State Superintendent Tony Thurmond would like local educational agencies to share how the California Department of Education (CDE) can best assist them in working to close the persistent achievement/opportunity gap. A survey will be sent out two weeks prior to the town hall to gather input.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in recognition of September as Attendance Awareness Month, encourages local education agencies (LEA) throughout the state to continue efforts to combat chronic absenteeism.
“Students of color, foster youth, homeless youth, students with disabilities and students who are in rural areas have some of the highest chronic absenteeism rates in the state,” said Thurmond. “When these students – who are already facing academic challenges due to poverty, unstable home environment or inequitable resources – miss school that widens the achievement gap, especially for our early learners. Everyone who comes in contact with our students can contribute to their learning success. Parents, teachers, attendance supervisors, caregivers and community groups must work as a cohesive unit and implement positive strategies to ensure that students are in class each day.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the approval of more than $275 million to assist school districts in repairing schools and providing new classrooms. The funds were approved by the State Allocation Board (SAB), on which Superintendent Thurmond serves as a voting member.
“I would like to thank the State of California’s voters for these much-needed funds, which combined with local funds, will help to improve the learning environment for California’s students, and prepare them for the challenges of the future,” said Thurmond. “The research is clear that high-quality facilities improve student outcomes and helps districts recruit and retain highly qualified teachers.”
The SAB convenes monthly to distribute state matching funds for the construction of new classrooms, the modernization of existing schools, and other programs to improve learning environments, and adopts policies and regulations regarding SAB programs.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced the release of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) first-ever mobile app for the California School Dashboard, the new accountability system that helps identify strengths and improvement areas for every public school district and school statewide.
Everyone can use this mobile app to access information based on the Dashboard, providing parents and educators the critical information that empowers them in decisions to improve student learning. Through the Dashboard, California reports how districts, schools (including alternative schools serving high-risk students), and student groups are performing across state and local measures.
“Parents need to know what’s going on at their children’s school, and educators need an evaluation of their respective schools to serve our students better. This app is an excellent tool for both,” said Thurmond. “It not only evaluates academic performance and progress, but engagement and school climate, among other things—all critical factors to student well-being and success.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond thanked Governor Newsom for signing a 2019–20 state budget that increases funding for public education, education data systems, and teacher and administrator development.
“This budget helps to lift all of our students by improving our education system and increasing the resources that go to our schools,” said Thurmond. “The Governor and Legislature have adopted a budget that reflects their commitment to education as a priority for California.
“I look forward to working with the Governor, the Legislature, and stakeholders in the months ahead to make sure that we make the most of this unprecedented opportunity—building a comprehensive education system that serves all children and families, meeting them in the communities where they live, and preparing our students for higher education and the 21st century workforce.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated the Trabuco Hills High School Unified Champion School Program in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District for winning the 2019 Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) award. This award is given annually by the California Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE), recognizing an outstanding program that serves students with disabilities.
Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools provide students with and without disabilities opportunities for peer-to-peer engagement through sports and leadership programs.
“The inclusion practices initiated through this program provide a tremendous benefit to not only the students participating, but the entire school community,” said Thurmond. “When students with and without disabilities are provided authentic opportunities to learn and play together, this creates a climate where inclusion is the norm and diversity is honored.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed new directors for the California Department of Education (CDE) Improvement and Accountability Division (IAD) and Career and College Transition Division (CCTD).
Denise Parnell, E.D., an expert administrator of student support services, will lead the IAD.
Pradeep Kotamraju, Ph.D., a nationally recognized researcher in career technical education (CTE), will head the CCTD.
“Dr. Parnell and Dr. Kotamraju are two established and highly regarded educators in their fields,” said Thurmond. “Both bring extensive experience, knowledge, and unique perspectives to their new positions. They are welcome additions to the CDE team, and their leadership will enable the work that supports and improves educational opportunities for all of our students to continue.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Stephanie Gregson, EdD, as the Deputy Superintendent for the Performance, Planning, and Technology Branch (PPTB) at the California Department of Education (CDE).
Dr. Gregson is the former Director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division at the CDE. During her tenure as Director, her division developed frameworks for history and social science and health education. Dr. Gregson also led the largest state adoption of instruction materials for kindergarten through grade twelve science and the development of standards updates, including the first-ever state kindergarten through grade twelve Computer Science content standards.
“Stephanie is a dedicated and dynamic educator who brings a tremendous level of knowledge and expertise to her new role,” said Thurmond. “Her guidance was critical to the success of the Department’s most recent curriculum updates and adoptions, and she will bring that same leadership and experience to her new branch. I am pleased that she will take the helm and continue the innovative work that the branch is doing to improve student success throughout the state.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated Greg Barragan of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools for being named the 2019 Juvenile Court, Community, and Alternative Schools Administrators of California (JCCASAC) Teacher of the Year.
Barragan or Mr. B as his students call him, started as a Career Technical Instructor at the Fresno County Court School in 2015 and launched the school’s welding program. His instruction and expertise has enabled countless students to earn welding certifications and embark on the pathway to solid careers.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget for fiscal year 2019–20. “Our Governor just announced the largest-ever investment in K–12 schools, with 45 percent of all proposed increased spending to benefit our schools. We applaud this commitment to public education, especially by adding funding to assist students with the greatest needs. The revision also makes significant investments in the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers, and supporting the financial burdens they face,” he said.
Governor Newsom proposed increasing K–12 education by $4.4 billion in non-Proposition 98 spending for the benefit of our schools, while Prop 98 funding is at $81.1 billion, the most it has been in years.“
I am pleased that Governor Newsom is placing a top priority on education and look forward to a strong, productive partnership with him, the Legislature, and all stakeholders in the next few years that will lift up all of our students by improving our education system and increasing the resources that go to our schools—today’s announcements prove his commitment to increasing funding for public education,” he said.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Manufou Liaiga-Anoa’i as Co-Chair of his statewide Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative. She will partner with Co-Chair Ryan Smith to lead work aligning with the initiative’s goals, which include addressing ways to close the achievement gap and improving educational outcomes for all California public education students.
“Manufou is a strong public servant and advocate for women, children, and all students,” said Thurmond. “I know that she will bring a unique voice and strong leadership to the Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative, which is one of the top priorities of my office.”
Thurmond launched his Closing the Achievement Gap initiative with a forum in February focusing on schools throughout the state that have shown success in closing the gap for African Americans and other students of color. He followed that up with a second forum in April to address recruitment and retention of teachers of color. Appointing Liaiga-Anoa’i and Smith as Co-Chairs of the initiative is the next step in assuring that these efforts continue with the highest priority and level of expertise.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today honored six outstanding classified school employees for their dedication to California’s public school students.
“Meeting students’ basic needs, as well as their social and emotional needs, is essential to ensuring that every student can learn,” said Thurmond. “These dedicated employees make sure that kids have healthy meals, safe transportation on school buses, and have someone to talk to during difficult times in their lives—allowing California’s students to reach their greatest 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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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).
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.”
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.”
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.
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.