Play-based Learning is Essential
As a kindergarten teacher prior to California's mid-90's "standards" implementation, which essentially made allocating time for play in kindergarten much more challenging, I know first-hand that this study is "spot on" in its findings. Play is essential for growing brains and development of social interaction skills. And for those that do not know, I was essentially teaching Pre-K/TK, whatever you want to call it in today's terms, in circa 1994. And now we realize that ratcheting up academics in Kindergarten caused parents to enroll kids a year later (turning 6, rather than turning 5)... and many of our youngest learners lost out on this essential year of early learning. We're trying to course correct now, which I am thankful for, but we should really make better decisions going forward.💜 #ForKids #ForFamilies #ForEquity #Opportunity #Inclusion #Accountability https://hechingerreport.org/kids-can-learn-more-from-guided-play-than-from-direct-instruction-report-finds/?_cldee=Y2JvbmluaUBzbWNvZS5vcmc%3d&recipientid=contact-7734becfe9e4e41180e2005056b02a09-44081c6b1eda4bcaba2e4e8184d9e2f4&esid=393f64d2-51ac-ec11-814e-005056b02a09
Budgets are Statements of Values
On Friday, March 18, 2022, our San Mateo County Board of Education had a Budget Study Session to hear how the County Office of Education is developing and managing the budget. I learned more about how our Board has historically been very diligent in reviewing and approving the SMCOE budget. We had a great conversation about our continuing need to advocate for increased and fair funding for education, especially in regard to retaining the $28M that the State currently sweeps from our SMCOE "excess property taxes"... if you're interested in knowing more about that, let me know! #Advocating #ForKids #ForSanMateoCounty
As a parent in the San-Mateo Foster City School District since 2009, as a former Board Trustee for our District (2013-2017), and in my current role on the San Mateo County Board of Education, I have had frequent conversations with stakeholders about how we might better serve kids who are diagnosed (or may need to be diagnosed) with dyslexia in our public schools.
There is no lack of research around how to serve students with dyslexia, and indeed, the State of California developed Guidelines for serving students with dyslexia back in 2017, with the stated purpose of "assist[ing] regular education teachers, special education teachers, and parents in identifying, assessing, and supporting students with dyslexia." The Guidelines drew upon "both current research and the collective professional wisdom and experience of the members of the Dyslexia Guidelines Work Group."
The San Mateo County SELPA Director shared the State Guidelines and recommended practices with our County's school districts following their release, as she was a participant in the Dyslexia Guidelines Work Group and understood the impact of their application.
We know that early dyslexia identification and implementation of teaching strategies for intervention are very important and require a "concerted and relentless effort" to implement.
If your District is leading in this effort, I'd love to know more about it, as well as if you'd like more information on this issue, please feel free to contact me.
Widespread implementation of best practices for early dyslexia identification and implementation of teaching strategies will help us reach our shared goal of ensuring that all kids in San Mateo County have a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
San Mateo County Board of Education, Trustee
*All references herein are to the California Dyslexia Guidelines
As local entities engage in the process of redistricting their area boundaries following the 2020 Census, the San Mateo County Board of Education's new area lines will be decided upon by the County Committee on School District Organization (the CCSDO), with the Board of Education having only an ability to offer public comment and submit recommendations as members of the public.
The suggested new map brought forth by the CCSDO is most impactful in altering my Area 4, as it is currently aligned with the boundaries of the San Mateo-Foster City School District, which is the most populous school district in the County. Area 4 will have to be divided, but the question is how should we address this.
The decision on the new County Board of Education Trustee Area boundaries will be made in March 2022.
See: CCSDO Presentation to the San Mateo County Board of Education - January 19, 2022
Your opportunity to provide input has come!
Subject: Input Request
California Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Community Advisory Committee Guide, 5th Ed. (2021)
Dear CAC Members, SELPA, CDE, Parent Centers, and related partners,
Please respond to the enclosed survey which is a request for feedback and input related to updating a California Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Community Advisory Committees (CACs) resource.
A review and revision committee has updated the original sections of the “CAC Community Advisory Committee Guidelines” Fourth Edition 2011 and are now seeking additional input and feedback from CAC members, SELPA, CDE, Parent Centers, and related partners. Information you share is important and will enhance the collaborative effort of creating the California Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Community Advisory Committee Guide, 5th Ed. (2021).
