2023 Conference
California Charter Schools Leadership Update
Anaheim, CA · November 8-10, 2023

Shifting Mindsets, Changing Culture: Systems that Support All Students

S05


When/Where:
,
255C
Format
Summit

Shifting Mindsets, Changing Culture: Systems that Support All Students

Truly inclusive practices and strong student services make a world of difference for some students. Schools need coherent, intentional systems to help students survive and thrive. In this Summit, state leaders and three charter school networks will present about their systems for true inclusion student wellness and behavior support. This interactive summit will present structures to promote belonging and provide prevention, intervention, and postvention supports. Most important, this summit will support attendees with practical strategies to shift adult mindsets to transform school culture.


Shifting Mindsets: From Inclusion to True Belonging in the Classroom

True inclusion of neurodiverse students in general education classrooms means that all students actively participate in group activities, are shielded from emotional harm, and are supported in their academic pursuits. This entails challenging and rectifying ableist policies, practices, and prevailing mindsets that may obstruct genuine inclusivity. Transforming learning environments begins with creating a culture of accountability for all students. Some common barriers the session will address include staff resistance, the occasional anger in discussions about prevalent practices that may not genuinely benefit students, and misconceptions. This professional learning opportunity will empower educators, administrators, and support staff to envision and realize school environments that acknowledges the rightful presence of students with disabilities.


Lead With Love: Creating A Student Mental Health Framework.

Scholarship Prep Charter School has built a custom MTSS framework that includes mental health services for All, Some, and Few. Our team will discuss how to build, implement, and refine your own framework for identifying and supporting students’ mental health needs. Attendees will learn how to build preventative supports for “All” including daily check-in activities and a weekly universal screener; preventative and reactive supports for “Some” including counselor and psychologist sessions; and intense supports for “Few” through community partnerships and outside referrals. Our mental health MTSS framework has contributed to our students outperforming their district peers in ELA and Math, with lower chronic absenteeism and suspension rates and over 95% satisfaction with school staff and programs. Our four campuses are succeeding with a student population that includes 85% students of color, 80% socioeconomically disadvantaged, and 20% homeless youth.


Counselors Supporting the Whole Child: A Proactive Approach.

Palm Desert Charter Middle School will explain how their counseling program built a proactive Social Emotional Learning (SEL) model. The model serves all students through school transitions, a tiered system of supports, and parent education and advocacy. Walk away with sample models to adapt for your site.


A Restorative Approach to Developing a Comprehensive School- Wide Behavior Support System

By implementing a restorative approach to our behavior system, the Accelerated Schools cut our behavior referrals and needs for support in half, from one year to the next. This session will focus on establishing a comprehensive school-wide behavior support system, to provide equitable experiences for students. This includes identifying shared goals and clearly defining the roles of the school leader responsible for implementation of the behavior support system. The Summit will introduce restorative projects as alternatives to suspension and ways to improve student attendance, reduce tardies and boost student success. The session will include an activity to explore restorative approaches to address common behavior scenarios that are trending right now.

Presented by


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Alfredo Ruiz

School Counselor
Palm Desert Middle Charter School

Counselor at Palm Desert Charter Middle School


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Amber Blackwell

Dean of Culture K-8
The Accelerated Schools

Amber Blackwell is currently the Dean of Culture for K-8 at The Accelerated Schools located in South LA. She has twelve years of educational experience in the k-12 setting, in which she is highly skilled in implementing restorative justice practices. As an Athletic Scholarship recipient, she earned an undergraduate degree at Carson Newman College where she was the captain of the Women's basketball team. She also received a single subject teaching credential from California State Dominguez Hills as well as obtained a Masters in Education School Counseling Degree with a PPS credential from USC.


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Andrew Crowe

Deputy Director
Scholarship Prep Charter School

Andrew Crowe is the Deputy Director at Scholarship Prep, a network of charter schools serving students in grades TK-8. Andrew has led the closing of the opportunity and achievement gaps as a teacher, instructional coach, site administrator, and district leader in Philadelphia, Hawai`i, and Southern California. Andrew holds a Bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame, a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a Teach For America corps member. He currently serves as the Chair of the Native American Alumni Board of Notre Dame.


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David M. Toston, Sr.

Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives
California Collaborative for Educational Excellence

David M. Toston, Sr., is a Senior Advisor at the CCEE. In this role, David leads programs assisting local educational agencies through collaboration with the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education to improve educational outcomes. At CCEE, his responsibilities encompass the state-wide system of support, program evaluations, community engagement initiative, 21 CSLA, literacy initiatives, internal operations, and direct technical assistance. Before joining CCEE, David held executive positions at large complex public agencies in Washington State and California. He brings experience in organizational and instructional leadership, policy formulation for underserved learners, and systemic improvement. During his time in California, he has supported small rural communities, oversaw a 450-member consortium of charter schools, and launched the System Improvement Leads and Supporting Inclusive Practices programs. Recognized for his expertise and communication skills, David has contributed to numerous state committees and professional organizations. As chair of a statewide nonprofit organization, he led the strategic planning and advocacy for increased funding and policies for students with disabilities. He has been appointed to roles by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 2017, the State Senate appointed him to the Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE), and was elected to Chair ACSE in 2023. David has completed School Leadership and School Psychology graduate programs and holds advanced certifications in leadership, school finance, continuous improvement, and family engagement. He is currently working towards his doctoral degree in organizational leadership at the University of La Verne.


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Deborah Dolan

Principal
Palm Desert Charter Middle School

Educator for 36 years in private, public, and dependent charter school settings as a teacher and administrator. Currently, Principal of Palm Desert Charter School. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 2. Passionate about learning and creating a healthy environment for student success.


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Dennise Allotey

Principal on Assignment
Scholarship Prep Charter School

Dennise Allotey is currently serving as a Principal on Assignment, supporting leadership across the organization. She was the former Principal and founding first-grade teacher of a TK-8th-grade public charter school located in Santa Ana, California. Her passion aligns with the school's mission and vision for bringing equity in education to students experiencing placement in foster families and housing insecurity. She has served the Santa Ana community for the past 7 years providing exceptional services and leadership to all underserved populations. Mrs. Allotey Holds a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in Curriculum/ Instruction from Northern Arizona University.


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Jacob Shefa

KARE Director
Palm Desert Middle Charter School


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Kevin Schaefer

Director of Inclusive Practices
El Dorado County Office of Education -Supporting Inclusive Practices Grant

Kevin Schaefer is currently the Director of Inclusive Practices/Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP) project through the El Dorado COE. In this role, Kevin works to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities through the provision of high-quality leadership and support to the CDE and LEAs throughout the state. Additionally, he provides organizational support by promoting continuous improvement processes and alignment of initiatives that focus on creating environments of belonging that honor the diversity of learners. His varied background as a special education teacher, administrator, and national/state technical assistance provider has led to expertise in the areas of systems change.


When/Where:
,
255C
Format
Summit