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October 2023 Vol. 29, 10


Governor signs AB 1078, overriding local control
New law creates unintended consequences for local governance
A significant theme of the 2023 legislative session was the increased attention to local school boards by policymakers at the state level — both in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and within the Legislature. Fueled by larger, so-called “culture war” narratives, conflicts over curriculum, the termination of local superintendents by newly elected board majorities and new policies impacting LGBTQ students with the intent of increasing “parental rights,” these issues captured the attention of education news and policymakers in the latter half of the 2023 session.

Assemblymembers and Senators in the state Legislature introduced a number of bills directly responding to the breaking news stories coming out of local board meetings, and ultimately sent two to Gov. Newsom’s desk for consideration.

an outdoor basketball court at midday
CSBA’s Research and Policy Development (REPD) Department has published a governance brief, “School safety: Bullying and cyberbullying,” that includes definitions and statistics on bullying and cyberbullying, information on the impacts and signs of bullying and other resources.
Engaging with families can reduce political polarization in schools
Clear protocols and transparency in communications can contribute to better relationships
a young boy sits on his fathers lap outdoors while the two read a book together
District partnerships with parents are key to solving heightened political polarization in schools, according to an Aug. 10 brief from The Brookings Institution.

From lawsuits to violent incidents at school events and board meetings, national surveys of K-12 educators — including district leaders, principals and teachers — consistently show that parents have become a key source of tension in schools. However, even though researchers note that these incidents may be the work of a small but vocal minority of parents, there are steps schools can take to better engage all parents in ways that can alleviate political tensions.

While national surveys of educators do reveal points of tension between families and schools as it relates to curriculum and inclusive policies, those same surveys also underscore the influence of strong family engagement and the importance of building trusting relationships with families to head off potential conflict early, according to researchers.

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Chief Information Officer:
Troy Flint |

Editorial Director:
Kimberly Sellery |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Alisha Kirby |
Heather Kemp |
Teresa Machado |
Dana Scott |
Meghan Russell |

Director of Graphic Design & Branding:
Kerry Macklin |

Senior Graphic Designer:
Amanda Moen |

Susan Markarian | Pacific Union ESD

Albert Gonzalez | Santa Clara USD

Vice President:
Bettye Lusk | Monterey Peninsula USD

Immediate Past President:
Dr. Susan Heredia | Natomas 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.

CSBA & NSPRA logos
President’s Message: Susan Markarian
Professional learning and networking shine at AEC
The annual conference is an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest education issues, gather resources and network with fellow trustees
When I first became a board member 39 years ago, I was encouraged to attend CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show by my board president, Del Cederquist. My first conference was like drinking from a fire hose — a bit overwhelming, but sorely needed, and it only increased my thirst to learn as much as I could about the new role to which I had just been elected. CSBA gave me the outlet to learn what I needed to do the job properly. To this day, it remains a very valuable resource for me.

The more I got involved with CSBA, the more I grew as a board member and as a leader. I completed the Masters in Boardsmanship program — the precursor to Masters in Governance® — and still completed MIG when that became available. In addition to the direct learning from CSBA governance consultants, I found that the networking with other board members these opportunities provided is just as important.

CSBA brief examines bullying and cyberbullying
Resource for National Bullying Prevention Month
a young girl sitting at a classroom desk looks with a concerned expression at two girls talking to each other behind her

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and local educational agencies should consider how they can foster positive, safe and inclusive school environments in order to prevent bullying and boost student success.

CSBA’s Research and Education Policy Development (REPD) Department has published a governance brief, “School safety: Bullying and cyberbullying,” that includes definitions and statistics on bullying and cyberbullying, information on the impacts of bullying and signs that someone is being bullied, how LEAs can help students and families, examples of bullying prevention communications, sample questions for board members and other resources.

