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Thursday, January 18, 2018


California inflated its high school graduation rate by 2%, federal audit finds
California education leaders inflated the state’s high school graduation rate by 2 percentage points in 2014, according to the results of a federal audit announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Education. The Department’s Office of Inspector General found that California education officials inaccurately calculated its graduation rate and failed to provide “reasonable assurance” that reported graduation rates were accurate.

Teachers buying CSI kits, magnetic levitation tracks with Assistance League of Saddleback Valley grants
For 32 teachers in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, receiving grant funding is more than a financial boost to purchase equipment for classrooms, it’s a chance to expand their curriculum and give students hands-on experiences. That’s what Lori Musick, an eighth-grade science teacher at Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School, said she is excited about providing for her students in the near future thanks to an almost $2,500 grant from the Assistance League of Saddleback Valley, which she received last week.

Handy Elementary students are “owning” their science learning
A supplemental science program, Project Lead the Way, is being tested and embraced in local classrooms. Handy Elementary School Principal Michelle Owen is a proponent of the hands-on learning. Though Handy has a large English-learner population, the students have embraced the project, and comfortably – and correctly – use the high-level academic vocabulary learned in Project Lead the Way.

See you in September… Well, August, as Los Alamitos Unified moves up start date
Following a trend set by other school districts in the state, Los Alamitos Unified will start its school year in early August – beginning this summer. The district’s recently announced 2018-19 calendar will hold big changes. School doors will open Aug. 8, ending summer vacation nearly three weeks earlier than this school year’s Aug. 30 start date. The school year will end May 30, 2019, two weeks earlier than this year’s finale.

Tustin school district offers a variety of adult education classes
Tustin Unified School District’s Adult Education Center offers classes for adults at various locations. The free classes include English as a Second Language, citizenship preparation, GED preparation, computer use and basic skills in reading, writing and math. For most programs, students can start at any time. Registration is conducted in the classroom during the hours of the class.


Federal audit finds problems with California's graduation rate calculations
Every year, the California Department of Education and many of its school districts boast about record-high graduation rates. But a federal audit raises questions about the accuracy of the local and statewide numbers.


For next LAUSD superintendent, board wants unanimous choice
LA Unified’s school board members want a new superintendent they can all support. They would like to get a unanimous decision, as it was with Michelle King’s selection two years ago. They also want public input on the choice and to have a new leader in place by the time school starts in August.


Initiative backers betting 2018 will be the year to take on California's Proposition 13
Forty years after Californians revolted against rising property taxes to pass Proposition 13, advocates of tax reform believe the timing is finally right to do surgery on it. They’ve filed a draft initiative with the state — the step before starting to collect signatures for the November ballot — proposing a “split roll” system that would increase taxes on commercial and industrial properties to produce more money for schools, counties and local governments, while leaving intact Prop. 13’s tax protections for homeowners and residential properties.


Home schooling in California: 'We do not have a home schooling law in this state'
As the story of two Riverside County parents accused of abusing their 13 children grabs national headlines, questions remain about how this could happen at a home-school. The family's address in Perris was listed in a state Department of Education directory as the location of the Sandcastle Day School, a private K-12 campus, the L.A. Times reported. The children's father, David Turpin, was listed as the principal.


Academic event season has arrived, and we’ve got a list of what’s coming up in 2018
The season of academic competition is upon us. Over the next five months or so, thousands of Orange County students will be taking part in an array of local, state and national contests that will test their knowledge and sharpen their skills in history, science, math, reading, writing and just about every other academic subject. Demanding countless hours of research and prep time, these events will also build camaraderie and, in many cases, lead to lifelong friendships. Our list is by no means unabridged, but here’s a rundown of some of the standards-based contests and events that the Orange County Department of Education will have a hand in from now through June.

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