New School Fiscal Services Division Director Named – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Elizabeth Dearstyne as the new Director of the School Fiscal Services Division at the California Department of Education (CDE). The division apportions funds to local educational agencies (LEAs) and guides LEAs from the state level on fiscal solvency, audit resolution, and financial reports.

“Elizabeth brings with her a wealth of knowledge about the state’s school funding systems after almost 20 years in education finance,” said Thurmond. “Her leadership and management skills will help the state provide crucial support to our schools so that they can provide a high-quality education to all students.”

Dearstyne has spent the last 14 years at the CDE in the School Fiscal Services Division at different levels, most recently as the Associate Director since April 2019. She has provided her leadership, guidance, and support in a variety of K–12 education finance areas, such as the allocation of state and federal funding to LEAs, issues related to LEA fiscal solvency, and the impact of emergency school closures on instructional time and funding. Dearstyne also led the team that implemented the school funding formula changes in 2013 for the Local Control Funding Formula.

Source: New School Fiscal Services Division Director Named – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Thurmond Praises Governor Newsom’s 2020 Budget – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020–21.

“Over the last year, my team and I have been collaborating with educational partners, including teachers and administrators all over the state, through my 13 workgroups, to establish and validate the areas of focus and priority initiatives for the California Department of Education,” said Thurmond. “Today, we were pleased to hear that many of the budget announcements were aligned with the work we have been doing. Governor Newsom and his team have produced a budget that is comprehensive, aligns with our goals to ensure equitable education for all students, and allows us to focus on helping our most vulnerable students in underserved communities.”

The budget includes the largest K–12 education per pupil expenditure in history. It proposes increasing K–12 education by $3 billion, with an investment of approximately $900 million for teacher preparation and retention.

Source: Thurmond Praises Governor Newsom’s 2020 Budget – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

National Human Trafficking Awareness Month – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today recognized January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Human trafficking is a pandemic that crosses all demographic, racial, and socioeconomic lines.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, California had the highest number of reported human trafficking incidents in the country in 2018, and sex trafficking is the leading type of trafficking in the state.

“Vulnerability is the one thing that all trafficked victims have in common,” said Thurmond. “School campuses provide opportunities for predators posing as friends and peers to prey on students—especially homeless, foster, and LGBTQ youth—who may be experiencing instability, isolation, alienation, and bullying. It is imperative that the entire school community knows how to recognize the signs of human trafficking, has prevention and intervention tools in place, and utilizes available resources to protect students from being victimized.”

Source: National Human Trafficking Awareness Month – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

LCFF Workgroup to Increase Transparency in Process – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that he has convened a group of educational partners to discuss ways in which the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) accountability system is providing districts with flexibility to lend support to focus areas that need extra support in order to improve student outcomes. This system was implemented to replace 40 years of categorical programs, which failed to close achievement gaps. The recently released 2019 California School Dashboard shows that LCFF, which recognizes that many factors contribute to improving student outcomes, is working: test scores are up, graduation rate is at an all-time high, and the suspension rate is at a historic low.

The workgroup, which met once in late 2019 and will meet again next week, consists of educational partners from organizations such as the California Association of School Business Officials, Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, School Services of California, California State Parent Teacher Association, Association of California School Administrators, Public Policy Institute of California, Education Trust West, California School Boards Association, members of the California State Legislature, and school district and county office superintendents. The purpose of the workgroup is to gain insight from key stakeholders on ways to improve the process and to ensure that it is truly serving the students it was intended to provide additional support to by showing improvements in student outcomes in those specific student groups.

Source: LCFF Workgroup to Increase Transparency in Process – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State supe cites Fairfield school for ‘exemplary arts’ education – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

It’s unclear if the TK-8 students of Oakbrook Academy of The Arts in Fairfield, a school of choice that emphasizes visual and performing arts, will make it to Carnegie Hall.

They may practice, practice and practice, but the State Department of Education has already acknowledged that Oakbrook does a first-rate job of teaching the arts.

State schools chief Tony Thurmond on Tuesday announced that Oakbrook was selected for the California Exemplary Arts Education Award.

Source: State supe cites Fairfield school for ‘exemplary arts’ education – The Reporter

Thurmond Announces 2020 CA Distinguished Schools – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that 323 elementary schools are being honored under the 2020 California Distinguished Schools Award Program. Sponsored by the California Department of Education and presented by California Casualty, the program recognizes outstanding education programs and practices. Schools are awarded for closing the achievement gap and for achieving exceptional student performance.

