The California P-16 Council (Council) is a high level, statewide
assembly of educators from preschool, K-12, higher education,
business, philanthropy, and community leaders appointed by
Superintendent O’Connell and chaired by Dr. Barry Munitz. The
Council is charged with developing strategies to better coordinate,
integrate, and improve education for preschool through college
Visit the California Department of Education Web site for a complete list of P-16 Council members.
Addressing the Achievement Gap
Superintendent O’Connell asked his Council to take the lead researching, and identify strategies for closing the achievement gap. The Council's mission is: "To develop, implement and sustain a specific, ambitious plan that holds the State of California accountable for creating the conditions necessary for closing the achievement gap."
The work of the Council is organized around four major themes identified by the acronym, ACES.
- Access - How can students gain access to what they need? This could include rigorous curriculum and instruction; highly effective teachers; counselors; extra learning options that supplement the education provided in a typical school day; and health and social services; etc.
- Culture/climate - How can schools offer the best learning environment for all students? Is it a safe place for students to learn? Is it an environment that promotes learning and a sense of belonging for students and school staff? Does it offer culturally relevant and responsive instruction? Do effective school- family-community partnerships exist?
- Expectations – Are high expectations for all students and teachers truly held? Is it evident in the curriculum, instructional practices, student assignments, and the school’s communication to students, parents, and school staff? Is student progress measured using data and effective instructional strategies?
- Strategies – What practices have proven effective (or are promising) for closing the achievement gap? Strategies should address improving the quality of instruction; differentiated instruction; increasing instructional time; teacher collaboration time; reconsidering how to differentiate schools by grade span; etc.
About the P-16 Unit at the California Department of Education:
The P-16 Unit is a newly established office within the California Department of Education under the Policy Development and External Affairs Branch. The P-16 Unit is charged with assisting the California P-16 Council to conduct research, coordinating the development of recommendations for closing the achievement gap, and assisting in the actualization and implementation of recommendations.