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Board Report for the Month of June 2017 - From Wes Smith, Executive Director

posted Aug 1, 2017, 10:10 PM by ACSA Region 7


Agreement on 2017-18 State Budget Reached by Deadline

Just in time to meet the June 15 constitutional deadline for the Legislature to act on a state spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, leaders of both houses reached a compromise with Gov. Brown.  Overall, the final education spending plan provides modest increases to Proposition 98, for a total of $74.5 billion in 2017-18. The compromise includes $1.362 billion to the LCFF, and one-time discretionary grant funds for a total of $876.6 million (approximately $146 per ADA). While these one-time amounts are lower than the $1 billion proposed by Gov. Brown in the May Revise, the Legislature disagreed with the Department of Finance’s proposed approach of releasing these funds in May 2019, and instead the funding will be apportioned to LEAs in 2017-18.  The Legislature succeeded in obtaining one-time appropriations to fund legislative priorities, including additional funding for teacher-related professional development for a number of specific subject areas, $10 million for supporting refugee students, $25 million to expand the Classified School Employee Credentialing Program to train an additional 1,000 classified school employees, and $50 million to augment the ASES Program.

 As a result of ACSA’s effective budget advocacy, the K-12 Mandate Block Grant will receive an ongoing COLA starting in 2017-18 in an effort to allow LEAs to retain their purchasing power as a result of inflation. We are also pleased to see a second ACSA priority in the final budget compromise that will enable school districts and county offices of education greater access to available State Preschool program slots for low-income three- and four-year-old children. Starting on July 1, 2019, a California State Preschool program operating in a school building will be exempted from the duplicative requirements set forth in the Department of Social Services Title 22 regulations. And in an effort to address concerns with the state’s increased minimum wage, the reimbursement rates will be higher for providers and the income eligibility thresholds for parents to qualify into the program will be revised to reflect the higher state median income.

For additional information on the K-12 education budget visit  If you have any questions, contact Legislative Advocate Martha Alvarez at

Public Comment Sought on Draft ESSA State Plan by June 30

The California Department of Education (CDE) is seeking input from the public, including school administrators, on its draft of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan. CDE’s Public Comment Toolkit Webpage, located at, includes the entire draft of the ESSA State Plan split into sections, videos that summarize each plan section, and a public comment survey to gather feedback on the draft plan. The toolkit also contains a facilitator guide for groups that want to host their own local stakeholder events on the plan.  Comments, questions, recommendations, or other correspondence concerning California’s ESSA State Plan can be submitted to the CDE by email at  The public comment period runs from May 22 to June 30, and all interested members of the public are encouraged to submit input. Several major policy decisions the State Board of Education will need to decide include how to identify the state’s lowest 5% of schools, how to leverage the federal Title II set-aside for supporting principals and school leaders, and how the state will define “ineffective teachers” for purposes of collecting and reporting statewide data on the disproportionate share of students taught by ineffective, out-of-field or inexperienced teachers.  If you wish to join ACSA at the SBE meeting to provide public testimony on July 11, or have input to share with ACSA, please contact Legislative Advocate Martha Alvarez at

Public Employee Orientation

After more than two years of negotiations requiring public employers to provide a new employee orientation with union participation, the governor and labor have reached an agreement.  The language is contained in SB 104 as part of the state budget.  The issue had a renewed energy due to changes with the appointment of a new U.S. Supreme Court Justice and a case similar to Friedrich’s v. CTA is making its way quickly to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The “Friedrich’s” case challenged the requirement that public employees pay mandatory agency fee dues to the union.  The case was heard and appeared to have the vote of a majority of justices to rule against agency fees.  The death of Justice Scalia resulted in a 4-4 vote, resulting in no change to agency fees.  The new justice and new court case led the governor to determine it was time for an orientation bill to be passed and sent to him for his signature.

 ACSA has led the public employer coalition in opposition to two previous versions of this issue.  While we believe no legislation requiring an orientation is necessary, the language in this proposal is less prescriptive and onerous than proposals previously considered.  Due to ACSA member involvement, many of the onerous orientation provisions have been eliminated.  SB 104 requires a new employee orientation to be collectively bargained with the exclusive representative.  All of the prior orientation restrictions regarding time during the work day, at the work site, have been removed.  The bill further requires binding arbitration if an agreement cannot be reached.

