Our most recent seminars have been recorded and are available for streaming or download. Older seminars are also listed, although audio is not available prior to November 2008. Upcoming seminars can be found on the Seminars page.

Since the settlement of the Williams v. California case California schools have been required to provide annual reports on the adequacy of their instructional materials in their School Accountability Report Cards (SARCs), in order to ensure that all students have a minimum level of access. A decade later, what do we know about the curriculum materials used in California’s schools as the state transitions to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards?

Nearly every county and legislative district in California has a rural and/or small school district. All school districts face challenges in their efforts to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), but these issues may be exacerbated among school districts located in under-resourced, isolated regions of the state. Do rural and/or small districts in California face unique challenges to CCSS implementation due to their size and location?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) makes sweeping changes to the way school performance is measured, and shifts decisions about how to define school quality and how to support struggling schools back to states and districts. The CORE Districts’ innovative accountability system is aligned with both LCFF and ESSA requirements, and already includes many measures that the State Board of Education is considering for inclusion in California’s emerging accountability system.

During the Great Recession California school districts laid off unprecedented numbers of teachers. In this seminar, Katharine Strunk will present findings that assess the effects of receiving a layoff notice on teacher mobility and teacher effectiveness. Her analyses are based on six years of detailed panel data, including four years of teacher layoffs, from the Los Angeles Unified School District. She finds strong evidence that the receipt of a Reduction in Force (RIF) notice increases the likelihood that teachers will leave their schools, even if the teacher is not ultimately laid off.

The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd is conducting research on the experiences of California teachers as they implement the new California Standards. As a part of this work, the Center is conducting a series of focus groups to give voice to teachers early in the process of implementation. These focus groups address teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about school leadership, their selection of instructional materials, and quality of their professional learning experiences.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

David Plank, Executive Director of PACE
Deborah Kong, President of Early Edge California
Meera Mani, Director of Children, Families and Communities Program of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Essential Quality Elements – Recent Research Publications

Most of the students who set out to earn degrees in California Community Colleges never do. The reasons behind these low rates of persistence and completion have long been a focus of policy and popular concern, and a variety of strategies have been adopted to tackle the problem. Many of these focus on structural impediments to student success that are present in community colleges, including the profusion and complexity of curricular pathways, the lack of coordination between segments, and insufficient information and support for students.

Truancy and chronic absenteeism are serious problems in California schools. Nearly 30 percent of elementary school students in California were truant in 2012-2013; 90 percent of these students were from low-income families. Elementary school absenteeism has severe negative effects on students, their families, and communities. It also imposes large costs on the state’s legal, justice, and social service systems. In California over the past three years these costs exceeded $3.5 billion.

Opening Remarks: Senator Carol Liu, District 25

Panel: California’s Emerging Teacher Shortage in Perspective

Louis Freedberg, EdSource (moderator); Dave Gordon, Sacramento County Office of Education; Jesse Levin, AIR; Kimberly Rodriguez, Office of Senate President pro Tempore; Patrick Shields, LPI; Leib Sutcher, LPI

Under a waiver granted by the federal government, the six CORE Districts (Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Ana) have developed the School Quality Improvement System (SQIS), an innovative accountability system that aims to support continuous improvement in the performance of all schools and all students on a broad range of measures including but not limited to student performance on standardized tests.


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