California Department of Education Updates

 
 
 
REL#17-27
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2017
                                                              
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Reports Record High School
 
Graduation Rate and Seventh Consecutive Year of an Increase
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson reported today that California’s graduation rate increased for the seventh year in a row and is now at a record high for the class of 2016, with the biggest increases during that period taking place among English learners and African American and Latino students.
 
Among the cohort of students who started high school in 2012–13, 83.2 percent graduated with their class in 2016, up 0.9 percent from the year before. (See Table 1.) This increase means that 4,917 more students received their high school diploma last year than the year before.
 
The state’s graduation rate has increased 8.5 percentage points since the class of 2010 posted a 74.7 percent rate.   
 
The graduation rate of almost every student subgroup calculated by the California Department of Education (CDE) also rose in 2016. (See Table 2.)The rate of increase among English learners was 2.7 percentage points, African Americans went up 1.8 percentage points, and Latino students increased by 1.5 percentage points.
 
“This is great news for our students and families,” Torlakson said. “Graduation rates have gone up seven years in a row, reflecting renewed optimism and increased investments in our schools that have helped reduce class sizes; bring back classes in music, theater, art, dance, and science; and expand career technical education programs that engage our students with hands-on, minds-on learning.
 
“The increasing rates show that the positive changes in California schools are taking us in the right direction. These changes, which I call the California Way, include teaching more rigorous and relevant academic standards, which provides more local control over spending and more resources to those with the greatest needs.”
 
Torlakson cautioned, however, that much work remains. “We still have a long way to go and need help from everyone—teachers, parents, administrators, and community members—to keep our momentum alive so we can keep improving.”
 
A critical job, he said, is to keep working to narrow the achievement gap between Asian and white students and Latino and African American students.
 
The latest statistics show the gap has narrowed. For African American students, the graduation rate reached a record high of 72.6 percent, up 1.8 percentage points from the year before and up 12.1 percentage points from 2010. For Hispanic or Latino students, the graduation rate climbed to a record high of 80 percent, up 1.5 percentage points from the year before and up 11.9 percentage points from 2010.
 
English learners saw a second consecutive year of big increases with the graduation rate reaching 72.1 percent, up 2.7 percent from the previous year and up 15.7 percentage points from the class of 2010. (See Table 3.)
Along with the record rise in the graduation rate, fewer students dropped out of school. The dropout rate declined from 10.7 percent in 2015 to 9.8 percent in 2016, down 0.9 of a percentage point.
 
The state dropout rate does not have a precise correlation with the graduation rate because some students are still pursuing a high school degree or its equivalent after four years. These students have neither graduated nor dropped out. Last year, 6.1 percent of students in the cohort were in that category, a decline of 0.2 percent from the year before.
 
Graduation and dropout rates for counties, districts, and schools across California were calculated based on four-year cohort information using the state's California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). Cohort means the same group of students entered ninth grade for the first time and were followed for four years.
This is the seventh time this cohort information was calculated, meaning data may only be compared accurately over the seven-year period from 2009–10 to 2015–16. Prior to 2009–10, graduation and dropout rates used different calculation systems.
 
To view and download state, county, district, and school graduation and dropout rates, visit the California Department of Education's DataQuest. Downloadable data sheets are available on the California Department of Education Cohort Outcome Data Web page. Caution is urged when comparing graduation or dropout rates across individual schools and districts. For example, some county office schools, alternative schools, or dropout recovery high schools serve only those students who are already at the greatest risk of dropping out, compared with the broader population at traditional high schools.
 
Table 1: Difference Between Class of 2015 and Class of 2016 Cohort Graduation and Dropout Rates
 
 
Table 3: Cohort Graduation Increase from the Class of 2010 to Class of 2016 by Subgroup and Program
 
 
 
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#17-26
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2017
                                                               
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
 
Issues Statement on San Bernardino School Shooting
 

SACRAMENTO —State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released a statement Monday following a shooting that resulted in the deaths of two adults and one student at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino:
 
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the students, teachers, staff, and the entire community at North Park Elementary School and the San Bernardino City Unified School District. This is a tragedy, especially for young students, but school officials and law enforcement acted quickly to deal with the event.
 
“As we grieve for those who died or were injured, this is also a time to remind all California public schools to make sure they annually update their mandatory school safety plans. The California Department of Education (CDE) can also process a waiver and prevent schools from losing any Average Daily Attendance (ADA) state funding when schools are closed due to an emergency.”
 
Information on safe schools planning may be found here.

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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#17-25
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2017
                                                            
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
 
Honors Sacramento City Unified for Safe Haven Efforts
 

SACRAMENTO —State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today commended the Sacramento City Unified School District for its leadership in the movement for school districts to declare themselves as “Safe Havens” and urged other districts across the state to follow Sacramento City Unified’s example.

“It’s critical in this climate that California schools reassure their students, parents, educators, and local communities that schools welcome everyone regardless of immigration status,” Torlakson said.

“Federal law requires schools to educate all children, even those who are undocumented. Students cannot learn and succeed if they are afraid to come to school, or if their parents are afraid to allow them to come to school or otherwise fully participate in the school community.”
 
Torlakson’s remarks came during a school visit and town hall forum today at Oak Ridge Elementary School in the Sacramento City Unified School District. Oak Ridge Elementary serves a student body that is largely Latino and Hmong from immigrant families.

Located in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, the school is represented by Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education First Vice President Jessie Ryan, who spearheaded the District’s Safe Haven efforts that resulted in a Safe Haven resolution last December. The District has continued to promote tolerance and a welcoming environment while informing students and their families of their rights and legal protections against stepped-up federal immigration enforcement.
 
“Sacramento City Unified is honored by State Superintendent Torlakson’s recognition of our Safe Haven work,” Ryan said. “We are proud to have him stand with us to ensure that all children feel welcome at every school—regardless of their immigration status. We stand together for the safety and protection of our families.”

Torlakson last year urged California school districts to declare themselves Safe Havens and reminded schools of state and federal safeguards in place that protect immigrant families. To date, nearly 60 separate school district boards, representing a total of nearly two million students, have adopted Safe Haven or similar resolutions.
 
Last month, Torlakson reached out to the federal government to clarify whether it is changing a longstanding policy that had avoided immigration actions near schools. Torlakson has also filed a friend of the court brief in federal court supporting Santa Clara County’s request to stop an executive order by President Donald Trump that threatens to stop federal funding for California cities, counties, and possibly public schools.

More information is available at the California Department of Education’s Safe Havens Web page.
 
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#17-24
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2017
                                                                    
CONTACT: Cynthia Butler
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Model School
 
Attendance Program Winners
 
 
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that 27 school attendance programs were recognized as Model School Attendance Review Boards (SARBs) for innovative and effective practices to reduce suspensions, expulsions, and chronic absenteeism.

“Students need to be in school to learn. The terrific work of the review boards is a testament to the collaboration between the school, parents, and community so that all students have the opportunity to succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said.

The number of districts that applied to the Model SARB Recognition Program tripled since 2016. The State SARB, an expert panel appointed by Torlakson, reviewed the applications.

All school programs chosen use a three-tiered approach to keep students in school. The first tier rewards improved attendance and creates an engaging school climate with low suspension rates. The second tier identifies attendance problems early and provides personalized outreach to students and parents. The third tier refers the most persistent attendance or behavior problems to a SARB and combines resources to solve the underlying attendance problems.

Poor attendance increases the likelihood that certain groups of students will drop out, including children living in poverty, African Americans, Native Americans, foster youth, and others. Chronic absenteeism and truancy also costs California school districts millions of dollars each year.

The California Department of Education is collecting chronic absenteeism rates for the first time during the 2016-2017 school year. The definition of chronic absenteeism is missing 10 percent or more of the total days enrolled for any reason. Data so far shows improvement in several districts, including:
 
  • Pittsburg Unified School District decreased its chronic absenteeism rate by 21 percent over the past three years.
  • Fontana Unified School District’s chronic absentee rate dropped from 10.5 percent to 9.2 percent, from the 2015–16 school year to 2016–17.
  • Jurupa Unified School District reported a truancy rate of 23.5 percent, below both the Riverside County rate of 34 percent and the state average rate of 31 percent.
Next year districts will be able to compare their chronic absenteeism rates for different student groups to state averages for the first time and incorporate findings into their Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

The Model SARBs will serve as mentors to other school districts, and help them to develop their own strategies to reduce chronic absenteeism. AB 2815 by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, passed in 2016 and expanded the role of attendance supervisors with up-to-date strategies for reducing chronic absenteeism and truancy.

The Model SARB awards will be presented at the California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance State Conference on April 19, 2017, in Tahoe City, CA.  For more information, visit the California Department of Education Web site.
 
A list of the 27 Model SARBs and their chairpersons, who can act as mentors for other SARBs in the state, is listed below.
 
•       Alhambra Unified School District, Lindsey K. Ma, Lynne Sheffield, SARB Chairpersons, 626-943-3440, Ma_lindsey@uasd.us, Sheffield_lynne@aud.us
•       Alvord Unified School District, Charles Cummins, SARB Chairperson, 951-509-5143, Charles.cummins@alvordschools.org
•       Banning Unified School District, Janet A. Gray, SARB Chairperson, 951-922-0200, jgray@banning.k12.ca.us
•       Capistrano Unified School District, Chad Smith, SARB Chairperson, 714-966-4000, cjsmith@capousd.org
•       Centinela Valley Union High School District, Blain L. Watson, SARB Chairperson, 310-263-3200, watsonb@centinela.k12.ca.us
•       Chino Valley Unified School District, Ofelia Marques Verdugo, SARB Chairperson, 909-628-1201, extension 7763, Ofelia_Verdugo@chino.k12.ca.us
•       Colton Joint Unified School District, Christy Padilla,SARB Chairperson, 909-580-6518, Christy_padilla@cjusd.net
•       Corona-Norco Unified School District, Felicia Cruz-Delgado, SARB Chairperson, 951-736-5000, fcruz@cnusd.k12.ca.us
•       Desert Sands Unified School District, Cathy Bennett, SARB Chairperson, 760-238-9708, Catherine.bennett@desertsands.us
•       Escondido Union School District, Maria Osborn, SARB Chairperson, 760-432-2369, mosborn@eusd.org
•       Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, Antonio Gipson, SARB Chairperson, 707-399-4325, AntonioG@fsusd.org
•       Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District, Terry R. Anderson, SARB Chairperson, 559-659-3899, extension 6512, tanderson@fldusd.org
•       Fontana Unified School District, Craig Baker, SARB Chairperson, 909-357-7600, Craig.Baker@fusd.net
•       Fremont Unified School District, Dennie Marenco, Fremont Unified School District,510-657-2350, extension 12367, dmarenco@fremont.k12.ca.us
•       Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, Cynthia Cabello, SARB Chairperson, 626-933-4307, cgomez@hlpusd.k12.ca.us
•       Hemet Unified School District, Dennis G. Massey, SARB Chairperson, 951-765-5100, Dmassey@Hemetusd.org
•       John Swett Unified School District, Ken Nelson, SARB Chairperson, 925-768-3724, knelson@jsusd.k12.ca.us
•       Jurupa Unified School District, Sandra Amatriain, SARB Chairperson, 951-360-4137, Sandra_amatriain@jusd.k12.ca.us
•       Long Beach Unified School District, Erin M. Simon, SARB Chairperson, 562-986-6870, extension 241, Esimon@lbschools.net
•       Pittsburg Unified School District, ReJois Frazier-Myers, SARB Chairperson, 925-473-2346, rfraziermyers@pittsburg.k12.ca.us
•       Rialto Unified School District, Leonard Buckner, SARB Chairperson, 909-820-7700, extension 2352, lbuckner@rialto.k12.ca.us
•       Riverside Unified School District, Gary McGuire, SARB Chairperson, 951-352-1200, extension 83030, gmcguire@rusd.k12.ca.us
•       Romoland School District, Ricky Alyassi, SARB Chairperson, 951-926-9244, ralyassi@romoland.net
•       Sanger Unified School District, Dennis Wiechmann, SARB Chairperson, 559-351-1408, dwiechmann@sbcglobal.net
•       Santa Ana Unifies School District, Patrick D. Yrarrazaval-Correa, SARB Chairperson, 714-433-3458, Patrick.yrarrazaval@sausd.us
•       Twin Rivers Unified School District, Jane Claar, Tracy Wiltshire, SARB Chairpersons, 916-566-1600, extensions 50852 and 50854, Jane.Claar@twinriversusd.org and Tracy.Wiltshire@twinriversusd.org
•       Westminster School District, Patricia Urbaniec, SARB Chairperson, 714-894-7311, extension 1100, turbaniec@wsdk8.us

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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#17-23
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2017
                                                                
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
 
Announces Inglewood Unified Superintendent Will Become
 
San Francisco Schools Chief
 
 
SACRAMENTO – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that Dr. Vincent Matthews, the State Administrator of the Inglewood Unified School District, is the finalist for Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

Torlakson two years ago appointed Matthews to oversee the Inglewood School District, which went into State oversight because of budget problems.

 “Dr. Matthews is an outstanding educator who has done a fantastic job of turning around the Inglewood Unified School District. He built great working relationships with teachers, staff, administrators, and the local community,” Torlakson said. “It’s a loss for Inglewood, but I know he will do the same great things for San Francisco. I wish him all the best.”

The State took control of the Inglewood district in 2012, when, at the district's request, Governor Brown approved legislation that provided up to $55 million in emergency loans to help the district meet its financial obligations.

The legislation also required the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to assume all the legal rights, duties, and powers of the governing board of the district and appoint a state trustee invested with the powers of an administrator. By law, the school district's elected governing board serves only in an advisory capacity until a number of conditions are met.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work of the Inglewood staff,” Matthews said. “I am also appreciative of the assistance given by Tom Torlakson and the entire California Department of Education (CDE) team. This was an extremely difficult decision, but I needed to take this opportunity to be closer to my family while returning to the district where I began both my student and teaching career.”

 Inglewood has about 13,000 total students. San Francisco Unified has about 60,000 students.

Matthews is a 30-year education veteran and has held a range of roles including teacher, principal, and superintendent.

He is a San Francisco native who attended public schools there and earned his bachelor of arts degree, teaching credential, and doctorate in education from San Francisco State University. Matthews also served as a state-appointed superintendent for the Oakland Unified School District.

Matthews will meet with the San Francisco Board of Education on Friday, and the Board is scheduled to officially approve him as superintendent next week.

Torlakson will appoint an Acting Administrator for the Inglewood Unified School District while a search starts for a new superintendent.

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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#17-22
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2017
                                                               
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Files Court Brief to
 
Protect Federal Funding for Schools
 
 
 
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson filed a court brief Wednesday supporting Santa Clara County’s request to halt an executive order by President Donald Trump that threatens to stop federal funding for California cities, counties, and possibly public schools.

Torlakson filed a friend of the court brief in the Federal Court’s Ninth District, where Santa Clara County has filed for a preliminary injunction to stop the President’s Executive Order of January 2017.

The injunction request said the order is unconstitutional because it would compel local governments to take an active role in enforcing immigration law and could withhold federal funding from agencies, including schools, which declare themselves “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The order doesn’t clearly define that term.

Torlakson last year urged California school districts to declare themselves “Safe Havens” and reminded parents and their families that state and federal law guarantee that students can attend public school, regardless of immigration status. To date, 57 separate school district boards of directors, representing nearly two million students combined, have adopted such resolutions.

 “The Executive Order places schools, schools districts, and county offices of education, who have merely identified themselves as safe havens for undocumented students, in the precarious position of losing large amounts of federal funds without warning, notice, or clear guidance about what is meant by the order,” Torlakson said in the court brief.

California receives more than $8 billion annually in federal funds for kindergarten through twelfth grade education, which then goes to public schools, districts, and county offices of education. Federal funding ranges from help for students in disadvantaged communities to free and reduced cost breakfast and lunch for students from low-income families.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Santa Clara County motion on April 5, 2017.
 
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#17-21
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2017
                                                                  
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
 
Schools Chief Vows to Fight President Trump’s Proposed
 
Federal Budget Cuts to Education

SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said President Donald Trump’s proposed budget is very disappointing and goes in the wrong direction with funding cuts that would hurt disadvantaged children, after school programs, teacher training, and other important services.

Torlakson said these cuts hurt programs that help prepare California students for jobs in the fiercely competitive, 21st century global economy.

Trump’s planned budget would take hundreds of millions of dollars from California by eliminating federal funds for programs that have proven successful in educating at-risk students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. It also reduces financial assistance to low-income college students.

 “These devastating cuts shortchange our schools. By failing to invest in our students, we fail our society, our economy, and our nation,” he said. “This proposal takes us backward, jeopardizing California’s progress in improving our schools and preparing students for college and the 21st century economy.”

The President’s proposal would take away up to $132 million from California’s award-winning after school programs, which provide academic support, fitness, nutrition, and other engaging programs that help keep students in school. California has the nation’s largest after school network with more than 4,500 before and after school programs serving about 825,000 students.

The budget proposal would also wipe out $241 million to train principals and teachers with the latest education techniques and information.

Trump’s budget proposal also sets aside $250 million for a nationwide voucher program that would give public money to private schools. California voters have twice voted by large margins against voucher ballot measures.

 “Voucher programs take taxpayer dollars away from public schools, starving them of the resources they need to provide a first-class education to students who remain in public schools,” he said. “Californians have said loudly and clearly that they do not want vouchers.”

Torlakson said he will urge Congress to reject these proposals when he travels to Washington, D.C. next week to meet with legislators from both parties.

Torlakson said he was pleased that the Trump budget proposal retains support for special education programs, but called for the federal government to make good on its commitment to fund 40 percent of its mandates, a pledge that has never been fulfilled.
 
