ACSA’s Academies are set to kick into high gear with the Categorical Programs Academy being the first to begin this week in Fairfield. This intensive 30-hour academy is designed around the California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders.
This year, by popular demand a second Fairfield academy is being offered, so registrants can choose between the weeklong summer session in July or weekends beginning Aug. 17.
The academy will assist leaders in facilitating an integrated approach to maximizing services to students through the use of categorical resources. The issues covered include state and federal programs, needs assessment, program goals and objectives, resource allocation and budgeting.
Fairfield Academy Director Lisette Estrella-Henderson said that knowing the ins and outs of categoricals is still crucial, even in the current era of block grant flexibility.
“I believe what has become more important than ever before is the understanding of how to most effectively allocate all of the resources available,” she said.
She noted that even with greater flexibility, it’s key for program and business colleagues to work collaboratively and in alignment with each other, whereas they may have previously been used to working in isolation, resulting in missed opportunities to access available resources.
“Working closely with your business department can assist you to meet the goals and needs of the program,” she said. “The academy emphasizes how fiscal and program accountability go hand-in-hand; they are inextricably linked.”
Ontario Academy Director Sandy Clifton-Bacon also noted the close connection between categorical programs and school business directors. She said ACSA’s School Business Academy is excellent – she’s taken it herself in the past. And while it does cover categoricals, the dedicated academy covers a much wider range of issues.
“Many times categorical directors have commented on how great it would have been if their business counterpart could have attended the Categorical Programs Academy,” Clifton-Bacon said. “Last year, I had two business officials attend with their categorical directors, and they found it very beneficial, since they were able to talk in context regarding their programs and funding.”
Estrella-Henderson noted that there has been a shift toward a greater understanding of the importance of collaboration and partnership and blended funding models and how critical they are to effectively planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating state and federal categorical funds.
“In terms of flexibility, it is also critical to consider resources in terms of not only fiscal but also human resources, facility resources, community and partner agency resources that can assist you to leverage and maximize your categorical funds to meet programmatic needs,” she said.
Overall, Estrella-Henderson said the Categorical Programs Academy is an excellent professional development opportunity for categorical program administrators, other district administrators and principals to network and receive up-to-date information specific to state and federal funding.
“You have the opportunity to learn from each other, share experiences, ideas, and models for effective program implementation,” she said. “You also build collaborative relationships and a long-term professional network of colleagues that you can call and rely upon to support you whenever needed.”
The Categorical Programs Academy will focus on program alignment of funds and services, both at federal and state levels. Since this is an ever-changing climate, academy speakers can provide up-to-the-moment information.
With prior approval from a CTC approved Tier 2 program, Academy hours may be used to fulfill a portion of the ATP practicum or fieldwork requirements for Tier 2 programs.
The upcoming weekend academies are offered Friday evenings, 5-9 p.m. and Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registrants receive a total of 30 hours of instruction by attending all scheduled sessions.
Locations and dates are:
• Solano County Office of Education, Aug. 17-18, Sept. 15, Oct. 6 and 27.
• ACSA Ontario Office, Aug. 3-4, Sept. 7-8, Oct. 5-6.
For full information and registration materials, go to www.acsa.org/academies.
ACSA has added a new Curriculum & Instructional Leaders Academy in Victorville, with start dates of Oct. 26-27. The southwestern desert location is expected to save travel time for many in the area. Meanwhile the new Innovative Technology Academy is continuing to evolve, with trainers being trained and start dates to be announced soon. Visit www.acsa.org/academies.