County Superintendent of Schools, Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D.
Message From the County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joseph A. Ovick
Exciting change is coming to public education in California that will impact all the public schools in our state and prepare our children for college and/or careers of the 21st century. With the passage of Proposition 30 and the State Legislature and Governor approving the budget and accompanying legislation, California has a new funding formula for schools, new state standards, new testing and new accountability!!!
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS
Common Core State Standards have been approved in 45 states. The standards were
introduced by the state governors. In California the standards were approved by the State
Board of Education with the approval of Governor Brown. The standards identify what students need to know in math and English language arts including literacy in history/social science, science and technical subjects in all grade levels.
SMARTER BALANCED ASSESSMENT SYSTEM
Smarter Balanced Assessment is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for math and English arts/literacy to measure student progress. Schools will have to be technology ready to administer the tests and students will also have to be tech ready, comfortable and confident to take the tests!
ASSEMBLY BILL 484
Authored by Susan Bonilla and signed into law by Governor Brown on October 2, 2013. This piece of legislation established the new student assessment for California. Assessment will be field tested in the Spring of 2014. Currently there is disagreement between Governor Brown and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan regarding testing for this current school year for students in California. AB 484 terminates the current state testing and introduces as a field test Smarter Balanced Assessment for the Spring of 2014. Secretary Duncan is not pleased with this situation and has threatened to withhold federal funds. Hopefully a solution can be found so our children will not be denied the federal funding so desperately needed.
LOCAL CONTROL FUNDING FORMULA
The LCFF is the new funding formula for public education K-12 in California. It truly is a major change in how funding is provided to our local school districts and county offices of education. The formula has done away with many categorical funded programs and combined funding into base grant funding for students with supplemental grants for English learners, low income students, and foster youth and concentration grants for school districts where more than 55% of students fall into these categories. LCFF also has Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), requirements for every school district and county offices of education.
So, as you can see much is happening that is new and exciting in our schools throughout Contra Costa and the state. Stay involved through PTA and your children's schools.
Thoughts from Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joseph A. Ovick
As the school year enters into the holiday season, I would like to give you an update on an initiative that I launched in January 2012. This initiative is to support and endorse the work that we all do on a daily basis, which is to serve as role models for our students so that they can learn how to act in a civil manner. It is also important to acknowledge our students when they exhibit civility in their daily lives.
To date, I have asked the greater community of Contra Costa to endorse, support, and encourage civility within our community for all. Whether it is a senior citizen, an adult, a teenager, or a child, we must all remember to be civil to one another. The East Bay Leadership Council, which is comprised of over 400 businesses, has also endorsed civility. Our city councils are currently in the process of adopting resolutions that address civility within their respective cities, both County Board of Supervisors and the County Board of Education have already adopted resolutions endorsing civility, the 32nd District PTA's board has also endorsed civility; and, finally, the boards of education for all of our school districts are currently moving towards passing resolutions acknowledging the importance of civility and their commitment to modeling it to their students and to acknowledging civil behavior on the part of their students.
P. M. Forni, in a book entitled, Choosing Civility, has identified 25 Principles of Civility. I asked our 2013-14 Teachers of the Year, as a group, to select ten principles of civility on which we can focus during our current school year. Following are the principles of civility that they have selected, and I ask each and every one of you to find ways that you, too, can be part of this initiative:
Acknowledge Others (August/September) Listen (October) Speak Kindly (November) Accept and Give Praise (December) Respect Others' Opinions (January) Be Inclusive (February) Respect Other People's Time (March) Don't Shift Responsibility and Blame (April) Accept and Give Constructive Criticism (May) Think the Best (June)
The County Office of Education website has a civility page and a civility store where T-shirts, posters and bookmarks may be purchased. The link is cocoschools.org/civility
The County Office of Education is an essential part of Contra Costa's outstanding
public school system. Overall, our county's students rank high on virtually
every measure of achievement - from test scores to college entrance
job in the County Office is to support the success of Contra Costa's
18 school districts, their schools, and their 168,000+ students.
provide exactly the support that's needed by operating like a business.
Our customers in school districts can choose whether to use or
not use most County Office services. Superintendents and other
district staff tell us they do choose our services and are highly satisfied
with them because we:
quality countywide programs for children with special needs
do a better job
districts in meeting state and federal mandates
effectively and efficiently with Contra Costa's school districts, the
County Office of Education strengthens our entire education system while
saving dollars dollars that can then be used in local classrooms.
of Schools Dr. Joseph A. Ovick administers all County Office of Education
programs and facilitates cooperation among schools, colleges, universities,
government and community organizations. He is responsible for monitoring
and approving all school district budgets. In addition, he serves as an
advocate for education with the legislature and the public.
An Initiative Championed by the Contra Costa
County Office of Education
Civility is a core value of a well functioning community and one of its defining components. Quality of life depends in great part on how community members treat each other. This initiative will promote the importance of civility in a world becoming less civil, and encourage community members to choose positive and respectful behaviors in their personal and work lives.