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Acronyms....LCFF / LCAP what are they?

Posted on February 16, 2014 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (3)

Local Control Financial Funding: The goal of the LCFF is to  simplify how state funding is provided to local educational agencies (LEAs). Under the new funding system, revenue limits and most state categorical programs are eliminated. LEAs will receive funding based on the demographic profile of the students they serve and gain greater flexibility to use these funds to improve outcomes of students. The LCFF creates funding targets based on these student characteristics. For school districts and charter schools, the LCFF funding targets consist of grade span-specific base grants plus supplemental and concentration grants that reflect student demographic factors. For county offices of education (COEs), the LCFF funding targets consist of an amount for COE operations plus grants for instructional programs.

Local Control and Accountability Plans: The LCAP is an important component to LCFF. Under the LCFF all LEAs are required to prepare an LCAP, which describes how they intend to meet annual goals for all pupils, with specific activities to address state and local priorities identified pursuant to EC Section 52060(d). The governing board of each LEA shall adopt an LCAP on or before July 1, 2014. The law requires the SBE to adopt the LCAP template for LEA use before March 31, 2014.

Governor Brown highlighted the Local Control Funding Formula, which gives local schools the flexibility to spend funds where they need it. This, he said, will greatly benefity low-income students and English Learners. Each local district now has to put into practice wht the Local Contrl Funding Formula has made possible. That, together with new common core standards for Math and English, will be a major challenge for teachers and local administrators.

What is your view on this?

To read the governor's State of the State in its entirety, visit http://gov.ca.gov.

For resources on the LCFF/LCAP, visit www.acsa.org/LCFF

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support

Posted on January 26, 2014 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Schools around the nation are now using PBIS which offers a schoolwide approach to improving student behavior. PBIS has been around for over five years.  More than 7,000 schools nationwide have adopted the approach. So what is this PBIS really all about? Well according to the PBIS website, it's about improving student academic and behavior outcomes, by ensuring all students have access to the most effective and accurately implemented instructional and behavioral practices and interventions possible.

Basically, PBIS is teaching positive behavior throughout the school, especially the "hotspot" areas.  Positive behavior is not taught in 15 minutes on the first day of school, but rather is introduced at the beginning of school, and reinforced throughout the year.  Part of the PBIS model of reinforcement comes from acknowledging and rewarding appropriate behavior.

Ideally, should have a PBIS team, which consists of a student representative from each grade level, a teacher from each department, and an administrator.  They should meet monthly to review its disciplinary data and determine its next steps. Implementing PBIS and changing a school's disciplinary culture are not easy. There has to be a significant buy-in from administrators, and teachers.

Some of the advantages of implementing PBIS are that students are more engaged, and responsive. It addresses classroom management and disciplinary issues such as attendance, tardies, and antisocial behavior. Improves supports for students whose behaviors require more specialized assistance, e.g., emotional and behavioral disorders, mental health, and most importantly, maximizes academic engagement and achievement for all students.

Of course, there are disadvantages and misconceptions about PBIS. There is the misconception that PBIS only allows for positive reinforcement and not for other forms of consequences. Secondly, positive reinforcement is only allowed to be given in tangible goods, not in less tangible forms of praise.  Teachers are asked to handle more minor disciplinary incidents in the classroom rather than sending students to the principal's office.

For more information on PBIS go to www.pbis.org

Long Term English Learners

Posted on January 11, 2014 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Who are Long Term English Learners (LTELs)? Thes are students who have been enrolled in United States schools for more than six years.  They do not have the English skills needed for academic success, and there are major academic gaps in their elementary and even middle school years. How do these students become LTELs?  The majority of secondary school English Learners are LTELs, and English Learners who enroll in Kindergarten have a 50% chance of becoming an LTEL.  What are the circumstances that contribute towards ELs becoming LTELs? In some cases, English Learners received no language development support.  At the elementary schools, curricular may not be designed for ELLs. By the time LTELs arrive in secondary schools, there are significant academic gaps.  They have very weak academic language, with little reading and writing skills.  The majority of LTELs tend to be stuck at the "Intermediate" level of the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) or below. These students have now developed habits of non-engagement, invisibility, and passivity.  Counselors tend to inappropriately place LTELs in mainstream classes, because 'it's convenient to follow the school's Master Schedule of classes'.  A major misconception is "English Learners don't need special curriculum, services, or instruction."  Research has shown that English Learners do need instruction and materials to be adapted and supplemented to address the language barrier.  Oral language development is particularly important for English Learners.