September 2019 Vol. 25, 9
CSBA and ACSA partner on federal bill to increase IDEA funding
CSBA and ACSA partner on federal bill to increase IDEA funding
CSBA and the Association of California School Administrators, through the CSBA/ACSA Federal Partnership, have put forward the Funding Early Childhood is the Right IDEA Act.

H.R. 4107 was introduced July 31 by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL). The bipartisan bill would increase funding over the next four fiscal years for early education services for the youngest students needing special education services and programs. Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides funding to states to implement a system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families — and for preschool services under Part B of IDEA.

“Over the past two decades, the needs of children and families nationwide for early intervention and preschool special education services have dramatically increased, while federal investments in these services have continuously deteriorated,” said CSBA President Dr. Emma Turner. “CSBA strongly supports the Funding Early Childhood is the Right IDEA Act as a critical mechanism to restore lost funding and ensure that all children are receiving the services they need for success as students and to contribute fully to the social, civic and economic prosperity of the United States.”

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Governance brief explores key relationship between STEM and CTE programs
There is a fast-growing need in California for STEM-centered career and technical education in fields such as advanced manufacturing, health care, renewable energy, and information and communication technologies.

At the same time, CTE pathways can lead to well-paying careers while laying a robust foundation for students’ various education trajectories. The convergence of these factors is explored in CSBA’s latest governance brief, “Supporting STEM Access, Equity, and Effectiveness: STEM and CTE Work for California’s Economic Future.”

The brief is now online and examines California’s workforce needs, how STEM and CTE complement each other, the benefits of CTE for K-12 students and strategies for successful programs.

While about 40 percent, or close to 800,000, of California’s high school students were enrolled in a CTE course in the 2016–17 school year, participation in classes tied to the state’s most in-demand fields were not as popular. The success of students enrolled in these programs also makes the case that higher enrollment would benefit not only the state’s workforce but may lead to higher graduation rates and academic engagement, particularly for students from low-income backgrounds. Overall, the graduation rate for CTE students in California was 92 percent in 2017.

Senior Director of Communications:
Troy Flint |

Managing Editor:
Kimberly Sellery |

Marketing Director:

Serina Pruitt |

Staff Writers and Contributors:
Andrew Cummins |
Aaron Davis |
Bode Owoyele |
Alexandra Zucco |

Graphic Design Manager:
Kerry Macklin |

Senior Graphic Designer:
Mauricio Miranda |

Emma Turner | La Mesa-Spring Valley SD

Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez | Azusa USD

Vice President:
Tamara Otero | Cajon Valley Union USD

Immediate Past President:
Mike Walsh | Butte COE

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: Emma Turner
Emma Turner
A comprehensive approach to school safety
Nothing is more special to a parent than their child’s love. Each day, families entrust us with their most precious possession when they send their children to our schools. Rewarding that trust and keeping students safe is a sacred responsibility as well as a key lever in driving academic achievement.Recent studies demonstrate what we as district officials already know — children learn best in schools where they feel safe and supported. The annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools demonstrated that parents also place school safety high on their list of concerns. We need to implement a comprehensive approach to school safety that involves focusing on a positive school climate, emergency response preparedness and supporting students and families after an incident occurs.

A comprehensive approach to school safety starts with school culture. Research shows that creating positive school climates helps boost student achievement and increase high school graduation rates. Developing this positive culture involves integrating social-emotional learning into instruction and school management; encouraging and maintaining respectful, trusting relationships between students and adults; and implementing a multi-tiered system of support that offers universal academic and behavioral support to all students while recognizing that some students need extra support to thrive and achieve in school. Boards can contribute to this important work by making positive school climate a districtwide priority and including it in strategic plans, budgetary decisions, curricular adoption criteria, and policies and regulations.

Masters in Governance graduates
July 13, 2019: Santa Barbara, California
CSBA is proud to recognize our Masters in Governance graduates and salute their exceptional commitment to professional development in the service of students. MIG completion signifies mastery of the roles and responsibilities of school boards and a strong understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to build and support an effective governance structure that helps produce better outcomes for students. MIG is just one part of CSBA’s commitment to our strategic initiative to support professional development by providing accessible, high-quality training.
Masters in Governance graduates
Front Row: Left to Right
Heather Lomax, Board Member, Cuyama Joint USD; Stephen Bluestein, Superintendent, Cuyama Joint USD; Irene Garcia, Board Member, South Monterey County Joint Union HSD; Diana Perez; Board Member, Santa Maria Joint Union HSD; Lisa Morinini, Board President, Orcutt Union ESD; Shaun Henderson, Board Member, Orcutt Union ESD; Deborah Blow, Superintendent, Orcutt Union ESD; Mari Minjarez Baptista, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources, Santa Barbara CEO
GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty
Keeping up with training and professional development
A commitment to board training and professional development can enhance a governing board’s ability to effectively carry out its roles and responsibilities. Professional development can strengthen a board’s good governance practices and refocus its attention on strategies that support positive student outcomes.

