August 2018 Vol. 24, 8
CSBA President Mike Walsh in conversation with FLOODGATE founder Ann Miura-Ko.
2018 Leadership Institute spotlights STEM education
School board members, administrators, teachers and education advocates from across the state gathered at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco on July 13 and 14 for CSBA’s 2018 Leadership Institute to build skills, learn from experts and network with their peers.
This year’s theme, “The Science of Leading Students to STEM Success,” focused on advancing science, technology, engineering and math education in districts and county offices of education through real-world tips and best practices, inspiration from world-class tech leaders and information from experts and advocates in STEM education.

Equity and access was a common theme throughout the conference. In his opening remarks, CSBA President Mike Walsh said, “We, as education leaders, have a responsibility to see that these [computer science and Next Generation Science] standards are implemented with fidelity and in a way that prepares all students — regardless of background — for success in college, career and civic life.”

  • Visit for links to digital versions of current and past issues of California School News.
Beat the heat: Steps to protect students from heat stress
As summer temperatures heat up in California just ahead of the start of the school year and athletic practices, school districts and county offices of education are encouraged to be mindful of steps to prevent illness from heat stress. The Centers for Disease Control has found that heat stress during sports practice or competition is the leading cause of death or disability among high school athletes in the United States.
Heat stress occurs when exercise increases the body’s temperature and the body is not able to cool itself as needed. California has the second highest number of student athletes nationally at about 800,000, and it is important that school leaders implement strategies and protocols to help reduce the risk of heat illness.

“School leaders need to ask the right questions of their staff to ensure that school sites, administrators and coaches are educated and trained in signs, symptoms and treatment, and that they have Emergency Action Plans in place,” said California Interscholastic Federation Executive Director Roger Blake.

  • Heat illness during sports practice is the leading cause of death or disability among high school athletes in the U.S.
  • Emergency Action Plans are critical for schools to have in place
  • AB 2800 requires California coaches to complete heat illness prevention training
Senior Director of Communications:
Troy Flint |

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Serina Pruitt |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Hugh Biggar |
Aaron Davis |
Mike Ambrose |
Andrew Cummins |

Graphic Design Manager:
Kerry Macklin |

Senior Graphic Designer:

Carmen Rodriguez |

Mike Walsh | Butte COE

Emma Turner | La Mesa-Spring Valley SD

Vice President:
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | Azusa USD

Immediate Past President:
Susan Henry | Huntington Beach Union HSD

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.

President’s Message: Mike Walsh
Living a life of purpose as a school board trustee
The start of another school year is upon us, but I am still drawing inspiration from some memorable experiences of the past few months.

Like many of you, I am an advocate of continuous learning. So, for me, the term summer vacation is mostly aspirational. I spend each summer teaching leadership to high school students from around the world at the UC Berkeley campus. The students come to explore careers in health care, engineering and biotechnology. This summer, it served as a perfect framing for my time at CSBA’s 2018 Leadership Institute: “The Science of Leading Students to STEM Success.”

Among the many notable remarks delivered by presenters at the Leadership Institute, this quote from governance expert Susan Decker stayed with me, “The purpose of life is living a life of purpose.” As school board members, we already have a profound purpose defined for us: to create the conditions that give all students the opportunities required for success in college, career and civic life.

Life after Janus
The Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME and the new laws passed by the California Legislature have created new restrictions and open questions for school districts and county offices of education.
The 5-4 decision in Janus transforms public sector employment relations and collective bargaining by declaring that mandatory agency fees are unconstitutional because such fees support political speech and, when mandatory, violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Agency fees had previously been paid by non-union members for collective bargaining activities.
Impact of recent legislation on board communications
In anticipation of the Janus decision, labor unions throughout California lobbied legislators to obtain more protective and union-friendly laws, including Assembly Bill 119, requiring public employers to give unions access to new employee orientations and onboarding and Senate Bill 285, signed into law in October 2017, which makes it unlawful for a public employer to “deter or discourage public employees from becoming or remaining members of an employee organization.”