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#17-20
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2017
                                                                 
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
California School Dashboard Debuts, Provides Multiple Measures
 
of School Performance and Progress
 
 
SACRAMENTO—The State Board of Education (SBE) and the California Department of Education (CDE) today unveiled the California School Dashboard, a new Web site that provides parents, educators, and the public with important information they can use to evaluate schools and school districts in an easy-to-understand report card format.

The California School Dashboard is a critical piece of California’s new school accountability and continuous improvement system. The state’s former accountability system—the Academic Performance Index (API)—relied exclusively on standardized tests and gave schools a single score. That system was suspended three years ago.

 “The California School Dashboard provides local communities with meaningful and relevant information on how well schools and districts are doing,” said State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst. “It will help in local decision-making by highlighting both the progress of schools and student groups, shining a light on disparities and helping stakeholders pinpoint where resources should be directed.

“As exciting a development as this is, it’s important to understand that the California School Dashboard itself is a work in progress. It will be a far more valuable tool one year from now and three years from now than it is today as more indicators come online, as feedback is incorporated, and as improvements are made,” Kirst said.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson called the launch a “historic milestone” in preparing students for success in 21st century college and careers.

 “The California School Dashboard is a resource unlike anything we’ve ever had before. I think of it as a high-tech report card for our schools. Just as our children receive report cards with multiple grades in multiple subject areas, the California School Dashboard provides us with many different measures of a school’s performance—where it’s strong, where it needs to improve, how it’s doing over time.

“The California School Dashboard is yet another example of the innovation and positive change taking place in our public school system, which is also evident in increased local control, more rigorous academic standards, cutting-edge online assessments, and billions of dollars in voter-approved school funding and school infrastructure improvement.”

The California School Dashboard incorporates six state performance measures and four local indicators (six local indicators for county offices of education). The six state measures are:
•          Academic Indicator, which includes results on standardized tests
•          Career/College Readiness
•          English Learner Progress
•          Graduation Rate
•          Suspension Rate
•          Chronic Absenteeism

Information for two state indicators—Chronic Absenteeism and College/Career Readiness—and the six local indicators will be added as they become available. Local educational agencies and schools receive one of five color-coded performance levels for each state indicator for all students and for each student group. The performance levels are calculated based on how current performance compares to past performance.

From highest to lowest, the five performance levels are blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. The four local indicators are:
•         Basic Services and School Conditions
•         Implementation of State Academic Standards
•         Parent Engagement
•         School Climate
The two additional local indicators for county offices of education are:
•         Coordination of Services for Expelled Youth
•         Coordination of Services for Foster Youth

As an accountability and continuous improvement tool, the California School Dashboard will help the state identify schools and districts needing targeted assistance from the state, beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

 “I applaud the State Board and CDE for putting equity front and center on the Dashboard,” said El Dorado County Office of Education Superintendent Ed Manansala. “The Equity Report will help our district and schools as they work to better align resources to improved outcomes for all students.”

Michelle King, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, said, “L.A. Unified is very excited about the Dashboard and the new opportunities it provides for engaging with our students, families, and schools. This new system improves transparency by providing information on both academic and non-academic factors that contribute to a child’s education. By shifting the focus from what we’ve done to how we can improve, the Dashboard will lead to real accountability and new opportunities to help our students succeed.”

David Rattray, Executive Vice President, Center for Educational Excellence and Talent Development for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, said: “To properly analyze a business, you wouldn’t look only at the stock price, but instead would examine many factors, including profit/loss statements, growth potential, market share, and competition.

 “Similarly, one indicator does not provide a complete picture of a school,” Rattray said. “Business leaders, like the rest of the public, need to look at a variety of measures to know how their schools and districts are doing. For the first time, the Dashboard not only provides us that information, but also gives us insight into opportunities for improvement.”
 
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The State Board of Education is the governing and policy-making body for public K-12 education in California. The President of the Board is Michael W. Kirst and the Executive Director is Karen Stapf Walters. Board members are appointed for four-year terms by the Governor of California and are confirmed by the State Senate.

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#17-19
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2017
                                                                
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
 
Asks Federal Authorities to Clarify Policy on Immigration
 
Actions Near Schools
 


SACRAMENTO – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, as part of his efforts to ensure parents and students feel safe at schools regardless of their immigration status, today asked federal law enforcement authorities to explain if they are changing a policy that had avoided immigration actions near schools.

Torlakson wrote a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and requested information if the agency is still following the “Sensitive Locations” guidance, which directs federal agents to generally avoid enforcement activities at schools, school bus stops, college and universities, and other education-related locations.

His letter was prompted by the need to inform school leaders in California, but also by his alarm at an action taken in late February by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who took Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, a 48-year-old father of four, into custody after he dropped off one of his daughters at Academia Avance public charter school in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

His 13-year-old daughter was in the car and videotaped the event as she cried, and the images and sounds gained viral attention. Federal authorities said he was arrested for past, nonviolent misdemeanor convictions and an immigration violation.

“I have consistently told students and their families that they must feel safe and protected at our schools, especially families who are refugees, Muslims, or undocumented immigrants,” Torlakson said. “Recent actions by federal law enforcement agents around schools have raised serious concerns.”

If the Sensitive Locations guidance is changing and will affect public schools, the California Department of Education (CDE) needs that information to communicate accurately with the state’s 6.2 million public school students and their families and more than 10,000 public schools, Torlakson said.

 
# # # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
__________________________________________
 
STATE OF CALIFORNIA                                                                             EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor
 
CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
1430 N Street, Suite 5111
Sacramento, CA  95814
Phone:  (916) 319-0827
Fax:      (916) 319-0175   
 
 
REL#17-1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2017
                                                                                 
CONTACT: Janet Weeks
PHONE: 916-319-0313
E-MAIL: jweeks@cde.ca.gov
 
 
 
Revived K-12, Community College Committee to Focus
 
on Strengthening State Workforce
 

SACRAMENTO — Members of two statewide educational policy boards—one for K-12, one for community colleges—will meet for the first time on Friday to discuss how the systems can work together to help more Californians find success in the job market.
 
Three members of the California State Board of Education and three from the California Community Colleges Board of Governors will come together as the California Workforce Pathways Joint Advisory Committee. The new panel is a revived version of a group that met in previous decades with a narrow focus on vocational programs in high schools and community colleges. Those programs were largely “terminal,” meaning the courses did not encourage students to continue their education beyond a single course.
 
The newly formed committee will discuss career-themed and industry-linked programs and broader topics such as better alignment of high school courses and counseling with community college offerings to create a seamless, K-16 path and beyond. The group may also discuss possible federal reauthorization of the Perkins Act, which has provided federal funds for career-technical education focused on workforce development.

“This is a revival of something that was done before but in a very new context,” said State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst, a Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said there is great value in better collaboration between California’s educational systems. “Community colleges and the K-12 system must work closely together with each other and the business community to help our students have a smooth journey from high school to careers and college.”

Kirst chaired a similar committee in the 1970s and spearheaded formation of the new panel. Unlike other educational committees that assemble for specific purposes—a grant in common, for example—Kirst said the intention is for this committee to build a more permanent bridge.

“The objective is to build something lasting,” he said.

With more than 2.1 million students, the state’s community college system serves the vast majority of Californians seeking post-secondary education. It is the largest system of higher education in the United States and the nation’s largest provider of workforce training.

The committee’s first meeting on Friday will begin at 9 a.m. at the California Department of Education headquarters (1430 N St.). State Board of Education members on the panel are Feliza Ortiz-Licon, Patricia Rucker, and Ting Sun. Representing the Community College Board of Governors are Joseph Bielanski, Jeffrey Burdick, and Pamela Haynes.
 
They will be welcomed by Eloy Ortiz Oakley, who was appointed Chancellor of the California Community Colleges system in December. Oakley formerly served as Superintendent-President of the Long Beach Community College District which is known for implementing innovative programs to help students succeed in college.
 
# # # # #


The State Board of Education is the governing and policy-making body for public K-12 education in California. Members are appointed for four-year terms by the Governor of California and are confirmed by the State Senate. For more information, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/.
___________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-18
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2017
                                                               
CONTACT: Charlene Cheng
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Honors California

Green Ribbon Schools Award Winners
 

SACRAMENTO —State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated three California school districts and two individual schools to compete in the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition program, which honors schools that conserve resources while promoting health and environmental literacy.
 
“These schools and districts serve as role models for their students in two important ways,” said Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher and coach. “First, they manage their own facilities wisely by saving energy, conserving water, and reducing their impact on the environment. Next, they provide innovative education programs that teach students about nature, the importance of clean air and water, and how to make good choices to preserve the environment for future generations.”
 
Torlakson said this is especially important now that the environment is facing so many threats, such as climate change. “These schools follow and advance a proud California tradition of caring for the environment and preserving our state’s stunning, natural resources that are celebrated and known throughout the world,” he said.
 
The nominees are:
•      Culver City Unified School District, Los Angeles County
•      Montecito Union School District, Santa Barbara County
•      Redondo Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles County
•      Yosemite High School, Oakhurst, Merced County
•      The Thacher School (private), Ojai, Ventura County
 
The schools and districts were also named "Green Achievers," the highest honor in the California Green Ribbon Schools recognition program.
 
“Through their environmental practices, the schools and districts we honor today are teaching students to be responsible stewards of our precious resources,” Torlakson said. “I commend their commitment to instill policies and habits that will continue our forward progress in establishing healthy campuses and communities.”
 
Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate exemplary achievement in three “pillars.” Pillar I: reduce environmental impact and costs; Pillar II: improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and Pillar III: provide effective environmental education that teaches many disciplines and is especially good at effectively incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, civic skills, and green career pathways.
 
The California Green Ribbon Schools recognition award uses the applications submitted for nomination to ED-GRS to recognize schools and school districts for environmental excellence. Private school awards are conferred by the California Association of Private School Organizations (CAPSO).
 
California is one of 25 states as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity that are expected to nominate schools and districts for federal recognition this year. Continued participation and leadership in the program is a recommendation of Torlakson’s Environmental Literacy Task Force.
 
The U.S. Department of Education will confirm state nominees on April 24, 2017.
 
Details on each California nominee are below. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Program Web page and download A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy: Educating Every Student In, About, and For the Environment (PDF; 1.4 MB).
 

California's ED-GRS Nominees
 
Culver City Unified School District, Los Angeles County
CCUSD’s Environmental Sustainability Committee has worked for more than six years to foster a culture of sustainability. During the 2011-12 school year, the committee launched the “Green5” co-curricular sustainability education program to increase awareness amongst students and staff about the “Five Rs:” Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Ride, and Rethink. Energy efficiency is bolstered by a 750 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system that meets 82 percent of energy needs at the district’s main campus. CCUSD was an early adopter of the California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) curriculum.

Montecito Union School District, Santa Barbara County
MUSD’s school greening efforts have been guided by a comprehensive Sustainability Plan since 2011, creating a focused roadmap framed by the Three Pillars of Green Ribbon Schools. Efforts include programs to improve composting and recycling efforts at lunchtime, invigorate the environmental education curriculum, and build partnerships in the community. Funding from the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) jumpstarted school investment in a high-efficiency LED lighting retrofit. MUSD earned CA-GRS Bronze Level recognition in 2015 and Gold Level recognition in 2016.

Redondo Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles County
RBUSD is committed to ensuring student and staff safety at school and in the home, promoting excellence in teaching and learning in modernized school facilities that provide model learning environments, maintaining high academic expectations for all students, and enhancing partnerships with the larger community. Many new facilities are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifiable or certified, and each school campus houses solar shade structures. RBUSD earned CA-GRS Gold Level recognition in 2016. Several district schools earned recognition in 2016 and 2017.

Yosemite High School, Merced Joint Union High School District, Merced County
Yosemite High School (YHS) serves the whole child with a Coordinated School Health approach; students have daily access to a registered nurse, a health aide, and a counselor. Students lead the school vermicomposting program and a collaboration with Tree Partners USA has helped YHS to select regionally appropriate plantings in an effort to reduce the heat island effect. YHS has a training solar array on campus. This equipment engages students in project-based learning by affording them the opportunity to assemble and disassemble a solar panel just outside their classroom doors. The demonstration system has the capability to produce a total of 4.16 kW. Students in the Green Technology and Energy Conservation (GTEC) pathway have presented information to the school board demonstrating that a switch to solar could result in an annual savings of $40,000.

The Thacher School, Ojai, Ventura County
Thacher’s tradition of helping students build a deep connection to nature is finding new expression along the journey to make the campus into a model of sustainability. Thacher has adopted The Whole-School Sustainability Framework and aligned it to a sustainability action plan so that, along with the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools criteria, the school can tackle sustainability from all angles. In June 2016, a new solar farm went live, providing 92 percent of the school’s electricity needs. Water conservation projects have also sprung up all around campus, including rainwater catchment systems, greywater systems in all school dormitories, and xeriscaping projects on school grounds.

California Green Ribbon School Additional Awardees

Public Schools
•         Adams Middle School, Redondo Beach Unified (Gold)
•         Birney Elementary School, Redondo Beach Unified (Silver)
•         Quail Lake Environmental Charter School (Gold)
•         Redondo Union High School, Redondo Beach Unified (Gold)
•         Rogers Middle School, Long Beach Unified (Gold)
•         Sunset Elementary School, San Francisco Unified (Gold)
•         Alameda Science and Technology Institute, Alameda Unified (Silver)
•         Alta Vista Elementary School, Redondo Beach Unified (Silver)
•         Casey Elementary School, Rialto Unified (Silver)
•         Franklin Classical Middle School, Long Beach Unified (Silver)
•         Goethe International Charter School, Los Angeles Unified (Silver)
•         Great Oak High School, Temecula Valley Unified (Silver)
•         Kumeyaay Elementary School, San Diego Unified (Silver)
•         Lake Canyon Elementary School, Galt Joint Union Elementary (Silver)
•         Meiners Oaks Elementary School, Ojai Unified (Silver)
•         Monterey Road Elementary School, Atascadero Unified (Silver)
•         Palos Verdes High School, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified (Silver)
•         Charles W. Eliot Middle School, Pasadena Unified (Bronze)
•         Kimbark Elementary School, San Bernardino City Unified (Bronze)
•         Madison Elementary School, Redondo Beach Unified (Bronze)
•         Tulita Elementary School, Redondo Beach Unified (Bronze)
•         Sunset High School, Del Norte County Unified (Bronze)

Districts
•         Las Virgenes Unified School District, Los Angeles County (Gold)
•         Rialto Unified School District, San Bernardino County (Gold)
•         Sacramento City Unified School District, Sacramento County (Gold)
•         Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, Placer County (Gold)
•         Cypress School District, Orange County (Bronze)

Private Schools
•         Maple Village Waldorf School, Los Angeles County (Gold)
•         Pacific Ridge School, San Diego County (Gold)
•         Woodside Priory, San Mateo County (Gold)
•         Ojai Valley School, Ventura County (Silver)
•         Turning Point School, Los Angeles County (Silver)
•         St. James Academy, San Diego County (Bronze)

# # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-17
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2017
                                                                
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Reminds Californians that
 
State Law Protects Transgender Students’ Rights
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today reiterated his strong support for the rights of transgender students and reminded all Californians that state law requires public schools to allow students access to the restroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity.

“All students deserve a safe and supportive school environment. California will continue to work to provide that environment for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students regardless of any misguided directives by the federal government and the Trump administration,” Torlakson said.

Joint action by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice is expected to revoke federal guidelines adopted by the Obama administration in May 2016 to protect the rights of transgender students at schools by allowing them to use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity.

In 2013, California became the first state in the nation to enshrine certain rights for transgender K–12 students in state law, including the right to choose the bathroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity.
Torlakson said action announced by the White House does not roll back protections for California students and educators.

“California students will continue to have their civil rights protected,” he said. “In California we move forward, not backward.

Governor Brown signed AB 1266 in 2013 and created protections for transgender students. The California Department of Education has Frequently Asked Questions at this web link.
 
# # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-16
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2017
                                                               
CONTACT: Charlene Cheng
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Commends California's

Continued Progress in Advanced Placement® Exams

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that annual Advanced Placement® (AP) results released today show that the number of California public high school graduates taking and demonstrating success in AP courses continues to climb.
 
California placed fifth in the nation in the percentage (28.5 percent) of graduates who scored at least a 3 out of 5 on an AP Exam during high school—an increase of nearly eight percentage points since 2006 (20.6 percent).
"I applaud and congratulate these outstanding students, their schools and families,” Torlakson said. “It's important to recognize that more students are taking very rigorous, college-level courses and more of them are succeeding.”
 
The annual AP Cohort Data Report by the College Board shows that 42.4 percent of California's public high school graduates in the Class of 2016 took an AP Exam during high school (compared to 30.8 percent of graduates in the Class of 2006). The number of Class of 2016 students in California taking an AP Exam grew to more than 170,000, up from about 106,000 in 2006.
 
The report also shows growing AP participation among diverse student groups in California. The percentage of low-income AP Exam takers in the 2016 graduating class was 45.2 percent, compared to 44.2 percent in 2015. The percentage of low-income AP Exam takers in the 2016 who scored at least a 3 out of 5 on an AP Exam in 2016 was 41.2 percent—up from 40 percent in 2015.
 
In May 2016, California public and private school students took a total of 743,280 AP exams. Of those, 429,652 resulted in a score of 3, 4, or 5. According to the College Board, these scores represent an estimated 1,288,956 college credits and a potential cost savings of $401,548,463 for California students and their families. California experienced more than 6 percent growth in the number of AP exams taken and 5 percent growth in the number of AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.
 
