County Offices of Education Showcase Best Practices in Alternative Education
“Where you start doesn’t have to be where you end,” said Orange County Department of Education’s (OCDE) Danny Carrillo in front of a rapt audience of Juvenile Court, Community, and Alternative Schools (JCCASAC) teachers and administrators. The theme was “Engage, Empower, Transform,” and it resonated throughout the 49th Annual JCCASAC Conference, which saw a record number of attendees. Hailing from all parts of the state, participants networked and learned from one another in sessions led by county offices of education (COE).
Internationally renowned education consultant Katie Novak provided a dynamic opening that linked Universal Design for Learning to engagement with students in county alternative education programs. During the “Empower” keynote, speakers focused their remarks around authenticity. San Diego COE’s Anthony Ceja, lead trainer for Restorative Practices for schools in San Diego County had over 200 of his colleagues nodding in agreement while discussing the need to meet students at their level, connect with them, and help them humanize each other.
In the main hall, teachers on special assignment from OCDE’s ACCESS programled demonstrations of proven, hands-on lessons that pique students’ interest, then get them asking about circuits, nature, art, the environment, and math. CCSESA’s Arts Creativity at the Core modules were also among the many COE resources referenced in the more than 20 breakout sessions. Alameda COE’s Derek Fenner led a session on “Art-Centered Literacy Strategies for Equity” that had participants creating poetry through collaborative couplets; Fenner demonstrated how students in alternative education are especially successful in unpacking complicated texts and uncovering deeper meaning.
Twelve nominees for JCCASAC Teacher of the Year were also honored at the conference, and the winner was Larry Leib from Kern County Superintendent of Schools. All nominees have been highlighted in the annual JCCASAC Journal, a publication devoted to research-based best practices in alternative education. JCCASAC’s 50th Annual Conference will be held in northern California on May 8-10, 2019.
Click here to view photos from the 49th Annual JCCASAC Conference!