 ACSA is formulating a detailed outline of the provisions of SB 104 that will be sent to members shortly.  We have also asked the law firm of Lozano Smith to develop bargaining strategies and solutions for our members. ACSA also issued a joint ACSA/CSBA statement to members of the Legislature outlining our concerns. Please contact Legislative Advocate Laura Preston at should you have any questions.

Federal Regulations

Earlier this year, President Trump issued an executive order directing federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, to review their regulations and consider whether specific rules should be continued. Under the executive order's terms, this comprehensive regulatory review process includes identifying or eliminating rules that are "outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective,” "impose costs that exceed benefits," or that are otherwise contrary to policy. This formal review provides an opportunity for district leaders to notify federal decision makers about regulations that unnecessarily or inappropriately limit district efforts to strengthen schools and improve educational opportunities for students. In order to make the most of this opportunity, ACSA is offering members an opportunity to submit their concerns. ACSA will be sending a survey to members early next week in order to obtain your feedback to formulate a response. We hope you will all be able to take the time to provide input.

If you have any questions, please email Legislative Advocate Laura Preston at

Member Services

ACSA Equity Project Receives Two-Year Grant

ACSA’s Equity Project focuses on three goals to support the capacity building of school leaders. One of these goals is to provide unique professional development experiences to school leaders designed to build their capacity to lead for equity and close educational gaps.

We are excited to announce that we received a two-year grant from the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) to host a Professional Learning Network (PLN).  The CCEE is committed to supporting LEAs with resources and tools to assist in implementing LCFF through their LCAPs and effective use of the Data Dashboard.  The grant was received based on our unique experience of providing continuous improvement training in the form of equity institutes and other professional learning focused on equity.  Our proposal stood out among a highly competitive pool of almost 70.

This PLN will be based on ACSA’s Equity Institute model which has been held in 10 regions statewide since 2015 in addition to district hosted institutes. Participants have been identified to be a part of the PLN include active ACSA members who have participated in past institutes in LEAs such as Lynwood, Victor Valley, Murrieta, Anaheim, and more. These LEAs have committed to the deep work of equity leadership as evident in action plan development, participation in reflective practices, as well as gaining awareness of data and research on equity gaps.

As we know, closing equity gaps is a difficult task and requires a collaborative approach. This PLN will support the building of a coherent process where LEAs can strengthen their ability to understand how to identify equity gaps, collect and utilize “good” data, as well as develop a plan of action with the reflective feedback of their colleagues. This process of collaborative planning and cycle of feedback will allow them to build the capacity of county offices of education and school districts to leverage a common vision and momentum of this difficult work. This PLN will provide a systemic approach to supporting district and county teams achieve their goals in LCAP implementation through an equity framework and cultural proficiency rubrics.  This process will be facilitated through the support of content experts and researchers who deeply understand the change process, equity action plan implementation, as well as have demonstrated experience supporting LCFF implementation. Equity action plans will focus on an equity gap that participants identify through analyzing their Dashboard data to enhance a system of continuous improvement on one of the following state priorities:

  • School climate.
  • Student achievement.
  • Parent involvement.
  • Course access.
  • Student engagement.

Starting in August 2017 and continuing through June 2019, this two-year grant in the amount of $103,000 will directly support ACSA’s Equity Project costs associated with the facilitator, content experts, and research team who will be responsible for ensuring the fidelity of the PLN requirements. These include 18 PLN meetings per year, research and case study support, coaching support, ongoing participant check-ins, as well as collaboration with other PLNs. The PLN will be facilitated by ACSA Equity Research Lead Shayna Sullivan Langhorne, Ph.D. in collaboration with ACSA Diversity and Equal Access Executive Nicole Anderson.

For more information about the PLN, contact Anderson at

Membership Update

Total membership count as of this writing is 18, 283. All current member salaries have been collected and entered into the system for 2017-18 dues calculations.

 An agreement for the 2017-18 membership year has been finalized for San Francisco USD.  Many thanks to both Educational Services and Membership staff for ensuring a successful negotiation. The Region 5 Ambassador team has been prepped and are ready to provide very important personal outreach to this group in an effort to ensure an improved onboarding experience.  For questions about recruitment, retention or member support, please contact Sr. Director of Member Services & Support Margarita Cuizon at

Professional Learning

UCLA Summer Programs

The summer programs for school administrators are in high demand this summer. The New and Aspiring Principals Institute is at maximum capacity, while there are about a dozen spots left for the Principals' Summer Institute featuring speakers like Doug Reeves and Kate Kinsella. For the first time, these two programs will be run simultaneously at the UCLA Sunset Village Conference Center.

