Virtual School Meanderings

November 21, 2020

Addressing barriers to teaching and learning in the COVID‑19 context and beyond

Several items in this newsletter that may be of interest to readers.

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November 18, 2020
Featured

COVID-19 and recent social justice protests have highlighted systemic imbalances in the California education system. This policy brief argues that this moment offers an opportunity to address the overlapping learning, behavioral, and emotional problems that hinder effective learning, and offers a blueprint for both state and local involvement to make organized systemic change. As we look ahead to rebuilding systems in the wake of the pandemic, equity of opportunity must be the focus of educators’ efforts. Schools in California should take the current discontinuity in education as a moment to consider transformative policy and structural changes that can overcome barriers to learning.

Students living in multigenerational households comprise a significant population in California. To protect vulnerable family members from COVID-19, these students might not return physically to the classroom even when schools open their doors, potentially affecting their learning. Districts should work to identify these students and offer additional resources to mitigate risks to them and their families. Educators should work to ensure that these students’ learning needs are met by, for instance, providing adequate technology resources and confirming that students learning from home have remote options for one-on-one and small group support.

Collaborative networks that use continuous improvement principles and tools can accelerate and spread learning across sites and contexts. In collaborative networks, members come together to study data, identify effective strategies, and adapt and adopt strategies for their own unique contexts. Collaborative networks can be powerful drivers of system improvement—particularly now, as districts face unprecedented challenges in meeting students’ and families’ needs in the rapidly changing COVID-19 environment. This policy brief lays out three important lessons about how network members can work together:

  1. Participants must understand the benefits of collaboration in order to overcome the “costs” inherent in working together.
  2. Collaboration requires a deliberately nurtured culture of trust and vulnerability.
  3. True collaborative work is different from “show and tell.”

These lessons help network leaders and members advance the quality of their work together to improve outcomes for students.

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PACE Executive Director Heather J. Hough was interviewed by Michael Krasny on KQED’s Forum to discuss the impact of distance learning on student learning and mental health.

Over the past year, dozens of experts have collaborated to design a longitudinal data system for California schools. PACE Executive Director Heather J. Hough urges continued long-term investment in a cradle-to-career data system.

Carrie Hahnel, PACE senior fellow, discusses possible paths towards more school funding in the wake of the failure of Proposition 15.

Despite predictions to the contrary, the Cal State system is seeing record high enrollment amid COVID-19; however, community college enrollment is down about 8%. PACE faculty director Michal Kurlaender discusses the equity implications of these trends.

California is only one of two states that lacks a viable school-level measure of academic growth. This commentary describes the benefits of such a measure over California’s current year-to-year measure, citing the Getting Down to Facts II report by Morgan Polikoff, Shira Korn, and Russell McFall.

Responding to PACE research on the need for increased funding to provide all California students with opportunities to succeed in college and career, this commentary questions whether public schools in California need more resources.

PACE Director of Strategic Partnerships H. Alix Gallagher discusses current challenges facing educators, parents, and students in K–12 schools relying on distance instruction.

PACE Executive Director Heather J. Hough discusses the state of school funding in California and describes research on the need for increased funding for public schools in the state.

Featured Content by Partners
via Center for Poverty and Inequality Research at UC Davis
In this new policy brief from the Center for Poverty and Inequality Research at UC Davis, authors Patti F. Herrera (School Services of California, Inc.) and Heather Rose (UC Davis School of Education) highlight how COVID-19’s $54 billion budget deficit for California has significant implications for K–12 school districts and the potential to harm high-poverty districts more severely. The brief examines the current and future impacts of budget deferrals as well as their disproportionate strain on districts with higher proportions of low-income students or English learners.
via Stanford EdLEADers
The Stanford EdLEADers professional certificate program is now accepting applications for the spring 2021 cohort. This program for school system leaders blends content from the Stanford Graduate Schools of Education and Business, providing educators with immediately applicable curriculum for leading their organizations.
    
Copyright © 2020 Policy Analysis for California Education, All rights reserved.
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September 30, 2020

Securing and protecting education funding in California

A new report from a California-based think tank.

