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October 2022 Vol. 28, 10

CSBA advocacy scores wins on election reform, workforce housing bills
Governor cites changing fiscal climate in many veto messages
white cardboard houses

As the curtain fell on another legislative year, Gov. Gavin Newsom had more than 1,000 bills sent to his desk to be vetoed or signed into law. CSBA had much to celebrate with three sponsored bills signed that will make needed reforms to school board recall and special elections and support districts in developing workforce housing. At the same time, many proposals were vetoed due to unfunded costs — a sign that the political winds may be shifting for the 2023–24 legislative session.

an elementary school aged girl holding a folder, wears a mask and a backpack while walking down a hallway

CSBA’s new report, Beyond the Spreadsheets: Insights from California education leaders utilizing COVID-19 relief funding, highlights the extraordinary efforts of LEAs to address the wide range of priorities they continue to face in dealing with the impacts of the pandemic. Survey respondents spoke to the essential nature of the funding and offer feedback for future aid packages.

CCEE microlearning modules offer support for classroom management and instruction
Organization also providing technical support for preK implementation and systems review
The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) met on Sept. 29 to receive updates on a number of topics, including direct technical assistance efforts, universal preK implementation initiatives and microlearning modules for individuals providing instruction for students.

Microlearning modules — brief videos led by “master teachers” who share concepts, tools and resources to support substitute teachers, para-educators and non-certificated instructional staff — were soft launched by the organization over summer and have received positive feedback. Video topics range from managing noise levels in classrooms to best practices for physical education and how to use the guided inquiry process. More modules will be available in the future.

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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 |
Meghan Russell |

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
Latino students are making progress — culturally relevant school supports are helping
A few spotlights for National Hispanic Heritage Month
three young latino children sit on a bench outside with their arms around each other's shoulders

Nearly 56 percent of California’s public school students are Latino or Hispanic. While these children have not been the minority group in our schools for some time, we have much ground to cover in ensuring their educational experiences deliver optimal outcomes, as evidenced by pervasive achievement gaps when compared to their white and Asian American peers.

Latino students have made significant academic progress over the last few decades, boasting higher graduation rates and enrollment in postsecondary education, as well as improved test scores. Yet between 2019 and 2021, nationwide, Latino students in third through eighth grade saw greater declines than their non-Latino white peers on both interim math and reading assessments, according to a report released in July by UnidosUS, a Latino civil rights and advocacy organization.

School leaders share the inside scoop on COVID-19 relief aid in new report
CSBA’s survey report reveals promises and pitfalls of spending relief funding
Beyond the Spreadsheets: Insights from California education leaders on utilizing COVID-19 relief funding graphic
The state and federal government have provided local educational agencies in California with historic sums of funding to help address the most critical challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This money continues to be essential for school districts and county offices of education to address health and safety issues, mental health concerns, social and emotional well-being, educational technology, and infrastructure improvements.

Although spending reports for federal relief aid have provided some information about how much money LEAs have spent and — very broadly — in what categories, they do not tell the whole story of school leaders’ experiences with this funding at the local level.

Register for the 2023 Coast2Coast Federal Advocacy Trip
Coast2Coast provides an opportunity to bring California’s education issues to the national stage
2023 Coast2Coast Washington D.C. Federal Advocacy Trip

CSBA and the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) will host the second annual Coast2Coast Federal Advocacy Trip to Washington, D.C., from April 24–26, 2023. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this advocacy event to shine a light on the issues affecting the state’s 6 million K-12 students. California school district and county office of education board members and superintendents can bring their local issues straight to the nation’s Capital during this three-day event.

The 2023 Coast2Coast event will begin with a day of brushing up on education policy issues specific to California, an “insiders’” briefing on the latest politics affecting federal education policy, and a networking opportunity with prominent D.C. figures and fellow educators. This will be followed by two days of meetings on Capitol Hill to advocate directly with California congressional representatives, White House officials, key federal agency leaders and other top policymakers.

Call for nominations for 2022 Delegate Assembly elections
Delegate Assembly nominations and biographical sketches due Friday, Jan. 7, 2023
Three people in a building, smiling and talking

Call for nominations for CSBA’s Delegate Assembly will open Nov. 1, 2022. CSBA member boards may nominate board members to run for election up until Jan. 7, 2023. Nominees are required to submit a completed, signed and dated biographical sketch form by Jan. 7; an optional one-page, one-sided resume may be submitted as well. The election period for boards to vote runs from Feb. 1 to March 15, 2023. Elected Delegates serve two-year terms beginning April 1, 2023, through March 31, 2025.

