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CCSESA Newsletter2020

JanuaryVolume 18 / Issue 1

Leadership Link

Ms. Nancy Magee San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools

  • What led you to become County Superintendent?

    I am grateful every day to be working on behalf of children and young adults as an educator. I’ve loved every minute of 36 years including 20 years as a high school English and AVID teacher. I resisted going into administration, but came to understand that in order to disrupt inequitable systems, I needed to work from a broader platform. I moved to the San Mateo County Office of Education in 2010 from San Diego to become the School Library Services Coordinator and within months found myself as the administrator directly supporting former County Superintendent Anne Campbell. Anne was (and continues to be) a powerful mentor and source of inspiration. She provided me many, many opportunities to hone my skills in various roles. After attending the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2017 (and after Anne announced her retirement), I responded to the call to action by entering the race for County Superintendent. I never imagined this as my path, but continue to love every day with a heart full of gratitude.

    What inspired you to enter the field of education?

    In my family I grew up as the only girl amid three brothers. Two of my brothers and I were athletic, social, and relatively successful students. But my brother Jim, who was two years younger than me, struggled on all of these fronts. As a protective older sister, I observed how he was teased in school, had trouble making friends, and treated insensitively, even harshly, by teachers and other adults. I advocated for him, counseled him, and did all I could to protect him, but in the end, I could not find a way to change Jim’s reality. In his early twenties, my brother Jim experienced a schizophrenic break and has been living with a diagnosed mental illness ever since. Yes, I loved reading, writing, and learning in general, but the main reason I originally became a teacher was to ensure that every kid within my influence had a chance to be different, to be themselves, and still be part of the whole, to belong.

    Do you have a particular goal that drives you?

    The primary goal that drives me is not unique among educators. I want every young person to understand and appreciate who they are, to recognize their gifts and talents, to experience how they fit into the larger world, and to live their truth with joy and fulfillment.

  • What objectives do you hope to achieve?

    At the San Mateo County Office of Education, we are laser-focused on creating inclusive and equitable learning environments so that every young person can pursue happiness. Our top priorities include high-quality early learning, safe and supportive schools, a dynamic and inspired workforce, and civically-engaged and solutionary learning.

    What are your interests?

    I love music, theater, literature (including poetry), photography, gardening, hiking, traveling and many other things! I still get out and play water polo with my Oakland Masters crew whenever I can.

    Who are the special people in your life?

    I am continually inspired by my two sons, Travis (32) and Noah (29). I was blessed this past year to welcome a new daughter-in-law into the family. I also love spending time with my extended family and a diverse array of talented and lovely friends.

    Follow Superintendent Magee on twitter at @nancymagee2018

From The Desk Of

Peter Birdsall Executive Director

We knew the time would come when the education policy debate in California returned to the idea of categorical program funding. This may be the year.

Under Governor Brown, one-time funding was generally allocated to local agencies to use at their discretion, although the state sometimes identified a list of priorities as potential uses for the money. The proposed 2020-21 budget is distinctly different, with $1.9 billion in one-time funding earmarked for a variety of purposes, including:

  •  $900 million for teacher and staff preparation and incentives;
  • $300 million to help low-performing schools and districts, and:
  • $300 million to support “community schools”, which integrate health and other services for children.

In response to the Governor’s proposal, Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has already commented that “most of the one-time proposals in the Governor’s budget would require districts to implement new programs or expand existing services…” Given the financial pressure on many districts, the LAO suggests the Legislature might want to consider “repurposing” some of the one-time funding to provide fiscal relief. Generally, the education community does not support the LAO’s specific idea of directing Proposition 98 dollars to pension liabilities. However, allowing more local discretion over these funds would help many districts.

Even within high priority issue areas like Educator Recruitment and Preparation, this question of local discretion is apparent. The 2018-19 state budget included one-time funding to address the teacher shortage, including a program to address the shortage of special education teachers called “Local Solutions” grants.