This resource is currently separated into eight sections:
Section 1: Legislative Mandate for CACs
Section 2: CAC Responsibilities and Activities
Section 3: Effective CACs
Section 4: Components of Successful CACs
Section 5 Implementing Best Practices
Section 6: Action Plans
Section 7: Local Plan
Section 8 General Related Agencies and Resources
Please provide any feedback and input at the bottom of each survey section, there is also a general comments space toward the end of the survey. In an effort to acknowledge suggestions received as well as have a way to contact you should clarification on your input be needed; the opening survey page asks a few questions about individuals providing input.
You must click “submit” at the end of the survey for your feedback to be recorded.
Please note, section content is draft and not meant for further distribution beyond this survey purpose at this time.
Thank you for taking the time to contribute your feedback and input as part of updating this resource. The survey link will be open until 1/31//2022.
English Survey Link: https://forms.gle/V5RF7cDBPRYSLkon8
Spanish Survey Link: https://forms.gle/GXTsQgfa4G9uMxUE8
California SELPA CAC Guide, 5th Ed.
Review and Revision Committee
*This email and opportunity to provide feedback and input was sent to contacts within the various groups mentioned above, please share with related colleagues you feel may not have received it directly, their input is equally valued.
Para leer este correo electrónico en español, vea a continuación.
Solicitud de opinión: Guía para el Comité Asesor de la Comunidad del Área de plan local de educación especial (SELPA) de California, 5ª ed. (2021)
Les pedimos que respondan a la encuesta adjunta, que solicita su opinión y comentarios sobre la actualización de un recurso para los Comités Asesores Comunitarios (CAC) del Área local de planificación para la educación especial (SELPA) en California.
Un comité de repaso y revisión ha actualizado las secciones originales de las “Pautas para el Comité Asesor de la Comunidad (CAC)”, cuarta edición, 2011, y ahora está solicitando opiniones y comentarios adicionales de los miembros del CAC, SELPA, CDE, Centros de Padres y otros socios. La información que comparta con nosotros es importante y realzará el esfuerzo colaborativo para crear la Guía para el Comité Asesor de la Comunidad del Área de plan local de educación especial (SELPA) de California, 5ª edición (2021).
Este recurso está dividido actualmente en ocho secciones:
Sección 1: Mandato legislativo para los CAC
Sección 2: Responsabilidades y actividades del CAC
Sección 3: CACs eficaces
Sección 4: Componentes de CACs exitosos
Sección 5: Cómo implementar las mejores prácticas
Sección 6: Planes de acción
Sección 7: Plan local
Sección 8: Agencias y recursos generales asociados
Por favor ponga su opinión y sus comentarios al pie de cada sección de la encuesta. También hay un espacio para comentarios generales al final de la encuesta. Con el fin de reconocer las sugerencias recibidas y poder ponernos en contacto con usted en caso de que necesitemos aclaraciones sobre sus comentarios; la página inicial de la encuesta contiene algunas preguntas sobre los individuos participantes.
Tiene que hacer clic en “enviar” al final de la encuesta para poder registrar sus comentarios.
Tenga en cuenta que el contenido de cada sección es un borrador y no se debe distribuir para ningún otro fin que no sea contestar la encuesta.
Gracias por tomarse el tiempo para contribuir su opinión y sus comentarios como parte de la actualización de este recurso. El enlace con la encuesta permanecerá activo hasta el 31/01/2022.
California SELPA CAC Guide, 5th Ed.
Review and Revision Committee
Shared from the California Collaborative on Educational Excellence's Newsletter "THE CCEE CONNECTION"
By Sasha Horwitz, Governmental Relations and Public Affairs
Local Commentary: Our San Mateo County School Districts, as well as the County Office of Education, are working hard to ensure that classrooms are staffed and that special education supports (such as 1:1 Aides are in place), but this is a continuing struggle, so as we come together to solve this issue, this article is highly relevant. If you're considering spending time in local classrooms, there are a number of options to consider - and I hope that you will.