Proposed K-12 nutrition guidance would cut sugar, fat content and increase whole grains
Implementation would positively impact children’s long-term health outcomes
cropped view of a young girl holding a lunch tray in a cafeteria
Even partial compliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed updates to K-12 nutrition guidance would lead to overall reductions in short- and long-term health issues for participating students, according to a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

At a time when one in four school meals are of poor nutritional quality, fully aligning school meals with these proposed standards could positively impact hundreds of thousands of children into their adulthood, with the added benefit of saving billions in lifetime medical costs, researchers concluded.

The USDA’s proposal would require schools to offer mostly whole grain foods beginning in fall 2024, with gradual sugar and sodium content reductions occurring through 2029. The agency is expected to issue final rules in April 2024.

Governance corner
Practical tips from our MIG faculty
Continuing education benefits all board members
adults sit at attention in a classroom setting
Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” Boards of education that prioritize training make an important investment in its leadership, which directly affects the board’s effectiveness. Continual governance training makes an average or good board a great board. But many boards benefit from encouraging trustees to avail themselves of continuing education as they strive to serve students better.

Proponents of continuing education include not just big names such as Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey but also CSBA’s leadership, having found — from years of providing quality board member training — that ongoing professional development makes for better board members, higher-performing school district and county office of education boards and, ultimately, provides better conditions for student achievement.

Court rules in favor of neighborhood association in California Voting Rights Act case
The decision clarifies the parameters of the CVRA
On Aug. 24, 2023, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Pico Neighborhood Association v. City of Santa Monica (2023 WL 5440486), a case that has been ongoing since April 2016. The court’s decision did not end the case, but importantly, reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal and remanded the matter back for further consideration using a new standard to evaluate at-large voting systems for violations of the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA).

The CVRA is a 2001 California law that provides that “an at-large method of election may not be imposed or applied in a manner that impairs the ability of a protected class to elect candidates of its choice or its ability to influence the outcome of an election, as a result of the dilution or the abridgment of the rights of voters who are members of a protected class.” (Elections Code 14027.) The CVRA is similar to the federal law, the Voting Rights Act (VRA), but has key distinctions that are meant to provide more protections for minority voters in California. For example, the CVRA applies only to at-large election systems, also referred to as a multi-member district, which operate by affording all voters an equal number of votes as there are open positions. Using those votes, voters elect all of the representatives that will serve on the council. In contrast, a single-member district system operates by dividing the represented area into districts with roughly equal populations and all voters in each district receive one vote for their one representative.

State Board approves LCAP template
Adopts changes to accountability reporting and measuring student performance
minimalist digital illustration of a desktop monitor, around it float windows displaying various types of visual data

The California State Board of Education (SBE) took action on items related to student performance and accountability during its one-day Sept. 13 meeting. Board President Linda Darling-Hammond also noted the new academic year is in full swing with novel supports in place for children and educators. She highlighted new literacy instruction resources and funding, as well as the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P) — now in its first year of being fully implemented.

The meeting also introduced the new State Board student member, Anya Ayyappan, a senior at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon. As a member of her district’s board of education, she serves as a liaison between the local student body of over 30,000 youth and the school board.

California education leaders combat rising antisemitism through education and state initiatives
Rising rates of antisemitic hate incidents are being addressed by new partnerships
The California Department of Education on Aug. 23 hosted a roundtable discussion, Education to End Hate: Countering Antisemitism, with influential community and legislative leaders who are working to counter the current rise in antisemitism and hate-related crimes. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, while Jewish people account for just 2 percent of the U.S. population, they were the victims of 63 percent of religiously motivated hate crimes in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available.

A May 2023 report from the Antidefamation League found that antisemitic harassment, vandalism and assault in California rose by almost 40 percent between 2021 and 2022. Those numbers include the largest number of incidents ever recorded in Los Angeles County and three times the largest number of previous incidents in San Bernardino and Kern counties.

Commission on Teacher Credentialing examines educator career pathway tools
Continuing work to ensure quality transitional kindergarten implementation
mother smiling as her daughter sits in her lap smiling with a stuffed animal

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing discussed during its Aug. 24-25 meeting how a host of factors — including a Supreme Court decision that could impede equitable access to higher education; attacks on educators, academics and the rights of students; and state-level challenges around housing, student transportation and changing facilities needs — are affecting the education field. Additionally, the CTC discussed how ongoing work to expand transitional kindergarten offerings could impact retention and retainment efforts in California, as well as school communities as a whole.

