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Differentiated Assistance

California has made a series of major shifts in public education with one goal: To improve learning so every student can be successful in school, college, work, and life. Our state is raising the bar and setting high expectations for all students; empowering parents, students, and school communities; and changing the way it evaluates and supports schools. Using more than just a single number or test score, the state’s new accountability system aims to confront the gaps for student groups that can be hidden within student averages.​

The Statewide System of Support identifies Differentiated Assistance as an opportunity provided to eligible local education agencies (LEAs) that have been shown in the California School Dashboard to need attention in two or more Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) priority areas for a student group. The priorities are represented with indicators on the Dashboard. The state's priorities for education include pupil achievement (math and English test scores, English learner progress); school climate (suspension rates); and pupil engagement (graduation rates, chronic absenteeism). 

SDCOE as a Partner

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) continues to be a partner to LEAs by providing support through the Local Control and Accountability (LCAP) process, updates to and analysis of California School Dashboard data, and now through Differentiated Assistance.


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Continuous Improvement is centered around school districts. This includes: California School Dashboard, Differentiated Assistance, developing resources and support for students, community input and stakeholder engagement, LCAP, and implementing resources and supports for students.


A Consistent Approach

The improvement science specialists at SDCOE have developed a new series of supports for school LEAs that includes two half-day institutes and professional learning networks (PLNs) that bring together similar LEAs. The timing of the Differentiated Assistance supports fits in with the LEA's LCAP timeline.

The half-day sessions maximize the time and set a foundation for the work that is done during the PLN.

Data Institute (January)

    • Dashboard analysis
    • Review performance on state indicators
    • Develop an inquiry stance to promote further exploration
    • Identify additional information to inform continuous improvement efforts

System Analysis PLN

    • Join cohort of LEAs with similar grades served or needs
    • Discuss data findings
    • Perform system analysis
    • Review effective practices that support goals and continuous improvement

Root Cause Institute (February)

    • Use deeper inquiry of a single area of need
    • Identify root cause and contributing factors to strengths and weaknesses

Synthesis of Findings PLN

    • Agree upon findings for performance and system strengths and weaknesses.
    • Summarize the findings determined by deeper inquiry of a single area
    • Reference effective evidence-based programs aligned to goals
    • Consolidate learning and findings


SDCOE will support all LEAs to transform public education and guarantee high levels of student achievement. SDCOE’s leaders, coaches, and educators are ready with a learning stance to embrace the new accountability culture and collaborate with LEAs to build a system that works for all students.