The CDE Foundation collaborates with the California Department of Education to address student health and wellness in a comprehensive way that aligns with the Whole Child principles built into Blueprint 2.0, which was released earlier this year.
Since 2014, the CDE Foundation has co-led the creation and coordination of the California Department of Education/Count Offices of Education Attendance Peer Learning Network. Together we are working to improve academic achievement outcomes in California by addressing barriers to attendance early on and reducing rates of chronic absence, key health metric linked to proven practices with real, positive impacts on student achievement outcomes.
We pursued the opportunity to create an Attendance Peer Learning Network on the state level, using state infrastructure & resources, in support of data-driven education interventions. The focus has been on increasing the capacity of County Offices of Education to support their districts in addressing chronic absence at the elementary school level.
A Planning Team, which includes the California Department of Education (Coordinated Student Support Services Division), the CA County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), Attendance Works, and the Region IX Equity Assistance Center (EAC) at WestEd, has led the Peer Learning Network.
The pilot cohort includes four participating counties: San Luis Obispo, Lake, Riverside, and Kings. Together they have brought in a total of 13 districts, representing nearly 35,000 students. Each county has a County Facilitator, and each district has a Team Lead. As the Network develops, the Planning Team will outreach to other California counties.
Research confirms that health and wellness are vital for academic achievement. Healthy children are more successful in school, have fewer absences, maintain better attention, less frequent or severe behavioral issues, and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. Educators benefit from students who arrive ready to learn and are supported by consistent, quality health and wellness resources.
Prior TCHK efforts have galvanized coalitions to provide fresh, nutritious foods, and clean drinking water in schools, as well as increase participation in regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
CDE Foundation has worked with the California Department of Education to enhance TCHK’s online presence to provide more resources to educators, parents, and students and proactively engage with other stakeholder organizations, including California Food Policy Advocates, Partnerships for Children and Youth, the California School-Based Health Alliance, and the California Community Schools Network.