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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
News Briefs | FYI
June 28, 2021
LACOE shares guidelines to support outdoor learning
The Los Angeles County Office of Education has published design guidelines to help schools and facilities professionals create equitable everyday outdoor learning experiences on their campuses.
The guidelines, which were published through the support of HMC Architects and engineering and construction experts, come after the COVID-19 pandemic challenged educators to be creative with outdoor space as a way to support the safe return to in-person instruction given the lower risk of virus transmission.
After spending the last year mostly indoors, isolated and in front of a screen, it’s more evident now than ever that young students crave connectedness with the natural world, which offers a unique opportunity for cognitive and physical development.
In March 2020 — during the advent of COVID-19 — HMC began a long and ongoing research effort to better understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 and develop solutions for the safer reopening of PreK-12 schools. One common solution was the need for more open-air spaces.
LACOE and HMC also found that while the pandemic has forced educators to innovate and be creative with outdoor space to lower the risk of virus transmission, there are numerous benefits — pandemic or not — that outdoor education provides.
“Outdoor learning offers students a range of benefits, from enhancing engagement to reducing stress and promoting physical and psychological wellbeing,” said Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools, in a news release. “Yet far too many of our young people, particularly those in inner-city and low-income communities, have not had access to outdoor learning environments and green space — not before nor during the pandemic. Increasing opportunities for outdoor learning is essential to advancing educational equity.”
Just as COVID-19 has disproportionately affected some populations more than others, this inequity is another educational injustice that the pandemic has exposed. According to LACOE and HMC, this inequity is an opportunity to seize the moment with strategies that place priority on meeting the needs of the whole child.
Read the guidelines at
Study: Participation in summer learning programs is low
Summer 2021 is poised to be a critical time for students, as families start to recover from learning disruptions caused by COVID-19. Yet student participation in summer learning programs remains low due to unmet demand and cost barriers, according to “Time for a Game-Changing Summer, With Opportunity and Growth for All of America’s Youth,” a new study commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance.
The study finds that 47 percent of families report at least one of their children participated in a summer program in 2019. That figured dropped to 34 percent in 2020, as the pandemic upended education and family and work life.
Unmet demand for summer experiences is high. Nearly 14 million children whose parents wanted to enroll them were not in summer programs in 2019. There are also troubling inequities in access to summer programs. While 27 percent of children in higher-income families participated in a structured summer experience in 2019, just 14 percent of students in families with low incomes did.
Read the report at
Submit proposal to present at Every Child Counts
The ACSA’s Student Services and Special Education Council invites you to submit a proposal to present at the 2022 Every Child Counts Symposium, Jan. 12-14, 2022 at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert. This year’s theme is “Staying on Course IRL (In Real Life).” Proposals are due by July 31, 2021. Selected presenters will be notified in August and will receive a discounted registration rate. Find information on strands, selection criteria and the proposal submission form at
CDE forming focus group on Student Growth Model
At the May 2021 meeting, the State Board of Education approved a methodology for measuring student growth at the student level and in aggregations (i.e., school, LEA, student group). As a result, CDE will be releasing growth scores for students in grades 4 through 8 for informational purposes only. The next release of the new growth score is likely to be 2024 because three years of sequential data is needed. The growth score data is not actionable due to its historical nature. Further, the data has no relationship with California’s Accountability System. CDE is developing a communication plan for the Student Growth Model, and is soliciting people to participate in focus groups around the communication materials and strategies for student growth in 2021 and 2022. If interested, please send an email to the Academic Accountability Unit ( with your name, e-mail address, county of employment, position, and employment (i.e., county office of education; school district; school; or other). Please state in the email subject line: Participate in Growth Model Focus Group.
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