Policy Briefs

  • Trends in Student Social Emotional Learning: Evidence from the CORE Districts

    Martin R. West, Libby Pier, Hans Fricke, Heather Hough, Susanna Loeb, Robert H. Meyer, Andrew B. Rice. May 2018.

    Mounting evidence demonstrates that social-emotional skills are important for students’ academic and life success, yet we have limited evidence on how these skills develop over time and how this development varies across student subgroups. In this study, we use the first large-scale panel survey of social-emotional learning (SEL) to describe how four SEL constructs—growth-mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness—develop from Grade 4 to Grade 12, and how these trends vary by gender, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity.

  • Enacting Social-Emotional Learning: Practices and Supports Employed in CORE Districts and Schools

    Julie A. Marsh, Susan McKibben, Heather Hough, Michelle Hall, Taylor N. Allbright, Ananya M. Matewos, Caetano Siqueira. April 2018.

    Social-emotional learning refers to the beliefs, attitudes, personality traits, and behaviors that students need to succeed in school and life. Our study looks closely at ten “outlier schools” in California’s CORE districts whose students report strong social-emotional learning outcomes compared to other, similar middle schools.

  • Summer Learning - A Smart Investment for California School Districts

    Mary Perry, Nazaneen Khalilnaji-Otto, Katie Brackenridge. January 2018.

    Summer learning loss contributes significantly to the achievement gap between low income students and their more affluent peers. That makes high quality summer learning programs a smart investment for school districts concerned about success for all students. Such investments have become easier thanks to the flexibility built into the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

    The most promising programs are not traditional summer school. Instead, they look and feel like summer camp while incorporating learning goals aligned with district priorities. Summer learning programs:

  • Community Collaboration in Teacher Recruitment and Retention

    Sherrie Reed. January 2018.

    High quality instruction delivered by effective teachers is the key to student success. Hiring, developing and retaining good teachers are therefore the most important tasks of our public schools. The tasks of teacher recruitment and retention have traditionally been delegated to the human resource department within school districts, but leaving these critical responsibilities to a single office is no longer sufficient. The ability to find, support, and keep good teachers is a community challenge, which demands innovative solutions collaboratively developed by diverse stakeholders.

  • Educating California’s Disadvantaged Children: Lessons from Colombia

    Tom Luschei. December 2017.

    Despite California’s great wealth, child poverty places a drag on the state’s educational performance. Disadvantaged children—including English learners, foster children, and the poor—do not receive the educational attention and services that they require to be successful. Although California’s Local Control Funding Formula recognizes this challenge, schools and districts have struggled to identify effective solutions to educate disadvantaged children.

  • Promising Practices in School District Budgeting Under LCFF

    Mark Murphy. October 2017.

    The implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula presents local education leaders with the power and flexibility to use resources in new and different ways. Taking full advantage of this opportunity requires leaders to adopt budgeting practices that highlight the tradeoffs among system goals and facilitate the reallocation of scarce resources to support their top priorities. In this brief Mark Murphy reviews the experiences of three California school districts with budget tools that increase their ability to meet their students’ needs.

  • Expanding Learning: A Powerful Strategy for Equity

    Katie Brackenridge, Jessica Gunderson, Mary Perry. October 2017.

    The disparity in educational outcomes between student populations is one of the most serious challenges facing our public education system. Gaps in test scores, graduation rates, and college readiness pose  a fundamental problem that school officials must solve.

  • Exploring Improvement Science in Education: Promoting College Access in Fresno Unified School District

    Jorge Aguilar, Michelle Nayfack, Susan Bush-Mecenas. June 2017.

    California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) requires districts to report multiple measures of student performance that reflect success in the goal of preparing students for college, career, and citizenship. As they engage in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) process, they are expected to use state and local indicator data from California’s School Dashboard to monitor student progress.

  • Building Intersegmental Partnerships

    Elizabeth Friedmann. June 2017.

    California’s education system is highly fragmented. K-12 schools, community colleges, and the two university systems (CSU and UC) operate under entirely separate governance structures, and rely on distinct sources of funding. As a result these different "segments" of the education system generally operate independently of one another, developing policies and practices to serve their own students with little or no effort to consult with other segments. In fact, however, addressing many of the educational issues that face our state successfully will require action by more than one segment.

  • Using Surveys of Students' Social-Emotional Skills and School Climate for Accountability and Continuous Improvement

    Heather Hough, Demetra Kalogrides, Susanna Loeb. March 2017.

    This report and accompanying policy brief show that there is good reason to pursue the measurement of social-emotional learning (SEL) and school culture/climate (CC) as a way to better understand student and school performance. Using data from California's CORE districts, we show that SEL and CC measures demonstrate reliability and validity, distinguish between schools, are related to other academic and non-academic measures, and also illuminate dimensions of student achievement that go beyond traditional indicators.

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