Saturday, June 13, 2015


ABSTRACT: The 2014-2015 Monterey County Civil Grand Jury Report “EDUCATION A “NO EXCUSES” APPROACH TO ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING IN MONTEREY COUNTY” document copy is embedded. FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS and RESPONSES REQUIRED sections are reproduced.


F1. English Language Learners (ELL) in Monterey County perform far below the minimal academic standards established by the state and continue to be unprepared for college or the workplace, largely due to inadequate progress in learning English.

F2. Monterey County school districts have developed local control accountability plans (LCAP) that are producing uneven results in ELL academic achievement.

F3. The training and support MCOE (Monterey County Office of Education) offers to school districts in development of their LCAP centers primarily on achieving compliance with state requirements and does not include working together to create quality standards or ELL strategies that can produce positive results.

F4. There is an important role for MCOE to play in regularly disseminating ELL best practices and sharing successful ELL strategies countywide.

F5. There was no evidence to suggest that MCOE promotes two-way communication and a partnership approach with school districts that encourages sharing of information and resources or that solicits frank input about the needs of local English Language Learning programs from frontline educators and administrators.

F6. Although the MCOE website contains a variety of information, it is completely lacking in English Language Learner resources and best practices.

F7. There was no evidence to suggest that MCOE or any other professional organization provides opportunities for stakeholders (school boards, parents, students, staff, community members, etc.) to learn about their role and responsibilities in supporting the English Language Learner.

F8. The workshops, trainings and special programs offered by MCOE are often not well subscribed by school districts.

F9. The relatively few ELL professional development trainings that are offered by MCOE do not appear to be scheduled well enough in advance to allow for planning by school district personnel.

F10. It is very difficult for schools in southern parts of the county to take advantage of MCOE trainings, since most are offered at the Salinas location.

F11. MCOE does not offer online professional development programs/training or significant other alternative delivery systems to increase accessibility and participation.

F12. Quality professional development provided by experienced ELL experts (generally not MCOE staff) and focused on proven evidenced-based methods was identified as a need by County school districts.

F13. MCOE has one specified position for an ELL Specialist that is currently vacant.

F14. There is no operational budget beyond salary for the activities listed in the MCOE ELL Specialist job description.

F15. No professional grant writer(s) is on staff at MCOE to offer expertise, guidance and support to school districts.


All the following recommendations are for action by Monterey County Office of Education, under the direction of the Monterey County Board of Education:

R1. Work with school districts to create a set of ELL standards for use or reference in the development of districts’ LCAP, to make it easier for them to set and achieve ELL goals.

R2. Act as a resource for small school districts located in rural, distant areas of South Monterey County in meeting and exploring how they can work together to make most efficient use of shared ELL and other resources.

R3. Establish a satellite office in South Monterey County to increase accessibility and communication of County programs and services by September 2016.

R4. Take on the role of compiling and disseminating successful ELL practices and performance measurements around the County.

R5. Publish best practices and resources for all ELL stakeholder groups on the MCOE or other dedicated website by September 2016.

R6. Establish the regular practice of offering forums that bring together school district ELL personnel with their counterparts at other districts, so they can share information, explore solutions to similar problems, and share strategies and practices by January 2016.

R7. Sponsor and facilitate an annual stakeholder (i.e. representative parents, boards, students, administrators, support staff, etc.) “Summit” to help each group define its roles and responsibilities that influence the English Language Learning process starting in September

R8. Adopt or develop an online program of professional development workshops to increase access for teachers unable to attend on-site classroom training by June 2017.

R9. Begin a regular practice of soliciting input from all County school districts to determine
professional development needs as a basis for creating an annual calendar of ELL educational
services, workshops, and activities by September 2015.

R10. Make a commitment to bring the best evidence-based state and national programs and expert speakers on English Language Learning for County professional development activities.

R11. Immediately fill the English Language Learning specialist position that has been recently

R12. Establish an operational budget for the MCOE English Language Learning specialist to carry out the full scope of duties that support professional development, open communication and cooperation among all County school districts by September 2015.

R13. Hire a full-time grant writer to consistently identify grant opportunities and develop grant applications to raise additional funds in support of district ELL programs.

R14. Benchmark and evaluate County ELL practices and services against practices used by other COEs that are successfully serving ELL stakeholders beyond state compliance requirements.

R15. Perform an organizational audit to determine optimal staffing levels at the Monterey County Office of Education that reflects the diminished scope of required COE services provided under the new Local Control Funding model.


Pursuant to Penal Code section 933.05, the Monterey County Civil Grand Jury requests responses to all Findings and Recommendations from the following governing bodies:

• Monterey County Office of Education
• Monterey County Board of Education
2014-2015 Monterey County Civil Grand Jury Report
June 11, 2015
(20 pages)

Civil Grand Jury education report falls short
Nancy Kotowski 8:02 p.m. PDT June 12, 2015
The Californian

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