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Finding a great school in California

We're here to help you explore your options and find the right school for your child. Check out the resources below to learn more about how to choose a school, what to look for, and the schools available in your area.

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After school and summer learning in California »

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Parent Portal – doorway to answers

Proactive parenting! Find information and resources to support your child's education and care at the Department of Education's Parent Portal. Learn about education standards, school performance, and helping youths be better students.

Parents can find information on kindergarten admission, before and after school programs, health initiatives, special education, bullying, child care options, GED, and more. Visit the California Department of Education's Parent Portal for more information.
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After school and Expanded Learning Opportunities

How is your child learning beyond the school day? Expanded Learning Opportunities include before and after school, summer, and intersession learning experiences that develop the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs and interests of students.

California's Expanded Learning programs are an integral part of young people's education, engaging them in year-round learning opportunities that prepare them for college, career, and life.

Expanded Learning Opportunities should be hands-on, engaging, student-centered, and results-driven. They involve community partners and should complement the learning activities of the regular school day/year. Find out more about before school, after school and summer learning programs from the school, district, or community center in your area. For more information about the Expanded Learning Opportunities program visit the California Expanded Learning and the California Department of Education websites.
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CORE Districts

Is your child among the nearly 1 million students included in the 10 CORE Districts? This system to improve schools will focus on academic preparedness, social-emotional skills, the culture and climate of a school, and collaborative learning from each other.

Ten school districts in California, called CORE Districts, are collaborating to support great teaching and learning in their schools. Taking a holistic approach to school improvement, districts are working together to implement the Common Core State Standards by supporting effective school leaders and teachers; developing student academic and social-emotional skills; and building a positive climate and culture in every classroom and school. The CORE Districts are holding themselves accountable for preparing all students for college and career. What does this mean for programs and testing at your school? Visit the CORE Districts website for more details.
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Join in funding and accountability decisions (LCFF/LCAP)

Want to improve your child's school? Follow the money. By law, your school district needs you to be involved in how funds are budgeted and used through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

This new local approach to school funding requires school districts to involve parents in planning and decision-making. It also provides additional funding for students who need it the most, including English learners, foster youth or students eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The LCFF requires each district to develop a Local Accountability and Control Plan (LCAP) in collaboration with parents, teachers, school staff, and the community. This plan gives districts more control over school budgets to better serve the needs of your kids. Ask your school or district about the LCAP at your school. For more information about the LCFF/LCAP, visit the fairshare4kids website and the California Department of Education site.
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Summer Matters

The Summer Matters campaign focuses on creating and expanding access to high-quality summer learning opportunities for all California students to prevent the devastating effects of summer learning loss – the loss of academic skills over summer break.

Why Summer Matters
This first-ever statewide campaign is raising awareness about the devastating effects of summer learning loss particularly on at-risk youths. The impact of summer learning programs is not just beneficial but essential to students' K-12 success. The programs prevent "summer slide" and encourage students to be lifelong learners, rather than solely classroom learners. Every California student deserves a summer filled with engaging and enriching learning activities that support educational success, physical health, and overall well-being. High-quality summer learning programs change students' lives for the better each and every summer, improving students' academic achievement and readiness to learn each and every year.

Summer learning is best when students are:
  • Exposed to new adventures, skills, and ideas
  • Experiencing a mix of activities – reading, writing, math, science, arts – in ways that are fun and engaging
  • Getting better at doing something they care about
  • Working with their friends on group projects
  • Enjoying nutritious food, physical activity, and time outdoors
  • Getting enough time – at least a month – to benefit from these experiences

  • Visit the Summer Matters Campaign website for more information.

    For fun ideas on summer planning and activities for your child, visit our Summer Planning page.
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California's public library summer reading programs

Not sure how to prevent "summer slide" – the loss of academic skills over summer break? For help, visit your local public library to help open up new worlds, spark imagination, develop critical thinking, and prepare and support youths in school and life.

Public libraries offer summer reading, summer learning, and summer fun. Summer reading programs help prevent summer learning loss by encouraging and helping children and teens to read all summer long. Many people don't realize summer reading programs are for all ages, from babies to adults, and everyone can take part and make summer reading a family experience.

Visit your public library this summer and be part of the One Million Readers Challenge and let everyone know what a great time you're having at the library using the hashtag #onemillionreaders.

In addition to books, local libraries also offer a variety of activities, programs, seminars, and learning activities--things such as arts-and-craft workshops, app academies, STEM and STEAM workshops, gaming, music-making, and much more. Your local library can make it easier to keep kids engaged and learning while school is out.

Why does summer reading matter? Remember: when kids don't read, work math problems, or aren't engaged in other learning experiences, their education can actually regress during long breaks

Visit your local libraries and their websites for details. Visit the California Library Association for library news and information.
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