News Briefs | FYI
March 20, 2023
Communicators honored during CALSPRA awards
School communicators were honored during the annual California School Public Relations Association conference March 1-4 in San Diego.
ACSA received an Award of Merit in the Multimedia/Visual Communication category for the Legislative Lunch Break. This is the second consecutive year the show has been honored with this award, which recognizes excellence in multimedia and visual communications. The live and interactive show debuted in May 2020 and provides analysis on legislation and news affecting school leaders.
The show is hosted by ACSA Executive Director Edgar Zazueta and Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Naj Alikhan and produced by Multimedia Strategist Michael Kelly and Communications Specialist Gianna Miller.
Several special awards were also given during the event. The Emerging Communication Leader award went to Jacqueline Dillard, Butte County Office of Education. The Communicator of the Year award was given to Gail Pinsker, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. The California Gold award went to Visalia Unified School District for the Visalia Unified Monthly Update. The President’s Award was given to the California School Boards Association for Honoring Native Culture. In addition, four district leaders were chosen as Superintendents to Watch: Kirk Shrum, Visalia Unified School District; Andy Johnsen, San Marcos Unified School District; Julie Vitale, Oceanside Unified School District; and Chris Funk, Dublin Unified School District.
NCTQ shares seven strategies for recruiting diverse teachers
What are school districts doing to increase diversity in their workforces? A new National Council on Teacher Quality article shares promising practices used by five school HR leaders.
From “grow your own” programs, “impact factor” bonuses, and stickers, the latest issue of NCTQ’s District Trendline shares approaches that are leading to more teachers of color in the classroom, which research shows to have a positive impact on student success. The article presents seven strategies, including “Recruit inside (and outside) the box” and “Help principals make good hiring decisions.”
One district leverages high-profile community members in its recruiting efforts. Knox County Schools in Tennessee encourages school board members and other officials to carry stickers that say, “Join our team.” The stickers have a QR code that links to a form that connects people to a recruiter. “So far, the district has gotten over 100 leads for potential teachers (and they are three times as diverse as the district’s current teachers),” according to the article.
Other strategies involve finding candidates that are a good “values fit” by asking screening questions that relate to the district’s diversity goals.
Blackstone Valley Prep in Rhode Island retains teachers who have specific assets by offering salary increases based on “impact factors,” such as being a first-generation college graduate or being bilingual.
“I’m an incrementalist. I think getting 5 to 10 percent better every year is really important,” said Ben Felton, acting chief talent officer at Chicago Public Schools. “We failed a million times along the way. We tried things that didn’t work. We had good ideas for which we couldn’t get funding. There’s paralysis around finding the perfect program; such a thing doesn’t exist, so we learned to lean into and double down on the programs and strategies showing promise. And now, we’re proud to be seeing the results!”
Read the article at
Submit proposals to present at Lead With Pride Summit
The deadline to submit your proposal to present at ACSA’s 2023 ACSA Lead With Pride Summit has been extended. The summit, which will be held May 3-5 at Town and Country in San Diego, will empower California school administrators and educators with the tools to create safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQIA+ students and staff. Visit to submit your proposal. The deadline is now 5 p.m. Friday, March 24. A discounted registration rate will be given for presenters (up to three per session).
CALSA women’s leadership event to host Sylvia Mendez
The CALSA Women’s Leadership Network will be hosting their annual event March 31 through April 1 in San Francisco with the theme “Leading Brilliantly.” Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and civil rights advocate Sylvia Mendez will be the keynote speaker. There will be various breakout sessions with opportunities to connect and network. All districts and roles are invited to participate in this event. Registration info at www.
RFA available for school counselor residency grants
The state budget signed in July 2022 authorized $10 million for capacity grants to establish new school counselor residency programs that support local efforts to recruit and retain a diverse school counseling workforce that reflects a LEA community’s diversity. The School Counselor Residency Capacity Grant RFA is now available. Applications are due to the CTC by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2023. Visit for more information.
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