FROM THE DESK OF
Peter Birdsall CCSESA Executive Director
There has been significant discussion and time devoted at the state level to building the Statewide System of Support approved and funded in the 2018-19 state budget. At the same time, at the local level, county offices of education are already working with the school districts identified for differentiated assistance.
Connecting those two related, but separate, activities is a key reason CCSESA has established a System of Support Coordinating Committee. To keep the time commitments of county superintendents and county staff manageable, CCSESA has dissolved its LCAP Coordinating Committee. This represents a logical evolution as the focus of county office work expands beyond support for the LCAP process to substantive collaboration with school districts as they seek to address the issues identified by the state Dashboard.
As we strive to provide consistent, high quality support that simultaneously allows local variation to address local needs, there are a number of key issues that require collaboration and agreement across county offices of education. What does the balance of consistent support and local flexibility mean for continuous improvement? What are key principles that should be reflected in the work of all county offices, and what are variations that are appropriate to allow local flexibility?
What is the consistent, quality approach to supporting districts that have been identified due to performance issues with their students with disabilities? How do counties align this work with the support of districts that have schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) under the California’s ESSA State Plan? What are the elements of cost-effective support by county offices for the data management and analysis needs of school districts?
Our experience over the past six years is that these kinds of questions are best addressed when we involve all the county offices and their staff in developing protocols and resources. For example, when CCSESA did the first series of trainings for county offices related to the LCAP and Dashboard, staff from 42 county offices were involved in the development, review and presentation of those materials. This broad-based involvement is an important reason for establishing the Coordinating Committee, so that key county staff are working together across the regions, across the Steering Committees, and across the various state-identified lead agencies.
County offices are now recognized as central to the support and accountability elements of California’s LCFF funding model. The success of county offices in performing this key role depends on county offices continuing to work together, and relies on the expertise of leading staff from county offices across the state to develop and refine the trainings, protocols and resources that support all counties in providing high quality, high impact support for their school districts.