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

“These outstanding schools don’t just educate students; they also provide the young people of California the tools they need to be successful after graduation,” Thurmond said. “Thanks go to all the staff at these schools—teachers, administrators, classified employees—and parents, who are working together to provide high-quality educational experiences for all of their students.”

Source: Thurmond Announces 2020 CA Distinguished Schools – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Thurmond, CDE, Students Attend STEAM Symposium – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

On December 9 and 10, 2019, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and staff from the California Department of Education (CDE) participated in the 2019 California STEAM Symposium. The conference, held in Anaheim, is a collaborative effort with the CDE, the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

With more than 3,000 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) educators and students participating, the conference provided professional learning, networking opportunities, and inspiring keynotes—including State Superintendent Thurmond in conversation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, former NBA superstar, STEAM education advocate, and political activist. Other keynotes included Ellen Ochoa, former astronaut and director of the Johnson Space Center, and Chris Emdin, the founder of #HipHopEd.

Source: Thurmond, CDE, Students Attend STEAM Symposium – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Public Comment Open for CTE State Plan – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today that public comment is now open for the draft California Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) State Plan. The plan was developed by the California Department of Education (CDE), California State Board of Education (SBE), and California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO).

“This plan is a significant opportunity to strengthen Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and pathways for all students in both the K–12 and community college systems,” Thurmond said. “I encourage educators and stakeholders in the CTE field to submit their valuable input on this plan. These programs provide valuable skills to meet industry needs.”

Perkins V was signed into law on July 31, 2018. This bipartisan measure reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 to provide nearly $1.3 billion annually in federal support for CTE programs across the nation. California receives approximately $127 million annually to support CTE programs and pathways.

Source: Public Comment Open for CTE State Plan – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

New Charter Schools Division Director Named – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Stephanie Farland as the Director of the Charter Schools Division for the California Department of Education (CDE).

The Charter Schools Division oversees State Board of Education-approved charter schools throughout California and administers the Federal Public Charter Schools Grant Program.

Currently, Farland is the Executive Director and Founder of Collaborative Solutions for Charter Authorizers, a private consulting firm dedicated to assisting school districts and county offices of education in their work as charter school authorizers. In that position, she works on all aspects of charter authorizing and oversight to ensure that a fair process is being implemented in California.

Source: New Charter Schools Division Director Named – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

CAASPP Results and Achievement Gap Data Roundable – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

On November 5, 2019, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) hosted a Data Dive Roundtable. The panelists shared insights about patterns, trends, and root causes for the 2019 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) results. They also shared suggestions for actions to take to close achievement and opportunity gaps for each and every one of California’s students.

Participants included notable experts and practitioners such as Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the State Board of Education; Pedro Noguera, Distinguished Professor at UCLA; Elisha Arriaga Smith, Executive Director of The Education Trust—West; Joe Johnson, Executive Director of the National Center for Urban School Transformation and Dean of the College of Education at San Diego State University; Adela Jones, Superintendent of Sanger Unified School District; Cynthia Glover Woods, Chief Academic Officer at Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE); Melissa Bazanos, Executive Director at RCOE; Trevor Painton, Superintendent of Romoland School District; and Laura Hill, Policy Director and Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

Source: CAASPP Results and Achievement Gap Data Roundable – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

New CDE ELC Division Director Appointed – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Stephen Propheter as the new Director of the Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) at the California Department of Education (CDE). The division provides leadership and support to contractors and the child development community, ensuring high-quality early education programs are provided to children ages birth to thirteen years.

“Stephen’s wealth of management knowledge, innovative leadership approach, and collaborative skills will enable his division to provide crucial support to the child development community,” said Thurmond. “His passion, expertise, and compassion will be well-utilized in ensuring that California’s youngest learners have the supports needed to succeed in school and life.”

Propheter joined the CDE 12 years ago, serving in a variety of capacities in the Child Development and Nutrition Fiscal Services Unit in the Fiscal and Administrative Services Division, including budget and fiscal policy. He joined the ELCD as Associate Director in April 2019, overseeing the ELCD’s monitoring and administrative operations. As the ELCD Associate Director, he provided leadership in the implementation of the ELCD Strategic Plan, including continuing to build on the division’s work on equity and improving access to high-quality early learning and care programs.

Source: New CDE ELC Division Director Appointed – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

$37.5 Million Literacy State Development 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 $37.5 million federal Comprehensive Literacy State Development grant. The grant will provide the necessary funds to allow for the expansion of current literacy efforts statewide over the next five years.

