5 professional development governance Wildfire resources for schools and districts October’s wildfires in California have left school districts in a state of emergency. These devastating fires have destroyed neighborhoods, forced many schools to remain closed and displaced families and stu-dents. In response, state and local authorities are working to provide relief and public safety. At the state level, the California Department of Education has said it will help schools and districts recoup Average Daily Attendance funds; visit the CDE website for more information. The CDE also said its Nutrition Services Division has sent two truckloads of frozen food and dry goods to the Redwood Empire Food Bank in Santa Rosa to assist fire victims. “Schools should not suffer financially or in any other way for putting safety first in any kind of emergency,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. CSBA is committed to lifting up fellow Californians in this time of great need. If, like us, you’re searching for ways to contribute, you can send monetary donations to the Red Cross, which has set up a dedi-cated California Wildfire Relief fund. Other resources such as a sample policy for disaster preparedness and crisis communication strategies can be found on CSBA’s blog at blog.csba.org/natural-disaster. School sites become an important focal point within communities during times of crisis. Some schools have been forced to close because of direct danger or the health concerns that arise from smoke-related air quality issues. Other schools surrounding disaster areas have been opened as evacuation shelters. Neighborhoods have been destroyed, lives have been lost and too many families and students have been displaced from their homes. Needless to say, these natural disasters have been in our thoughts, and we will continue to closely monitor the effects of these fires in order to offer support to schools and school districts. As schools, districts and the families they serve start to plan recov-ery efforts, we want those affected to know that there is help available. State and local authorities have been working to provide relief and make public safety their top priority. If your district has been affected by this state of emergency, CSBA is here to help — please contact us if we can be of any assistance. Governance Corner: Practical tips from our MIG faculty This new feature in California School News provides useful tips to help your district or county office board fulfill its governance responsibilities. The approval of single plans for student achievement, known as an SPSA, is a critical agenda item for board action that you may soon be asked to take into consideration. The purpose of the SPSA is to coordinate all educational services at each school in your district. The SPSA shall, at a minimum, address how funds provided to the school through any of the sources identified in Education Code Section 64000 will be used to improve the academic performance of all pupils and, at best, are a critical tool in ensuring that Local Control and Accountability Plan goals are being addressed across the district. In large districts, especially, the process of reading through multiple SPSAs can be overwhelming. Without a plan of attack, your ability to analyze the data and ask thoughtful questions can be diluted by the sheer volume of reading. Here are some tips from the Masters in Governance faculty to help you effec-tively weigh in at an upcoming meeting: Before the meeting, categorize the SPSAs by common characteristics or demographics. You may want to read through all of the elementary, middle and high school SPSAs together first; or categorize SPSAs by poverty rate ranges, sites with specialized programs or by performance levels, etc. When you read the plans through this lens, you are likely to make different observations of the data, which will then inform the kinds of questions that you ask. As you read through the plans, consider the following: » Are the goals laid out in the plan realistic and able to be implemented and attained? » What data points were used to inform the goals? How will data be used to monitor those goals? » To what extent is the SPSA aligned to the district goals and the LCAP? » Do the identified interventions really address the achievement gap with targeted populations? » To what extent was prior end of year information used to plan for the current year’s intervention? » What parent and advisory group input was solicited before submission? Sifting through your district’s site plans with a strategy and an eye for what to look for will allow you to connect the dots between the SPSA from each site, and among sites, to determine if they are in align-ment with, and a reflection of, the district’s LCAP.