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CCEE details key goals, strategies and resources 

California Collaborative for Education Excellence board members met Oct. 4, to review staff-presented organizational goals and further discuss the agency’s role in providing resources to local educational agencies. A key takeaway continually touched on at the meeting is that the CCEE will use each LEA’s Local Control and Accountability Plan as its guiding document when providing assistance.

The CCEE, formed in 2013, is an integral part of the new California Systems of Support that provide support to districts and counties to improve outcomes without being punitive or too interventional.

Educating LEAs about CCEE’s role, resources and strategies continues to be a main talking point, said Executive Director Tom Armelino. Appointed to the position this summer, Armelino started the meeting by highlighting recent staff meetings with several LEAs across the state, including the Contra Costa and Santa Barbara county offices of education. Armelino also recently made a presentation at the fall California City Superintendents meeting titled “What the CCEE can do for School Districts.”

When looking at assisting districts in “fiscal distress,” board members discussed researching past examples when LEAs have been restored to solvency to gauge a possible timeline and present a framework. Board Chair Sue Burr said sometimes school and district leaders have an unreasonable expectation for results. There can be an attitude of “’Let’s make it happen in a year or two,’ and believe me, it’s a lot longer than that,” she said of the process.

Highlighting organizational goals and strategies

To support that process, CCEE staff presented a number of detailed strategies and organizational goals that the agency can implement. A key goal is to identify “signature practices” that work at helping turning schools around and then implementing some of the lessons learned moving forward. However, the CCEE, will still use the LEA’s LCAP as its guiding document, as what works to help a district in Capitola, Santa Cruz County, might not work in Siskiyou County, for example.

Staff also discussed technical assistance strategies such as delivering an initial assessment and following up with mid- and end-of-year metrics. The data in looking at targeted districts could be gathered from existing California Department of Education statistics, or through student interviews and focus groups to learn about instructional needs.

Research and evaluation factors will also be important for the CCEE, as staff can document and evaluate their work and share lessons from LEAs that are “beating the odds.” The agency can help celebrate a school or district that has done well once it identifies useful and accurate evaluations of its work. But the CCEE mission, board members said, is not about rescuing those in need but implementing practices that help show LEAs how to succeed a marked departure from past state programs that focused on interventional techniques and punitive actions.

Focus on helpful toolkit resources

CCEE staff and board members want to prioritize high-quality resources that LEAs can use to best fit their local needs. The content will likely be housed in a “resource collection” on the CCEE webpage with no access restrictions. “It might be great work, but if no one uses it, it’s useless,” Armelino said of the importance of translating efforts into helpful tools. He said all of CCEE’s work will pay off if people access resources and put them into practice.

Because each LEA is unique, board members advised staff to consider offering editable content in the toolkit; a district or board may want to trim a PowerPoint presentation to fit its schedule, for example. Members said another helpful tool could be hosting an exchange space, where a district could modify a resource, use it and then upload the new version back onto the toolkit for other LEAs to use.

In other CCEE developments:

The agency is working with the CDE on the application and selection process for county geographic, community engagement and Special Education Local Plan Area leads. The leads will be key resources interacting with constituents and stakeholders on the ground. More information on the positions is expected in the coming months.