Despite these challenges, commissioners celebrated the start of a new academic year and received updates on the Roadmap to Education Careers Initiative, conducted a study session on preparation program completer survey data and approved actions toward the launch of a literacy performance assessment (LPA) pilot study.

Share tables reduce food waste
New law requires schools to donate all edible food to food recovery organizations
aerial view of carrots, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, and onions
California leads the nation in two important and related areas: addressing child hunger by providing all students with universal free meals, a law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2022, and combating climate change by reducing organic waste. School cafeterias affect both issues due to the amount of organic waste that they produce.

There are several concerns regarding organic waste. First, when organic waste such as food breaks down, it emits methane, a short-term climate pollutant and major contributor to climate change. Second, organic waste makes up the largest type of waste sent to the landfill in California every year. To address these concerns, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1383 in 2016, with the goal of a 75 percent statewide reduction in organic waste by 2025. The law hopes to accomplish this goal by (1) redirecting edible unused food to Californians who do not have enough to eat and (2) composting food waste rather than directing it to landfills.

Free violence prevention trainings available through Project Cal-STOP
Partnership with Sandy Hook Promise provides convenient online programs
Project Cal-STOP is a violence prevention and mental health training program for students and staff in California schools. Launched by the California Department of Education in 2019 with funding from the STOP (Student, Teachers and Officers Preventing) School Violence grants from the U.S. Department of Justice, Project Cal-STOP aims to help schools create a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment through a number of trainings and resources available to local educational agencies at no cost.

During a Sept. 12 Project Cal-STOP informational webinar, project consultant Hilva Chan noted that since students returned to school full time from pandemic closures, there has been an increase in reports of bullying and harassment by seventh graders, a drop in school connectedness in grades 7-12 and a decrease in perceived caring adult relationships.

CCEE aims to strengthen Statewide System of Support
Aims to improve awareness and connections with LEAs
paper cut out of stick figures joined at the hands with their shadows on the floor
The Aug. 31 meeting of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) focused on discussions of how to improve awareness of what CCEE does in the field, ways to better measure progress made in providing direct technical assistance, how to provide easier access to the resources it provides, and how to improve collaboration between the state agency and local educational agencies it is serving. Also provided was an update on professional learning networks launched by the Innovation, Instruction, and Impact (I3) Center.

Executive Director Matt Navo spoke about a “turning point” for the organization, where objectives are evolving from just a collaboration model to the goal of transforming systems. He said the Statewide System of Support (SSOS), which aims to provide a quality, equitable education to very student, “is not a system yet.”


Humboldt COE is expanding its global partnership program

Encourages other LEAs to discover benefits of international cooperation
golden globe figurine balanced on a golden book

Humboldt County is known primarily for its Redwood National and State Parks, but education leaders are actively boosting the region’s profile as a key player in providing youth a “global education.”

Since 2019, the Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) has partnered with Taiwan to build a community around international learning and enable Humboldt County students to participate in project-based learning while developing international friendships. To date, more than 70 local classrooms have established sister classroom relationships with teachers in Taiwan.

In the last four years, the Global Classroom Connect Program shown potential for overlap in integration opportunities with areas including the Next Generation Science Standards, English language arts, mathematics, robotics and career technical education, said HCOE Deputy Superintendent Colby Smart.

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Attention: For more information about events, visit
Virtual Events
Nov. 6
Student Board Member (SBM) Governance Q&A and Networking

Nov. 6-Dec. 11 (4 sessions)
MIG Course 2: Student Learning & Achievement/ Policy & Judicial Review

In-person events
CSBA Roadshow
Oct. 23 | Kern County/Bakersfield
Oct. 23 | San Mateo County
Oct. 25 | Shasta/Siskiyou counties

Oct. 25
The Brown Act | Marysville

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Thanks for reading our October 2023 newsletter!