The following 22 school districts from California were named to the College Board's Seventh Annual AP District Honor Roll for expanding access to AP and increasing the percentages of students scoring a 3 or higher on AP exams: Arcadia Unified,* Barstow Unified, Brawley Union High School District,* Capistrano Unified,* Coast Unified, Diocese of Orange Education Office,* Dublin Unified,* Firebaugh Las Deltas Unified, Hayward Unified,* Imperial Unified, Jurupa Unified, Live Oak Unified, Los Alamitos Unified,* Lynwood Unified, Orland Unified, Pierce Joint Unified, San Ramon Valley Unified,* Selma Unified, South Monterey County High School District, Sutter Union High School District, Tamalpais Union High School District, and Washington Unified. (*District has achieved the honor for multiple years.)
 
Lynwood Unified School District also received the special distinction of National Medium-Size District Winner.
Success in AP courses is one measure of pupil achievement, which is one of eight state priorities addressed under the new Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).
 
More information on the operation of the College Board's AP program in California, please visit the CDE AP Web page.
 
 
# # # # #
 
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-15
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2017
                                                               
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson Urges
 
Eligible Students to Apply for California Dream
 
Act Before March 2 Deadline
 


SACRAMENTO— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) announced that applications for the California Dream Act are down significantly and urged all eligible students to apply for the program, which allows undocumented students to receive state financial aid for college.

“Please apply right away. The California Dream Act is the key to success in college and 21st century careers. It would be a shame if fear or confusion keeps students from applying for financial aid that they have earned and they deserve,” Torlakson said.

The application deadline is March 2. As of Friday, CSAC had received about 20,000 applications, down nearly 60 percent from more than 34,000 applications from the prior year. The California Dream Act is unrelated to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“The California Student Aid Commission has redoubled its efforts to encourage Dreamers to complete the California Dream Act Application,” said Lupita Cortez Alcalá, Executive Director for the CSAC, which administers the California Dream Act. “California’s strength lies in its diversity and we will continue to support and advance our efforts to prepare all California students for academic and economic prosperity.”

Students should be reassured that CSAC will take all available legal precautions to protect California Dream Act information, which is used solely to determine eligibility for state financial aid and is not shared with any other government agency.

Regardless of what happens at the federal level, state financial aid for Dreamers remains legal in California, Torlakson said. A Dreamer student does not need to be DACA-certified to be eligible for a public education or state financial aid. Losing DACA status will not affect state financial aid eligibility.

The California Department of Education (CDE) and CSAC are proud to stand with Governor Brown, leaders of the State Legislature, multiple local governments, and our state’s public and private colleges and universities in upholding the rights of California’s Dreamer students, Torlakson said.

Torlakson sent a letter Tuesday to public school officials statewide and asked them to remind students and parents to file applications. The letter is posted on the CDE Web site.

For questions, please contact the California Student Aid Commission at 916-464-8271 or the California Department of Education, College Preparation and Postsecondary Programs Office, Career and College Transition Division at 916-323-6398.

More information on the California Dream Act, including Frequently Asked Questions for High School Counselors, go to the California Dream Act Web page.

# # # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
___________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-14
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2017
                                                                  
CONTACT: Cynthia Butler
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Model
 
Continuation High Schools for 2017
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 35 schools were newly designated as Model Continuation High Schools for 2017. These schools are recognized for operating innovative academic programs that help prepare at-risk students for 21st century careers and college.

“I applaud the dedicated administration and staff on their work to assist and motivate at-risk students and help them reach their full potential,” Torlakson said. “The positive and nurturing climate these schools have created inspires students to do well in their academic work and also to contribute to their communities.”  

All the schools honored offered innovative, effective programs. For example: Canyon Oaks High School in Monrovia focuses on college readiness and had a high percentage of graduates accepted into four-year universities.

Boyton High School in San Jose has a vigorous restorative justice program that resulted in a 95% student attendance rate.   

Richland High School in Orange has developed a technology infrastructure to support its strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math curriculum and Career Technical Education classes.

Continuation schools provide a high school diploma program for students ages sixteen-eighteen who have not graduated from high school, are required to attend school, and are at risk of not completing their education.

The schools were selected based on a comprehensive and competitive application process that involved effectiveness, assessments, and use of data. The process included a peer review panel and on-site visit.  
 
The Model Continuation High Schools Recognition Program is a joint project of the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Continuation Education Association (CCEA). The program honors continuation high schools for the comprehensive services they provide at-risk youth through instructional strategies, flexible scheduling, guidance, and counseling.

More than 55,000 students attended the state’s 452 continuation high schools during the 2015–16 school year.

The 35 schools selected as Model Continuation High Schools retain their designation for three years and will be recognized at the 2017 CCEA State Conference in Fresno on April 28–30. For more information, please visit the CDE Continuation Education Web page or the CCEA Web site.
 
 
# # # # #
 
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
_____________________________________________
 
 
 
REL#17-13
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2017
                                                                 
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Funding Relief
 
for School Closed Because of Lake Oroville
 
Flood Danger
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today directed the California Department of Education (CDE) to work with public schools closed because of evacuations and flood dangers from overflows at Lake Oroville.
 
Schools can qualify for relief from the loss of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding, the main revenue source for local school districts, Torlakson said.
 
Counties and cities near Lake Oroville and the surrounding area issued evacuation orders for nearly 190,000 residents in Butte, Sutter and Yuba counties.
 
  “Any schools forced to close as a result of the evacuations may be able to recoup these important ADA funds,” Torlakson said. “I’ve directed my staff to help affected school administrators through the process of applying for waivers due to school closures. Schools in California should not suffer financially for putting the safety of our students first based on these unprecedented flood dangers.”
 
Lake Oroville has the tallest dam in the nation and provides flood control for the region. The dam has two spillways to release water and prevent overflow, but both have severe problems, including erosion that caused a hole almost the size of a football field and at least 40 feet deep in the lower part of the main spillway channel.
 
Rainstorms have pushed Lake Oroville to near-capacity. Based on potential flood risks, government officials started ordering evacuations during the weekend. Torlakson has been in regular telephone contact with Superintendent Tim Taylor at the Butte County Office of Education, were most evacuations are in effect and 13 of 15 school districts were closed. Butte County has about 31,000 total public school students.
 
Updates about evacuations and other information is available from the Butte County Office of Education and the California Office of Emergency Services.
 
Approval of school closures may be requested by submitting three copies of Form J-13A (PDF). For more guidance on ADA relief, see the CDE’s Management Advisory 90-01 on ADA Credit During Periods of Emergency.
 
Additionally, the CDE Early Education and Support Division is providing information to agencies that are dealing with emergencies that have closed centers, preschools, and providers. In these instances, the EESD provides the following information:
 
Contractors are to refer to the Management Bulletin (MB) 10-09 Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/mb1009.asp for specific guidance and funding direction.
 
 
# # # # #
 
 
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
 
REL#17-12
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2017
                                                                
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
 
Announces “Small School District Assistance Initiative”
 
for State School Bond Funds
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) is offering a new “Small School District Assistance Initiative” to help small and rural school districts apply for state school bond funds.

California voters in November 2016 approved Proposition 51, which will provide $9 billion in state school bond funds for construction and modernization.

Prop. 51 is the latest in a series of state school bonds approved since 1998, but about 100 of the state’s 1,025 public school districts have never applied for bond funding. Small and rural districts often don’t have the staff or resources available to apply, even if they need to build new schools or upgrade aging school buildings, Torlakson said.

“We want to get small and rural schools in line for Prop. 51 funding and build modern school facilities that will help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said.
Torlakson spoke Wednesday to the Assembly Education Committee, which conducted a hearing at the State Capitol about streamlining the school bond funding and construction process. Torlakson told Committee members that the CDE School Facilities and Transportation Services Division created the Small School District Assistance Initiative.

Team members can help school districts prepare applications, navigate the bond process, and provide technical assistance. For example, the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District (Santa Barbara County) recently contacted CDE for assistance because the district is eligible for $7 million in Prop. 51 funding. The District has just over 1,000 students. California has a total of 6.2 million public school students attending more than 10,000 schools.

Schools are eligible for state construction bond funds if they don’t have enough space for current or future students. School buildings at least 25 years old are eligible for modernization funding. In most cases, local schools must contribute matching funds raised through local school bond measures.
 
# # # # #
 
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-11
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2017
                                                              
CONTACT: Charlene Cheng
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates California's

2017 “Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage"
 
Model Middle Schools
 

SACRAMENTO— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that 11 high-performing California middle schools have been newly designated as model middle grades schools in the 2015–16 Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage (STW™—TCS) program.
 
Torlakson also announced that the sustained progress of 19 previously chosen STW™—TCS schools will allow them to retain their designation.
 
"These are 30 fantastic schools that do such a terrific job of helping students succeed with academics and succeed as they face all the other unique challenges of being in middle school,” Torlakson said. “It’s a significant time in a student’s life, and they need special teachers, staff, and administration to help them prepare for success in 21st century careers and college. These schools do all of that and more. These outstanding schools serve as role models for middle schools up and down the great state of California.”

The 11 newly designated STW™—TCS model middle grades schools are:

•           Burlingame Intermediate School, Burlingame School District
•           Chaparral Middle School, Walnut Valley Unified School District
•           Clifton Middle School, Monrovia Unified School District
•           Desert Springs Middle School, Palm Springs Unified School District
•           Downtown College Prep Alum Rock Middle School, Santa Clara County Office of Education
•           Haskell STEM Academy, ABC Unified School District
•           Huron Middle School, Coalinga-Huron Unified School District
•           Mare Island Technology Academy, Mare Island Technology Academy
•           McFarland Middle School, McFarland Unified School District
•           Rancho-Starbuck Intermediate School, Lowell-Joint School District
•           Suzanne Middle School, Walnut Valley Unified School District

The 19 re-designated STW™—TCS model middle grades schools are:

•           Alondra Middle School, Paramount Unified School District
•           Alvarado Intermediate School, Rowland Unified School District
•           Alta Sierra Intermediate, Clovis Unified School District
•           Calavera Hills Middle School, Carlsbad Unified School District
•           Carmenita Middle School, ABC Unified School District
•           Elizabeth Pinkerton Middle School, Elk Grove Unified School District
•           Heber School, Heber Elementary School District
•           Kastner Intermediate, Clovis Unified School District
•           Landmark Middle School, Moreno Valley Unified School District
•           Kennedy Middle School, El Centro Elementary School District
•           La Cañada High School (7-8), La Cañada Unified School District
•           La Paz Intermediate, Saddleback Valley Unified School District
•           Leona Jackson School, Paramount Unified School District
•           Millikan Middle School, Los Angeles Unified School District
•           Rancho Milpitas Middle School, Milpitas Unified School District
•           Tetzlaff Middle School, ABC Unified School District
•           Torch Middle School, Bassett Unified School District
•           Vista Verde Middle School, Val Verde Unified School District
•           Washington Academic Middle School, Sanger Unified School District

STW™—TCS middle grades schools are high-performing model schools that demonstrate academic excellence, responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents, and social equity. These schools host visitors from California and around the world who are looking to learn practices they can use to improve their middle grades schools and close the achievement gap.
 
Model schools have been recognized for programs including high school prerequisite courses such as Algebra II and Chinese II, conflict resolution courses, after-school tutoring and extracurricular activities, and collaborative working relationships between special education and general education students and teachers.
 
The STW™—TCS program is sponsored by the California League of Middle Schools (CLMS)  and the California
Department of Education, in partnership with the California Middle Grades Alliance.
 
Schools must complete an extensive application that is reviewed by middle grades experts to earn this designation. In order to retain the designation, each school is re-evaluated every three years.
 
All of the schools will be recognized in Sacramento at the California Middle Grades Alliance annual luncheon on February 23, 2017, and during the California League of Schools' Annual Conference North on February 24–26, 2017.
 
For more information about the STW™—TCS program, please visit the CLMS High Performing Middle School Models Web page.

# # # # #
 
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
_____________________________________________
 
 
 
REL#17-10
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2017
                                                                    
CONTACT: Cynthia Butler
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Applications
 
for  Summer Food Service Program
          
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that applications are available for the Summer Food Service Program, a federally funded, state-administered program that serves meals to California’s low-income children.

"Providing nutritious meals to students during the school year helps students stay alert and focused in class,” Torlakson said. “Making sure children have access to healthy food during the summer is just as critical. Those students will return to school in the fall ready to learn.”

The Summer Food Service Program reimburses participating organizations that provide free meals to children 18 and younger when students are on summer vacation or when those students who attend year-round schools are out of school for 15 or more consecutive school days.

Summer Food Service sponsors may prepare meals or obtain meals from another sponsor, public or commercial food vendor, or a school food service department. All meals must meet U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements. Sponsors serve meals and snacks to children at state-approved locations where at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals during the school year.

Organizations eligible to apply include schools, camps, nonprofits, tribal governments, and government agencies. Applications are due by June 1, 2017.

For more information, visit the California Department of Education Summer Food Service Program Information Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sf/sfspinfo.asp.
 

# # # # #


The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-8
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2017
                                                                   
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Free Testing
 
for Lead in Drinking Water at California Public Schools
 
 
SACRAMENTO— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that public schools can receive free testing for lead in drinking water under a new state program.

The State Water Resources Control Board, in cooperation with the California Department of Education (CDE), recently required all community water systems to test school drinking water upon request by school officials.  

“Students should have access to clean drinking water at all times,” Torlakson said. “Students need fresh water, nutritious meals, and appropriate physical activity to be ready to learn in class.”

California’s water agencies regularly test for lead and other contaminants in their systems to comply with both state and federal laws. Water agencies also use corrosion control measures to prevent any lead that might be present from leaching into tap water.

The State Water Resources Control Board initiative makes testing mandatory if a public school served by a community water system requests testing.

Lead problems are infrequent in California, which has newer water infrastructure and less corrosive water than other parts of the nation. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. directed the State Water Resources Control Board to incorporate schools into the regular water quality testing that community water systems conduct at customer’s taps.

If school officials make a written request, the community water systems must collect the samples within three months and report results back within two business days. Sampling locations can include drinking fountains, cafeteria and food preparation areas, and reusable water bottle filling stations. The program extends until November 1, 2019.   

The community water systems are responsible for the costs associated with collecting drinking water samples, analyzing them, and reporting results.

# # # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
_____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-9
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2017
                                                                  
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
 
Encourages All California Schools to Continue “Safe Haven” Efforts
 
 
 
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today urged all California public schools to continue “Safe Haven” efforts for students and their families, particularly Muslims and refugees targeted by recent federal actions.

“As a teacher, coach, father, citizen, and leader of California’s public school system, I strongly disagree with President Trump’s recent immigration order and want to make sure that our students and families who are refugees and Muslims feel safe and protected in our schools,” said Torlakson. “California public schools welcome all students regardless of their heritage, religion, ethnicity, background, disability, or sexual orientation.

“Diversity is California’s strength. We do not just welcome diversity. We celebrate it. An ill-conceived presidential executive order is not going to change that.”

President Trump signed an executive order on Friday that barred refugees from any nation from entering the United States for 120 days, indefinitely barred refugees from Syria, and also blocked citizens from seven Muslim majority nations from entering the U.S. in the next 90 days. Those nations are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Torlakson urged school districts to continue to make sure students and their families feel safe at school and reminded educators and the public that existing laws protect students’ records from questions about immigration status.

Torlakson in December wrote a letter to all 1,025 California school districts and urged them to adopt “Safe Haven” resolutions, which many districts have or will soon do so. “Engaged parents play a key role in helping students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said.
 
# # # # #

 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
_____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-6
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2017
                                                                    
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Funding Relief
 
for School Closures Due to Flooding, Winter Storm


SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today directed the California Department of Education to work with all schools and school districts forced to close as a result of flooding and other winter storm related issues so that they may qualify for relief from the loss of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding.

“Creating and maintaining a safe environment for students and school staff is a top priority of the California Department of Education. Any schools forced to close as a result of the extreme winter weather we’ve seen this month may be able to recoup these important ADA funds,” Torlakson said. “I’ve directed my staff to help affected school administrators through the process of applying for waivers due to school closures. Schools in California should not suffer financially or in any other way for putting the safety of our students first in any kind of emergency.”

Approval of school closures may be requested by submitting three copies of Form J-13A (PDF). For more guidance on ADA relief, see the CDE’s Management Advisory 90-01 on ADA Credit During Periods of Emergency.

# # # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
_____________________________________________
 
 
 
REL#17-5
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2017
                                                                  
CONTACT:  Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
 
State Board of Education Approves Final Elements of the New
 
Groundbreaking Accountability System, the California School
 
Dashboard
 

SACRAMENTO—The State Board of Education (SBE) today took the final steps in approving a landmark Accountability and Improvement System that will provide a wealth of new information to help parents, educators, and the public evaluate schools and districts, identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide targeted assistance.
 
Today’s actions pave the way for the system, called the California School Dashboard, to be unveiled to the public in late February or March. Next year several changes will be made to strengthen and improve the Dashboard for the 2017-18 school year when it will be fully operational.
 
“This completes the final pieces of a groundbreaking system to help the public better understand what is going on in our schools,” said California State Board of Education President Mike Kirst. “I look forward to the launch of the California School Dashboard later this year, but this is just the beginning. We plan to make significant improvements in future years.”
 
Kirst and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson thanked the California Department of Education (CDE) staff and educators throughout the state for their creativity and hard work in producing the California School Dashboard, which was years in the making.
 
“This ambitious system was not easy to put together,” Torlakson said. “It never would have happened without a remarkable effort by a supremely talented group of CDE staff members, help from educators throughout the state, and strong leadership from the State Board of Education.”
 
Torlakson said the California School Dashboard will be far more useful to parents and the public than the previous Academic Performance Index, which relied on test scores to produce one number for each school.
 
