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CCSESA Newsletter2020

FebruaryVolume 18 / Issue 2

Leadership Link

Mr. Scott Kuykendall Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools

  • What led you to become County Superintendent?

    Becoming a County Superintendent was not an office I thought I would hold. However, as my career in education advanced over the years from teacher, vice-principal, principal, to the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Options at the Stanislaus County Office of Education, I felt I could continue to positively impact education in our county as Superintendent of Schools.

    What inspired you to enter the field of education?

    I always gravitated toward careers that focused on service. Originally, I wanted to go into medicine. However, my freshman year of college made it clear that math and science were not my strong suits. It was only after studying a year abroad in Spain that I changed direction and pursued education. Besides marrying my wife Alison, it was the best decision I ever made.

    Do you have a particular goal that drives you?

    One goal that drives me is to find innovative ways to advance student education. This is accomplished through partnerships and collaborations throughout the community and through organization-wide goals set each year. Currently our focus is sharing with the community what the County Office of Education does and highlighting the programs offered to students and adults. We are also supporting the vision and mission of the Stanislaus Cradle to Career Partnership; recruiting dedicated individuals who strengthen SCOE’s community and work culture, implementing a comprehensive wellness program, and enhancing safety practices for staff and students.

  • What objectives do you hope to achieve?

    I will continue focusing on innovative programs and partnerships within the community. An example of this is the Stanislaus Cradle to Career Partnership, which is building a strong foundation for children and focusing on five actions areas. 1) StanREADY – focuses on preparing children from birth to kindergarten and getting them ready to go to school. 2) Stanislaus READS! – focused on the critical milestone of reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade and implementing programs at schools to support this area. 3) StanMATH – promoting to parents good practices in the home to help develop numeracy. 4) StanFUTURES – trying to broaden the significant work of previous efforts for an even wider impact, ensuring that more students and their families are prepared to enter and successfully navigate college. 5) StanCAREERS – ensuring that the local industry will have an educational partner to train, certify, license and prepare residents to fill urgently needed jobs. Additionally, current employees may choose or be asked to “upskill” so that they can take promotions and increase their wages.

    What are your interests?

    My interests truly revolve around family. After a long Saturday morning walk with my dog Pepper (and simultaneously listening to a great podcast), I love making a big breakfast for Alison and my three boys. The remainder of the day includes playing guitar, taking a nap, and spending time outside BBQing with family and friends.

    Who are the special people in your life?

    My wife Alison, and our three sons: Connor, William, and Joseph.


    Follow the Stanislaus County Office of Education on Twitter at @scoecomm

From The Desk Of

Peter Birdsall Executive Director

This spring an important policy debate will take place in the State Legislature about how to improve student performance in low-performing schools.  Although this topic is certainly not new, the primary catalysts for this debate are: the Governor’s budget proposal to fund $300 million in Opportunity Grants for the state’s highest poverty and lowest performing schools, and the recently announced court settlement to provide $50 million for the 75 schools with the lowest student performance on the state’s grade three English Language Arts assessment.

The CCSESA Board of Directors will be discussing these initiatives at its March meeting, as will the CCSESA Legislative Committee at its meeting in mid-March.  These discussions will guide the advocacy work of CCSESA during the legislative deliberations and related conversations with the Governor’s Administration.  We welcome the comments and recommendations of all the county superintendents, either through the Board or Legislative Committee, or directly to CCSESA staff.

The most obvious, but frequently overlooked, principle is that these initiatives not be developed and implemented in isolation from the overall state accountability and continuous improvement system.   Similarly, they cannot be developed in isolation from the requirements of ESSA and the substantial Title I funding provided to school districts with identified Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools.

The Opportunity Grant proposal basically says that CCEE will develop the implementation and funding plan, subject to the approval of the Executive Director of the State Board of Education.  Given the importance of these issues to several key legislators, it is likely the they will also adopt language to more clearly define any new or expanded program.

The court settlement is explicitly subject to legislative approval, and would establish a $50 million State Literacy Support grant program. The proposal clearly is intended to connect to other state initiatives. Specifically referenced in the settlement are MTSS, RTI, Geo Leads, and the Community Engagement Initiative.  The settlement also calls for the creation of an expert lead on literacy.  Since CDE was just awarded more than $37 million from the federal government to develop a State Literacy Plan, this represents another area where it will be important that plans and implementation are aligned.

Continuous Improvement Poster Session

The 2020 CISC Symposium provided an opportunity for county office and district teams to share their journey of improvement. Presenters from each of the eleven CCSESA regions created a poster that reflected their improvement work and engaged with guests about their Aim, Theory of Improvement, Change ideas, Outcomes, Learnings and next steps.

Areas of focus included: Improvement Capability, College and Career Readiness, Instruction & Assessment, Educator Development , Equity & Achievement, Community Engagement Equity & Access, and more.

Presenters were excited to talk about the steps they took to address areas such as graduation rate, suspensions, math achievement, MTSS and targeted student populations and how implementing a model for improvement allowed them to strategically focus their effort and exit differentiated assistance.
A couple of county offices looked inward, thus applying their improvement efforts to their own internal organization in order to be able to better serve their local districts and schools.