PACE Publications

Securing and Protecting Education Funding in CaliforniaCarrie HahnelHeather J. HoughJason Willis

California’s school districts, already receiving funding insufficient to meet educational goals and address the needs of students, face flat or declining revenues and rapidly growing student academic and social-emotional needs triggered by COVID-19. Securing the funding necessary to address these needs and meet state goals will require an enormous, sustained effort from many stakeholders. This brief and a substantial related report, Securing and Protecting Education Funding in California—which provides context and describes paths forward in the short and long-term examine how California could generate and protect education revenues now and in the future. The research concludes that California’s leaders and education stakeholders should act now to address urgent, short-term fiscal needs while also creating a long-term master funding plan for education. Read the brief, report, and infographic with key recommendations here >>>

PACE in the News

Don’t Cite Pre-Pandemic Screen Time Guidelines for Distance Learning, Pediatricians Say via CapRadio. Insights from H. Alix Gallagher of PACE. Read the full article here; access the associated PACE policy brief and infographic by H. Alix Gallagher and Benjamin W. Cottingham with a related publication set here >>>

PACE Events

Tuesday, September 29, 6:30pm-7:30pm. Prop 15: The Risks & Rewards For Schools & Businesses—A Voter Game Plan. Panelists include Heather J. Hough of PACE, Kirk J. Stark of UCLA Law, David Wagner of KPCC/LAist, and Kyle Stokes of KPCC/LAist. Details and registration for the webinar here >>>
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Policy Analysis for California Education

243 Panama Street
Redwood Hall, Suite G3

Stanford, CA 94305

September 20, 2020

PACE – Fostering Parent Engagement: Removing Barriers to Data Accessibility

This policy brief may be of interest to some readers.

POLICY BRIEF

Fostering Parent Engagement

Removing Barriers to Data Accessibility
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Benjamin W. Cottingham

Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University
PUBLISHED
Summary

Parental engagement has been shown to be a key lever for improving outcomes for all students. It can positively influence grades, test scores, and graduation rates for all students. Increased engagement is also shown to improve the outcomes of underserved student populations, positively impacting low-income, Black, and Latinx students in both primary and secondary settings. Additionally, parental engagement has been found to be a critical support in blended and distance learning environments—a need that has intensified with the shift to distance learning in response to COVID-19. Current state policies and tools for parental engagement fail to provide the necessary scaffolding parents need to support student learning or participate in local education decision-making. Here we outline three key principles and related actions that Local Educational Agencies can take to remove barriers to data access and support parent engagement.

PRINCIPLE ACTIONS
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Make data easily accessible so that parents and other stakeholders can engage with the information-sharing process.
  • Share data so that it is easy to find, manipulate, and understand.
  • Use familiar rating systems for presenting data and share data broadly in a variety of formats.
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Structure data sharing so parents start with a broad view that can then be focused to better understand information relevant to their individual child(ren).
  • Provide parents access to more information.
  • “Progressively disclose” data in chunks of general information with the option to explore specifics.
  • Provide data that is relevant to families and anticipates future needs
Target
Consistently include parents in datasharing conversations to build relational trust, improve data literacy, and utilize parents’ abilities to share and process information with peers.
  • Make space for parents in more data-sharing conversations.
  • Share accurate data regularly with parents to build trust and credibility in the data provided and clearly communicate any procedural changes.
  • Build parents’ capacity to engage with available data to support active participation in local planning efforts.
  • Empower parents to share accurate information with their peers and drive community learning.

A printable version of this material is available as an infographic; the complete study is available in the full policy brief.

September 19, 2020

Engaging Students And Parents During The 2020–21 School Year And Beyond

The first item in this newsletter may also be of interest to some readers.