“This is another example of California’s national leadership,” he said. “Our students, our schools, and our districts will benefit by having so much readily available information about the performance of schools and districts in the elements needed to create a successful, positive learning environment.”
 
The SBE approved performance standards for the Academic Indicator, which includes student results on standardized tests for English Language Arts and mathematics, and tools to assist districts in measuring and publicly reporting their progress on two local indicators, academic standards implementation and parent engagement.
 
The Academic Indicator will be based on assessments of the California State Standards in English Language Arts and mathematics , which are more rigorous than the former standards and expect students to demonstrate critical thinking, analytical writing, and problem-solving skills needed to be ready for college and the 21st century job market.
 
 For this indicator, schools and districts will be rated on how close their student test scores in English Language Arts and mathematics are to Level 3, which demonstrates that students have the knowledge and skills associated with college content readiness. To determine this, all scores will be averaged and the average will be compared to Level 3. In some cases the average will be below Level 3 and in others it will be above.
 
As with the other indicators, performance will be based on status, how each school or district fared last year, and change—how much they have improved or declined in the last three years. Schools will be rated based on a combination of these factors and assigned one of five performance levels. From highest to lowest: Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red.
 
The State Board previously approved performance standards for four state indicators: readiness for college and careers, graduation rates, progress of English learners, and suspension rates. In addition, the Board approved tools for four local indicators: basic conditions at schools, school climate, coordination of services for foster youth, and coordination of services for expelled youth.

# # # #

The State Board of Education is the governing and policy-making body for public K-12 education in California. The President of the Board is Michael W. Kirst and the Executive Director is Karen Stapf Walters. Board members are appointed for four-year terms by the Governor of California and are confirmed by the State Senate.

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
_____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-4
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2017
                                                             
CONTACT: Cynthia Butler
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Superintendent Tom Torlakson Supports National Human
 
Trafficking Awareness Day

SACRAMENTO— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today recognized National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and urged all Californians to learn how they can take action to stop this international crime.
 
“Large cities, small communities, and now schools have become prime hunting ground for human traffickers,” Torlakson said. “All school community members must become educated and aware of the warning signs of trafficking. School districts should have policies in place to prevent and intervene in this criminal activity.”
 
Schools sites are a prime target for recruiting trafficking victims, according to a 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students. The report also mentioned that traffickers often prey upon students travelling to and from school.
 
California experienced the nation’s highest number of reported incidents of human trafficking in 2015—with one-third being minors—according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
 
A public-private collaboration of non-profit organizations, state agencies, and local government representatives recently launched Prevention Organized to Educate Children on Trafficking (PROTECT), a program designed to reduce the vulnerability of the state’s children to human trafficking. PROTECT is being rolled out to 35 rural California counties over the next three years.
 
“This type of training and exposure can help increase awareness among teachers, bus drivers, students, school administrators, and school staff and can potentially save the life of a child targeted by a trafficker,” Torlakson said.

The California Department of Education is discussing adding Human Trafficking as a topic in future student health curriculum.
 
The United States Senate designated January 11 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in 2007. In 2010, a Presidential Proclamation declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month.  
 
For more information about the PROTECT program, visit the Rural County Representatives of California Web site at rcrcnet.org. For information regarding human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888.  
 
 
# # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-3
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2017
                                                                
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Comments

On Governor’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today on Governor Brown’s proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year:
 
“In a year where California’s overall revenue is down, this is still another positive step forward for California’s 6.2 million public school students. The Governor’s proposed budget continues to invest more in helping students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.
 
“The budget proposal adds $2.1 billion to the annual Proposition 98 guarantee for public education, which will increase to $73.5 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. Per-pupil spending under Prop. 98 will reach about $10,900, up from about $10,600 in the current budget year. As state revenue improves and the budget process continues, we hope that support for Early Education remains a priority for our youngest learners.
 
“Once again, I want to thank California voters for supporting this investment in our students when they approved Proposition 51 and Proposition 55 in the November election. Prop. 51 will deliver $9 billion in matching bonds fund to upgrade or construct new schools, and Prop. 55 continues an income tax extension to improve overall school funding.”

# # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-2
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2017
                                                                
CONTACT: Charlene Cheng
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
 
San Diego Teacher Finalist for National Teacher of the Year
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that Megan Gross, a 2017 California Teacher of the Year from San Diego County, was selected as one of four finalists nationwide for the 2017 National Teacher of the Year award.
 
Gross has been a special education teacher for nine years, the last three teaching an autism spectrum disorder special day class at Del Norte High School in Poway Unified. She leads a team of instructional assistants who collaborate to design and support unique learning opportunities and experiences.
 
“Megan is a terrific educator who is deeply dedicated to creating a safe and productive learning environment for her students. She has worked diligently to end the social and physical isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Torlakson said. “I am proud to have her represent California. She is an exemplary example of how innovative teachers can enrich the students’ lives.”
 
In October, Gross was named one of five California Teachers of the Year and selected as a finalist by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the United States.
 
Today, Gross and three other state Teachers of the Year, including teachers from Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Maryland, were chosen by a panel comprising 15 prominent education organizations and representing more than seven million educators.
 
The National Teacher of the Year will be announced in Spring 2017 in Washington, D.C.

In addition to her work in the classroom, Gross is a leader in the greater Special Education community. She is a well-known advocate for inclusive education, in which students of all abilities are fully integrated in classrooms and school activities.
 
Gross graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in genetics from the University of California, Davis. She holds a Special Education Credential from California State University, Sacramento.

For more information on the National Teacher of the Year program, visit the CCSSO Web site.  

# # # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#17-1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2017
                                                                
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Highlights Next Generation
 
Science Standards to Better Prepare Students for College and
 
Careers
 

OAKLAND — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today saluted the innovative science instruction taking place at Edna Brewer Middle School in the Oakland Unified School District—instruction that will be coming to all of California’s public schools as a result of recent efforts to dramatically enhance and modernize science education.    
 
“As a former science teacher, I couldn’t be more excited by the learning I saw today in Jeri Johnstone’s eighth grade integrated science class,” Torlakson said. “It’s hands-on, interactive, and collaborative. Students and teachers ask lots of questions and work like scientists. These are the kinds of skills needed for success in high school, college and the modern workplace.”

The Oakland Unified School District is one of eight school districts and two charter school management organizations participating in the early implementation of California’s next Generation Science Standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in 2013.
 
“I want to thank all the innovative, creative, and dedicated science teachers in California for working to improve science education. It’s a huge effort, but it will be well worth it when we see students who are thinking like scientists and fully engaged in their lessons,” Torlakson said.
 
Last November, the SBE approved a new California Science Framework to guide teachers, administrators and textbook publishers in teaching the new standards that emphasize scientific practices, thinking and reasoning. The California Department of Education (CDE) is preparing a new online science assessment to reflect the new standards and framework. A pilot test will take place this spring in grades five, eight and in one high school grade.
 
California’s updated, 21st century science curriculum covers instruction in kindergarten through grade eight. It expands and refines the discussion of climate change and for the first time includes engineering, environmental literacy and strategies to support girls and young women in science.
 
Edna Brewer Middle School, which serves students in grades six through eight, has been teaching to California’s Next Generation Science Standards for the past four years.
 
“It’s no exaggeration to say the health of our entire state—our economy, our high-tech companies, our research laboratories, our environment—is dependent on our schools to produce the scientists and technology leaders of the future along with a knowledgeable citizenry,” Torlakson said. “I saw that future today at Edna Brewer Middle School, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction of science education in California.”

# # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#16-86
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2016
                                                               
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Reports Slight Decline
 
in Students’ Physical Fitness Test Results;

Asks Schools, Parents to Maintain Focus on Healthy Kids
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson reported today that the percentage of students who met the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) performance standards declined slightly compared to the previous two years, according to the results of the 2015-16 Physical Fitness Test (PFT).
 
“Good nutrition, proper rest, and exercise are key ingredients for success in the classroom and in life,” Torlakson said. “This year’s Physical Fitness Test results, which are down very slightly, remind all of us as educators, parents and community leaders that we need to convey this message to our children. One of the best ways to do that is by eating healthy foods and exercising so we can serve as role models for healthy living, not only for the sake of our children, but also for the future health of our communities and our state.”
 
Overall, slightly more students participated in the PFT during the 2015–16 school year than the previous year, with more than 1.3 million students in grades five (459,715), seven (448,442), and nine (440,139) taking the FITNESSGRAM®, a series of six separate tests that measure aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength, and flexibility (Table 1).
 
Approximately 25.9 percent of students in grade five, 32.1 percent of students in grade seven, and 36.7 percent of students in grade nine scored at the highest levels, called the HFZ. This represents levels of fitness that offer protection against diseases resulting from sedentary living (Table 2).
 
Those levels are down slightly in all grades compared with the previous two school years. The multi-year comparison is available on Table 3. Slight gains were recorded in the Body Composition fitness area in grades five and seven. Body Composition is one of the six areas assessed annually and considered among the most important gauges of health (Table 4).
 
Torlakson, a former high school cross country and track coach and an avid runner, has made youth health and fitness a priority of his public service career. As a state legislator for 14 years, Torlakson authored several bills to increase student physical fitness education and standards, increase accountability in fitness testing, and promote collaboration between schools and local recreation and park districts.
 
“If we don’t change eating and exercise habits, we will continue to see a portion of our students afflicted with diabetes and heart disease,” Torlakson said. “Healthy, active, and well-nourished children are more likely to attend school and are more prepared and motivated to learn. There is a direct correlation between good nutrition, exercise, student wellness, and the ability of our students to learn well.”
 
This is the 17th year for the reporting of physical fitness test results in California public schools. The program was first authorized in 1976 and reestablished in 1995 by Assembly Bill 265. The following year, the State Board of Education designated FITNESSGRAM® as the required physical fitness test to be administered to students in grades five, seven, and nine.
 
The 2015–16 physical fitness results for schools, school districts, counties, and the state are available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Physical Fitness Test Results Web page. More information is also available on the CDE Physical Fitness Testing Web page.
 
 
 
# # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#16-85
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2016
                                                                
CONTACT: Charlene Cheng
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Appoints

Valarie Bliss as Director of Personnel Services Division


SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today the appointment of Valarie Bliss as the new Personnel Services Division Director at the California Department of Education (CDE).                     

“Valarie has dedicated her professional career to serving the Department of Education and guiding our employees,” Torlakson said. “I am thrilled that she will bring her extensive knowledge of the Department and expertise in state personnel processes to the position.”

Bliss will supervise eight offices that comprise the Personnel Services Division, including Labor Relations, Training, and Facilities Management. Personnel Services oversees more than 2,400 CDE employees statewide.

A CDE veteran, Bliss brings nine years of experience as a Staff Services Manager III in the Personnel Services Division. She has been with CDE for nearly 25 years, working in the Special Education Division, the School Improvement Division, the Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch, and the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Office.

Bliss replaces former Division Director Sharon Taylor, who retired.
A native of Broderick (now West Sacramento), Bliss and her husband of 30 years have four children and eight grandchildren.
 
# # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
_____________________________________________
 
 
 
REL#16-84
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2016
                                                                   
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson, State Board of Education
 
President Michael Kirst Respond to Federal Denial of California’s
 
Science Testing Waiver Request
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Board of Education President Michael Kirst today released a joint statement in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of a waiver allowing California to suspend an outdated science assessment and instead give a modernized science test:

“We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of our waiver request. We reject their insistence that we double-test. We believe the denial of this request harms our students, who will be forced to study science based on state standards adopted in 1998 that are outmoded and not designed for the 21st century.

“California plans to move full-speed ahead implementing our new, computer-adaptive science assessment pilot in 2017 based on our new Next Generation Science Standards.

“The standards, our new online test, and our new science curriculum framework, which guides teachers, are all part of an exciting renaissance in science education in California designed to equip our students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century economy and college.

“Upgrading our science education is especially important in a state that is a global leader in high technology, with companies eager to hire educated and qualified workers.

“Virtually all the major education groups in California, including the California Science Teachers Association and the PTA, support our waiver request.

“California educators know better than people in Washington, D.C., how best to serve our students. We have no time to waste when it comes to improving science education. California moves forward, not backward.”
 

# # # #
 
The State Board of Education is the governing and policy-making body for public K-12 education in California. The President of the Board is Michael W. Kirst and the Executive Director is Karen Stapf Walters. Board members are appointed for four-year terms by the Governor of California and are confirmed by the State Senate.


The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#16-83
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2016
                                                                
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Plan to Better
 
Prepare Professionals Who Work With Young Children
 

SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today a new statewide plan that includes recommendations for improving the certification, training, and support of professionals who work with young children.
 
The “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8” report will help early childhood teachers, child care providers, and other professionals make sure that children can succeed at the earliest stages of learning, Torlakson said.
 
Current requirements for early childhood professionals in California vary depending on funding, program type, and child age, and they don’t consistently measure what candidates should know or be able to do to perform their jobs.

For example, job turnover is common among child care providers. The report recommends better support and training, such as having mentors and coaches work with care providers to improve their skills and knowledge.
 
Mentoring programs have demonstrated success in improving skills of kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers and could do the same for Early Childhood professionals, Torlakson said.
 
The California Department of Education (CDE) Early Education and Support Division and First 5 California convened a team of experts that spent nine months preparing the report, available at this Web link.

 
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#16-82
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2016
                                                                
CONTACT: Dina Fong
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Selects California

High School Students to the 2017 U.S. Senate Youth Program
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced two outstanding high school students to represent California in the 55th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.
 
Samuel Goidell of Davis (Yolo County), a senior at Davis Senior High School in the Davis Joint Unified School District, and Amira Chowdhury of Glendale (Los Angeles County), a junior at Herbert Hoover High School in the Glendale Unified School District, were selected for their outstanding scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, and commitment to their schools and communities.
 
Torlakson also named two alternates in the event that one or both of the delegates are unable to attend the program. The first alternate is Michael Tseitlin of Sunnyvale (Santa Clara County), a senior at The Harker School, a private school in San Jose. The second alternate is Stuti Grover of Cypress (Orange County), a senior at Oxford Academy in the Anaheim Union High School District.     
 
“These four students are amazing individuals who have demonstrated significant leadership abilities and have contributed much to their schools and communities while maintaining strong and rigorous academic schedules, “ Torlakson said. “I am encouraged by their passion for public service and their desire to make this world a better place. These young people make me optimistic for our future.”
 
The delegates and alternates are scheduled to be recognized by the State Board of Education during its January 11-12, 2017, meeting in Sacramento.
 
To qualify for the program, high school juniors or seniors must hold student body office or other elected or appointed civic or educational organization and express an interest in pursuing a career in public service. They are then nominated by their high school principal.
 
A selection committee from the California Department of Education (CDE) reviews eligible nominees, and Torlakson selects the awardees based on the quality of the application, academic achievement, interpersonal and communication skills, knowledge of American government and history, involvement in school and community activities, demonstrated qualities of leadership, and extracurricular activities.
 
The USSYP provides a yearly opportunity for selected students to gain an in-depth view of the Senate and the federal government overall as well as a deeper understanding of the legislative, judicial and executive branches, according to the national site. The program provides a foundation of knowledge and encouragement for those considering a future of public service.
 
Two student leaders from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity each receive a $10,000 scholarship and attend a one-week all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. from March 4–11, 2017.
 
For more information, please visit the CDE's Web site at United States Senate Youth Program.

The following are synopses compiled from their applications:

Samuel Goidell — First Delegate
Samuel Goidell of Davis (Yolo County), is a senior with a 4.4 grade point average at Davis Senior High School in the Davis Joint Unified School District. He currently serves as Student Body President as well as Education Policy Director with the California Association of Student Councils, which provides leadership development and training. He was also a top finalist-candidate for the Student Board Member position on the California State Board of Education. He wants to major in political science and international relations and either get a law degree or master’s degree in public policy. His career goal is to someday become the White House Chief of Staff.

Amira Chowdhury — Second Delegate
Amira Chowdhury of Glendale (Los Angeles County), is a junior carrying a 4.28 grade point average at Herbert Hoover High School in the Glendale Unified School District. She serves as Junior Class President. Her school activities include Founder/President of the Political Club, President of the Distinguished Scholars Academy, President of the Debate Club, Vice President of the Key Club, and membership in the California Scholarship Federation and the National Honor Society. She has volunteered on presidential and city council campaigns, as well as the Los Angeles Kidney Walk and Aids Walk and Relay for Life. She plans to double major in political science and economics and hopes to someday be a state legislator or a law professor.

Michael Tseitlin — First Alternate
Michael Tseitlin of Sunnyvale (Santa Clara County), is a senior a 4.4 grade point average at The Harker School, a private school in San Jose. He serves as Senior Class Secretary and is Varsity Captain of his school’s Water Polo team, leading them to be the CIF State Academic Champions and also Captain of his school’s championship Debate Team. He has over 2,000 community service hours as a tutor in both Russian and Hebrew as well as with Nova Ukraine, a non-profit organization which raises awareness about the Ukraine. He would like to study a mixture of International Relations, Economics, Neuroscience, and Language and Cultural Studies. He plans to join the U.S. Foreign Service, working abroad as a diplomat followed by law school.

Stuti Grover — Second Alternate
Stuti Grover of Cypress (Orange County), a senior with a 4.57 grade point average at Oxford Academy in the Anaheim Union High School District. She is Student Body President where she presides over class committees and plans all class activities. She is a Varsity competitor and mentor on the Oxford Speech and Debate Team, ranking 27th in the nation in Public Forum Debate. A National Merit Semifinalist and AP Scholar with Distinction, Stuti volunteers as a teacher’s aide, helping students in subjects where they are struggling. She wants to major in political science or law and pursue a master’s degree in international relations. Then, she would like to become one of the few Indian female ambassadors for the U.S. and also perform volunteer service domestically and internationally.

# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#1681
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2016
                                                                     
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Supports New Legislation
 
to Promote Media Arts Education
 

SACRAMENTO — Legislation introduced Monday will help California showcase its role as a world leader by improving media arts education so students will be better prepared for jobs in movies, animation, video games, virtual reality, and other media arts fields, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced.
 
Torlakson sponsored AB 37, which Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell introduced Monday. This is the first day bills can be introduced for the start of the 2017-2018 legislative session. O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, is Chair of the Assembly Education Committee.
 
“This is an exciting step forward to improve our students’ education in the fascinating and creative world of media arts,” said Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school teacher and coach. “I want to thank Assemblymember O’Donnell for introducing this measure and preparing students for media arts opportunities in 21st century careers and college.”
 
“Classes in media arts teach young people how to express themselves creatively using the technology of today and the emerging technologies of the future,” O’Donnell said.  “As a world leader in technological innovation, California should have strong programs in our schools that foster these valuable and increasingly marketable artistic skills.”
 
Updated media arts standards will help teachers improve their practices and set rigorous learning expectations for students. Media arts has six categories: animation, cinema, digital sound production, imaging design, interactive design, and virtual design.
 
For example, new standards could require students to design 3D models of human settlement on Mars, complete with agricultural and energy production, and designs for architecture, transportation, tools, and clothing.
 
Students will also learn how to collaborate, be flexible and adaptive, and work in teams, Torlakson said. Employers value all those skills.
 
The creative industry in California produces about $375 billion in economic value and employs 1.6 million people, according to a May 2016 report that the Otis College of Art and Design prepared for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.
 
AB 37 requires Torlakson to select a group of expert elementary and second secondary school teachers who will recommend standards—what students are expected to learn—for media arts education.
 
Torlakson and the Instructional Quality Commission, an 18-member panel of education experts, will conduct public hearings and report by November 2018 to the State Board of Education. The Board will vote on the recommendations and, if approved, adopt the standards.
 
The bill will be assigned for legislative committee hearings in the next few months. If the Legislature passes the bill and the Governor signs it in 2017, AB 37 will take effect on January 1, 2018.
 
# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#16-80
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2016
                                                                          
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO—More than 8,000 California public schools and districts are eligible to share $11.9 million in the latest round of Education Technology K–12 Voucher Program funding, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today. Funds are available through a 2003 antitrust settlement agreement between Microsoft Corporation and California consumers and businesses.
 
The list of eligible and potentially eligible schools and districts is available on the California Department of Education Web site. Today’s announcement is the fifth distribution of the Microsoft settlement funds. The first four distributions, in 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2015, totaled more than $470 million.
 
“These funds have improved our students’ education by allowing California to wire our classrooms, modernize instruction, successfully give online tests to 3.1 million students, and make progress in closing the digital divide,” Torlakson said. “I encourage all eligible schools and districts to apply for these technology funds.”
 
Under the terms of the settlement, these funds are to be used to assist K–12 districts to acquire and support education technology that improves teaching and student achievement.
 
Several factors make schools eligible for these funds:
  • If they were previously eligible for the Education Technology K–12 Voucher Program, which provides money to schools and districts to purchase qualified education technology, including computer hardware and software, and provide training in the use of technology in the classroom.
  • All public K–12 schools, county offices of education, direct-funded charter schools, and State Special Schools in which at least 40 percent of the certified 2015–16 enrollment qualified for free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program.
  • All public high schools in California that serve students from public elementary, middle, and junior high schools in California in which at least 40 percent of the certified 2015–16 enrollment qualified for free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program.
  • An education technology plan is no longer required for eligibility. However, schools and districts are strongly encouraged to develop and use technology plans. An online Technology Plan Builder is freely available to all K–12 schools.
 
# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#16-78
FORIMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2016
                                                                       
CONTACT: Robert Oakes
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
  
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Applauds Three Ballot Measures

Approved by Voters that Will Help California Students and Schools
 

SACRAMENTO— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today thanked voters for passing three critical ballot measures that will help improve California’s education system, Proposition 55, Proposition 51, and Proposition 58.
 
“Together these ballot measures will help our education system move forward so we can better serve our students and prepare them for 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said. “Proposition 55 continues a major investment in our schools, providing districts with the resources to continue the momentum we have seen reflected in increasing graduation rates, rising test scores in math and English, reduced class sizes, and the return of classes in art, music, science, and civics.”
 
Proposition 51 will provide the resources that districts around the state need to construct and repair buildings and facilities that provide our students and educators with the modern classroom environment they need to learn and succeed.
 
Proposition 58 reduces unnecessary barriers to multilingual education and encourages our students to become proficient in a language in addition to English, an ability that will allow them to succeed in the global workplace, and to more fully participate in the rich cultural diversity of California.

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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
____________________________________________
 
 
REL#16-77
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2016
                                                                           
CONTACT: Peter Tira
PHONE: 916-319-0818
E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Approval
 
of Science Framework
 

SACRAMENTO— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to approve a new Science Framework for California’s public schools that will dramatically upgrade and modernize science instruction.
 
“Science education is undergoing a renaissance that began with the adoption of California’s Next Generation Science Standards in 2013 and advances today with a Science Framework that will guide teaching,” said Torlakson, who began his career as a high school science teacher in the 1970s.
 
“This framework will help our students become the scientists and technology leaders of the future as well as citizens who are knowledgeable and understanding of the natural world and the environment,” Torlakson said. “It will also help produce the well-educated, innovative workers needed by all of our employers, but especially our high-tech companies, which are some of the most advanced companies humankind has ever seen.”
 
California becomes the first state in the nation to adopt a Science Framework based on Next Generation Science Standards and is now poised to lead the nation in rolling out a rich, updated, 21st century science curriculum. The Science Framework provides guidance to teachers, administrators, and textbook publishers for the teaching of the Next Generation Science Standards from transitional kindergarten through twelfth grade.
 
The Science Framework expands and refines discussion of climate change and for the first time includes engineering, environmental literacy, and strategies to support girls and young women in science.
 
The Framework, for example, presents middle school students with the engineering challenge of diverting rainwater away from road surfaces, where it can pick up oil, grit, and other pollutants into the ground to minimize flooding and maximize filtration. Seventh grade students may be tasked with graphing fish populations under various global warming scenarios. High school chemistry students can explore the increasing acidification of the world’s oceans, the causes, and potential remedies.
 
Beyond updated science content, the Science Framework encourages a new teacher-student dynamic with the teacher becoming more of a facilitator, asking questions and encouraging discovery. Students conduct experiments and lead the scientific inquiry.
 
The Framework was developed after an extensive public process that spanned almost three years and generated more than 3,000 public comments. In support of the process, the California Science Teachers Association sponsored 30 different focus groups throughout the state to collect feedback.
 
Throughout the spring of 2017, the California Department of Education (CDE), together with educational partners, will present California Science Framework rollout events around the state to start preparing educators and administrators in all aspects of Next Generation Science Standards instruction. In 2018, the State Board of Education is scheduled to adopt textbooks and other instructional materials aligned to the Standards and Framework.
 
The CDE also is developing a new online science assessment that will reflect the Standards and Framework.  A pilot test of the new assessment will take place in spring 2017 in grades five, eight, and in one high school grade—ten, eleven, or twelve—that will vary for each high school.

# # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#16-76                                                                                                CONTACT: Charlene Cheng
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     PHONE: 916-319-0818
October 26, 2016                                                                                       E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces

Release of $100 Million in College Readiness Grants
 
 
SACRAMENTO— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that nearly 1,000 local educational agencies (LEA), including school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, will receive about $100 million in grants to help students prepare to attend college.
 
The grants, which are available for expenditure through the 2018–19 fiscal year, come from a $200 million College Readiness Block Grant (CRBG) program administered by the California Department of Education (CDE) and approved by the Governor and the Legislature.
 
The grants were established to increase the number of students who enroll in institutions of higher education and complete an undergraduate degree in four years, with a special emphasis on helping English learners, economically disadvantaged students, and foster youth.
 
“Every student should have a chance to attend college. These grants provide funds for expanding our students’ access and improving their readiness for higher education—a top priority as we prepare them for 21st century careers,” Torlakson said. “I am pleased to support an investment that gives our students the right tools to prepare for and succeed in higher education.”
 
Among other things, the funds can be used to pay Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examination fees; develop or purchase materials that support college readiness, including college entrance exam preparation; counseling services for students; expand access to coursework or other opportunities to satisfy a-g course requirements; and send teachers, counselors, and administrators to professional development opportunities related to college readiness.
 
While LEAs do not need to apply to receive the CRBG funds, there are other requirements such as the development and adoption of a local plan, and the submission of a report to the California Department of Education on how the LEA will measure the impact of the funds received.
 
The CRBG funding comes from Senate Bill 828 of 2016, which authorizes the allocation of $200 million to county offices of education, school districts, and charter schools that reported unduplicated students (English learners, economically disadvantaged students and foster youth) in grades nine through twelve during the 2015–16 fiscal year.
 
The CDE will allocate the funds in two installments. The first installment, to be paid in 2016, reflects approximately 50 percent of each LEA’s entitlement based on eligible students. Remaining funds will be released in spring of 2017. Details may be accessed on the CRBG Web page.
 
In another step to help high school students fund their college dreams, Torlakson announced that applications for financial aid are now available.
 
Early filing opened October 1 for state and federal financial aid through the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) Web site, where the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) can be found. Applications are due by March 2, 2017, and are a key step in helping eligible students pay for college.

# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#16-74                                                                                                CONTACT: Bill Ainsworth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     PHONE: 916-319-0818
October 17, 2016                                                                                       E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson Praises
 
Grant Program to Help Keep Students in School
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today applauded new legislation providing $27 million in grants to school districts for programs to reduce high rates of chronic absenteeism, out-of-school suspension, dropouts, and crime.
 
The California Department of Education (CDE), which will administer the funding, has already begun developing grant guidelines.
 
“Chronic absenteeism is one of the biggest challenges we face. If a student is not at school, she or he cannot learn,” said Torlakson. “That’s what makes this investment so important. It will help our most at-risk students remain in school so they can learn, thrive, and graduate with the skills that will prepare them to succeed in 21st century careers and college.”
 
Torlakson said the funds will help continue and expand efforts underway to fight chronic absenteeism, especially for high-risk groups such as foster youth.
 
Keeping students in school is a top priority for Torlakson. He has helped spread best practices for reducing chronic absenteeism by sponsoring conferences, convening the State Attendance Review Board (which makes recommendations to districts about how to identify chronically absent students and increase their attendance), and supporting related legislation.
 
Torlakson thanked Governor Brown for signing the legislation that created the grant program.

Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) authored AB 2815, which promotes effective attendance practices that may be used by districts that receive grant funding as well as districts that will not be grant recipients.
“Student success begins with kids being present and engaged in the classroom,” said Assembly Member O’Donnell, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee and a longtime school teacher. “Under this new law, attendance supervisors will be empowered to foster a culture of attendance and provide guidance to children who regularly miss school.”
 
Nine million dollars to fund the grant will come from Proposition 47, a voter-approved initiative that reduced prison time for some non-violent crimes and allocates savings to some school programs. The Governor approved an additional $18 million in the state budget to fund the program.
 
The legislation requires that grants go to districts that are most at risk, such as districts with high suspension, expulsion, dropout, and truancy rates and districts with high crime rates.
 
Districts may seek funding to hire more social workers, counselors, and nurses to identify and expand efforts to increase the attendance of students identified as chronically absent. They may also apply to launch or expand restorative justice programs that have proven to reduce suspension rates by allowing students who violate rules to avoid being suspended by taking other actions to make up for their violations.
 
The grants are for three years and require a 20 percent match, which can come from the districts’ Local Control and Funding Formula budgets. Districts will report the outcomes of their programs to their governing boards, county offices of education, and CDE.
 
Many schools and districts are already doing outstanding work in this area. Torlakson plans to visit an elementary school, Arnold Adreani, in the Elk Grove Unified School District on Tuesday, October 18, that excels in promoting, celebrating, and rewarding school attendance through its “Every Day. All Day. On Time” program. The school is located at 9927 Wildhawk West Drive in Sacramento.
 
While much work remains, California has made significant progress reducing an important cause of absenteeism: expulsions and suspensions. Since 2011–12, when the CDE began collecting and reporting detailed data, suspensions have declined by nearly 34 percent and expulsions have dropped more than 40 percent.
 
# # #
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
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REL#16-73                                                                                               CONTACT: Peter Tira
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     PHONE: 916-319-0818
October 12, 2016                                                                                       E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 


State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces California
 
Teachers of the Year


SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today selected five outstanding educators as the 2017 California Teachers of the Year.
 
“I am pleased to honor five dedicated and hardworking teachers who use their creativity and talents every day to make a huge difference in their classrooms,” Torlakson said. “These inspiring and innovative teachers enrich the lives of our students while helping them to succeed in 21st century careers and college. These teachers represent the best of their profession and serve as great examples.”
 
Presented by California Casualty and the California Teachers of the Year Foundation, the California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to honor outstanding teachers and encourage new teachers to enter the profession.
 
The 2017 winners are:

Megan Gross is an autism spectrum disorder teacher for ninth through twelfth graders at Del Norte High School, Poway Unified School District, in San Diego. Torlakson also nominated Gross as California’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year competition. Gross will compete against other state nominees, and a 2017 National Teacher of the Year will be named in the spring.
 
Shaun S. Bunn teaches mathematics to eighth graders at Ethan A. Chase Middle School, Romoland School District, Menifee, Riverside County.
 
Corinne (Corrie) Traynor is a fifth grade multi-subject teacher at Barrett Ranch Elementary School, Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District, Antelope, Placer County.
 
 
Yun (Jenny) Tzu Anderson teaches science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math, Vista Unified, Vista, San Diego County.
 
Isela Lieber teaches English, English as a Second Language (ESL), and ESL science to ninth and tenth graders at James Monroe High School, Los Angeles Unified School District, North Hills, Los Angeles County.
 
Torlakson, who served as Acting Governor for three days this summer, issued a “Be a Teacher” proclamation and continues to encourage people to enter the profession.
 
“Teachers play a pivotal role in helping young people get excited about learning and achieving success, but right now California is experiencing a significant shortage,” Torlakson said.
 
Visit the Teach California Web site for more information.
 
County offices of education nominate California Teachers of the Year winners through their county-level competitions. A state selection committee reviews candidates' applications and conducts site visits to evaluate the teachers' rapport with students, classroom environment, presentation skills, and teaching methods.
 
The teachers are interviewed by the California Department of Education (CDE). The State Superintendent then selects the five awardees.
 
The 2017 California Teachers of the Year, finalists, and semifinalists will be honored by Torlakson at a gala to be held in Sacramento on February 13, 2017.       
 
For more information on the award program, please visit the CDE's California Teachers of the Year Web page.
 
 
THE 2017 CALIFORNIA TEACHERS OF THE YEAR

Megan Gross
National Teacher of the Year Candidate
Ninth through Twelfth Grade Special Education Teacher
Del Norte High School, San Diego
Poway Unified School District
San Diego County
 

“Teaching is life-fulfilling work. I love the challenge of identifying the best instructional and support strategies for my new students each fall and delight in the rewards of each student’s “a-ha” moment that ultimately leads to growth and continued success.” — Megan Gross

Gross has been a special education teacher for nine years, the last three teaching an autism spectrum disorder special day class at Del Norte High School, where she leads a team of instructional assistants who collaborate to design and support unique learning opportunities and experiences for their students.
 
Her classroom is a place where students feel welcome and can access the resources needed to thrive academically and socially in general education settings. It serves as a home base for her students, providing security and comfort when needed, but also confidence for each student to grow with the rest of their classmates and participate in school-wide activities.
 
Under her leadership, her students launched a school-wide campaign, “Socktober,” to collect socks and blankets to benefit homeless families in their school district as well as created Valentines for senior citizens who lived in a nearby assisted-living facility.
 
Greg Mizel, Principal, Del Norte High School, said, “Mrs. Gross has worked diligently to create a positive, inclusive, and productive learning environment for her students. Relational, reflective, humorous, generous with her time, and committed to helping each and every one of her students thrive and succeed, we feel blessed to have her on staff.”
Gross may be reached through Del Norte High School at 858-487-0877 or  mgross@powayusd.com.


Shaun S. Bunn
Seventh and Eighth Grade Mathematics Teacher
  Ethan A. Chase Middle School, Menifee
Romoland School District
Riverside County
 

“Sometimes, the best lesson that kids learn from us is not subject matter, but something much deeper, more profound—kindness and caring. These life lessons can only be genuinely taught from unpredictable moments. Unpredictable moments can also turn challenges into teachable opportunities.” — Shaun Bunn

Bunn has been teaching for 11 years, ten in his current position at Ethan A. Chase Middle School. Described by a colleague as the “Jaime Escalante” of Chase Middle School, he makes personal connections with his students and is caring, inspirational, and willing to go above and beyond. He shares about his personal struggles to be successful and how perseverance diminished those struggles, saying he wants his students to see him as human.
 
Originally from Cambodia, he lived in poverty and saw his parents make huge sacrifices for the family. As an English learner, Bunn has firsthand knowledge of the challenges his students face and tries to help them overcome these issues. Every year, he visits Cambodia and takes kids off the street to feed them.
 
Julie A. Vitale, Superintendent of Romoland School District, said of Bunn, “He is the type of person that gives tirelessly and never expects anything in return. He is honest, kind, easy to work with, and friendly. He has the desire to have a meaningful impact in the lives of students.”
 
Bunn may be reached at Ethan A. Chase Middle School at 951-566-4400 or sbunn@romoland.net.

