Two San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) employees testified before the state Senate Education Committee last week on the implementation of Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP).
The County Office was asked to provide feedback on its own LCAP process and submit comments on a statewide system being developed to track LCAP progress.
In an effort to fulfill the obligations of the bill that enacted the LCAP and Local Control Funding Formula, the committee was reviewing efforts to aid in assessment and accountability reporting.
Wendell Callahan, SDCOE interim senior director of integrated instructional support, represented the county on behalf of Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS).
"It's been a real shift," Callahan said. "Instead of planning our budgets, we now budget plans. And it's done by a very thoughtful analysis of student need."
He highlighted the County Office's investment in additional staff and teachers at JCCS, and the increased opportunities for parent, student, and teacher engagement in priorities and accountability.
SDCOE LCAP Director Nancy Sedgwick told the committee that San Diego County school districts are eager for an accountability system that rolls LCAP, state accountability, and federal requirements into one software program.
If the proposed rubric also includes a path to improvement, as opposed to simple compliance, Sedgwick said it would allow districts to spend more time acting on the information to improve student learning, rather than just gathering data.
She said she is seeing school districts focus more on program results and reflection and less on compliance. The County Office is also providing multiple support opportunities, such as LCAP workshops for parents.
At a recent weekend workshop, more than 100 parents and guardians attended to learn how to be active partners in the LCAP process. The opening speaker was Robert Rivas, founder and CEO of Encuentros Leadership, which works to address dropout rates of Latino students.
Parents collaborated with peers and gained tools and resources from LCAP engagement to college and career options to financial literacy.
Both Sedgwick and Callahan closed their testimony with hope for the future.
"This is a time of powerful possibilities for education in California…The flexibility and transparency in this new system has the potential to drive innovative and creative alternatives to better meet the needs of all of our students, and especially our student groups currently experiencing opportunity gaps," Sedgwick told the committee.
Watch SDCOE staff address the Senate Education Committee in this archived video at about 2:37:00 mark.