When meeting, board members may ask these questions of themselves to calendar their professional development:

  • Are we committed to participating in the annual practice of board self-evaluation? What are our board’s strengths and areas of growth as identified in the self-evaluation? What training opportunities are available that would address our growth areas? (For more on board self-evaluation, see article on page 5, Board self-evaluation and the Brown Act.)
  • How will we use training and professional development to better support student achievement within our district or county office of education?
  • How can we prioritize professional development in our budget? Have adequate funds been set aside for this purpose?
Board self-evaluation and the Brown Act
A common goal among California school boards is the continuous improvement of students’ academic performance. If for no other reason than that, every school board should lead the district or county office of education it serves by example and set a goal of continuous improvement in the performance of its leadership functions. Such continuous improvement will usually require a periodic review of the board’s goals and/or objectives, the factors that inspired their development and the efforts invested in achieving them, as well as a comprehensive discussion of desired outcomes and whether they are being achieved. In other words, a periodic review by way of self-evaluation is essential to the overall success of each school board.

A self-evaluation involves setting a time when board members may engage in an examination of the board’s performance on an agreed set of norms, conditions or yardsticks. The main focus of a board self-evaluation should be on the board as a whole, not individual members. A board self-evaluation should not be seen by board members as an opportunity to express personal grouse or discontentment with their fellow board members. Keeping focus on the task may require facilitation, preferably by an experienced and independent moderator who can also assist the board to develop protocols that will enhance the governance team’s performance in identified areas.

Report examines test scores in wake of California’s major education reforms
A new report by the Public Policy Institute of California examines how two major educational reforms in California in the past decade — the adoption of the Common Core State Standards in 2010 and the Local Control Funding Formula in 2013 — have affected student test scores on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Achievement in California’s Public Schools: What Do Test Scores Tell Us? finds that while the state’s students are making progress in English, math scores are relatively stagnant and indicate a need for more attention, training and resources directed to Common Core instruction. The study also responds to critics who say California’s students are not making sufficient progress, citing that change brought by these reforms is a “long, slow process” requiring each district to “help teachers and administrators change practices in ways that boost achievement.”

Smarter Balanced tests
The PPIC report found that both students and districts across the state show gains on the SBAC in English over the first three years of the test (2015–18), although fewer than half of students are meeting the SBAC standards. In math, growth is inconsistent and little progress has been made toward meeting the standards.
Nationwide poll finds support for increasing school funding
Awareness and frustration with the continued underfunding of the nation’s public schools has reached a point at which 58 percent of teachers say they would vote to strike for higher funding for school programs.
And for the 18th consecutive year, Americans said the lack of financial support is the biggest problem facing their local schools. These attitudes are some of the key findings in the 2019 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, available at

The wide-ranging poll finds that six in 10 parents and all adults, and 75 percent of teachers, say their community’s schools don’t have enough money. Twenty-five percent of all adults responded in an open-ended question that inadequate financial support is the biggest problem facing public schools today, a number which jumps to 36 percent among teachers.

“These new nationwide poll results are consistent with increased awareness in California about the disinvestment in our public schools,” said CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “There is a strong desire by the public to reverse this trend.”
Vernon M. Billy, CSBA CEO & Executive Director
The poll results provide further material in the groundswell of support for CSBA’s call for the Full and Fair Funding of California’s public schools, which are ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in several key funding and staffing level categories. The campaign calls on the state Legislature to raise public school funding to the national average by 2020 and to the average of the top 10 states by 2025.
Dress and grooming: From the CROWN Act to student expression
Students’ attire and grooming have evolved considerably over the years. And how schools enforce their guidelines regarding dress and grooming, communicate these expectations to students and avoid singling out student groups are evolving, too.
The law is clear that dress codes must not be written or enforced in a manner that results in a disproportionate application of the dress code based on a student’s gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religious or cultural expression, household income, or body type or size.