Corinne (Corrie) Traynor
 Fifth Grade Multi-Subject Teacher
Barrett Ranch Elementary School, Antelope
Dry Creek Joint Elementary Unified School District
Placer County

“‘So why did I become a teacher? It is simple: I never want one of my students to feel that they cannot be whatever they want to be. I have dedicated my life to children of poor circumstance where I can guide them to a full understanding that we all can be successful in life with handiwork, determination, and perseverance.” — Corinne (Corrie) Traynor

Traynor has been teaching for 22 years, 15 in her current position at Barrett Ranch Elementary School. She has used her struggles with dyslexia and a severe reading disability as a child to drive her to become the best teacher she could be.
 
As an advocate for children, she teaches other educators not to lower their expectations for at-risk students. “My message has always been that it is not about us, it is about the kids in our classroom seats,” she said.
 
Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District Assistant Superintendent Jim Ferguson said of Traynor: “She excels beyond imagination in the classroom and is a key contributor to her site and district. She is a prime example of how a teacher leader can have a profound effect on an entire organization. If I were to go back to a principalship and have to start building a staff, the first teacher I would want on my staff would be Corrie Traynor.”
 
Traynor may be reached at Barrett Ranch Elementary at 916-770-8839 or ctraynor@dcjesd.us.
 

Yun (Jenny) Tzu Anderson
Kindergarten through Fifth Grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Teacher
  Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math, Vista
Vista Unified School District
San Diego County
 

“The value of education rests on how educators shape the young minds of tomorrow. By focusing on their strengths, interests, and values through a personalized approach, students feel empowered to take action to make an impact in the world.” — Yun (Jenny) Tzu Anderson

Anderson has been teaching for nine years, the last two as a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teacher at Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math. A self-described learning experience designer, Anderson pulls resources from various avenues to remix and refine lessons to create personalized and relevant experiences that focus on each student’s interests.
 
She teaches a fourth grade journalism class, where students produce a morning newscast and also runs a flexible learning space entitled the Design, Research, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Science (DREAMS) lab where students learn the language of coding and engage in design challenges aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts (ELA) and math. The DREAMS lab allows students the opportunity to explore how things work from trial and error.
 
Laura Smith, Principal of Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math, said, “Jenny Anderson is a lead learner. Observing her deliver professional development on Next Generation Science Standards to teachers is magical.
 
Educators from all over San Diego County are modeling their STEM labs after the DREAMS lab. Jenny is inspired by the future and what could be.”
 
Anderson may be reached through Casita Center for Technology, Science, and Math at 760-724-9442 or yunanderson@vistausd.org.
 
Isela Lieber
Ninth and Tenth Grade English, ESL, ESL Science Teacher
James Monroe High School, North Hills
Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles County
 

“Teaching is an act of social justice. To be a teacher is to be an agent for change. It is a dynamic profession that promotes lifelong learning, as well as ongoing challenges to analyze student data to drive our instruction and rethink our approaches to pedagogy so that all learners’ needs are met.” — Isela Lieber
 
Lieber has been teaching for ten years, the last four at James Monroe High School as an English, English as a Second Language (ESL), and ESL science teacher. As an immigrant who came to the U.S. with a seventh grade education and very little knowledge of the English language, she strongly identifies with her students, leading by example and sharing her personal story.
 
Lieber sponsors SUCCEED, a student club that provides information and support to first-generation high school graduates, all English learners, most economically disadvantaged, and helps them become future first-generation college students. Under her leadership, SUCCEED provides after school workshops on applying for financial aid as well as community workshops for parents on the importance and process of college.
 
Chris Rosas, Principal, James Monroe High School, said of Lieber, “Her example to our students is living proof of a strong commitment to student achievement. As an immigrant herself, English learner, and first-generation college student, she makes a daily commitment to serve by leading by example. She models effective teaching strategies and holds all staff and students to high standards with their classroom practices.”
 
Lieber may be reached through James Monroe High School at 818-830-4200 or isela.jacome@lausd.net.
 
To see 2017 California Teachers of the Year Finalists click here>>
 
 
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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REL#16-72                                                                                               CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     PHONE: 916-319-0819
October 10, 2016                                                                                       E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Kicks Off 2016 California
 
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
 
Symposium
 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today kicked off California’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education symposium.
 
Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher and coach, welcomed more than 3,000 teachers, parents, students, researchers, entrepreneurs and others to the two-day event at the Anaheim Convention Center.
 
“STEM education is a key pathway to success in 21st century careers and college, especially in the high-tech, international economy,” Torlakson said. “We want all of our students to get excited about STEM learning, dream big, and reach for the stars.”
 
The third annual event showcases the importance of STEM education. Speakers highlighted California’s Next Generation Science Standards, a revolutionary update in teaching California’s 6.2 million public school students about science.
 
Symposium speakers include Sir Ken Robinson, whose presentations about creativity and innovation at the prestigious TED Conferences have more than 300 million Web views. Also speaking will be Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit working to close the gender gap in technology.
 
 “We will share these promising practices so all California educators can learn more about research-supported ways to integrate and enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education,” Torlakson said.

The nonprofit Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation helps organize the annual symposium.
 
Torlakson appointed a 55-member STEM Task Force, which in 2014 issued a blueprint for encouraging, promoting, expanding and improving STEM education. Recommendations included organizing the annual symposium.
 
Main themes at the symposium include increasing the number of women and girls in STEM middle and high school classes and encouraging more of those students to seek STEM degrees in college, especially underrepresented minorities.
 
Participation by women and girls lags behind men in several STEM fields, particularly computer science. There were nearly 90,000 computer science jobs open in the United States this year, but California had only 3,500 college students graduate with a computer science degree. Only 15 percent of those graduates were women.
 
For additional information, please visit the Symposium Web page.

# # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#16-70                                                                                               CONTACT: Dina Fong
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     PHONE: 916-319-0818
September 30, 2016                                                                                 E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Congratulates Four
 
Outstanding California Teachers Receiving Presidential Honors
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson congratulated four distinguished teachers who were recently named California winners for the 2014 and 2015 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The 2015 PAEMST mathematics winner is Maria McClain, who teaches multiple courses at Deer Valley High School in Antioch (Contra Costa County). The 2015 PAEMST science winner is Michael Towne, an engineering and AP physics teacher at Orange Vista High School in Perris (Riverside County).

The 2014 PAEMST mathematics winner is Andrew Kotko, a teacher at Mather Heights Elementary School in Mather (Sacramento County). The 2014 PAEMST science winner is Erica Rood, a teacher at CHIME Charter School in Woodland Hills (Los Angeles County).

“These teachers represent the best of their profession in math and science and are extraordinary role models for their students,” said Torlakson, a former high school science teacher. “Their dedication and expertise prepare our students for successful careers in a technologically advanced world and a global economy.”

The PAEMST award is the highest recognition given to mathematics and science teachers in the nation from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process at the state level.

Each year, the award alternates between teachers in the kindergarten through sixth grade level and those teaching seventh through twelfth grade.

The California Department of Education (CDE) partnered with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program. Torlakson recently announced the 2016 nominees.

Winners of this presidential honor receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation. They are also invited to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony, educational events, and visits with members of the Obama Administration.

2014 Mathematics Awardee (Grades K–6 Cohort)
Andrew (Andy) Kotko has been an educator for 14 years and has taught first grade at Mather Heights Elementary School for the past five years. He is a founding teacher of the Folsom Cordova Academy for Advanced Learning, a public magnet school focused on inquiry and project-based learning. By affirming exploration and risk-taking, Kotko instills a foundation of critical thinking and problem-solving in his students.

A National Board Certified Teacher, he earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from California State University, Sacramento. He is certified as an elementary teacher and to teach mathematics and physics through twelfth grade.

2014 Science Awardee (Grades K–6 Cohort)
Erica Rood has spent the last eight years teaching third grade at CHIME Charter School. As an innovator in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, she has created curriculum for both National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Edwards Air Force Base’s Junior Test Pilot School to inspire elementary students toward STEM disciplines.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in musical theater and her master's of curriculum and instruction, with distinction, from California State University, Northridge. Erica is an Elementary Education faculty member at California State University.

2015 Mathematics Awardee (Grades 7–12 Cohort)
Maria McClain has been teaching mathematics for 28 years. The last 20 years have been at Deer Valley High School, where she teaches Mastering Algebra I, pre-calculus, AP calculus, and AP statistics. In her role as Mathematics Department Chair, she supports the transition to the Common Core by facilitating professional development and collaboration opportunities for teachers.

McClain earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from California State University, Sacramento. She is certified to teach pre-kindergarten through grade twelve and adult mathematics.

2015 Science Awardee (Grades 7–12 Cohort)
Michael Towne teaches geometry, symbolic logic, and engineering to tenth grade students in the inaugural year of Orange Vista High School. He taught AP Physics and Engineering at Citrus Hill High School for nine years, where his students’ results garnered national attention. His students have won local, regional, and state awards for applied science and engineering projects they designed and built.

Towne received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of California, Riverside, and a Master of Arts in education from the California State University, San Bernardino. He holds multiple- and single-subject credentials with authorizations in mathematics, physics, and earth science.

For more information, visit the national PAEMST Web site at https://www.paemst.org/. For detailed biographies of the awardees, visit the CDE PAEMST Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/pa/.

# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#16-67                                                                                               CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     PHONE: 916-319-0818
September 27, 2016                                                                                 E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
 
Thanks Governor for Signing Student Suicide Prevention Bill
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today thanked Governor Jerry Brown for signing legislation requiring schools that serve students from grades 7 to 12 to adopt suicide prevention policies.

Torlakson supported AB 2246 by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach and Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. The bill, signed on Monday, September 26, requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop and maintain a model suicide prevention policy.

“With this change, we can better identify students in need, get them help, and keep them safe,” Torlakson said. “One of my top priorities is serving the needs of the whole child, including their mental health needs. This bill is a big step forward in our ongoing efforts to help our students.”

“As classroom teacher, I know from experience that educators often serve as the first line of defense when a student is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts,” said Assembly Member O’Donnell. “AB 2246 will provide parents, teachers, and schools with the tools they need to help save the lives of at-risk youth.”

Torlakson is a longtime supporter of expanding mental health services and preventing suicides. When Torlakson served in the California State Senate in 2004, he was state co-chair of the campaign for Proposition 63, a measure that increased income taxes on the wealthy to fund mental health programs.

As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Torlakson convened a Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup. The group of 40 experts has conducted 20 free trainings in suicide prevention across the state for more than 500 teachers.

Earlier this year, CDE released the Healthy Kids Survey, which describes how students feel about school and how they rank their school environment.

The survey showed schools need to focus more attention on better meeting the needs of youth. For example, two indicators of depression risk showed little change since the last survey two years ago.

Nearly one-fourth of seventh graders and around one-third of ninth and eleventh graders reported feelings of chronic sadness or hopelessness. And, almost 20 percent of high school students had seriously contemplated suicide.

Torlakson in 2014 released a letter encouraging school districts to adopt suicide prevention policies. Under the new law, each district will be required to adopt suicide policies beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

In 2014, there were nearly 2,300 suicide attempts by students 15 to 19 years old in California.
 
# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.


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REL#16-66                                                                                               CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     PHONE: 916-319-0819
September 23, 2016                                                                                 E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 

California Department of Education Receives Seal of Biliteracy
 
Honor in Washington, D.C.
 
 
WASHINGTON D.C.—The California Department of Education received an award in Washington, D.C., today recognizing the state as the national leader in the Seal of Biliteracy awarded to high school graduates who demonstrate proficiency in more than one language.
 
U.S. Secretary of Education John King presented the award to CDE officials during a national symposium about multiliteracy and dual-language learning. California representatives also attended a ceremony Thursday evening at the White House. California was the first state to create an official Seal of Biliteracy in 2012.
 
More than 40,000 California students received the Seal of Biliteracy last school year—the most of any state and four times the number of graduates since the program started. Since 2012, more than 20 other states have adopted the seal.
 
The Seal of Biliteracy is a gold seal on the transcript or diploma of a graduating senior and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admissions.
 
"Fluency in more than one language has always been an admirable skill, but it's increasingly becoming one that's highly sought after by employers," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. "In California, we encourage and recognize this accomplishment because it enriches students’ lives, allows them to understand other cultures more deeply, and gives them a tool that helps them succeed in 21st century careers and college."
 
Representing CDE at the Washington, D.C., events were Dr. Tom Adams, Deputy Superintendent of the Instruction and Learning Support Branch, and Dr. Veronica Aguila, Director of the English Learner Support Division.
Details about the Seal of Biliteracy are available at the Department’s Web Site.
 

# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#16-64                                                                                               CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    PHONE: 916-319-0819
September 16, 2016                                                                                 E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 


Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson Honors
 
Latino Heritage Month
 
 
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today honored Latino Heritage Month with a celebration at the California Department of Education (CDE) headquarters building.
 
Torlakson recognized the many contributions of Latinos to California's economy, society, government, entertainment, business, culture, and public education system and stated he is “Latino de Corazon”—Latino at heart. California has nearly 15 million Latinos in the state population.
 
Of the more than 6.2 million students in California public schools, 53 percent are Latinos and 1.4 million are English Learners.
 
“This is a terrific day to recognize the outstanding accomplishments that Latinos have achieved, and continue to achieve, throughout every part of California life. Latinos have added so much to the rich cultural diversity that makes California such a great and dynamic place to live,” Torlakson said.
 
According to the 2014 U.S. Census, there are 55.3 million Latinos in the United States. More than 65 percent of the foreign born are of Mexican descent. Today marks Independence Day for Mexico.
 
In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the “National Hispanic Heritage Week,” beginning September 15, to coincide with the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
 
U.S. Rep. Esteban Torres of California submitted a bill in 1987 to expand the celebration to a full month. For more information, visit National Hispanic Heritage Month.
 
The California Department of Education encourages students to learn about the world around them and to learn other languages. It recognizes high school graduates who have demonstrated proficiency in another language by giving them a Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas.
 
California was the first state in the nation to give out this award and will be honored on September 23 by the U.S. Department of Education for this groundbreaking program.
            
# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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REL#16-63                                                                                               CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    PHONE: 916-319-0819
September 16, 2016                                                                                 E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 

California Department of Education Releases New Information
 
to Help Students in Foster Care
 
 
SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Education (CDE) today released new information about the nearly 70,000 foster youth in the state’s public schools as part of a coordinated effort to assist these vulnerable and academically at-risk students.
 
California’s groundbreaking Local Control Funding Formula, passed by the California State Legislature in 2013, significantly increased funding for high-needs students including foster youth, English learners, and economically disadvantaged students. School districts also received greater flexibility to meet student needs.
 
The law requires CDE to collect detailed information about educational results for foster youth annually.
Today’s reports are the first in a series and include the number of students in foster care at the county, district, and school levels. Details of student achievement are based on statewide test results. In the next few months, the CDE will release reports on suspensions and expulsions, graduation rates, and student mobility.
 
“We know that foster youth face unique challenges,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. “The California Department of Education is leading new efforts to help improve outcomes for foster youth, but California can and should do more to help these young people succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.”
 
The Department is helping two counties—Orange and Shasta—develop model teams of educators to expand foster student services, oversee case management, and monitor student progress. And the CDE collaborates with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to share data and let districts know which of their students are foster youth so that they can be better served.
            
School districts are required to identify how they will use state funding to better serve foster youth in their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs), which are key tools for establishing goals to improve student outcomes and to align spending decisions with those goals.
 
Data released today confirm the need to focus attention on these students. For example, foster students scored lower on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress “Smarter Balanced” tests in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. More than three million students took the online tests this year in grades three through eight and grade eleven.    
 
The percentage of foster students achieving at the lower score levels was much higher than the percentage of non-foster students. For English language arts, 3.9 percent of foster students exceeded standards compared to 16.3 percent for non-foster students. For mathematics, 2.5 percent of foster students exceeded standards compared to 14.3 percent for non-foster students.
 
The percentage of foster students achieving at the lower score levels was significantly higher. For English language arts, 56.2 percent of foster students did not meet standards (compared to 30.5 percent for non-foster students) and for mathematics, 64 percent of foster students did not meet standards (compared to 37.3 percent for non-foster students).
 
In 2015, the Legislature renamed an existing program the Foster Youth Services Coordinating (FYSC) program and gave CDE responsibility for contracting with two county offices of education to provide technical assistance, increase collaboration, and improve policies and practices for assisting foster students. County offices of education in Shasta County and Orange County are leading these efforts, which the other 56 counties across the state can follow and use to build up their own programs.  
 
The reports can be viewed on DataQuest (http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/) by selecting “foster” under the Student Demographics heading.
 
# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
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REL#16-62                                                                                              CONTACT:Charlene Cheng
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    PHONE: 916-319-0818
September 14, 2016                                                                                E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 


State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Appoints
 
Donna Wyatt as Director of Career and College Transition Division
 
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today the appointment of Donna Wyatt as the new Career and College Transition Division Director at the California Department of Education (CDE). She began her assignment September 6.
 
“Donna has devoted her professional career to helping students identify their passions and professional callings and providing those students the skills and direction needed to succeed,” Torlakson said. “She will be a tremendous resource for all of our schools. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her join us in this important role.”
 
A long-time educator, Wyatt has more than 25 years of experience teaching, developing, and administering Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Since July 2011, she has worked as the manager of Curriculum and Instruction Career Technical Education (CTE) for the Oakland Unified School District’s Linked Learning office, working with teachers to create CTE curriculum and build out career pathway courses that help connect students with internships and mentorships in a wide variety of fields such as engineering, manufacturing, and media arts.

