California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE)
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CA School Field Trip: A Podcast

Join us every month as the CCEE takes you on an “audio field trip” to hear how school communities in California are embracing local control and moving forward with school improvement strategies. We also provide updates on the latest education policy matters as it relates to the state’s new school accountability system. Tune in and subscribe!

In Episode 12, the topic is Differentiated Assistance (DA) -- a technical term that describes what happens when a district in California is identified for needing extra support under the state's new approach to school improvement.

We hear from education leaders in the Mother Lode Union School District and the El Dorado County Office of Education as they reflect on their two-year experience, share progress made, lessons learned, adaptions in strategies, and the work ahead.

Episode 11 is the first installment of CCEE's special podcast series on public school districts in California that are now considered "Models of Continuous Improvement" under the state's new approach to education. In Part I, we head to the Chula Vista Elementary School District located less than seven miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. This district is recognized as a "model" because of its pioneering practices and commitment to sustained improvement for all students. Find out how CVESD is beating the odds and what educators could learn from this school community.

In Episode 10, we learn how CCEE-supported Professional Learning Networks (PLNs)are bringing educators together so they can collaborate and develop a unified approach to dealing with instructional challenges in their own backyard.

We also introduce a new occasional segment called "Coaches Who Inspire," quick takeaways from California educators about the school leaders who inspire them in the field. This month we feature Freedom Writers Foundation's Erin Gruwell.

We travel to the Beaumont Unified School District in west Riverside County to learn about a special instructional tool that's helping district officials and principals examine CA School Dashboard results and other sources of data to strengthen supports for the district's neediest students.

Then, we speak with CA Collaborative for Educational Excellence's Executive Director Tom Armelino about the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, how it fits into CA's school accountability system, and whether CCEE has a role under ESSA.

2019 is shaping up to be a big year in education for the Golden State. In this episode, we delve into how the state's new System of Support will help districts eligible for differentiated assistance. First, we hear from CCEE's Tom Armelino about how the agency is committed to being a trusted partner for county offices of education and the districts they serve. Then, we hear from two county superintendents about the role of Geo Lead Agencies within the state's new accountability system, We wrap up by getting a preview of CCEE's professional learning opportunities in 2019!

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, the theme of this episode is "togetherness and unity." First, we hear from middle school students in the Folsom Cordova Unified School District about what they're thankful for at their campus. Then, we highlight the statewide Community Engagement Initiative and how it fits into the CA System of Support. Next, we spotlight SELPA Leads, another resource and support within the System of Support designed to help districts better meet the needs of their students with disabilities

We venture into Kern County to find out why the county's Superintendent of Schools is putting its alternative education programs under the microscope. We also hear from Jenny Singh, the accountability administrator at the CA Department of Education, about the state’s new way of measuring alternative school performance.

Then, we spend some time with Tom Armelino, the new executive director of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. He talks about growing up in poverty, his lessons learned as a school leader, and the CCEE's role in the System of Support.

For September, we bring you a special Back-to-School episode that taps in to the spirit of growth and change at this time of the year. First, we hear from youngsters at a Sacramento public school about why they love going back to class. Then, we bring you an exclusive interview with Carl Cohn, the former executive director of California Collaborative for Educational Excellence who retired in August. We wrap up Episode 5 by diving into the new and improved CA School Dashboard.

This episode is takes you to the small desert community of Blythe, CA where the California border meets Arizona, your last stop before Phoenix. There’s been an awakening of sorts in this community. The Palo Verde Unified School District – the only school district in Blythe – has been one of the lowest performing districts in the state for nearly two decades. But now, there are signs of hope. Join the CCEE's CA School Field Trip to find out what happens when educators come together and see data in a whole new way.

Sacramento is the epicenter of state politics. It is also the place where three large urban school districts work in tandem to serve kids. One of the districts is San Juan Unified, which has been working to improve the academic performance of its African American students, as well as curb its suspension rate. SJUSD now enters the Differentiated Assistance process with the Sacramento County Office of Education to pinpoint the real factors at play. For both sides, collaboration and transparency is key to the state's new approach of school improvement.

This episode takes you to sunny Anaheim, Ca -- home to Mickey Mouse -- but also home to one of the largest elementary school districts in the state: the Anaheim Elementary School District. AESD and the Orange County Office of Education is now joining forces in the Differentiated Assistance process to better understand and support its foster students who come to school with unique and complex trauma histories.

This episode takes you to the heart of California’s Gold Country to understand how the Differentiated Assistance process works between a small rural district and its county office of education. The Mother Lode Union School District, nestled among historic mining towns in Northern California, has been flagged by the state as needing extra support due to its students with disabilities. Find out how Mother Lode USD and the El Dorado County Office of Education are approaching this new kind of school improvement work with curiosity and humility in order to improve teaching and learning.