PACE Commentary

A Tiered Approach to Ensuring Students are Present, Engaged, and Supported in the 2020–21 School Year
Hedy Chang and Cecelia Leong | Attendance Works
As schools begin this fall, educators across California are examining how they can promote students showing up for class, whether instruction is offered at distance or in person. A previous PACE commentary offered recommendations for expanding the metrics used to monitor daily attendance and participation in distance learning. This new commentary makes recommendations for how educators can respond to student attendance data to ensure students get the support they need to be present and engaged in learning. In particular, a tiered system of support should identify the degree of student need and respond in a tailored way to help students consistently attend and engage in classess. Read the full commentary here >>>

PACE Publication

Fostering Parent Engagement: Removing Barriers to Data Accessibility

Benjamin W. Cottingham

In order to realize the state’s vision for local control and support student learning throughout the COVID-19 crisis, both the state and local education agencies (LEAs) must improve data accessibility and build the capacity of parents and community stakeholders to productively engage in data-centered conversations about their schools. A new PACE policy brief identifies three key principles LEAs can take to increase parental engagement through better data-use practices. While California identifies parental engagement as one of 10 priority areas under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and provides access to school data, this does not provide adequate or equitable support for parents in all communities to access, interpret, and engage with data effectively. Leaders, therefore, can and should:

  • Make data easily accessible so that parents and other stakeholders can engage with the information-sharing process.

  • Structure data sharing so parents start with a broad view that can then be focused to better understand information relevant to their child(ren).

  • Include parents in consistent and transparent data-sharing conversations to build relational trust, improve data literacy, and utilize parents’ abilities to share and process information with peers.

Read the full policy brief and access the related infographic here >>>

PACE Events

  • Tuesday, September 29, 6:30pm-7:30pm. Prop 15: The Risks & Rewards For Schools & Businesses—A Voter Game Plan. Panelists include Heather J. Hough of PACE, Kirk J. Stark of UCLA Law, David Wagner of KPCC/LAist, and Kyle Stokes of KPCC/LAist. Details and registration for the webinar here >>>
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Copyright © 2020 Policy Analysis for California Education, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website or at our conferences.Our mailing address is:

Policy Analysis for California Education

243 Panama Street
Redwood Hall, Suite G3

Stanford, CA 94305

August 27, 2020

Navigating The Uncertainty Of Reopening Schools: Keeping Students Safe And Learning

These reports may be of interest to some readers.

PACE Publications

Navigating the Uncertainty of Reopening Schools: A Guide for Parents, Families, and the Public

 Daniel C. HumphreyJames H.HansonJoanna Omi

Over the months ahead, parents, educators, and the public will have to navigate much uncertainty in weighing the costs and benefits of physically opening schools versus supporting learning remotely. A new PACE brief in partnership with the California PTA offers questions that parents, educators, and the public should ask about the education, health, safety, and social-emotional needs of children and adults when considering plans for reopening during the pandemic. What do we know about COVID-19 at this point? How can we optimize physical safety in schools? What can we do within our communities to minimize transmission? How can we ensure learning whether schools are physically open or closed? What can schools do to help meet the social-emotional needs of students? Given the current limits of understanding, this brief addresses these questions by summarizing the current state of knowledge so as to prompt a cooperative effort of all concerned to encourage safe, effective, and equitable teaching and learning in every phase of pandemic schooling. Read the full policy brief and access the related infographic here >>>
Improving the Quality of Distance and Blended Learning

H. Alix GallagherBenjamin Cottingham

With coronavirus infection rates still high in many California counties, the delivery of instruction in the 2020-21 school year will be significantly altered. While distance and blended learning approaches have never been implemented at the scale we will see in this school year, there is a substantial and relevant evidence base that can support high-quality instruction even while traditional modes of schooling are disrupted. This brief and related infographic, created in partnership with EdResearch for Recovery, lays out strategies for how schools can provide high-quality distance and blended learning during the pandemic. Read the full policy brief and access the related infographic here >>>

PACE in the News

Five Key Takeaways for the 2020-21 School Year in California via CalMatters. Insights from Heather J. Hough of PACE, Read the full article here, watch the associated PolicyMatters webinar video here, and access the related policy brief here >>>

Supporting Learning in a COVID-19 Context: Recommendations from PACE via Inside SEL. Insights from Jeannie MyungH. Alix GallagherBenjamin CottinghamAngela GongJoe Witte, and Heather J. Hough of PACE; Kevin Gee of UC Davis and Hayin Kimner, independent research and policy consultant. Read the full article here and access the related report, policy brief, and infographic here >>>

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Copyright © 2020 Policy Analysis for California Education, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website or at our conferences.

Our mailing address is:

Policy Analysis for California Education

243 Panama Street
Redwood Hall, Suite G3

Stanford, CA 94305

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