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Executive Summary

A summation of A Blueprint For Great Schools report from the Transition Advisory Team dated August 9, 2011.

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In January 2011, recognizing the need for broad and deep stakeholder involvement in the issues facing California public education, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson convened a 59-member Transition Advisory Team, including parents, teachers, classified staff, administrators, superintendents, school board members, business and union leaders, higher education and nonprofit representatives. The team was co-chaired by Linda Darling-Hammond, Ducommun Professor of Education at the Stanford University School of Education and David Rattray, Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce Development, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

The team was designed to create a model for the kinds of coalitions necessary to prepare all of California's students to be healthy, productive citizens, and lifelong learners. Its work was funded entirely by private foundations including: The California Endowment, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation.

Superintendent Torlakson charged the team with providing him with advice on the development of a new mission and planning framework for the California Department of Education (CDE). He asked for innovative and strategic advice to ensure that the state provides a world-class education to all students, preparing them to live, work and thrive in a highly connected world.

Based on the team's recommendations, the Department adopted the following new mission statement:

California will provide a world-class education for all students, from early childhood to adulthood. The Department of Education serves our state by innovating and collaborating with educators, schools, parents, and community partners. Together, as a team, we prepare students to live, work, and thrive in a highly connected world.

The team met as a whole three times over a two-month period. To make rapid progress in areas of high priority for the Superintendent, team members also participated in one of eight policy working teams focused on particular issues:

Each policy working team met frequently between Transition Advisory Team meetings and produced a strategy memo articulating advisory recommendations, goals, outcomes, indicators, and strategies in their respective policy areas.

In addition, an Institutional Development Working Team was formed with the charge of concentrating on CDE as an institution and making recommendations for its continued development in building a strong culture of service and support, engaging internal and external talent, and collaborating across agencies. This team was asked to provide advice on a planning process to strengthen CDE as a service-oriented public agency engaging in innovative and collaborative work. That Working Team provided the Superintendent with a detailed planning design entitled, "Organizing for Innovation, Collaboration, and Service." This has subsequently been adapted and is being used by CDE staff to strengthen the department's culture of service and support for California's public education system.


The recommendations of the Transition Advisory Team are summarized in the body of this document. Critical priorities include:

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Questions:   Dina Fong | | 916-319-0551
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