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April 2022 Vol. 28, 4

School boards made an impact during Legislative Action Week
For three days in March, more than 370 board members and superintendents representing school districts and county offices of education from across California came together to meet virtually with more than 100 state legislators and their staff.
During CSBA’s annual Legislative Action Week, members brought their lived experience to the Capitol to shine a light on the top issues facing their schools and students. In response to the ongoing health, safety and logistical concerns at the Capitol building in Sacramento, CSBA offered this flagship event virtually for the second year in a row out of an abundance of caution. The virtual format allowed a record number of school board members to share their perspective with legislators in Sacramento.

“As advocates of children and representatives of our communities, meeting with our legislative leaders gave us an opportunity to hone in and convey the pertinent issues that impact our schools and solicit legislative support in addressing them,” said Alma Castro, a member of the Lynwood Unified School District Board of Education. “I had the opportunity to meet our local legislators and region trustees and superintendents, and together we advocated and solicited legislative support and action in addressing district priority issues.”

a little boy smiles sitting a table during study
A CSBA-generated federal bill aimed at restoring full funding for early intervention and educational services for the youngest children with disabilities was reintroduced to Congress on Feb. 1.
Register for CSBA’s Leadership Institute
This specialized event will hone your governance skills during this chaotic time
CSBA 2022 Leadership Institute banner
Join CSBA at the 2022 Leadership Institute from July 22–23 at L.A. Live for this professional development opportunity focusing on strengthening leadership skills in the midst of this chaotic time in K-12 public education.

This year’s theme of “Leadership in a time of chaos, change and opportunity” will feature inspiring keynote speakers, collaboration with counterparts across the state, and opportunities for attendees to sharpen their leadership skills in sessions dedicated to community engagement, board meeting management, governance, budgeting, crisis communications and more.

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Chief Information Officer:
Troy Flint |

Editorial Director:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Andy Rolleri |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Alisha Kirby |
Heather Kemp |
Teresa Machado |
Kristin Lindgren |
Emily Baker |

Graphic Design & Branding Director:
Kerry Macklin |

Senior Graphic Designer:
Amanda Moen |

Dr. Susan Heredia | Natomas USD

Susan Markarian | Pacific Union ESD

Vice President:
Albert Gonzalez | Santa Clara USD

Immediate Past President:
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | Azusa USD

CEO & Executive Director:
Vernon M. Billy

The California School Boards Association is the essential voice for public education. We inspire our members to be knowledgeable leaders, extraordinary governance practitioners and ardent advocates for all students.

California School News (ISSN 1091-1715) is published 11 times per year by the California School Boards Association, Inc., 3251 Beacon Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691. 916-371-4691. $4 of CSBA annual membership dues is for the subscription to California School News. The subscription rate for each CSBA nonmember is $35. Periodicals postage paid at West Sacramento, CA and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to California School News, 3251 Beacon Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691.

News and feature items submitted for publication are edited for style and space as necessary.

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President’s Message: Dr. Susan Heredia
It’s time to go to school on student mental health

There are exceedingly few silver linings to be found in the tragedy of COVID-19. The academic and social disruption our students have experienced is profound. Yet, if there is one welcome development from the pandemic, it’s the increased attention paid to mental health. Belatedly, society and the Legislature have recognized youth mental health as both an absolute good as well as a precondition for the academic and personal development we hope to nurture in our students.

Earlier this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new proposal, the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court, to reinvent the way California addresses adult mental health on a statewide level. Elsewhere in the Capitol, a number of bills have been submitted to address mental health — many of them specific to student mental health. This focus is long overdue.

Governance corner
Practical tips from our MIG faculty
How do boards evaluate the effectiveness of summer learning programs?
Little girl holding a butterfly while looking at it with a magnifying glass
Even before a worldwide pandemic upended lives and reshaped many of our expectations, committed and caring school board members were already turning sharp focus toward ensuring students benefit from effective summer learning programs. School leaders concerned about the “summer slide,” where student achievement data reflects a loss of learning between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next, implemented summer programs to bridge gap.

It’s commendable that many boards and their administrative partners realize that just offering summer learning programs is not enough to ensure desired positive outcomes for children. It is an important aspect of good governance to also understand and evaluate whether those programs are actually serving students well.