When awards under the current Local Solution grant program were announced in December, 2018, fifteen county offices of education received funding, including the two largest grant awards—nearly $3 million to San Luis Obispo County and $2 million to Santa Clara County. It warrants discussion within CCSESA, and potentially in the Legislature, that there is no equivalent proposal to allow additional locally-designed solutions within $900 million in proposed initiatives.


Statewide Literacy Needs Assessment Available

The CDE is requesting local educational agencies (LEAs) to complete a Comprehensive Statewide Literacy Needs Assessment, as part of the federal Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) grant. Responses received will help to inform CDE’s state literacy plan.  The needs assessment is posted to the CDE CLSD web page. The deadline for LEAs to submit responses is February 10, 2020. To help LEAs complete the needs assessment, CDE hosted a technical assistance webinar on January 8, 2020 which can be viewed on the CDE CLSD web page.

To keep up with all CLSD developments interested parties are encouraged to join the listserv by sending a blank email to Any questions regarding this subject should be directed to the CLSDP team via email.

New Resources From The Alliance for Continuous Improvement

The Alliance for Continuous Improvement (a project of Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation) has created an infographic in English and Spanish; “4 Steps You Can Take to Help Your Child’s School”. Additionally, there is a new “Resource Clearinghouse” page with  resources on the CDEF website, grouped by topics: Local Control Funding Formula, Local Control and Accountability Plans, California School Dashboard, System of Support and Continuous Improvement, and more.

New Financial Aid Toolkit From Ed Trust West

Hidden Figures: A Framework to Increase Access to Financial Aid is a brief and toolkit aimed at increasing access to financial aid. The brief identifies best practices and strategies aimed at closing equity gaps, as well as an online toolbox which provides tangible resources to implement these practices in other schools and/or districts. That online resource toolkit can be found here.

San Diego County Enters Growing Esports Arena

The San Diego County Office of Education recently held its first esports competition involving several school teams around the county. It’s part of growing trend of schools who hope that esports teams can become catalysts for learning, socialization and career development. Esports refers to the burgeoning national phenomenon of organized competitive gaming. Esports clubs have opened in uncounted K-12 schools across the country, including at least 17 in San Diego County, and in some colleges nationwide.

Riverside , Butte , and Orange County, are COE’s who have also invested in esports. Though esports leagues are relatively new, early data suggests schools see improvements in attendance, discipline and GPA after they launch esports programs.

Nearly 200 US colleges offer about $15 million per year in scholarships, according to the National Association of Collegiate Esports.

For more information about esports in San Diego County schools, go to

2020 San Joaquin County Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Science (STEAM) Fair

Each year San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) STEAM Fair awards thousands of dollars to students of San Joaquin County who exhibit superior levels of understanding and articulation in the area of science, engineering, technology and mathematics.

The Fair takes place February 21-26, 2020 at SJCOE. View the flyer here to find our whats new for 2020.

The SJCOE STEAM Fair is open to all K – 12 students who attend school in San Joaquin County and have a teacher or qualified adult sponsor. For questions please contact Lissa Gilmore or visit the website.

CCSESA Region 6 Administrator Workshop to Support NGSS Implementation Series

Learn how to build shared language around the existing data for science instruction; deepen understanding of support for a site vision of equity in science; and reflect on how science supports the goals of your site. This is a 5 module series alternating locations between the Stanislaus County Office of Education and the San Joaquin County Office of Education. This administrator professional learning series is comprised of 5 modules designed to support site leaders with the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  Click here to view the flyer with registration links.

Great Kindness Challenge

January 27-31 is the Great Kindness Challenge week. The initiative, presented by Kids for Peace, is a global campaign that promotes kindness in schools. It’s a proactive anti-bullying campaign that educators and students can use to create a culture of kindness. Read more and find resources on the CDE website here.

Innovating for Equity Summit

The CDE invites you to sign up for the Innovating for Equity Summit. This Summit replaces the annual Accountability and Leadership Conference and the Title I Conference. It provides technical assistance and professional development about federal programs under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. The Summit focuses on best practices related to effective programs, student achievement, and accountability systems for all students. Superintendents, administrators, instructional leadership, teachers, and parents are invited to attend. Read more here.

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