In her role at Oakland Unified, Wyatt developed an externship program to connect pathway teachers with industry partners. After being placed with a variety of local industry hosts, including the FBI San Francisco and Alameda County Public Health, teachers build curriculum based on their externship experiences, effectively integrating core classes and CTE.

Wyatt has also taught at UC Berkeley Extension as an adjunct professor in the CTE Teacher Preparation and Credential program. 

Wyatt began her career as a nurse. After taking time off for the birth of her son, she shifted her professional focus to education, joining the Colton Redlands Yucaipa Regional Occupation Program as a health science teacher. In 2000, she co-founded the HEART Academy at Redlands High School, which connects health occupation students with community internships.

A native of Long Beach, Wyatt holds a bachelor’s degree in vocational education from California State University, San Bernardino, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from California State University, East Bay.

In her new role, Wyatt will oversee efforts to support local educational agencies to improve performance in secondary education, adult education, CTE, workforce development, and distance learning programs. She replaces former Career and College Transition Division Director Russell Weikle, who retired in May.

CTE has undergone a renaissance in California with record investments in hands-on learning, internships, and classes to prepare students for 21st century careers. Currently, more than 776,000 students in the state participate in CTE courses. California’s Career Technical Education Incentive Grant program is the largest of its kind in the nation. Established in the 2015-16 state budget, the program will provide $900 million over the next three years to support and develop 21st century career and college readiness programs throughout the state.        

For additional information, visit CDE's Career and College Transition Division Web page.

# # # # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
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REL#16-61                                                                                              CONTACT: Dina Fong
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    PHONE: 916-319-0818
September 13, 2016                                                                                E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2016 Finalists for

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and
 
Science Teaching
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated nine outstanding elementary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2016 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
 
 “I congratulate these remarkable teachers whose dedication and innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college,” said Torlakson. “These teachers are among the best of the best in their field and an inspiration to their students and colleagues.”
 
The California Department of Education (CDE) partnered with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher.
 
Each applicant must demonstrate a mastery of math or science, appropriate use of instructional methods and strategies, lifelong learning, and leadership in education outside the classroom. State finalists were selected by a panel of their peers who reviewed each candidate's content knowledge, teaching effectiveness, achievement results, and professional involvement.

Mathematics Finalists

Anamarie (Mia) Buljan
is a second grade teacher at Glassbrook Elementary School in the Hayward Unified School District. She has been teaching for 18 years. She has been a district math coach as well as the Coordinator of Professional Development and the Director of Primary Education for the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative. Buljan has written the yearly Tool Kits for teachers for the second grade Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS) assessments. Her teaching has been featured on the insidemathematics.org Web site.

Gabriela Cardenas is a first/second/multiage dual language demonstration teacher at the UCLA Lab School in Los Angeles and has been teaching for 11 years. At UCLA, she has presented on Cognitively Guided Instruction (an inquiry-based approach to teaching mathematics) in a Spanish dual language immersion classroom and has presented at the 2016 Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) meeting in Los Angeles. She has also mentored UCLA students interested in teaching.  

Rebecca Jones is a fifth grade teacher at Ocean Air School in the Del Mar Union School District in San Diego and has been teaching for 15 years. She has been a Cognitive Guided Instruction math lead teacher and has led staff development throughout the district, county, and state. Jones served on the district’s math committee, and her school was selected as one of the National Blue Ribbon Schools.  

Nancy Villalta is a fourth grade teacher at Moffett Elementary School in the Lennox School District in Los Angeles County. She is a member of the Instructional Leadership Corps, which is an initiative by Stanford University and the California Teachers Association to provide teachers professional development on implementing Common Core Standards. Villalta has been a Math Resource teacher and coach for the district and has been a master teacher for student teachers. She has also presented professional development for her own schools and at Santa Monica City College.

Science Finalists


Dr. Susan Barkdoll is a third grade teacher at North Verdemont Elementary School in the San Bernardino City Unified School District and has been teaching 29 years. At her school site, Dr. Barkdoll raised funds for technology, science, and professional training in science education. She incorporates science education through literature, art, social studies, and mathematics. She also engages with the Engineering Department at California Polytechnic University as a liaison with graduate students completing senior projects in aquaponics.

Saroda Chattopadhyay teaches grades one through six at Grimmer Elementary School in the Fremont Unified School District. She has been teaching for 10 years. Her students utilize Google Apps for Education and various other software to increase their technology skills through collaborative projects. Chattopadhyay holds a master’s of science in electronics and a master’s in telecommunication systems.

Scott MacMillan teaches grades kindergarten through sixth at Heron School in the Natomas Unified School District and has been teaching for 18 years. He plans, develops, and teaches science and engineering labs to students. This includes students with special needs, English language learners, and those in the Gifted and Talented Education program. MacMillan has been a workshop leader at various conferences. He was an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Coordinator.

Julie McGough is a first/second grade combination teacher at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Clovis Unified School District. She has been teaching for 18 years. McGough is a Master Teacher for California State University, Fresno and Fresno Pacific University. She presented at the National Science Teachers Association Conference in 2016 and has multiple publications. McGough has written regarding the power of questioning and will have publications regarding the power of investigating and the power of assessing. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in philosophy in science education.

Nancy Wright teaches grades three through six at Lorin Eden Elementary School in the Hayward Unified School District and has been teaching for six years. She leads the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards for her district by founding and facilitating the district Science Advisory Panel. Wright creates coherence in science instruction district-wide by planning and delivering all science professional development for kindergarten through grade 12 science teachers.

The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. PAEMST was enacted by Congress in 1983 and authorizes the President each year to bestow up to 108 awards. PAEMST awards primary and secondary teachers in alternate years. Awards are given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Department of Defense Schools, and the U.S. territories.
For more information, visit the CDE’s Presidential Awards for Math and Science Teaching CDE Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/pa/, or the PAEMST Web site at https://www.paemst.org/.
# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
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REL#16-58                                                                                            CONTACT: Cynthia Butler
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   PHONE: 916-319-0818
August 29, 2016                                                                                     E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 

State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Congratulates
 
Winner of Special Education Learning Award
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy on winning the 2016 Grazer Outstanding Achievement in Learning (GOAL) award, which recognizes outstanding programs in special education.  
 
Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, located in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park neighborhood, created an innovative education model, called Dynamic Blended Inclusion, that puts special education and general education students in the same classroom. Prior to 2011, the school’s special education program followed a traditional model with a portion of its students being enrolled in self-contained classes while others were pulled from their general education classrooms for special academic services. Through observation and analysis of student data and surveys from teachers and parents, the school came to the conclusion that full integration in the classroom would be mutually beneficial for special education and general education students.
 
In this program, students from both populations are in a classroom, taught by special education and general education teacher teams with additional support provided by school paraprofessionals. The teams collaborate on weekly lesson plans, classroom structure and special needs students’ individual education plans (IEP). At the end of the first year of implementing this model in 2011–12, students with disabilities realized a 50 point increase on the Academic Performance Index (API), which is no longer in use.  
 
“What Camino Nuevo Charter Academy has been able to accomplish is a testament to the powerful impact creative and dedicated educators can have on the lives of all students,” Torlakson said. “I hope this education model can be a shining example for other schools to follow.”  
 
Camino Nuevo Charter serves nearly 1,000 students in kindergarten through grade eight. Twelve percent of its students qualify for special education services. Most of the students that attend the academy come from historically underserved areas with annual family household incomes among the lowest in the city.
 
Representatives from the California Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) presented the prestigious $5,000 GOAL award to Camino Nuevo Charter Academy during the August 11 advisory commission meeting in Sacramento.  
 
The Goal Award was established in the 2005–6 school year and was funded by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer’s family to recognize exemplary practices in special education and to celebrate programs that serve California youth with disabilities along with the professionals who provide them. 
 
For more information about the GOAL award, visit the Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) on the CDE Web Site.
 
For more information about Camino Nuevo Charter Academy visit http://www.caminonuevo.org/.
 

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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
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REL#16-56                                                                                            CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   PHONE: 916-319-0819
August 22, 2016                                                                                     E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 


State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Announces Help
 
is Available for Schools Damaged by Wildfires
 
SACRAMENTO – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education will continue to receive state funding despite a possible loss of student attendance revenues because of wildfires.
 
"First let me share my deepest sympathies for the families, firefighters, first responders, communities, students, and school districts that have been affected by the wildfires," said Torlakson.
 
"California’s schools provide a great education, and many students also rely on their school for breakfast, lunch, and before and after school programs. The California Department of Education is available to help districts continue to receive funding for all of these crucial programs.”
 
School districts are funded based on the average number of students they serve each day. In an emergency, a district can request a waiver to receive funding for students displaced by fires even if the student temporarily enrolls in another district. Districts should consult the CDE Management Advisory 90-01 Web page.
 
Also, districts with portable classrooms that can be loaned to fire-damaged schools can notify the CDE School Facilities and Transportation Services Division. Division staff can help connect schools with spare portables and school sites that need temporary classrooms.
 
# # # # # #

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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Good News! Rocklin Unified School District Outperforms
 
County Schools, Local School Districts and State Averages!
 
 
This year 6,098 students participated in California’s Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). 71% of RUSD students met/exceeded standards in English Language Arts (ELA)  and 61% met/exceeded standards in math.  RUSD students outperformed county students by 8% points in ELA and by 9% points in math. State averages indicate the District significantly outperformed students across the state in both ELA and math.

This year signifies two years of data for students in grades 4-8, which will allow for the first time, a deeper examination of student growth. Last spring, students in grades three through eight and grade eleven, also participated in the second administration of the Smarter Balanced assessments. The Smarter Balanced assessments are a part of California’s new testing system called the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP).
 
Frequently Asked Questions and Other Resources :
How will the test results be used?
These test results are just one tool teachers and families can use to better understand how well your student is performing in school. The scores are simply one gauge on the dashboard that you and your child’s teacher can use to discuss how far your student has progressed in mastering state standards.  Other school tests, for example, quizzes, reports cards, classroom assignments, and more provide equally important information. The tests are an academic checkup, designed to give teachers the feedback they need to improve instruction and the tools to improve teaching and learning. Because the tests are taken online, information will be available to teachers, schools and school districts on a timely basis so it can be used to help students learn.  Additionally, these results will not be used to determine if a student moves on to the next grade.
 
How do I read my student’s score report?
You’ll now be able to compare this year’s scores with last year’s results. Although you can see growth from year to year, however, scores can’t be directly compared to prior years, which measured different grade standards. Scores between 2,000 and 3,000 represent your child’s overall performance in English language arts and in mathematics. Like progress on a growth chart, the tests, scores and expectations change with your child’s age and grade.  A breakdown of four areas of English language arts, describing your child’s performance on reading, writing, listening and research/inquiry portions of the assessment.  Likewise, a breakdown is provided of the three areas of mathematics, detailing your child’s performance on concepts   and procedures, problem solving/modeling/data analysis, and communicating reasoning.

How can parents and guardians help support learning at home?  Talk to your teacher and school about how you can work together to support your child’s learning.

Here are some tips from the California State PTA:
 
Ask Your Child: What areas do you think you should particularly focus on this year, based on your test results? What do you see as your strengths to build on?
Ask Your Teacher: How will these tests results be used to guide instruction? What can we do at home that will help our child learn and be successful? How are other   
 important subjects assessed?
Ask Your Principal: Are the individual test results being used at the school for placement in classes or any other specific decisions? What did you learn at the school level  
 from the overall results of the assessments?
Ask Your District: Are the district assessment results helping to guide any professional development? What are the next steps the district is taking in continuing the full,  
 successful implementation of the new standards?

Take a practice test!
Visit this website to see what the experience was like for your child to take the assessment.

The California Department of Education has created a comprehensive online resource for families to learn more about state testing, understand score reports, and follow your student’s progress. Check it out here! http://testscoreguide.org/

How will results be used by colleges and universities?

For 11th-grade students, results are used for the Early Assessment Program (EAP), which is used by the California State University (CSU) system and some community colleges to determine whether a student is ready for college-level English and math courses. Student scores are also used to exempt students from some placement tests. More info: https://www.calstate.edu/eap/ or www.cccco.edu/eap . At this time, no public higher education system in California uses the EAP results for admission.
 
How do these assessments tie in with state standards and the state’s school funding formula?
The assessments are part of a larger plan for ensuring high-quality teaching and learning in every school. The plan also includes higher academic standards, more decision-making in the hands of schools and communities, and more resources dedicated to schools and to students with the greatest needs.

____________________________________________
 
 
 
ADV#16-57                                                                                            CONTACT: Peter Tira
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   PHONE: 916-319-0819
August 24, 2016                                                                                     E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
Schools Chief Torlakson Reports Across-the-Board Progress
 
Toward Career and College Readiness in CAASPP Results
 

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that California students made significant progress in the second year of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) online tests, with the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards increasing at every grade and in every student group.
 
Nearly half the students tested met or exceeded standards in English language arts, and nearly four in ten met or exceeded standards in mathematics (see Table 1). These online tests, based on California’s challenging academic standards, ask students to write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, just as they will need to do in college and on the job.
 
“The higher test scores show that the dedication, hard work, and patience of California’s teachers, parents, school employees, and administrators are paying off. Together we are making progress towards upgrading our education system to prepare all students for careers and college in the 21st century,” Torlakson said.
 
“Of course there’s more work to do, but our system has momentum. I am confident that business, political and community leaders will join parents and educators to help continue supporting increased standards and resources for schools.”
 
More than 3.2 million students took part in CAASPP, which includes a number of different assessments. The most widely tested are the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments in mathematics and English language arts/literacy, which are given in grades three through eight and grade 11.
 
Preliminary figures indicate that less than 1 percent of eligible California students did not take part in the assessment due to a parental exemption, a figure far lower than in many other states (see Table 2).
“This low rate of parental exemption indicates that our parents and students see the value of measuring the skills of all students against the same standards the same way, using one common yardstick, and one shared goal: learning,” Torlakson said.
 
In addition, he said, it shows a strong commitment to the state’s comprehensive program of transforming our schools with higher academic standards, more local control over spending, more funding for those with the greatest needs, and a new system of evaluating schools and districts.
 
“These positive results are based on a new college and career readiness assessment that is online, and expects students to demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills unlike the old, multiple choice tests they replace,” said State Board of Education President Mike Kirst.
 
Smarter Balanced tests consist of two parts. First, students take a computer adaptive assessment, which bases follow-up questions on a student’s answers in real time and gives a more accurate picture of a student’s progress than the paper and pencil test.
 
Here’s how it works: If a student answers a question correctly, she gets a more difficult question. If she answers it incorrectly, she gets an easier question.
 
Students also complete a performance task that challenges their ability to apply their knowledge and skills to problems in a real-world setting. The two parts measure depth of understanding, writing, research and problem-solving skills more thoroughly than the multiple-choice, paper-based tests they replaced.
 
Scores on the assessments fall into one of four achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met. The state also computes the average scores of all tested students, called mean scale scores, which reflects the progress of all students rather than only those who changed achievement levels from one year to the next.
 
This year average scale scores rose statewide. Statewide in all tested grades, 49 percent of students met or exceeded the English language arts/literacy standard, an increase of 5 percentage points from last year. In mathematics, 37 percent of students met or exceeded standards, also an increase of 4 percentage points from last year.
 
In English language arts/literacy, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards increased by at least 4 percentage points in all grades except grades eight and eleven, which increased by 3 points (see Table 3).
In mathematics, the largest gains were seen among third-graders, with 46 percent meeting or exceeding standards, an increase of 6 points from last year. Other grades posted gains of 2 or 3 percentage points (see Table 4).
 
California State Universities and many community colleges consider high marks on these tests for 11th-grade students as a reliable sign of readiness for college-level work. This year’s results indicate 59 percent of grade eleven students are ready or conditionally ready for college work in English language arts, with 33 percent ready or conditionally ready for college work in mathematics.
 
Torlakson said a number of factors may have helped scores rise this year, including an extra year of teaching the California state standards in English and math, more familiarity with taking an online test, continued improvements in technology, and the use of interim tests, he said.
 
Torlakson noted that schools are still working to make the transition to new standards and assessments, and said patience and persistence will contribute to the ongoing effort to improve California’s schools.
 
One concern remains with the continuing achievement gap, with significantly lower scores among students from low-income families, English learners and some ethnic groups compared to other students.
 
Statewide scores for all student groups rose in both subjects tested (see Tables 5 and 6). For example, average scores for Latino students in English language arts increased 5 percent, while scores for African Americans and Whites rose 3 percent.
 
But the achievement gap continues with just 37 percent of Latinos and 31 percent of African American students meeting or exceeding standards in English language arts compared with 64 percent of White students.
 
“The achievement gap is pernicious and persistent and we all need to work together to find solutions that help all groups rise, while narrowing the gap,” said Torlakson, who has proposed an office within the California Department of Education devoted to coordinating and promoting efforts to address the achievement gap.
 
Individual student scores are reported to parents by mail. In addition, California provides a dedicated Web site, http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov, where parents and the public can view and compare aggregated results among schools, districts, and counties along with statewide results.
 
The California Department of Education provides a wide range of tools to help parents, teachers and schools understand and use CAASPP results.
 
These resources include http://testscoreguide.org, a new Web site that provides parents with grade-by-grade, subject-by-subject information at all levels of achievement; detailed online guides for parents and teachers to use in analyzing results; and practice tests at every grade level in English.
 
 
# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
 
Table 1:    2014–15 and 2015–16 Smarter Balanced Number and Percentage Point Change of All California Students Who Exceeded or Met Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics1
 
 
1  Results for other achievement levels including 2015 are located on the CDE CAASPP Public Reporting Website at http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov.

2  The number of valid scores includes count of students statewide who were enrolled and responded to enough questions on both the Performance Task and the Computer Adaptive portions of the test to generate a score.

