**California State Board of Education. (2017, November). Update on the development of California’s system of support for local educational agencies and schools [Agenda item, November 8–9, 2017, California State Board of Education meeting]. Available at California Department of Education website: https://www.cde.ca.gov/be/ag/ag/yr17/documents/nov17item04.doc
This memorandum for the State Board of Education (SBE) provides the statutory framework for the development of a differentiated state system of support for local educational agencies (LEAs). The document references text from California Education Code that defines differentiated assistance, and posits that the language of the statute indicates legislative intent for flexible, context-specific support. After summarizing the existing supports that the state provides for all LEAs, the text emphasizes the SBE’s focus on refining Level 2 support to provide individually tailored assistance for underperforming LEAs. Referencing the intent under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to move away from generic, one-size-fits-all interventions and supports for LEAs, the file identifies three shifts in the state’s approach to Level 2 assistance: (1) collaboration with LEAs to identify challenges and opportunities; (2) a systemic approach tailored to locally identified strengths and needs; and (3) engagement with local educators and communities in decision making. Ultimately, the memorandum underscores the need for differentiated assistance to build local capacity and focus on sustained improvement. It also includes three attachments that provide examples of assistance and approaches to feedback, summarize current support for LEAs, and update the timeline under which districts will receive differentiated assistance.
**Cruz, O., Fauci, J., Hahnel, J., Ishida, T., Johnson, J., McEwen, T., Mitchell, D., Ramanathan, A., & Stam, B. (2017, July 7). Re: July agenda item #2 Developing an integrated statewide system of support [e-mail from external support providers to president of California State Board of Education, Michael Kirst]. Available at https://cacollaborative.org/sites/default/files/Cruz_et_al_2017.pdf
In a letter to the SBE, a group of California-based nonprofit technical assistance providers identify three design principles for the SBE to consider in developing an integrated statewide system of support. As a whole, the design principles are based on the authors’ experience in working with a broad array of LEAs across their diverse communities, with the common thread of pursuing equity in California public schools. The first principle encourages the SBE to recognize the value of high quality nonprofits, especially those focused on equity-focused technical assistance with proven track records. The second principle suggests building a mechanism to ensure that the capacity and reach of providers meets the varying needs of LEAs. The third principle proposes that the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) take the role of authorizing and vetting California-based education nonprofits with proven track records and well-defined support in continuous improvement in the LCFF priority areas.
Fullan, M., & Rincón-Gallardo, S. (2017). California’s golden opportunity: Taking stock—leadership from the middle. Available at Motion Leadership website: https://michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/ 2017/09/17_Californias-Golden-Opportunity-Taking-Stock-FinalAug31.pdf
This report is the fourth in a series exploring recent changes in California’s education policy, and examines the roles of the county offices of education (COEs), the California Department of Education (CDE), and CCEE in continuing to implement LCFF. The authors first describe their “leadership from the middle” theory of system reform, which involves empowering over 1000 California districts and three intermediary agencies (COEs, CCEE, and CDE) as key drivers of system strength. Through this lens, the authors document the successes of LCFF as well as its challenges. Specifically, the authors find that the need for capacity building at the district level was initially underestimated after the passage of LCFF and that it remains of utmost importance for capitalizing on the benefits of the new model. The authors conclude with six specific recommendations to further California’s work towards improving student outcomes, which include redefining the roles of CCEE and COEs, encouraging increased collaboration among districts, and articulating an operationalized vision of the “California Way” to improve learning. For the purposes of this meeting, please focus on pages 17 through 29.
Venezia, A., & Jaeger, L. (2017, November). Finding a balance between local control and state guidance [Web log post]. Available at Education Insights Center website: http://edinsightscenter.org/Publications/ Blog/Blog-November-2017
In this blog post, the authors offer recommendations for the state’s potential role in improving College and Career Readiness policy (CCR) in the context of increased district autonomy ushered in through LCFF. First, the state can identify promising CCR programs and expand access for others. Second, state officials can also use their platform to share widely about promising CCR programs. Third, the authors suggest that the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) should collect more data related to CCR. Fourth, the state can offer incentives to K-12 systems and higher education systems to collaborate and align their standards and data. Fifth, there is a need to update the CCR indicators in the accountability system—though this must be done carefully and with regard to the systems already in place. Finally, given student reports that having a caring adult is very important to their CCR success, the authors urge a focus on school climate.
**This document is considered a priority reading.