SB 866 — signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 27, 2018, the day the Janus decision was issued — took effect immediately and contains several provisions, one of which will impact certain district communications. This bill provides that any mass communication made by a public employer to multiple employees concerning public employees’ rights to join or support a union, or to refrain from doing so, is subject to the meet-and-confer process with the union. In the event the parties are unable to reach agreement on the content of the communication, the district may still distribute the communication, but would also need to simultaneously distribute the union’s own mass communication. “Mass communication” is defined as “a written document, or script for an oral or recorded presentation or message, that is intended for delivery to multiple public employees.”

state board
ESSA approved following SBE meeting; Growth models further explored
With roughly $2.4 billion on the table for California’s lowest-performing schools, the State Board of Education made final changes to the Every Student Succeeds Act plan at its July 11 meeting. On Thursday, July 12, the U.S. Department of Education signed off on the changes and approved California’s plan, ending a tumultuous monthslong process of negotiations.

The state plan was developed over a two-year period with feedback and input from thousands of stakeholders.

ESSA approval brings with it funding for low-performing K-12 schools as well as funds for after-school programs, teacher training and migrant student aid. To meet the federal requirement for assessing a school outside of academics, California chose to focus on school suspensions for elementary and middle schools, and on suspensions and college and career readiness for high schools.

As part of the negotiations, the State Board agreed to move up the decision of how California will identify the lowest-performing low-income schools in need of help from 2019–20 to 2018–19. To receive the $2.4 billion in federal funding for ESSA, the state has to identify the lowest-performing 5 percent of low-income schools for support and aid — expected to be about 300–400 schools statewide.


2017–18 legislative session winding down
The Legislature has until Friday, Aug. 31, to conclude its business for the 2017–18 legislative session and send bills to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will have until Sept. 30 to sign his final slate of legislation bills as Governor of California. Several of CSBA’s 2018 sponsored bills have final hurdles to clear before reaching the Governor’s desk, while the Assembly Bill 195 ballot label issue looks unlikely to be resolved in advance of the November election.
CSBA sponsored bills

Several key CSBA co-sponsored bills are slated to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee in early August, including Assembly Bill 2808 (Muratsuchi, D-Torrance), which would significantly increase the level of the Local Control Funding Formula base grant targets, and AB 1951 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach), also known as the Pathways to College Act, which would allow local educational agencies the flexibility to administer an alternate assessment (for example, the SAT or ACT) for 11th-grade students in place of the Smarter Balanced Summative Test.

AB 276 (Medina, D-Riverside), the CSBA co-sponsored charter school transparency bill that would require charter school adherence to the Brown or Bagley-Keene Act, California Public Records Act, Political Reform Act of 1974 and Government Code 1090, will also be heard by the Appropriations Committee after passing the Senate Education Committee in June with support from the California Charter Schools Association.

Nominate members for CSBA Directors-at-Large
Nominations for CSBA Directors-at-Large Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic are being accepted through Friday, Sept. 28, 2018.
The nominations for Directors-at-Large must be made by a CSBA member board and the nominee must be a board member from a CSBA member district or county office of education. The nominations for Regional Director must be made by a CSBA Delegate from the respective region.

Directors-at-Large and Regional Directors shape policy and set organizational direction. As part of the Board of Directors, they are also responsible for oversight of CSBA’s corporate functions, including programs, products and budget. The Board of Directors also provides insight on the impact of legislation and state policy on local boards.

The Board of Directors consists of four officers, 21 regional directors from across the state, five Directors-at-Large, the California County Boards of Education President and any California board member serving on the National School Boards Association Board of Directors. The Delegate Assembly elects directors to serve a two-year term beginning immediately upon the close of the Annual Education Conference and Trade Show in December.

More information on the election process is available on the CSBA website at

GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty

The start of a new school year is a time for school boards to renew their commitment to operating as a highly effective board. In this newsletter, we focus on one goal of an effective governing board — Keep the district focused on learning and achievement for all students. One important strategy that can support this focus is effective family engagement.

Family engagement strategies include transparent communication, diverse opportunities for families to be involved at the school site and district level, and ways for families to provide feedback. Such strategies provide important information on the school district’s vision and goals to families. In turn, families are able to become stronger partners in their child’s education, better support continued learning at home, and provide continual feedback that contributes to the district’s efforts of improvement.

Board members can ask the following guiding questions to assess family engagement efforts:

Who have we engaged? Where in the district do we see high family engagement? What are the successful strategies that have been used to engage these families on a school site and district level? What contributes to this success — can those conditions be replicated?

Who have we not engaged? Where are the gaps in our engagement strategies? What are the barriers that prevent families from participating on a school site and district level? Are our engagement strategies current and do they take into account shifting demographics and conditions within our district? What are other data points that we need to consider?

