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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
News Briefs | FYI
March 22, 2021
Fewer seniors filled out FAFSA in 2020-21
Fewer California students completed financial aid applications this year, which could reduce the number of incoming college students who receive this crucial support, especially among low-income and underrepresented students.
According to a recent blog post from the PPIC, approximately 39 percent of high school seniors completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, in the 2020-21 school year, a 10 percentage point drop from the previous year.
The author notes that distance learning may have created a barrier to students filling out the form because student counseling services moved online, making it more difficult to get guidance, particularly for student who lack internet access.
“Governor Newsom’s most recent budget proposes that local education agencies — school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools — ensure that all their high school seniors have either submitted the FAFSA (or the state equivalent for undocumented students) or have opted out of doing so,” according to the post. “This proposal stops short, however, of making FAFSA completion a prerequisite for high school graduation, which states like Louisiana, Texas, and Illinois have done over the past two years.”
Read the full blog post.
NCTQ: Lowering standards not necessary to diversify teaching
Elementary teacher preparation programs can enroll a diverse cohort of students while maintaining sufficient academic standards, according to a new analysis from the National Council on Teacher Quality.
The NCTQ reviewed both the academic admissions requirements and diversity in enrollments in over 1,200 of the nation’s elementary teacher preparation programs, and found that 198 programs are driving greater teacher diversity in their communities while also maintaining adequate admission standards — strong evidence that academic selectivity and diversity are not mutually exclusive.
“The idea that you have to lower standards to diversify teaching is an erroneous calculation,” said Sharif El-Mekki, CEO of The Center for Black Educator Development, in a news release accompanying the NCTQ report. “It is my hope that institutions of higher education, school districts, as well as state and federal agencies will use this report to act with accountability and urgency by really diving in and interrogating what they are doing to improve teacher preparation programs and teacher diversity, and aligning all efforts to ensure accelerated student outcomes.”
A diverse teacher workforce benefits all students, particularly students of color. Research has found that having same-race teachers increases student achievement, improves the likelihood of graduating high school and attending college, and can lead to lifelong benefits for students of color. At the same time, teachers who were themselves strong students are more likely to be effective teachers. Greater selectivity in admissions to preparation programs provides students with access to the highest quality teachers, helps to raise the status of the teaching profession and supports the push for higher teacher salaries.
Programs that prepare teachers have long struggled to attract Black and Hispanic candidates, with only 7 percent of programs reporting enrollments that match the diversity of the rest of the student body on the campuses where they reside. If the programs in this study were to reflect the diversity of their institution, NCTQ estimates that approximately 80,000 more persons of color could enter the teacher pipeline each year.
Find the full report, “Teacher Prep Review: Program Diversity and Admissions 2021” at
U.S. Senate Youth Program representatives announced
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced two outstanding high school students to represent California in the 59th annual United States Senate Youth Program, sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.
Jamaal Willis of Barstow, a senior at Barstow High School in the Barstow Unified School District, and Sathvik Nori of Atherton, a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School in the Sequoia Union High School District, were selected for their exceptional leadership skills, remarkable commitment to their schools and communities, and scholastic achievement as California’s delegates in this highly competitive program.
“I could not be prouder to recognize these students for this honor. These young scholars will represent our state on a national stage, and I’m confident they will one day rise to leadership positions that help advance the dreams, aspirations, and ambitions of Californians for years to come,” Thurmond said, in a news release. “I am impressed and inspired by their strong leadership and passion. From advocating for racial equity and civil rights to working on mental health awareness and increasing civic engagement among their peers, these students desire to empower the disadvantaged and improve the lives of others, which fills me with great optimism for our future.”
Thurmond also named two alternates in the event that one or both of the delegates are unable to attend the program. The first alternate is Emma Barrosa of Glendora, a senior at Glendora High School in Glendora Unified. The second alternate is Michael Zhao of San Jose, a senior at Lynbrook High School in the Fremont Union High School District.
The United States Senate Youth Program provides a yearly opportunity for selected students to gain an in-depth view of the Senate and the federal government overall as well as a deeper understanding of the interrelationship of the legislative, judicial and executive branches, according to the national USSYP website. The program provides a foundation of knowledge and encouragement for those considering a future in public service on the local, state or national level.
Two student leaders from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity each receive a $10,000 scholarship and participated this year in Washington Week Online, an interactive experience, from March 14–18, 2021. Students must be nominated by their high school principal to participate in the program. To qualify for the program, high school juniors or seniors must be actively serving in an elected or appointed leadership position in which they are representing a constituency in organizations related to student government, education, public affairs and/or community service as well as express an interest in pursuing a career in public service.
For more information, visit
Submit nominations now for women leadership award Know an outstanding woman in educational leadership? Nominate her for the Exemplary Woman in Education Award, which will be presented at a future women’s leadership event. The nominee should serve as a role model for other women and demonstrate a passion for the profession, a commitment to grow and develop others, a desire to give back through service, advocacy for the value of school administrators, and effective crisis leadership during unprecedented times. Find the nomination form and more information at The nomination deadline is April 23, 2021.
Hiring districts invited to participate in career fair School districts can now register for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools annual teacher recruitment fair to be held from 4-7 p.m. April 28. This fair will utilize a virtual format providing California public K-12 school districts, county offices and public charter schools the opportunity to expand their recruitment efforts to reach a broader pool of candidates. Participating agencies will engage with prospective employees through interactive webinars to match potential candidates with available full-time and part-time teaching positions for K-12 grade levels. On or before April 16, school districts seeking to recruit teachers can register for free at Using the same link, candidates can begin registering on March 22 through April 27. The virtual teacher recruitment fair is hosted in collaboration with Tulare County Office of Education and California Center on Teaching Careers. For more information about the recruitment fair, call 909-386-9561.
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