CSBA’s Delegate Assembly is a vital link in the association’s governance structure. Working with local districts, county offices of education, the Board of Directors and officers, Delegates ensure that the association reflects the interests of school districts and county offices of education. In addition, they elect CSBA’s officers and Board of Directors, adopt the Policy Platform and Bylaws, serve on committees, and provide advocacy on behalf of public education and boards of education.

Visit to learn more about CSBA’s Delegate Assembly and to download relevant documents, including those for the nomination and election process.

Governance corner
Practical tips from our MIG faculty
The importance of involving all educational partners in support of LCAP updates

Perhaps board members can remember those immortal lines from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, about the best of times and the worst of times. One might ponder on whether Dickens could have ever imagined the “times” that school districts and county offices of education are experiencing in the 2020s. COVID, teacher shortages, budget crises and more are front-and-center issues in trustees’ minds these days.

In these difficult times, meaningful engagement with all educational partners becomes critically important, particularly in preparation for the local educational agency’s Local Control and Accountability Plan and its updates. At its November 2021 meeting, the State Board of Education adopted the use of the term “educational partners” as a replacement for the term “stakeholder.”

Promoting safe walking conditions for youth
Districts show not all home-to-school transportation requires a vehicle
Children who walk to school tend to have higher academic performance, alertness in class, reasoning abilities, and levels of happiness and relaxation, as well as lower stress levels during the school day, according to pediatric experts.

With such benefits in mind and just in time for National Walk to School Day on Oct. 5, Chico Unified School District is launching a pilot Walking School Bus program — an initiative that promotes safe routes to school, often chaperoned by school personnel, or parent and community volunteers.

Districts throughout California are partnering with local municipalities, community organizations and agencies to promote and operate safe walking programs. For example, Monterey Peninsula USD works with Transportation Agency for Monterey County, while Santa Monica-Malibu USD partners with the City of Santa Monica.

School Boards in Action: 5 Questions with Marie Freitas
Marie Freitas, board president, Manteca Unified School District
Marie Freitas congratulating student at graduation ceremony
What does your district have planned for the 2022–23 school year to foster learning recovery and educational advancements?
Manteca Unified School District continues to foster learning recovery and education advancements during the 2022–23 school year. We have worked thoughtfully to refine programming and acquire tools and resources which aim to close the learning gap, allowing emerging students to be successful. We operate using a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support framework, which is designed to give targeted support to students and identify learning barriers early to intervene quickly. The systems work harmoniously to support the academic growth as well as behavior, social-emotional needs and absenteeism. One newer tool in the system is diagnostic testing for grades K-12. This testing directly aligns to official state testing and is a great tool for teachers to help them identify unmet essential standards and create lessons based on each student’s academic level. This testing occurs three times throughout the school year (fall, winter and spring), and the data gathered is critical to inform instruction so that all students show academic growth.
California Student Aid Commission is ‘all in’ for FAFSA/CA Dream Act Application
New legislation aims to expand financial aid access for all students
New legislation aims to expand financial aid access for all students

In the 2021–22 state budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature included a groundbreaking new policy that local educational agencies, including charter schools, must confirm that their graduating high school seniors complete an application for financial aid (or an opt-out waiver) starting in the 2022–23 academic year. Now, as schools begin to implement this new approach, there is an immense opportunity for California to expand financial aid access to thousands of students and empower them in making decisions about their lives after graduation and whether to pursue college or career training.

This year’s financial aid cycle started Oct. 2, and California’s education community has the opportunity to work together to take advantage of this key initiative to dramatically increase the number of high school seniors who apply for financial aid. The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) refers to this as the “All In for FAFSA/CA Dream Act!”

LEA use of gender-neutral language
Trustees benefit from understanding issued guidance on gender identity generally and gender-neutral language
A chalkboard representation of different gender-neutral language individuals

In the November 2021 edition of California School News, CSBA’s Legal Department provided information regarding local educational agencies’ obligations under California’s Gender Recognition Act, which added “nonbinary” as a gender designation that may be recorded on California identification documents. That article focused specifically on the designation of a student’s gender in student records using the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) and aimed to assist LEAs as they navigated guidance from the California Department of Education on the subject.

