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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
August 10, 2020

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Special Education Local Plan Area Directors:

2020–21 Data Collections: Annual Back-to-School Letter

This letter kicks off the 2020–21 data collection season for the following major data collections:

  • California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS)
  • California Basic Educational Data System (CBEDS)
  • Consolidated Application and Reporting System (CARS)

The 2020–21 certification and amendment window deadlines for these data collections are posted on the California Department of Education (CDE) CALPADS, CBEDS, and CARS Submission Calendar web page at

It should also be noted that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has only heightened the need for timely, quality data, from all state agencies, including the CDE. Governor Newsom continues a strong commitment to his vision of integrating existing data into a cradle-to-career longitudinal data system that will provide the data the state needs to effectively meet the needs of its citizens. Information about these ongoing efforts and activities can be found on the California Cradle-to-Career Data System website at


CALPADS data are used for many functions critical to the mission of LEAs and the state. Therefore, the active involvement of superintendents, charter school administrators, and Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) directors is critical to ensuring the accurate and timely submission of CALPADS data. LEA executive leadership should continue to ensure that policies, processes, adequate staff support, and timelines are in place that foster staff collaboration, resulting in ongoing CALPADS updates and the review and certification of submissions by the published deadlines.

Impact of Budget Trailer Bill Senate Bill 98

The education trailer bill, Senate Bill (SB) 98 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020), amends current law to accommodate changes necessitated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Trailer bill highlights that relate to data collection and accountability generally include the following:

  • Requires the CDE to use, for purposes of calculating apportionments for the 2020–21 fiscal year, the average daily attendance (ADA) reported in the 2019–20 fiscal year, as specified, for all local educational agencies (LEAs), except for charter schools newly operational in the 2020–21 school year (SEC. 34). It is important to note that ADA collected for apportionment is not reported to the CDE through CALPADS. Rather, ADA is collected through another data collection software system, and there is a distinction between ADA for apportionment reported at an aggregate level versus attendance data reported through CALPADS at a student level for chronic absenteeism.
  • Requires the CDE to use, for the purpose of calculating apportionments for new charter schools for the 2020–21 fiscal year, actual enrollment of the charter school as of Census Day, October 7, 2020 adjusted for the 2019–20 statewide absence rate.
  • Requires LEAs, excluding non-classroom based charter schools, to satisfy annual instructional day requirements through instruction or a combination of the two (SEC. 34).
  • Requires all non-classroom based charter schools to continue to meet the statutory requirements of independent study.
  • Prohibits the CDE from publishing the California School Dashboard (Dashboard) in 2020 and from identifying LEAs during the 2020–21 school year for the technical assistance or intervention process based on the performance criteria used for the Dashboard (SEC. 104); however, it directs the CDE to publish any valid and reliable data collected through CALPADS that would have been included in the 2020 Dashboard on DataQuest or by other means (SEC. 104).
  • For purposes of identifying LEAs for technical assistance or intervention in December 2021, directs the CDE to use performance data on the state and local indicators from the December 2019 (change) Dashboard and the December 2021 (status) Dashboard (SEC. 104).

Based on SB 98, the data that LEAs certify as part of CALPADS 2020–21 submissions continue to be critically important for the following reasons:

  • The data that LEAs certify on CALPADS Report 1.17 – FRPP/English Learner/Foster – Count in the 2020–21 Fall 1 submission will be used for the unduplicated pupil count used to determine 2020–21 Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) supplemental and concentration grant funding.
  • The Census Day enrollment that charter schools new in the 2020–21 fiscal year certify on CALPADS Report 1.1 – Enrollment - Primary Status by Subgroup will be adjusted by the 2019–20 statewide absence rate and used for calculating apportionments in the 2020–21 fiscal year.
  • LEAs will not be required to collect attendance for ADA purposes in 2020–21; however, LEAs are still required to submit student attendance data for purposes of accountability through CALPADS. No changes will be made to the current CALPADS chronic absenteeism collection; guidance will be provided to LEAs regarding how to report distance learning attendance and absence through the existing CALPADS file.
  • The 2021 Dashboard will be based on performance data on the December 2019 Dashboard and the data LEAs submit and certify in 2020–21 (primarily in the EOY submissions) which are used to calculate the indicators on the 2021 Dashboard.

LEAs are also reminded that while the data that LEAs are currently submitting for the 2019–20 EOY submissions, these data will not be used to calculate indicators on the 2020 Dashboard. Instead, the CDE is required to publish the data on DataQuest or through other means, and will use the data to meet federal reporting requirements.