For years, California schools have contended with a shortage of fully qualified teachers. While local educational agencies (LEAs) are no strangers to meeting staffing challenges, the pandemic has put more strain on an already stretched workforce. While local educational agencies (LEAs) are no strangers to meeting staffing challenges, the pandemic has put more strain on an already stretched workforce. Adding to existing waivers and flexibilities, California has taken extraordinary steps to make it easier to fill substitute vacancies, to create alternatives to high stakes testing that have kept otherwise qualified teachers from completing their credentials, and to provide nearly $1 billion of new investment in the teacher pipeline.
LEAs always have the legal responsibility to staff classrooms with well-prepared, fully credentialed teachers to the full extent possible. As the impacts of the pandemic continue to reverberate through the educator workforce, the following opportunities are available now to help LEAs meet the need for teachers and substitutes.
Full Article HERE.
I am honored to have been selected to join the San Mateo County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission (MHSARC) in October! This County Commission advises the Director of SMC's BHRS, as well as the Board of Supervisors, on issues pertaining to mental health needs in San Mateo County and the allocation of funds under the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). Find more information here!
What is a SELPA?
The Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs) in California serve as a liaison between the Department of Education and the local school districts (or local educational agencies - LEAs).
In 1977, all school districts and county school offices were mandated to form consortiums in geographical regions of sufficient size and scope to provide for all special education service needs of children residing within the region boundaries. There are currently 122 SELPAs in California. Each region, a SELPA, developed a "local plan" describing how it would provide special education services. The governance structure of the SELPA is outlined within the local plan.
SELPAs are dedicated to the belief that all students can learn and that special needs students must be guaranteed equal opportunity to become contributing members of society. SELPAs facilitate high quality educational programs and services for special needs students and training for parents and educators. The SELPA collaborates with county agencies and school districts to develop and maintain healthy and enriching environments in which special needs students and families can live and succeed.
SELPA Administrators are responsible for ensuring: FAPE; LRE; that all regular education resources are considered, and where appropriate, are utilized on a local or regional basis to meet the needs of students with disabilities; that a system exists at the regional level for identification, assessment and placement of students with disabilities; that a viable system for public education is functioning in the community, with broad participation and interaction involving parents and other agencies serving children and young adults; an annual compliance monitoring system is implemented that continued to ensure compliance.
Recently, SELPAs have become eligible to receive Federal Grants to conduct Alternative Dispute Resolution functions to assist parents and LEAs with the IEP process.
What is a CAC?
California Education Code (Part 30, Chapter 2, Article 7, 56190) requires each Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) to establish a Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC). CAC serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of Education and Special Education administration on the implementation of the Local Plan.
The Local Plan is a legal document that describes how the SELPA provides services to students with exceptional needs.
The CAC is the public accountability valve for the SELPAs, which are the liaison between the State and the LEAs.
CAC membership is comprised of parents with students who receive special education services, parents with students in general education, district staff from both special and general education, community agency representatives and any community member who is interested in special education. The member of the CAC are appointed by the LEA's School Board Trustees to serve in this advisory role. CACs typical meet about 10 months per year. Any parent of a student in the district, staff or community member may attend and participate in CAC meetings.
Assembly Bill (AB) 114 changed the process by which students in Special Education receive mental health services. Previously, under AB 3632, county mental health departments provided services. However, realignment under AB 114 requires all California school districts to be solely responsible for ensuring that students with disabilities, as designated by their Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), receive the mental health services necessary to benefit from a special education program.
Students with IEPs who demonstrate behavioral health issues that impact their ability to learn and access the school curriculum are eligible for AB 114. ERMHS funds are not restricted to students who have “emotional disturbance” as their identified disability.
Services must be included in the IEP and can include: individual counseling, parent counseling, social work services, psychological services, and residential treatment. Any service agreed upon by the student’s IEP team as necessary for the student to receive a free and appropriate public education may be considered a related service and covered by AB 114 funds.
There are three primary ways districts are meeting the AB 114 requirement:
Funding is distributed from the California Department of Education directly to Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs) based on the average daily attendance of all pupils in the SELPA (regardless of how many pupils have an IEP or disability). SELPAs then determine how to allocate dollars to the individual districts and schools.
Assembly Bill 114 Special Education Transition: Click to learn more.
SMCOE ERMHS Guidelines