Since then, CDE has not issued any further guidance related to gender designations or gender-neutral language and no new laws have impacted the guidance previously given by both CSBA and CDE. However, the topic of gender-neutral language continues to be relevant and it is an evolving area of law and policy.

NAEP long-term trends assessment reveals first-ever decline in math for 9-year-olds
Scores also showed an overall decline in reading — except in urban schools where there was no change
Girl with headphones on doing homework
The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) conducted a special administration of the NAEP long-term trend (LTT) reading and mathematics assessment for 9-year-old students to examine student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results, released Sept. 1, showed declines in both reading and math compared to 2020 scores. Students in 2022 declined five points in reading and seven points in math — the largest decrease in average score in reading since 1990 and the first-ever decline in math.

NAEP reports are divided into five percentiles: lower- (10th and 25th percentiles), middle- (50th percentile) and higher- (75th and 90th percentiles) performing students. While the 2022 scores reflect a decline in all categories, scores for lower-performing 9-year-old students declined more than scores for higher-performing students compared to 2020. For example, in math, the 10th and 25th percentile of lower-performing students saw scores drop by 12 and 11 points, respectively; while scores in the 75th and 90th percentile of higher-performing students declined by five points and three points, respectively. The middle-performing group saw its average score decline by eight points.

AB 181 makes significant changes to independent study
New law encourages, but does not require, LEAs to offer the program
girl sitting at a desk, looking at a laptop

During the 2021–22 school year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state Legislature required districts and county offices of education (COEs) to offer independent study. Moving forward, districts and COEs are encouraged, but not required, to offer independent study programs.

Assembly Bill 181, the 2022–23 omnibus budget trailer bill that was enacted on June 30, 2022, and went into effect immediately, makes significant changes to independent study program requirements. Local educational agencies that offer independent study should update their written policies and agreements with students and families to reflect these changes.

State Board takes deep dive into assessments and the Dashboard
SBE continues to make adjustments to CAASPP score reports since pandemic closures
Accountability and assessments were key topics of the State Board of Education’s Sept. 14–15 meeting.

Following robust discussion, the board approved proposed threshold scores for the California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science, as well as continued use of the adjusted form blueprints for the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics, and the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) and English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) Student Score Reports (SSRs) for 2022–23.

After a tumultuous couple of years for testing that saw the board approve revisions to the 2021–22 CAASPP SSRs to account for a lack of testing at the height of the pandemic, the board is continuing to make adjustments.

CCBE goes in-depth on student mental health at 2022 conference
Economic forecast panel warns of possible large drop in Prop 98 for next budget year
Kid's hands holding paper smiling, sad and neutral faces.
After a Zoom-only event in 2020 and an in-person/virtual hybrid offering last year, California County Boards of Education (CCBE) welcomed more than 160 county board members, superintendents, staff and presenters to its first fully in-person conference in three years. Attendees gathered from Sept. 9–11 in Monterey where they could attend a variety of workshops and presentations on statewide policy during the pandemic, as well as a look ahead to the challenges of 2022–23 and beyond.

“We saw during the pandemic the crucial role that county boards and superintendents play, but that service is not limited to times of crisis,” CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia said during her address to the CCBE General Membership meeting on Sept. 10, capturing a theme present early and often throughout the three-day event. “The spirit of collaboration between county offices and local districts that grew during the pandemic must persist as we address learning recovery, equitable education, student mental health, staffing shortages and the myriad other challenges we face.”

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Attention: For more information about events, visit
Virtual Events
Oct. 26–27
MIG Course 4: Human Resources/Collective Bargaining
Nov. 2–3
MIG Course 4: Human Resources/Collective Bargaining
Nov. 8–9
MIG Course 5: Community Relations & Advocacy/Governance Integration
Nov. 15–16
MIG Course 5: Community Relations & Advocacy/Governance Integration
In-person events

Oct. 20
The Brown Act | Rancho Cucamonga

Dec. 1–3
2022 Annual Education Conference | San Diego
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Thanks for reading our October 2022 newsletter!