3    Recently arrived English Learners who are in his or her first 12 months of attending a school in the United States are exempted from taking the assessment in English language arts.
 

Table 2:    2015–16 Number and Percentage of Students Receiving Smarter Balanced Assessment Parental Exemption for English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics
 


1  Percent of parental exemptions equals the number of students with exemption divided by the sum of the number of students tested and the number of students with an exemption.
 
 
Table 3:    2015–16 Smarter Balanced for English Language Arts/Literacy Statewide Numbers, Percentage of Students, and Percentage Point Change from 2015 by Grade and Achievement Level1, 2
 
 
1  Additional results including 2015 are located on the CDE CAASPP Public Reporting Web site at http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov.

2  Percent achievement levels by grade may not equal 100 due to rounding.

3  The number of valid scores includes count of students statewide who were enrolled and responded to enough questions on both the Performance Task and the Computer Adaptive portions of the test to generate a score.


Table 4:    2015–16 Smarter Balanced for Mathematics Statewide Numbers and Percentage of Students and Percentage Point Change from 2015 by Grade and Achievement Level1, 2
 

 
1  Additional results including 2015 are located on the CDE CAASPP Public Reporting Web site at http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov.

2  Percent achievement levels by grade may not equal 100 due to rounding.

3  The number of valid scores includes count of students who were enrolled and responded to enough questions on both the Performance Task and the Computer Adaptive portions of the test to generate a score.



Table 5:    2015–16 Smarter Balanced for English Language Arts/Literacy Statewide Numbers, Percentage of Students Achievement Level, and Percentage Point Change from 20151
 


1  Percent achievement levels by student group may not equal 100 due to rounding.

2  Other subgroups including results from 2015 are located on the CAASPP reporting Web site at http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/.

3  The number of valid scores includes count of students who were enrolled and responded to enough questions on both the Performance Task and the Computer Adaptive portions of the test to generate a score.

4    Subgroup of students who were considered English learners at the time of the assessment.


Table 6:    2015–16 Smarter Balanced for Mathematics Statewide Numbers, Percentage of Students Achievement Level, and Percentage Point Change from 20151
 
 
 
1  Percent achievement levels by student group may not equal 100 due to rounding.

2  Other subgroups including results from 2015 are located on the CAASPP reporting Web site at http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/.

3  The number of valid scores includes count of students who were enrolled and responded to enough questions on both the
Performance Task and the Computer Adaptive portions of the test to generate a score.

4    Subgroup of students who were considered English learners at the time of the assessment.

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Back to School Resource
 
California State PTA has a new resource for parents and families - available in six languages!
 
The new 2016 Education Edition of our newsletter, PTA in California, gives parents and families the information and tools help their children succeed throughout the school year:
•    Information on student assessments and scores reports
•    Ways to get engaged in your school community
•    The latest on science and arts education
•    Tips for parents of students with special needs
•    Homework help
•    And much more!

This special edition is available in six languages: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Arabic and Vietnamese.
 
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ADV#16-55                                                                                             CONTACT: Peter Tira
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    PHONE: 916-319-0819
August 2, 2016                                                                                        E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
 
State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Announces
 
Launch of #GoOpen Initiative and Collaboration in
 
Common Professional Learning Community
 

SACRAMENTO—California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the launch of both a new statewide #GoOpen initiative and Collaboration in Common, an online professional learning community and resource exchange platform for all California educators.
 
In joining the #GoOpen initiative, California becomes the sixteenth state recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for its commitment to support school districts and educators transitioning to the use of high-quality, openly licensed educational resources.
 
California was recognized for its commitment to a statewide technology strategy that includes the use of openly licensed resources as a central component, developing and maintaining a statewide repository, and participating in a community of practice with other #GoOpen states and districts to share learning and professional development resources. More information on #GoOpen can be found at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology Web site.
 
Collaboration in Common resulted from a public-private partnership among the California Department of Education (CDE), the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, and the Palo Alto-based technology company Declara. Collaboration in Common runs on Declara’s artificial intelligence engine to combine machine learning and crowd curation to allow teachers to find, consume, share resources, and gain insights from peer educators.
 
Torlakson urged all California teachers to visit collaborationincommon.org and sign up to become early adopters in the digital community. Early adopters will be among the first to gain access to Collaboration in Common’s tools and resources as the Web site is developed.
 
“Collaboration in Common is a great example of how California looks for innovative ways to improve teaching and learning throughout our diverse state,” Torlakson said. “We are leveraging technology and our talented teaching workforce to create a first-of-its-kind professional learning community and resource exchange that will offer professional development and access to new ideas and resources to benefit all of our schools.”
 
Collaboration in Common builds upon the CDE’s participation in the federal #GoOpen campaign, which encourages states and school districts to share educational resources and materials without cost and without violating copyright laws.
 
“We wholeheartedly embrace the #GoOpen spirit and initiative,” Torlakson said. “This is a critical effort to provide schools with high-quality instructional resources and the ability to easily share these resources and ideas with teachers and schools across the state and the country.”
 
Many California school districts have already joined the #GoOpen initiative, including Coachella Valley Unified, Coronado Unified, Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, Grossmont Union High School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District, Madera Unified, Mountain Empire Unified, Panama Buena Vista Unified, Riverside Unified, San Diego Unified, and Vista Unified.
 
“Vista Unified School District values collaboration at every level, and we have found that open educational resources are imperative to accelerate learning as we connect and work with one another across districts and across states,” said Vista Unified Superintendent Devin Vodicka.
 
The Vista Unified School District, which serves northern San Diego County, will host California’s first #GoOpen Regional Summit on October 7. The #GoOpen Regional Summit will provide an opportunity for teachers, librarians, instructional coaches, and district and state leaders to explore opportunities to expand the use of high-quality, openly licensed educational resources in classrooms. More information on the summit is available by contacting Erin English at erinenglish@vistausd.org.
 
# # # #
 
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
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ADV#16-54                                                                                             CONTACT: Peter Tira
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    PHONE: 916-319-0818
August 1, 2016                                                                                        E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
 
State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Appoints Kristin
 
Wright  as Director of Special Education Division
 
 
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that he has appointed Kristin Wright as the new Special Education Division Director at the California Department of Education (CDE). She begins her assignment September 1.
 
Wright has spent more than a decade working in education with a focus on special education. Since December 2014, she has worked for the California State Board of Education as an Education Policy Consultant and liaison between the State Board and the CDE on a variety of subjects, including special education, child nutrition, foster and homeless youth, and computer science.
 
In 2013 and 2014, she worked as an Education Programs Consultant within CDE’s Special Education Division, serving as a liaison to the Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE) and consulting on program and policy matters related to California’s Common Core State Standards and accessibility for students with disabilities. She served as a State Senate appointee to the ACSE from 2006 to 2013 and was chair of the advisory commission from 2009 to 2013.
 
“Kristin brings a wealth of professional and personal experience to this important position as a policy expert, a former special education student teacher, and a mother of a child with disabilities,” Torlakson said. “California’s students with disabilities and their families will find they have an advocate and an ally in Kristin.”
 
Wright’s public service career took a turn with the birth of her middle daughter, Shelby, who has significant intellectual and physical disabilities. Wright, who earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University, Sacramento, returned to the university to earn a special education teaching credential and a master’s degree in special education. She spent the 2008-09 school year as a special education student teacher in the San Juan Unified School District, the Sacramento City Unified School District and the Twin Rivers Unified School District.
 
From 2010 to 2013, she was a contract consultant providing special education research and other support to organizations that included the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her work there included researching special education services provided by U.S. charter schools.
 
Wright replaces former Special Education Division Director Fred Balcom, who retired in December. Since December, the Division Director’s role has been filled on an interim basis by Chris Drouin. California’s public schools served 717,962 special education students ranging in age from newborns to 22 during the 2014-15 school year.
 
A Sacramento native, Wright and her husband, Charles, have three children: Ace, Shelby, and Violet.
                                                                        
# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
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ADV#16-12                                                                                             CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY                                                         PHONE: 916-319-0818
July ##, 2016                                                                                           E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson to Kick Off
 
“Better Together – California Teachers Summit”
 
at Sacramento State University
 
 
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson will give opening remarks Friday (July 29, 2016) at the 2016 “Better Together – California Teachers Summit,” one of nearly 40 simultaneous statewide events to promote excellence in public education.
 
Teachers are gathering to share ideas, join teacher networks, and access the latest resources to implement new California standards for mathematics, English, history, social science, and other subjects.
 
Torlakson, who served as Acting Governor this week while Governor Brown was out of state, proclaimed “Change Lives – Be a Teacher Day” on Tuesday (July 26, 2016) to help address a growing teacher shortage in California.
 
Date:   Friday, July 29, 2016
Time:   9:00 a.m.
Place:  California State University, Sacramento
            Alumni Hall
            6000 J Street
            Sacramento, California 95814

# # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
___________________________________________
 
 
 
 
REL#16-53                                                                                            CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   PHONE: 916-319-0819
July 26, 2016                                                                                          E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson, Serving as Acting
 
Governor, Declares “Change Lives – Be a Teacher Day”
 
in California
 
 
 
SACRAMENTO—As his first official act as Acting Governor, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today issued a proclamation declaring “Change Lives – Be a Teacher Day” in California.
 
Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher and coach, encouraged talented and committed people all over the state to consider pursuing an education career.
 
Governor Brown, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and most other statewide constitutional office holders are at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The State Constitution and the Government Code require that the Superintendent of Public Instruction serve as Acting Governor when those other statewide office holders are absent from California.
 
Torlakson assumed duties as Acting Governor on Monday (July 25, 2016) evening and will serve until Thursday (July 28, 2016) afternoon, when Governor Brown is scheduled to return.
 
On Friday, Torlakson will be the kickoff speaker for a “Better Together: California Teachers Summit” at Sacramento State University, one of nearly 40 simultaneous education events held statewide that day.
 
The proclamation follows:
 
Are you a talented, passionate, dedicated, and high-quality person who wants to make a profound difference in the lives of young people and your community? California needs you.
 
California needs you to consider becoming a teacher.
 
Teachers play a pivotal role in helping young people get excited about learning and reaching success in 21st century careers and college.
 
But California has a teacher shortage. School districts, with an influx of new funding, are looking to lower student-teacher ratios and reinstate classes and programs that were reduced or eliminated during the lean budget years of the Great Recession.
 
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing last year issued 15,000 credentials but projected a need for 7,000 more. In mid-October of 2015, two months after the school year started, the statewide educator job portal EdJoin still listed nearly 4,000 open teaching positions—double the number listed at that time in 2013.
 
Enrollment in California’s teacher preparation programs has declined significantly in the last eight years.
 
Specialized credentials are in high demand. In mathematics and science, the number of preliminary credentials awarded to new, fully-prepared teachers dropped by 32 percent and 14 percent, respectively, over the last four years. In special education, the number of credentials issued dropped by 21 percent.
 
We want students from your communities and from your schools to learn how rewarding it is to be a teacher. Most of those students will return to their communities and serve as role models.
 
Teaching isn’t just a job. It isn’t just a career. It’s a calling. It’s a commitment to your community, your students, and most of all, a commitment to the future.
 
You can learn more about becoming a teacher at www.teachcalifornia.org.
 
Whether you are a student, a para-educator, or a career changer, please consider becoming a teacher. Make the difference of a lifetime.
 
Now Therefore I, Tom Torlakson, Acting Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2016, as “Change Lives - Be a Teacher Day.”
 
 
# # # # # #
 
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
__________________________________________
 
 
 
 
REL#16-52                                                                                             CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    PHONE: 916-319-0819
July 20, 2016                                                                                           E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
 
State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Speaks at Safe
 
Schools Conference
 
SACRAMENTO—California continues to make sure students, teachers and staff will be safe and secure at school, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced at the 7th Annual “Safe Schools Conference” in Garden Grove.
 
Torlakson kicked off the conference, which brings together nearly 900 school administrators, counselors, child welfare and attendance personnel, safe schools coordinators, law enforcement, probation officials, mental health and social workers, and school psychologists.
 
“We need to heal as a nation. We need to come together,” Torlakson said. “Our schools can lead the way. Every day on campuses all across this great state, teachers, law enforcement, student, parents, and community members work together and show how we can build trust and confidence in each other and promote safety.”
 
The conference seeks to address critical safe schools issues such as bullying and cyberbullying, gang prevention and intervention, truancy, dropout prevention, crisis response, alcohol and other drugs, mental health, legal issues, law enforcement, and building a positive school climate.
 
California law requires all schools each year to update a comprehensive School Safety Plan. The California Department of Education (CDE) provides extensive background material, training resources, workshops, and updated school safety information to school districts.
 
Torlakson also created a statewide School and Community Safety Advisory Committee with more than 40 members. The committee meets regularly to promote school safety, showcase best practices, and discuss new developments. Information on school safety and violence prevention is available on the CDE School Safety Resources Web page.
 
 
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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REL#16-51                                                                                          CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 PHONE: 916-319-0819
July 18, 2016                                                                                       E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Praises
 
Appointment of New California Community Colleges Chancellor
 
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today praised the appointment of Eloy Ortiz Oakley as the new Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, the largest public higher education system in the nation.
 
Oakley currently serves as Superintendent-President of the Long Beach Community College District, where he pioneered the nationally recognized “Long Beach College Promise.”
 
High school students who participate in the Promise program are guaranteed a tuition-free year at Long Beach City College and receive preferred admission to California State University, Long Beach, after completing transfer requirements. More than 12,000 students have received the community college scholarships since 2008.
 
“Eloy is a fantastic choice to lead our great network of community colleges,” said Torlakson. “He is a terrific leader and a tremendous proponent of getting high school students excited and energized about pursuing success in college and beyond. I look forward to more great things as he leads the California Community Colleges into the 21st century.”
 
The California Community Colleges Board of Governors announced the appointment today. The California Community College system serves 2.1 million students at 113 campuses statewide.
 
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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REL#16-50                                                                                             CONTACT: Robert Oakes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    PHONE: 916-319-0819
July ##, 2016                                                                                          E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov

 


State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Announces

Healthy Kids Survey for 2014–15 School Year
 
SACRAMENTO—Drug and alcohol use dropped among students and school safety increased, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today, according to the new California Healthy Kids Survey.
 
The survey evaluates how well schools met students’ needs for school safety, drug and alcohol prevention, mental health, and other factors that influence learning.
 
Conducted every two years since 1985, the survey provides insights for educators and health professionals about how to improve services for students.
 
The California Department of Education and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) coordinated the report, which takes a random sample of seventh, ninth, and eleventh graders statewide.
 
“This is the largest statewide survey in the nation and increases our understanding of how students feel about school and how they rank their school environment,” Torlakson said. “The more we can meet the needs of the whole child, including their social and emotional health, the more we can help them succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.”
 
DHCS Director Jennifer Kent added, “The California Healthy Kids Survey helps behavioral health agencies, school-based health programs, and community organizations harness support for youth prevention programs and helps to justify the sustainability of these programs over time by showing real prevention successes to funders and stakeholders.”  
 
The survey data also helps local school districts prepare their Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAPs). The LCAPs are a critical part of California’s new school Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
 
The survey results indicate decreases in alcohol and marijuana use since the previous survey in 2011–13, particularly among eleventh graders. For example, current use of alcohol, binge drinking, and marijuana use among eleventh graders decreased by four points. Lifetime marijuana use dropped by seven points.  
 
The results also show improvements in school safety. Seeing someone carrying a weapon on school property is down in all grades, ranging from four to eight points.
 
Participation in a physical fight decreased in all grades by four to five points, and indicators of physical victimization generally decreased by two to six points.
 
Many of the findings underscore the need for educators, prevention specialists, youth service providers, and health agencies to focus more attention on better meeting the needs of youth and helping them thrive.
 
For example, two indicators of depression risk showed little change since the last survey. Feelings of incapacitating, chronic sadness or hopelessness were reported by 26 percent of seventh graders and around one-third of ninth and eleventh graders. Survey results are available at this Web site.
 
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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ADV#16-27                                                                                            CONTACT: Charlene Cheng
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    PHONE: 916-319-0818
April 13, 2016                                                                                         E-MAIL: communications@cde.ca.gov
 
Check it out!  3 RUSD Schools make the list: Sunset Ranch, Twin Oaks and Rocklin
Elementary! Congratulations!

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces

2016 California Gold Ribbon Schools Award


 
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 772 elementary schools are being honored under the Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program.
 
The list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.
 
“These schools shine as bright beacons for others, putting forth an exemplary effort to ensure that every student is ready for 21st century college and careers,” Torlakson said. “California teachers are developing an education model for the nation, training the students of today to be the problem-solvers, inventors, and pioneers of tomorrow.”
 
The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment and accountability systems. Nearly 6,000 elementary schools were eligible to apply this year.
 
Schools applied for the award based on a model program or practice their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The award recognized middle and high schools last year.
 
The Gold Ribbon Awards recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. These include the California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.
 
The 2016 Elementary Gold Ribbon Schools as well as the 2016 Exemplary Program recipients, Title I Academic Achieving Schools, 2016 Green Ribbon Schools, 2016 Civic Learning Award Schools, and the National Blue Ribbon Schools from 2015, will be honored in May/June during regional ceremonies held in Santa Clara, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Visalia, and Sacramento.
 
The Gold Ribbon Schools being recognized for Exemplary Programs in Arts Education and Physical Education and Nutrition, or receiving the Title I Academic Achievement Award, will be announced soon.
 
Please visit the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program on the California Department of Education’s (CDE’s) Web site.
 
The CDE California School Recognition Program is presented by San Mateo-based California Casualty.
 
Click here for the list of recognized schools.
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The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site or by mobile device. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
 
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