2017-18 Academy Program

Quality Control Meetings have concluded for each of the 10 leadership specializations to be offered in 2017-18. Directors are finalizing their local Academy faculties. A total of 120 participants are already registered in 32 locations statewide.  Customized promotional information has been sent to Region leaders and to corresponding Councils and Committees. The first Academy of the new season, the newly revised (in partnership with WestEd) “Leading Continuous Improvement through the LCAP,” is scheduled for Fairfield and Ontario in July. Complete Academy Program information and registration in available at

Master Scheduling Workshop

A poorly designed master schedule can stop a school in its tracks.  How would one know if they have a poorly designed Master Schedule?  On the first day of school you will see such things as mass confusion; lines of students with schedules that need to be re-done; students with gaps in their schedules; schedules where students are scheduled into more than one class at the same time; overcrowded classes which cause a lack of quality education and cannot be supported by the facility; classrooms with either too few desks or classrooms that are too small to hold all of the students.  These and other issues can cause schools to be out of compliance with district board policies, federal mandates, union contracts. We have found that about half of the attendees in ACSA’s Master Scheduling workshops are there because they have been handed the reigns of the coming year’s Master Schedule and have little experience with it.   Attend ACSA’s Master Schedule Trainings or let us bring our training to you. To register, please click here.  Contact Rhonda Morgan at or (800) 608-ACSA for more information.

The Leadership Institute

ACSA’s first Preliminary Administrative Services Credential program, offered in partnership with the Sacramento County Office of Education, is off to remarkable start.  Under the direction and ground work of Michael Roe, Director for the Institute, more than 60 applications were received as of the close the application window on May 15, 2017.  The number of applications far exceeded an anticipated 24-28 participants and the maximum course limit of 40, indicating both high interest and need for administrator preparation programs in the area.

New Superintendents Seminar Series

ACSA's New Superintendents Seminar Series (NSSS) is a professional learning program that has successfully assisted first and second-year superintendents for more than fourteen years. The program places participants into a yearlong cohort and tackles the current issues faced by superintendents in five workshop settings. Each workshop is comprised of session topics delivered by experienced superintendents based upon the California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (CPSEL). To register for the NSSS, please click here.


New State-of-the-Art Platform for ACSA Awards

ACSA is moving to a comprehensive online nomination submission platform, beginning with the 2018 Awards program. The new software will make our program state-of-the-art for all users.

All nominations for ACSA Administrator of the Year Awards and Special Awards will be submitted through the new online submission website. This will allow more accurate communication for nominators, region leaders, and state awards committee members. The goal of this software is to simplify what is currently a fairly convoluted manual process.

Additionally, it will solve many of the issues we face with categories requiring different criteria and confusion in the nominating process. Nominators will log in to view, edit and submit their nominations and get help and updates.

All nominations for these awards will have a single region deadline for submission, which is being determined by a majority vote among the regions. The nomination entry period will open on Aug. 15. Regions will need to select their state finalists by Feb. 5, 2018. 

Demos of the new platform will be available by the end of June on the Awards Program website. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the statewide awards coordinator, Emily Senecal, at

2017 Every Student Succeeding Video Series Kickoff

There is no stronger advocate for students in California than ACSA. That’s why we are honored to present another year of the Every Student Succeeding video series.

Over the course of the next four months, we’ll bring you the stories of 19 students who have fought tremendous adversity to get to where they are today.

Last year’s series was viewed by more than 100,000 people and featured by the United Nations and Telemundo. We expect bigger and better things for this year’s series. ACSA is committed to quality storytelling, and there’s no better way to do that than to tell the stories of those who matter most in California education: students.

New EDUin2 Video Series

The Communications Department, in partnership with the Governmental Relations Department, debuted its latest video and social media project focusing on legislation and advocacy, titled EDUin2.

 Released on Twitter bi-weekly, the graphics-heavy video series features Senior Director of Policy and Governmental Relations Edgar Zazueta walking an audience through a bill, concept or current legislative issue impacting education in California. A new two-minute video is released bi-monthly to keep you up-to-date with the latest in educational policy and political advocacy on behalf of students.

