February 20, 2015
Education Roundup for the Week Ending February 20, 2015
SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Education (CDE) today issued this week's roundup of education-related announcements of public interest.
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Reminds Schools to Update School Safety Plans by March 1 Deadline
Schools urged to create positive school climates free of violence
Schools have until March 1 to review and update comprehensive school safety plans that include policies for dealing with issues ranging from bullying to disaster preparedness, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said today.
"The safety of our students is our top priority and being prepared for any scenario is the first step in creating a stronger, safer, and positive climate for them to learn," Torlakson said.
California Education Code Section 32286 requires each school site to review and update its school safety plan by March 1 of each year. These plans must have policies that deal with crime, safety, child abuse reporting procedures, disaster preparedness, emergency shelters, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, hate crimes, toxic substances, and more.
The CDE has created online tools to help guide schools step by step in creating comprehensive school safety plans that address everything from bullying and mental health issues to disaster preparedness.
The new School Safety Plan Self-Monitoring Tool (DOC) provides a checklist of items a safety plan must include to comply with the law. The CDE's School Safety Elements and Resources document has been updated to help schools identify ways to improve school climate and safety. The CDE also offers suggestions for students, parents, the community, and law enforcement on how to Improve Collaboration on School Safety Issues. For more information, please visit the CDE's Safe Schools Planning Web pages.
State Agencies to Work Together to Help Students with Disabilities
The CDE is teaming up with the Department of Rehabilitation, Department of Developmental Services, and Disabilities Rights California to develop a blueprint to prepare people with disabilities for meaningful employment. The blueprint will support employment settings where people with disabilities can get fair wages and compensation; and establish goals, responsibilities, requirements, recommendations, and a resolution process for disputes.
This stems from Governor Edmund G. Brown's "Employment First" Executive Order issued in 2013, making California one of a growing number of states supporting Integrated, Competitive Employment (ICE). ICE is defined as helping people with disabilities typically get part- or full-time work in the community, minimum wage or above, and compensation equal to other workers.
The CDE is responsible for monitoring school districts in providing appropriate services to help students with disabilities transition into the workforce. By supporting the state's Employment First policy, students with disabilities will acquire the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to obtain jobs in integrated settings at a competitive wage that promotes community participation and self-sufficiency. For more information on how the CDE supports students with special needs, visit its Special Education Web page.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100