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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
News Briefs | FYI
January 25, 2021
PACE brief: Recess should be a priority in reopened schools
Recess should be a priority for elementary schools when they reopen for in-person instruction, according to a new policy brief from Policy Analysis for California Education.
Due to the prolonged school closures and the trauma that students have endured during the pandemic, schools would be wise to focus on healing by offering recess every day to every child, according to the authors of the brief released this month.
“When students are physically at their schools, recess is the ideal place for them to reconnect with their community and heal from their distress. It is the only time in the elementary school day that is intentionally unstructured and simultaneously attends to students’ social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. It is also the primary opportunity for play during the school day, which decades of research has shown is essential for learning.”
The report cites research from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that supports the benefits of recess.
However, significant disparities in access to recess before the pandemic may limit students’ ability to experience its benefits. Students who are Black and Latinx, as well as those in low-income urban schools, have historically had less access to recess than have their White and more advantaged peers. The authors also note that some students may have their recess withheld as a punishment for behavior.
“Ensuring recess is scheduled and offered during every in-person school day for every child is an important way to close the opportunity gap for recess and offer all children access to this key developmental and healing space,” according to the brief.
The brief makes recommendations for schools on how to hold recess while also minimizing the spread of the coronavirus, such as limiting contact sports and considering equipment-free games.
“Short of keeping elementary students sitting in desks all day, schools may need to take other measures to ensure virus containment should hotspots break out. Cancelling recess should not be one of these measures,” according to the brief. “Medical professionals have advised that being outside diminishes virus spread and that other times of the school day, such as lunch or physical education in an enclosed gymnasium, pose a greater risk.”
Read the full brief at
Two CA schools receive national distinction
Two California schools have received national recognition as 2020 National Elementary and Secondary Education Act Distinguished Schools — formerly known as National Title I Distinguished Schools.
Sixth Street Prep School in the Victor Elementary School District and Solano Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles Unified School District are two of up to 100 schools throughout the country being recognized.
“Congratulations to principals Collin Rowe and Jorge Parra, as well as all of the educators, staff, administrators, parents and students at these schools,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in a Jan. 7 news release. “Not only were these two schools already named 2020 California Distinguished Schools, they’re also being recognized for their excellent work closing achievement gaps between student groups and ensuring academic growth for students who need extra assistance.”
Sixth Street Prep School was selected because it performed exceptionally in Category 1 of the qualifying categories (exceptional student performance and academic growth for two or more consecutive years), while Solano Avenue Elementary School performed well in Category 2 (closing the achievement gap between student groups for two or more consecutive years).
A project of the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (formerly the National Title I Association), the National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program publicly recognizes qualifying federally funded schools for the outstanding academic achievements of their students. It highlights schools across the country making significant improvements for their students. What makes National ESEA Distinguished Schools’ stories especially powerful are the documented student achievement gains that have resulted from their collaborative and targeted efforts and innovations.
The ESEA provides additional resources for vulnerable students and federal grants to state educational agencies to improve the quality of public elementary and secondary education. Learn more at
Join ed leaders for joint conversation Feb. 5 Join ACSA Curriculum Council and the Region 15 Comprehensive Center housed at WestEd for a second joint community of practice conversation “Piecing it Together Virtually,” from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5. This discussion will focus on the second semester/spring challenges and provide a forum for engaging in problem solving together, sharing best practices, creating professional connections, collecting/sharing resources, and providing data to inform state-level policy. Any administrator wrestling with these topics is invited to attend (ACSA membership not required). Visit to register.
CASSP webinar held Jan. 27 Local educational agency CAASPP and ELPAC coordinators will have an opportunity to hear directly from the CDE at 2 p.m. Jan. 27 during the second Assessment Update Webinar of the 2020–21 series. The CDE Assessment Division will present an up-to-the-minute assessment update along with a question and answer session. To register for this webinar, go to and select this event from the listings, and complete the registration.
Nominations accepted for CTC accreditation committee Nominations are being accepted for one K-12 and two institution of higher education members on the Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s Committee on Accreditation. Prospective members must submit application materials by Feb. 28, 2021. Submit applications to A nominations panel screens the applications and determines finalists, who move forward to the review by members of the commission.
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