Presenters and guests alike, talked about how much they appreciated being able to see examples of improvements happening across the state and share resources and stories with one another. Posters will soon be posted to the CISC site with presenter contact information so that people can continue to network with one another around this very important work!

Be A Part of the Next Virtual Job Fair

The California Center on Teaching Careers is hosting upcoming virtual job fairs in March, April, and May 2020.

The virtual job fairs simulate the look and feel of a real fair through an online platform and are customized in ways exclusive to the teaching profession. They allow prospective teacher candidates, nurses, and counselors worldwide to remotely meet with California education agencies.

Registration is free for candidates, and $200 for agencies. Click here to view the flyer, and learn more!

California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program

The California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program is a five-year state funded grant program. In 2016 the program received $20 million in funding, followed by an additional $25 million in 2017. The Governor’s Budget Proposal for 2020-21 would provide $65 million for the program.

In a November 2019 report to the Legislature, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) reported that there have been 317 credentials earned by program participants since July 2017. Out of the 317 credentials, the most earned teaching credential is the Educational Specialist Teaching Credential with 136 Credentials, and close behind is the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with 114 Credentials.

In the CTC report to the Legislature, the CTC stated, “In 2016, twenty-five LEAs statewide were awarded funding for 1,010 available participant slots for the first round of the Classified Program”. In July 2017, with $25 million in funding for the second round, there were 28 LEAs awarded funding, with 1,250 available slots.

The Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program provides a grant of $4,000 per year per recipient for LEAs to support classified employees pursuing a teaching credential. Recipients receive financial assistance, professional development, and additional support to both complete their Undergraduate Degree and complete a teacher credentialing program.


ACSA Superintendents Symposium Wrap Up

The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) has released a video showcasing some of the highlights from this year’s Superintendents Symposium in Indian Wells. The highlights include interviews with San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre, Beaumont Unified School District Superintendent Terrence Davis, Cold Spring Elementary School District Superintendent Amy Alzina, Ed.D and many more.

The annual event brings school leaders from around the state together for two and a half days of professional learning, networking and advocacy.  The 2021 symposium will take place January 27-29 in Monterey.

Watch the video here

2020 California Student Mental Wellness Conference

The Fourth Annual California Student Mental Wellness Conference, Promoting Student Mental Wellness and Improving School Climate, sponsored by Wellness Together and the CDE, takes place on March 23 and 24, 2020, at the Anaheim Convention Center. The principal focus of this two-day conference is to learn about interventions and resources to successfully support students who may have mental health needs and to discover new ways to keep our students engaged in learning despite any behavioral difficulties they may be experiencing.

Read more here.

Emergency Grants for Schools and Students Impacted by 2018 Wildfires and Emergency Incidents

The CDE will receive more than $21 million in federal disaster recovery grants to help students and schools impacted by wildfires and related events in 2018. The 2019 Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations (Restart) program will fund $16.5 million of the awarded grants. The CDE will distribute Restart funding to California local educational agencies to assist with expenses related to the restart of school operations following 2018 disasters, including the Carr Fire and Camp Fire. Eligible expenses include school operational needs as well as education and support services, such as hiring additional staff to provide behavioral or counseling services for students and staff.

Read more in the CDE news release here.

Coming Together for the Climate – A video challenge for California Students

The Coastal Commission is launching a new challenge for middle and high school students this school year, inviting them to create short videos in response to the question, “How do we come together for the climate?” Students can enter independently or under the guidance of a teacher, on their own or in teams of up to five film makers. The deadline to submit entries is March 31st.

Learn more at the challenge webpage.

Leadership Series Launched for SCOE Classified Managers

The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) is launching  a “LEAD to SUCCEED” professional learning series, designed to support the career growth of SCOE’s classified managers. There will be a series of sessions throughout the year and participants will receive ongoing support. The focus will be on technical, conceptual, and interpersonal skills.

“We are making a strong investment in our leaders to support their continued personal and professional growth,” said David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools. “We want to provide them with a pathway to growth.”

Read more here.

James Mousalimas Selected as ACSA Region 7 Superintendent of the Year

Congratulations to San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas for being selected as the ACSA Region VII Superintendent of the Year! The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) recognizes excellence in educational leadership through its annual awards program, which honors administrators and community organizations for their achievements and dedication to public education.

Mr. Mousalimas is being recognized for promoting the success of all students through innovative programs that began and-or grew under his leadership, including the expansion of SJCOE STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Programs, the launching of the Discovery ChalleNGe Academy (a partnership between the SJCOE and the California National Guard), and the creation of CodeStack Academy, a computer coding school preparing local residents for technology jobs and growing a skilled workforce important to the future of Stockton and San Joaquin County.

Educator Recruitment & Retention Symposium Resources Now Available

One of the most pressing issues facing California schools, legislators, policymakers, and families is how to staff classrooms with a stable teaching workforce. To this end San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, in partnership with CCSESA and the California Center on Teaching Careers, held a symposium on Educator Recruitment & Retention in November of 2019. If you were unable to attend the symposium, or would just like a refresher, videos with keynotes, interviews, and panels, are now live on the Symposium webpage, with more resources to come. Visit the webpage here.

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