Image of note
CDE provides guidance on new Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan
The 2020–21 school year’s Local Control and Accountability Plan has been replaced by the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan, as outlined in Senate Bill 98, the education funding trailer bill. The California Department of Education held a series of webinars in July and August to guide local educational agencies through the process of filling out the document.
Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan timeline
The plan must be adopted by a school or county office of education board by Sept. 30. Two public meetings are required to adopt the plan: one to present it at a public hearing and the other for adoption after consideration of stakeholder feedback. Considering the tight timeline for adoption, boards may need to call a special meeting for the presentation or adoption of the plan. The special meeting agenda must be posted at least 24 hours prior to the meeting and must include a link to where the draft Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan is posted.

Once the plan has been adopted, LEAs must submit it to the reviewing authority within five days. Districts will submit the plan to their county superintendent, who may return it with recommendations for consideration. COEs will submit their plans to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, who also may return it with recommendations for consideration. Recommended amendments from the reviewing authority must be received by the LEA by Oct. 30, and the LEA must hold a public meeting to address the recommendations within 15 days of receipt.

Once the plan has been finalized, the LEA must post it on the homepage of their website. COEs must post their own plans in addition to the plans (or links to the plans) of the districts in their county.

The document only needs to be submitted for county approval one time. When asked during an Aug. 4 webinar if LEAs would be required to revise and re-adopt the learning plan should students transition back to in-person learning, CDE staff said there were no requirements under SB 98 dictating such action. That said, LEAs are encouraged to consult with their stakeholders and repost an updated version of the plan should instructional models change significantly.

Measuring student progress and calculating attendance in distance learning settings
One of the most common questions among LEAs since schools closed in the spring and districts transitioned to distance learning is how to measure attendance. Or, more specifically, what constitutes ‘attendance.’

CDE education programs consultant Heather Bell said LEAs will need to provide specific information about how student progress will be tracked and monitored through live contacts and synchronous instructional minutes, as well as a description of how the LEA will measure participation and time value of student work.

“For the purposes of this prompt, instruction time for distance learning is calculated based on the time value of synchronous and/or asynchronous assignment made and certified by a certificated employee of the LEA,” Bell said. CDE staff pointed attendees with additional questions to the new 2020–21 Funding and Instructional Time FAQs, which can be found here:

Stakeholder engagement process explained
The CDE webinar emphasized the importance of stakeholder engagement in the process, and representatives said that existing feedback collected since schools were abruptly shut down in the spring may be used to “the extent that prior engagement is consistent with the requirements of the Learning Continuity Plan.” That should not be the sole method, however, as the intent of the plan is to be transparent and include stakeholder engagement in the development, review and adoption of the plan.

In addition to general stakeholder feedback, the plan must be presented to an LEA’s Parent Advisory Committee and English Learner Parent Advisory Committee, if they exist. The board must respond in writing to any comments received from these groups.

Distance learning and the role and responsibilities of staff
As part of the document, LEAs will need to provide descriptions of the new roles and responsibilities of staff as a result of COVID-19. It is important that districts explain modifications made to staff roles and responsibilities to meet, among other things, the academic and social-emotional needs of students while ensuring the health and safety of staff and students.

Key among the differences between this document and the original Local Control and Accountability Plan is the obligation for LEAs to provide a description of how continuity of instruction will be provided during the school year to ensure students have access to a full curriculum of substantially similar quality regardless of whether they are learning virtually, in person or through a combination of the two. Districts will want to provide a description of all services and resources that will be used, meaning LEAs should also list existing services, not just those that will be newly developed.