What are we going to do about it? What adjustments need to be made to ensure that our engagement strategies are culturally responsive? Are there community partners and resources that can be leveraged? How will we use this assessment to inform our next steps?

Thinking through these guiding questions will provide your board with direction, inform next steps to continued effective family engagement and support a culture of student learning and achievement.


School districts settle SMAA reimbursements
The School-Based Medi-Cal Administrative Activities program promotes access to healthcare for students without insurance, helping to prevent high-cost or long-term health problems. The SMAA program provides reimbursements to local educational agencies for the federal share of certain costs associated with administering the Medi-Cal program in schools.

In 2012, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services conducted an audit of three LEAs, and notified the California Department of Health Care Services that it would defer payments for SMAA claims due to noncompliance with federal regulations until the state revised its claiming methodology.

In October 2014, the DHCS reached a settlement agreement with the CMS for payment of deferred invoices from fiscal years 2009–10 through 2014–15, as well as a new methodology for resolving SMAA claims. As part of this agreement, many districts owe money for overpayments the districts received.

California court upholds vaccination law

Two years after the passage of Senate Bill 277, the California 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld California’s landmark law that banned the religious or personal belief exemption to vaccination requirements for entry into public or private schools. In Brown et al. v. Smith, the Court rejected the argument that the law violates the plaintiff’s freedom of religion or their fundamental interest in attending school. Therefore, school districts must continue to verify that all new students entering the district and every student entering transitional kindergarten, kindergarten and seventh grade have completed the vaccinations required by SB 277.

  • SB 277, which requires children be vaccinated to attend public or private school in California, was upheld in an appeal
  • At least 95 percent of a population needs to be vaccinated to prevent an outbreak of a highly contagious disease

According to the California Department of Public Health, the proportion of kindergarten students in 2017–18 reported to have received all required vaccines was 95.1 percent, a 0.4 percentage point decrease from the 2016–17 school year. The 2017–18 rate is the second highest reported for the current set of immunization requirements for kindergarten — which began in the 2001–02 school year — down from an all-time high rate set in 2016–17. This is a marked improvement from 2010–11, when the kindergarten immunization rate was just 90.7 percent. Experts say that at least 95 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated to prevent an outbreak of a highly contagious disease.

Making an impact through effective policy development
A major responsibility of governing boards is to adopt policies that communicate the board’s philosophy, provide clear direction and stability for district operations and ensure fair, uniform treatment of students, staff and community members. When consistently implemented and monitored for effectiveness, policies can be an important tool to help the district achieve its vision and goals.
The process may vary across districts depending on staff resources, the size of the community or the extent of community involvement, but it is essential that every process includes a regular review to keep policies current.

— Robert Tuerck, CSBA Assistant Executive Director of Policy and Governance Technology Services

To have the greatest impact, policy development needs to be a proactive, thoughtful process that invites broad input from district stakeholders and facilitates board discussion based on accurate information. “Board policies are essential to local control,” said Robert Tuerck, CSBA’s assistant executive director of Policy and Governance Technology Services. “It is important that the governance team works together to develop and maintain policies that are consistent with the law and reflect local practices and priorities.”

county boards
County Perspective
Developing the next generation of educational leadership in Santa Clara County

Faced with a large number of staff set to retire, the Santa Clara County Office of Education has developed a new generation of leaders. Working with a team of stakeholders, the Santa Clara COE developed a program that uses cross-department mentoring and project-based service learning to develop leaders.

Launched in 2009, Santa Clara COE’s Champions for Leadership, or CFL, matches future leaders with a mentor and provides program participants with professional development opportunities. All permanent employees including existing managers, teachers, office staff, classroom staff and service workers are eligible to participate.

Participants attend seminars once a month on such topics as effective leadership, communication, team building, change management and interviewing skills. In addition to the seminars, participants meet with an organizational mentor to develop a professional development plan and complete an action-learning project related to their work and Santa Clara COE goals. They also are a part of a cohort.

Register for any of these events at
September 7–8, 2018 | Salinas
MIG Courses 1 & 3
September 28–29, 2018 | Sacramento
MIG Courses 1-5
October 5–6, 2018 | Salinas
MIG Courses 2 & 4
October 12–13, 2018 | Anaheim
MIG Courses 1-5
October 27, 2018 | Salinas
MIG Course 5
Thanks for reading our August 2018 newsletter!