their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The award acknowledged elementary schools last year.
Source: Torlakson Announces 2017 CA Gold Ribbon Schools – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson reported today that California’s graduation rate increased for the seventh year in a row and is now at a record high for the class of 2016, with the biggest increases during that period taking place among English learners and African American and Latino students.
Among the cohort of students who started high school in 2012–13, 83.2 percent graduated with their class in 2016, up 0.9 percent from the year before. (See Table 1.) This increase means that 4,917 more students received their high school diploma last year than the year before.
The state’s graduation rate has increased 8.5 percentage points since the class of 2010 posted a 74.7 percent rate.
The graduation rate of almost every student subgroup calculated by the California Department of Education (CDE) also rose in 2016. (See Table 2.) The rate of increase among English learners was 2.7 percentage points, African Americans went up 1.8 percentage points, and Latino students increased by 1.5 percentage points.
Source: Torlakson Announces Record High School Grad Rates – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)