CALPADS 2020–21 Submission Deadlines

In response to an overall desire by state policy makers, local educational leaders and administrators, education advocates, and the public to have access to current data to enhance decision-making, the 2020–21 Fall 1, Fall 2, and End-of-Year (EOY) certification deadlines will remain similar to past years. LEAs are also reminded that the certification of the Fall 1, EOY 3, and EOY 4 submissions require SELPAs to approve specified reports in the submission that include data related to students with disabilities (SWD). Therefore, the CDE also suggests dates by which LEAs approve submissions in order to provide SELPAs time to review and approve submissions by the deadlines. The 2020–21 CALPADS deadlines are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: 2020–21 CALPADS Submission Deadlines

Submission Suggested LEA Approval Deadline Certification Deadline Amendment Window Deadline
Fall 1 November 20, 2020 December 18, 2020 January 29, 2021
Fall 2 N/A N/A March 5, 2021
EOY 1, 2 N/A July 30, 2021 August 27, 2021
EOY 3, 4 July 16, 2021 July 30, 2021 August 27, 2021

Importance of Maintaining CALPADS Data on an Ongoing Basis

It is critical that LEA business processes include updating CALPADS on an ongoing basis throughout the year because CALPADS data are used for multiple operational purposes that support LEAs and students. For example, CALPADS data are used:

  • To register students for statewide assessments, including the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) and the English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (ELPAC). This becomes more important this fall, when students' English Learner status is determined by the Initial ELPAC and uploaded directly to CALPADS from the assessment vendor immediately after the student completes the test.
  • To determine LEA funding for LCFF concentration and supplemental grants.
  • To provide immediate information on incoming transfer students, such as whether they are English Learners (ELs) or SWD, so that they can be served appropriately.
  • To identify students who are automatically eligible for free or reduced-priced meals under the National School Lunch Program.
  • To identify students who are foster youth.
  • To identify dropouts, enabling LEAs to efficiently target resources to recover those students.

CALPADS data are also used by the CDE for multiple state purposes that impact LEAs, including:

  • To calculate the accountability metrics on the Dashboard to support the continuous improvement of schools and provide information to the public.
  • To enable the CDE to monitor whether SWDs are receiving a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and whether EL students are receiving appropriate instruction and services as required by state and federal law.
  • To enable the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to monitor whether students are being taught by appropriately credentialed teachers.
  • To meet federal reporting requirements, ensuring federal funding to California, and state reporting requirements, enabling the CDE to provide the public with information about the state’s public schools.

During the coming year, executive leadership should pay particular attention that:

  • Staff are collaborating with the LEA’s SELPA partner(s), because certification of LEAs’ Fall 1, EOY 3 (student incident), and EOY 4 submissions require SELPA approval of the LEAs’ special education data. It is absolutely critical that LEAs approve their data submissions a few weeks before the certification deadline in order to provide the SELPA(s) time to review and approve the special education reports by the deadline.
  • Human resources, curriculum and instruction, and student information system (SIS)/CALPADS staff are collaborating in mapping local courses to state course codes and applying appropriate attributes, in submitting certificated staff data during the Fall 2 submission, and later in addressing potential mis-assignments identified by the CTC’s California State Assignment Accountability System (CalSAAS).

Given the important role CALPADS plays in so many areas, the CDE recognizes the importance of continuing to improve system performance and ensure system security. The CDE recently moved CALPADS to a cloud environment and in the upcoming year will be working to continue to evolve the system in directions that facilitate the movement of data between local systems and CALPADS, and enhance the use of CALPADS data by LEAs.

Other Updates and Educational Data Management

The Changes to the Fall 2020 California Basic Educational Data System letter, dated June 2, 2020, highlights changes to the CBEDS collection. The letter is available on the CDE CBEDS web page under the “Correspondence” heading at

The 2020–21 Consolidated Application Program Guidance and Instructions are available in the “What’s New” section of the CDE Consolidated Application web page at

Through the Educational Data Governance (EDGO) program, the CDE continues to engage in activities aimed to support LEA data management efforts. For LEAs who are interested, data governance resources are available on the CDE’s EDGO web page: LEAs are also encouraged to follow @cdeprivacy on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and to visit the CDE Data Privacy web page at for resources and information on data privacy mandates and best practices.

In Summary

Thank you in advance for your efforts in submitting quality and timely data to the CDE. The ongoing support of your staff, particularly LEA CALPADS Administrators and their staff, who through their work are playing a key role in so many critical functions, is much appreciated. Keeping CALPADS updated with student enrollments and exits, and certifying accurate data during the submission windows, has become increasingly important because of the use of the data in mission critical functions and for high stakes purposes. Please remember that there will be no opportunity for LEAs to revise data once the final certification deadlines have passed.

If you have any questions about this letter, please contact the CALPADS/CBEDS/CDS Operations Office by phone at 916-324-6738 or by email at, or Glenn Miller, Administrator, by phone at 916-319-0529 or by email at

Thank you for your support.


Jerry Winkler, Director
Educational Data Management Division



Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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