Nominations open for 2023 CSBA Officers
President-elect and Vice President nominations accepted through Wednesday, June 1
The CSBA Candidate Review Committee encourages CSBA members to participate in this year’s election process for the offices of CSBA Vice President and President-elect.

The criteria used to evaluate potential officer candidates is as follows.

A CSBA leader:

  • Communicates effectively on behalf of public education and, as the face of CSBA, advocates CSBA’s vision, mission, policy platform and governance structure.
  • Demonstrates advocacy for and knowledge of the diverse educational, economic, social and emotional needs of all students throughout the state through the lens of equity.
  • Exemplifies strong leadership skills, ethics and integrity, including the ability to collaborate, motivate and inspire. Leads successfully in the face of ongoing change and challenges.
special education
Early Childhood is the Right IDEA Act bill a product of CSBA’s work
A CSBA-generated federal bill aimed at restoring full funding for early intervention and educational services for the youngest children with disabilities was reintroduced to Congress on Feb. 1

The Funding Early Childhood is the Right IDEA Act (H.R. 6532 and S. 3544) was introduced by Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-California), Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) and Jared Huffman (D-California) as well as U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire), Robert Casey (D-Pennsylvania), Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) and Christopher Murphy (D-Connecticut).

The bill comes at a time when the number of children who require early intervention and preschool special education services has increased in recent years, but federal investments have failed to keep up with need. It would increase funding for programs paid for through Part B, Section 619, and Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

CSBA played a major role in shaping the initial concept for the proposed legislation through the ACSA-CSBA Federal Partnership.

Student vaccine rollout
The state’s proposed process will expedite the adoption of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement
On Oct. 1, 2021, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would direct the California Department of Public Health to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for California elementary and secondary students. CDPH has announced that it will use the emergency regulatory process to adopt any such regulations, a process that may provide for little to no public participation and a very short timeline for adoption.

According to Gov. Newsom, the mandate will go into effect once all the ages of students in grade spans 7-12 or K-6 are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine that has been fully authorized for that age group by the Food and Drug Administration, and after the regulatory process, once initiated by CDPH, is complete. Although Pfizer has received full authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for ages 16 and up, being vaccinated has not been required for students of that age group to attend school. Under Gov. Newsom’s proposal, if a COVID-19 vaccine is given full authorization for ages 12-15 before July 1, 2022, and if CDPH completes the regulatory process before July 1, the vaccination could then be required for students in grades 7-12 to attend school unless they have a medical or personal belief exemption. If approved after June 30 but before Dec. 31, 2022, it could then be required for students in grades 7-12 to return to school in January 2023.

Schools play a big role in child abuse prevention
Raising awareness and employee training help prevent and stop abuse
a child sits alone on a bleacher, holding an old teddy bear by the arm

National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. In California, there were 391,470 reports of child abuse in 2020 with nearly 60,000 of those verified child abuse cases.

Katie Albright, CEO and president of Safe & Sound, a children’s advocacy organization focused on strengthening families and ending child abuse, said in an April 2021 webinar on abuse prevention that numbers are vastly underreported and the true rate of abuse in California is about 1 million children. Albright also noted that disproportionality is a major concern in the child welfare system.

National report card details student mental health needs, recommendations
Schools play key roles in addressing the mental health needs of children, but all 50 states are failing to implement at least some of the policies that would enable schools to fulfill those roles, according to a new national report card developed by the Hopeful Futures Campaign, a coalition of 17 school mental health groups.
a child sits on her mothers lap during a meeting with a specialist
For example, schools are in a position to support early detection and intervention, as half of all mental illness presents itself before age 14. Yet the vast majority of states severely lack the recommended ratios of school mental health professionals — including counselors, psychologists and social workers — and no state meets the recommended ratio of one social worker for every 250 students.

In addition to understaffing in schools, rarely do states require regular mental health screenings or fully leverage Medicaid dollars to fund certain services, according to the report card. States are also inconsistent in their teacher training and school climate requirements.