“Many of the students who are struggling with reading comprehension or are not reading at grade level are our most vulnerable students—economically disadvantaged students, English language learners, students with disabilities, and students in rural communities,” said Thurmond. “This grant will allow us to promote and support equitable access to high-quality literacy instruction that will benefit not only our high-need students but all of our students from pre-K to high school.”

Source: $37.5 Million Literacy State Development Grant – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Shanine Coats Appointed as New CFIRD Director – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Shanine Coats as the new Director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division (CFIRD) at the California Department of Education (CDE).

“Like many of our talented staff here at the CDE, Shanine is and always will be a teacher with a passion for student achievement,” said Thurmond. “That drive will be invaluable as she guides the development of instructional resources for California’s schools. With her experience, she will be instrumental in making connections not only with state and federal programs but between curriculum, instruction, assessment, and accountability as a whole. We are very fortunate to have her leadership.”

As Director of CFIRD, Coats is responsible for the development of statewide policies, goals, and objectives for standards, curriculum, instructional resources, and translation programs. She is also responsible for providing leadership to advisory committees, including acting as Executive Director of the Instructional Quality Commission. In addition, Coats will provide administrative direction and supervision to approximately 60 employees who are organized into five offices.

Source: Shanine Coats Appointed as New CFIRD Director – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

2019 CAASPP Scores Announced – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today the statewide results of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) summative assessments for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics. School districts have had access to their own results since May.

For CAASPP, performance continues to improve slightly overall within grades as measured by the Smarter Balanced ELA and mathematics assessments. Statewide results in all tested grades showed that 50.87 percent of students met or exceeded standards in ELA, a .99 percentage point increase from 2018 and a 6.87 percentage point increase from 2015. In mathematics, 39.73 percent of students met or exceeded standards, a 1.08 percentage point increase from 2018 and a 6.73 percentage point increase from 2015.

Thurmond acknowledged the slight score increases but expressed deep concern that improvement is less consistent across the score range in the later grades of 7, 8, and 11, with a persistent percentage of students of color not meeting standards and, in several grades, showing declining scores from last year.

Source: 2019 CAASPP Scores Announced – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

The 2020 California Teachers of the Year – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today named five extraordinary educators as the 2020 California Teachers of the Year. Thurmond, who began his career as a social services worker, said he is pleased to honor five outstanding and talented teachers who have made a great impact in their schools and communities.

“These five incredible teachers receive this prestigious honor for their focus, drive, and determination to teach young people in California,” he said. “They are not only wonderful representatives for our state, but they also make profound differences in the lives of their students and their communities by employing innovative strategies to increase academic success and narrow the achievement gap among a broad range of students.”

Presented by California Casualty and supported by 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: The 2020 California Teachers of the Year – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated 30 California public schools that have been chosen as 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools. This coveted award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve high learning standards.

“Congratulations to these schools that have tremendous programs dedicated to, and invested in, creating state-of-the-art learning and teaching environments,” Thurmond said. “This recognition is well-deserved, and special thanks go to the educators and the school communities that meet students’ unique needs in order for all of their students to reach their full potential.”

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 37-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has presented this award to more than 9,000 schools.

Source: 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State schools superintendent discusses education at Solano breakfast – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Elected officials, school board trustees and superintendents from throughout Solano got an understanding Thursday of the current state and future of education at Solano County Office of Education’s annual State of Education Breakfast Forum.

State superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond was the guest speaker.

With the theme of “Full STEAM Ahead,” the breakfast was an opportunity to bring educators, business leaders and elected officials together for a discussion on educational opportunities and showcase what certain school districts are doing to prepare students for the workforce in the new decade, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Source: State schools superintendent discusses education at Solano breakfast – The Reporter

Virtual Town Hall “Listening Session” – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in partnership with county offices of education throughout the state, hosted a virtual town hall yesterday where local educational agencies spoke about some of the unique challenges they face in ongoing efforts to close the achievement gap for California’s most vulnerable students.

“This town hall was an opportunity for me and key members of my team to hear first-hand from districts and staff members who are working with students at risk of falling through the academic cracks,” said Thurmond. “We can’t provide an effective system of support if we don’t know what the challenges are at the local level and what is truly needed to ensure that all of our students have opportunities and access to a quality and equitable public education.”

Source: Virtual Town Hall “Listening Session” – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

Closing the Achievement Gap Virtual Town Hall – Initiatives & Programs (CA Dept of Education)

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.

Source: Closing the Achievement Gap Virtual Town Hall – Initiatives & Programs (CA Dept of Education)

Continuing to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism Rates – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

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.”

Source: Continuing to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism Rates – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)