 To find it, go to Twitter and search #EDUin2. Feel free to respond or ask questions by tagging @ACSA_GR, to start a dialogue about some of the most important issues facing students and administrators in California today.

Marketing Update

Marketing formed a cross-functional Content Strategy Team in support of the Strategic Plan goal to develop a content creation/curation process, repository and web portal so that ACSA serves administrators and the greater education community in housing useful information, advice, insights, resources for advocacy and inspiration to lead public education for student success.

Since implementing new marketing technology (Marketo software), we are seeing continual growth in “anonymous leads” coming to ACSA.  In just the past five months, we have captured more than 7,000 leads and placed them on an automated campaign track so they will receive emails to entice them to consider joining and/or attending professional development.  Leads containing specific names and email addresses are being shared with the Member Services Department in real-time in support of member recruitment efforts.

In addition to these anonymous leads, we also monitor the activity of members and non-members who are still downloading content, opening marketing emails, and visiting web pages.  We have captured more than 510,000 web-page views and more than 465,000 emails delivered (137,900 opened, 29.6% open rate).  Marketing & Communications have taken massive strides forward to provide the support the association needs.

Marketing is working with Educational Services to consolidate the communication of ACSA’s professional development opportunities.  Prior to this more strategic and consolidated marketing, PD emails had an open rate of 23.74% and a click rate of 2.25%. We have seen an increase of about 6% in open rates and 1.25% in click rates, exceeding the industry average of 22.5% and click rates of 2.3%.

The newly implemented MarCom process to better support internal stakeholders in growing membership, professional development, and legislative initiatives has proven successful.  With 44 projects completed and 67 more in process, the MarCom workflow is proving effective within both departments.

National Association of School Superintendents (NASS) Update

Annual Conference: Alexandria, Virginia – October 1-3, 2017 

We are confident this second conference will be an excellent opportunity for superintendents to learn and network.  Keynote speakers will focus in large part on social justice and advocacy and include a trip to the US Capitol to advocate face-to-face with federal lawmakers.  A call for other presenters has been issued for those interested in a formal opportunity for sharing with their peers.

Leadership for Social Justice Certification

This 14-session training begins October 1 and is available to individuals and teams representing schools and/or districts wishing to become certified.  Superintendents have identified this as a key opportunity for developing meaningful traction with achievement gaps and with equity in education.  Instructors in this program, which is being delivered virtually for at least 12 of the 15 sessions, will include Nicholas Diaz (Supt. in New Jersey), David Cash (Former Supt. in Santa Barbara, CA, and Instructor in the USC Doctoral Program), Ryan Smith (Executive Director of Ed Trust West), Paul Gotthold (Supt. in Lynwood CA), Katrise Perera (Supt. in Gresham, Oregon and former NASS Superintendent of the Year), and Sara Fiarman (Harvard Professor).

Federal Advocacy

As you may have noted in several recent communications, NASS is well supported by Foresight Law in Washington, D.C. with current information on fiscal and legislative issues that directly impact our work.  Reg Leichty and Amy Starzinsky welcome superintendent feedback and individual questions regarding policy matters being considered and being implemented in our capitol.

Superintendent of the Year

A committee reviewed a number of excellent applications associated with high- quality candidates.  ACSA member Michelle King, Superintendent in LAUSD, was selected as NASS Superintendent of the Year for 2017.

Strategic Plan 

Foresight Law is assisting NASS with the first phase of its strategic planning process.  We have distributed an initial draft of our strategic plan to NASS Board Members for review and input.  Once we’ve made some adjustments to the document, it will be sent to all NASS members for individual member comments and suggestions.


We’ve established a partnership with Forecast5 that will allow us to develop regional communities for purposes of networking and general communications through a product called 5Share. NASS members will be able to join and participate in local and/or national exchanges regarding best practices and/or political, academic, or financial issues that challenge superintendents.

NASS Executive Director Concludes Service

Please join me in thanking NASS Executive Director Dave Brown for his service to NASS, which he’ll conclude on June 30. In bidding us farewell, Dave shared the following reflections, “I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the leadership of NASS, both those of you who govern our association, as well as the incredibly capable staff members who serve you. I wish to thank you all for your continued support and enthusiasm for NASS. I’m confident that (incoming executive director) Tom Armelino’s leadership will enable us to grow membership and the effectiveness of this organization serving the interests of superintendents and the students they serve, not only in California, but throughout our nation.”