State Board Report: SBE moves forward on accountability, waivers approved
The board welcomes three new members and discusses how to measure accountability during the pandemic
Students sitting at a desk
On Feb. 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the following appointments to the State Board of Education: Gabriela Gonzalez, an elementary school teacher for the Montebello Unified School District since 2001; Brenda Lewis, former associate superintendent of instruction at the Kern High School District from 2014 to 2021; and Sharon Olken, executive director of Gateway Public Schools since 2011. All three were sworn in at the start of the board’s March 9–10 meeting, during which the board took action revising school accountability reporting to account for COVID impacts, approved several waivers and more.

State educational agencies received waivers from federal accountability requirements for the 2019–20 and 2020–21 school years and from the assessment requirements for the 2019–20 school year. As a result, many states have not implemented all aspects of their statewide accountability systems or identified schools for support and improvement since fall 2019.

Parent/guardian and employee notifications
GAMUT Policy exhibit updates can help LEAs fulfill obligations to send out required notifications
Opening a letter
Parent/guardian and employee notifications are an effective means for districts and county offices of education to communicate with families and staff regarding legal rights as well as policies, programs, activities and operations. Certain notifications are required by law, and others can be provided by local educational agencies to promote understanding, involvement and knowledge. Recent legislation has prompted new required notifications for LEAs to provide to parents/guardians and staff.
Clean air in school facilities receives state and federal attention
The California Schools Healthy Air, Plumbing, and Efficiency Program (CalSHAPE) is providing funding to upgrade heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems in public schools
Grants are awarded only for projects at sites located in an underserved community as defined in Chapter 1, Section E of the guidelines. Applications for the second round of funding, which includes $210 million in available funds, opened on March 28 and will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31.

On March 17, the Biden Administration also launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which calls on all building owners and operators, schools, colleges and universities, and other organizations to adopt key strategies to improve indoor air quality in their buildings and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

On March 9, the California Department of Public Health posted updated guidance to its COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California for the 2021–22 academic year. The changes, which went into effect March 12, drop the masking requirement for students and staff in indoor settings. CDPH is still strongly recommending the use of masks to protect staff and students.

Teacher Residency Program hitting goals; needs long-term financial support
Resident teachers better reflect their students’ racial and ethnic diversity

The 2018–19 state budget included one-time funding of $75 million for the Teacher Residency Program intended to address teacher shortages, especially in the areas of special education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and for teachers who are bilingual. This program pairs local educational agencies with institutes of higher education (IHE) to place candidates in the classroom with mentor teachers for at least 50 percent of school hours for one year while engaging in preparation coursework. The 2020–21 state budget added an additional $350 million in one-time funds to the program.

In spring 2021, WestEd conducted an evaluation of the program to measure results and to help understand how grantees were building toward financial sustainability within the context of their one-time funding sources. The resulting January 2022 report, “Teacher Residency Programs in California: Financial Sustainability Challenges and Opportunities,” found that while program goals were being met, the financial stability of the program is concerning.

COEs taking steps to support multilingual and immigrant youth
New grants and initiatives can provide funding and resources to LEAs
A photograph of a teacher clapping her hands while her students follow her instructions by clapping their hands also
The Emerging Bilingual Collaborative, a sponsored project of the New Venture Fund backed by a coalition of five California-based philanthropic funders, announced on March 24 an award of $1.78 million in grants to nine local educational agencies across the state in supporting educators to implement high-quality instructional practices for multilingual learners, from preK through third grade.

California is home to more than 3 million multilingual learners — a term that includes both dual language learners (children up to age 5) and English learners (students in the K-12 system). Despite significant progress in recent years, more efforts are needed to prepare and support teachers to foster biliteracy and meet the unique learning needs of multilingual learners.

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Attention: All listed events will take place virtually. For more information about events, visit
Virtual Events
April 19-20
MIG Course 3: School Finance Parts 1 & 2
April 29-30
MIG Course 3: School Finance Parts 1 & 2
May 3-4
MIG Course 3: School Finance Parts 1 & 2
May 5-6
MIG Course 4: Human Resources/Collective Bargaining
May 12-13
MIG Course 3: School Finance Parts 1 & 2
May 13-14
MIG Course 4: Human Resources/Collective Bargaining
May 18-19
MIG Course 5: Community Relations & Advocacy/Governance Integration
May 24-25
MIG Course 5: Community Relations & Advocacy/Governance Integration
In-person events
July 22–23
2022 Leadership Institute | Los Angeles
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Thanks for reading our April 2022 newsletter!