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Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Faced with stagnant enrollment, Tustin Unified seeks to lure students from other districts
“We recognized the need to get the word out about our incredible programs and services,” said Gregory Franklin, the district’s superintendent. “Parents have choices, and we want them to make informed choices.” This school year, TUSD has spent $9,000 promoting its assets with banners, magazine ads and brochures. It also boasts a sophisticated website, In January, TUSD was the only school district in Orange County that participated in the School Choice Fair in Santa Ana — where mostly private and charter schools set up booths.

Basketball game unifies students at Esperanza High
Esperanza High students united on the basketball court last week. It was the annual Unified Sports basketball game. The Unified Sports club pairs students from the general education and special education programs to develop skills playing basketball, football and soccer, running drills and learning sportsmanship in each week’s meet up.

Local agencies plan educational seminar on active shooter responses at Orange Unified schools
Parents can learn about the protocols and people ready to protect their children in a school shooting scenario during an Orange Unified School District informational seminar at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, at Canyon High School. The seminar – a collaboration between the district, the county Department of Education, Supervisor Todd Spitzer, the OC Health Care Agency, Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Anaheim and Orange police departments – is being held to give parents an clearer understanding of all the working parts of an emergency response.

Divided Supreme Court spars over government union fees
With the justices holding the decisive vote silent, a divided Supreme Court sparred Monday over a case that could undermine the financial footing of labor unions that represent government workers. The justices heard arguments in a challenge to an Illinois law that allows unions representing government employees to collect fees from workers who choose not to join. Amid colorful, occasionally angry comments from his colleagues, Justice Neil Gorsuch asked no questions during the hourlong session.


More California students graduate from high school, but far fewer graduate from college
California’s high school graduation rates have increased significantly in recent years, but the percentage of those students who complete their college education continues to lag, with long-term implications for the state’s future. That is the stark conclusion of a new report by California Competes, a policy and advocacy organization focusing on the state’s system of higher education.

What’s at issue, what’s at stake in Janus, the Supreme Court case challenging compulsory union fees
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Janus v. American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, a case with monumental implications for all public employee unions, including California’s two teachers unions — the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers — and the California School Employees Association, which represents hourly workers. The lawsuit challenges their authority under state law to collect compulsory fees from all employees they serve. That money is the main source of unions’ income and, by extension, their power.


Social-emotional learning takes center stage
Social and emotional learning, once considered the touchy-feely side of school curriculum, becomes fully integrated into the education spectrum in California with formal release of state-sanctioned guidelines. Good teaching has always been interwoven with the ability of adults to respond to the emotional conditions of students and an understanding of their social needs. With a growing body of research showing that social and emotional learning is a critical part of student success, the California Department of Education announced late last week the new guidelines that are intended to help students learn a range of skills.

SWDs faring better in charters than before, but issues remain
Fewer students with disabilities are being suspended or expelled from charter schools than in previous years, according to a report released Tuesday, but advocates say policymakers need to take further steps to ensure equitable treatment. The report from the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools–a non-profit organization that advocates for SWDs enrolled in charter schools–shows that while progress has been made in lowering suspension and expulsion rates, those numbers still almost double those of students without disabilities.


What the Supreme Court ruling means for DACA recipients
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump administration's request to hear its appeal of a California judge's ruling keeping the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in place for now. The high court's decision is raising questions about what it means for DACA's future and how it affects the roughly 700,000 young unauthorized immigrants who still have temporary work permits and deportation protection through the program. Here are some answers:

Financial aid application rates now public to motivate more students to apply
It used to be that only high school counselors and school administrators could see data about how many students had completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). “There was no ability to compare among high schools, counties, or a state how we were doing in submitting this information,” said Lupita Cortez Alcala, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission.


Find out which OC school districts made the College Board’s eighth annual AP District Honor Roll
Five local school districts have been named to the College Board’s eighth annual AP District Honor Roll. Capistrano, Garden Grove, Placentia-Yorba Linda, Santa Ana and Tustin are among 34 California districts — and 447 across the U.S. and Canada — recognized for expanding access to Advanced Placement courses and increasing the percentages of students scoring a 3 or higher on their AP exams.


Pension Funds Under Pressure To Sell Off Investments In Gun-Makers
Since the mass killing at a Parkland, Fla., high school earlier this month, many teachers have called on their state pension funds to sell their stakes in gun-makers. "I'm currently urging my colleagues to divest in retail and wholesale suppliers of weapons that are banned for possession or sale in the state of California," says State Treasurer John Chiang, who sits on the boards of his state's two largest pension funds — CalPERS for public employees and CalSTRS for teachers. He is urging pensions across the country to sell off their investments in gun-makers and gun retailers.

With Hundreds Of Students, School Counselors Just Try To 'Stay Afloat'
According to the most recent data, school counselors across the country manage caseloads of about 482 students each. In California, where Yuridia Nava works, that average ratio is 760 students per counselor — the second highest in the nation. She says counselors there are just trying to "stay afloat" and get through each day. The American School Counselor Association recommends that counselors work with 250 students each, but just three states follow that advice.

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