This July, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), Senate Bill 188, which protects students from discrimination based on hairstyles, including afros, braids and twists. Author Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) said in a news release that “for centuries, black people have had to use expensive, chemically harsh treatments to fit Eurocentric standards for professional hair.” While federal and California law already prohibited discrimination based on religious hairstyles and head coverings, Mitchell said these measures were not enough. She pointed to the example of a young wrestler from New Jersey who was forced by a referee to cut his natural locks before competing on the mat.

school climate
Professional development institute with spotlight on whole-child support draws 3,000 educators
From counseling services to chronic absenteeism to disciplinary alternatives, more than 3,000 education professionals converged in Long Beach from July 28–31 to home in on equitably supporting every student with a whole-child approach.
Those topics were among the many covered at the third annual California Multi-Tiered System of Support Professional Learning Institute.

The institute’s theme of “All Means All: Know My Name, Face and Story” was present throughout, with speakers and presenters sharing their life and educational stories as examples of the limitless backgrounds students possess, and their futures yet to be told. By using an asset-based approach at school, experts said, one caring adult can make all the difference in the world for a child.

Board members encouraged to keep attendance issues front and center year-round
September is Attendance Awareness Month, but experts say a year-round focus is required of district leaders and board members to make sustainable inroads and cultural shifts.
“I think that school board members really play a central role in monitoring whether chronic absence is improving or getting worse,” said Hedy N. Chang, executive director of Attendance Works.

The effects of poor attendance habits on student achievement pose a major challenge to many students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. By the ninth grade, students’ chances of graduating from high school drop by 20 percentage points for every week of school they miss, according to a new report from Georgetown University’s FutureEd think tank and Attendance Works, Attendance Playbook: Smart Solutions for Reducing Chronic Absenteeism.

Further, experts and researchers find chronic absence isn’t just a matter of truancy or skipping school, but of the overall well-being of children. Many absences, especially among the youngest students, are excused and tied to health factors such as asthma, dental problems, poor vision, learning disabilities and mental health issues related to trauma and community violence.

county boards

CCBE continues its work on important strategic goals

On a warm weekend in July, CCBE’s Board of Directors converged on the historic Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose for an exciting, productive and, at times, very moving annual strategic planning retreat. Each year, our board, which consists of CCBE’s six Executive Committee members, 20 Regional Directors from across the state and county board members who sit on CSBA’s Board of Directors, meets to set goals and objectives for the year ahead.

This year, the group dug deep into past successes, as well as areas with potential for organizational improvement. Starting with lots of blank white paper, we became surrounded by ever-increasing, colorful lists of our motivations, ideas and priorities. Aided by a very skilled facilitator, Lauren Ball, and our always-outstanding program manager, Charlyn Tuter, we (1) reviewed and updated our goals, (2) set out tasks to advance those goals, (3) assigned those tasks and (4) set deadlines for accomplishing this work.

As in years past, continuity was important, but the infusion of new perspectives and experiences added to the richness of our discussions, and, ultimately, to quality of the results. While adding some new concepts, we determined to carry on with work on our most significant continuing objectives, such as increased communications with our members and with our local communities.

county boards
Full and Fair Funding is about more than improved test scores
By John McPherson, Monterey COE trustee

There are not many involved with public education in California who do not support an increase in per-pupil spending in the state. If the expectation is for students — especially those who are economically disadvantaged — to score well on standardized tests and to graduate on time, we need to better fund our schools, but the issue goes deeper than that.

Since the turn of the century and particularly in the wake of the Great Recession, California has split in two economically, and our current school funding exacerbates that divide. I am a county board member in Monterey County, and in my trustee area I have two districts that are about 13 miles apart, Washington Union and Chualar Union school districts. There are parts of the Washington Union district from which you can actually see Chualar. Washington Union sits on Highway 68, which is a very desirable place to live for professionals in both Monterey and Salinas. Chualar is a small farmworker community right in the middle of the Salinas Valley.

UpcomingEvents info: 800-266-3382
Register for any of these events at
Sept. 13–15 | Monterey
CCBE Annual Conference
Sept. 20–21 | Santa Rosa
Masters in Governance Courses 1 & 2
Oct. 11–12 | Santa Rosa
Masters in Governance Courses 3 & 4
Oct. 18–19 | San Diego
Masters in Governance Courses 3 & 4
Oct. 25 | San Diego
2019 The Brown Act
Oct. 26 | San Diego
Masters in Governance Course 5
Nov. 1 | Santa Rosa
2019 The Brown Act
Nov. 2 | Santa Rosa
Masters in Governance Course 5
Thanks for reading our September 2019 newsletter!