State Board
State Board Report: Community schools grants approved
Flexibility provided for state physical fitness test; update on state math framework
A physical education teacher helps emphasis fitness techniques to students
The California State Board of Education convened May 18 for its first in-person session in two years to discuss items on community schools grant allocations, physical education flexibilities and more.

The board moved ahead with the $3 billion California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) funds, approved last year by the Legislature to establish new and expand existing community schools, by approving $635 million in planning and implementation grants for about 265 school districts, county offices of education and charter schools.

Nearly 200 local educational agencies with no existing community schools will receive $200,000 two-year planning grants in the first round. Priority was given to applicants with schools in which 80 percent or more of the total student population are included in the unduplicated student count and to LEAs serving rural and small schools.

Approximately 70 LEAs with at least some existing community school infrastructure will receive implementation grants with each school receiving over the course of five years between $712,500 for those with fewer than 150 students to $2.375 million for schools with more than 2,000 students. Schools serving at least 80 percent low-income children will receive priority funding. Districts and charter schools will be required to match one-third of their allotted state grants.

In January, the board approved a CCSPP Framework, which details the key roles and responsibilities of local, county, regional and state partners; best practices; four cornerstone commitments and more. Throughout the process, CDE staff and members of the board have stressed that community schools go beyond providing resources such as medical and dental care and mental and behavioral health services. Rather, the model hinges on a combination of academics with a wide range of vital in-house services, supports and opportunities that are integral to promoting children’s learning and overall development through strong partnerships, collaborative leadership and authentic community engagement.

“We are taking many of the best elements in terms of the four principles of the framework from our national colleagues and also uniquely lifting up what is most resonant and innovative and true to California, which is a very justice and equity-based approach,” said board member Kim Pattillo Brownson. “The approach of bringing a whole child, whole student set of services and really, acknowledgments of who children are when they come into schools, I think is just incredibly exciting, important and I’m so proud that California is leaning into this.”

To further support these efforts, the State Board approved CDE’s recommendation to establish the Alameda County Office of Education as lead technical assistance center (TAC) to head the statewide regional TACs responsible for outreach and technical assistance to potential applicants as needed and the development of community school resources, sharing of best practices and data collection.

Academic and physical education testing changes

Per staff recommendations, the board approved the proposed 2021–22 apportionment rates for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress and the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California. The assessment apportionment funds are unrestricted funds to reimburse LEAs for all staffing costs associated with testing; transportation costs for delivering and retrieving tests and test materials within the LEA; and expenses incurred at the LEA and site level related to testing. At the same time, the board also approved the proposed Alternate English Language Proficiency Assessments for California threshold scores for 2021–22 and beyond.

The board also approved a Finding of Emergency and readopted Proposed Emergency Regulations and Amendments to provide LEAs with some flexibility related to the California Physical Fitness Test (PFT), typically administered in spring to students in grades five, seven and nine to assess six areas of fitness.

The passage of Senate Bill 820 in 2020 requires the CDE to consult with partners with expertise in fitness, adapted physical education, gender identity, body image and students with disabilities in order to recommend improvements to the PFT and its administration. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction must submit a report with these recommendations to the appropriate fiscal and policy committees of the Legislature, the Department of Finance and the SBE by Nov. 1 of this year.

Finally, the board approved the commencement of a 45-day public comment period for proposed amendments to California Code of Regulations related to the PFT.

In other State Board meeting news:
  • Board President Linda Darling-Hammond provided insight into the status of the revised state Mathematics Framework, which received more than 300 comments during the last public review period that ended on May 16. “The work now of CDE staff is to review, organize and evaluate the comments to develop a plan for revision,” she said. “Once we have an understanding of the scope of the proposed changes, we will need to make a determination about when the framework is likely to come before the State Board. It’s important that we get this framework right.” CSBA submitted comments to the framework seeking revisions that take into account the additional resources needed for implementation. Specifically, the comments highlight the framework’s heavy reliance on technology and the important role that professional development will play — resources and support that not all districts will have readily available.

The next State Board meeting is scheduled for July 13–14, 2022.