Through our systems improvement and strategic planning services, we partner with LEAs, institutes of higher education, states, and tribal governments to generate the conditions for equitable student learning experiences, opportunities, and outcomes.
Our approach to systems planning helps build effective policy structures, including finance, governance, and accountability, to support education and school-based health system improvement.
Supporting California’s Children Through a Whole Child Approach: A Field Guide for Creating Integrated School Based System of Care
We worked closely with a collaborative of California child-serving education, health, and social service experts and leaders to further California’s current efforts toward one effective, integrated, comprehensive, school-based child-serving system. This guide includes insights for both local education agencies (LEAs) and state leaders, with details and implementation guidance on a wide variety of cross-sector initiatives to support the whole child.
Our Work in Action
Working together with our clients, we determine how the state or district’s structures, policies, resources, and processes can more effectively serve its goals. Below are examples of our work.
Master Plan for Early Learning and Care in California
WestEd led a research team that helped the state achieve its mission related to improved outcomes through effective early learning and care.
WestEd contributions to the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care, along with those from a diverse group of leaders, build upon decades of progress made by researchers, advocates, practitioners, and policymakers to help create a system that serves the varied needs of all families and children.
The Master Plan helps California provide immediate relief to families, children, and early learning and care providers in the wake of COVID-19, while offering a research-based roadmap for building a system that includes developing and enhancing educator workforce, strengthening and unifying programs, streamlining governance and administration and providing equitable funding over the next decade.
Visit the interactive Master Plan for Early Learning and Care website.
Access to Proper Nutrition Equals College Success: Making CalFresh Work for Students
To lessen food insecurity for college students, WestEd worked with the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to convene a diverse group of practitioners, state and county leaders, legislative staff, advocates, researchers, and content experts to understand and document the systemic barriers contributing to low student participation rates in the CalFresh benefit, which is a benefit offered through one of the largest anti-hunger programs in the World.
Building from shared exploration and deeper understanding,this cross-sector leadership group proposed sustainable and actionable policy recommendations to improve identification, enrollment, and streamlined administration of CalFresh benefits to California’s eligible postsecondary students. A culminating policy report was developed. WestEd also provided strategic planning support to CSAC.
Stockton Unified School District (SUSD): A Vision for High-Quality Instruction and Student Support
SUSD approached WestEd as it was defining a bold vision for high-quality instruction and student support designed to improve outcomes. WestEd partnered with the district to conduct an organizational review, including a review of district capacity to support its vision.
Our team provided findings and recommendations to deepen district understanding and improve roles and responsibilities to support effective and efficient district leadership, governance, and management—all in support of the SUSD plan to improve student outcomes. WestEd performed this review by analyzing district operations, staffing, policies, procedures, and structures through the use of program surveys, program data review, and interviews. Similarly, our team has supported numerous school districts across California through organizational reviews and strategic planning efforts with follow-up support to identify barriers to implementation and offer suggestions and technical assistance.
SB 75: Medi-Cal for Students Workgroup Recommendations
WestEd worked closely with the California Department of Education (CDE) to establish and facilitate a workgroup focused on improving coordination and expansion of access to available federal reimbursement for local educational agencies through Medicaid.
Our team developed a culminating report for the California Department of Education Report to the chairs of the relevant policy committees and budget subcommittees of the California State Legislature and the California Department of Finance.
Impact: Greater awareness of the challenges and opportunities for how the various functions of child- and youth-serving agencies work together to design, deploy, and implement school-based health services.
Alisal Union School District (AUSD): A Focus on Equitable Systems
The Alisal Union School District (AUSD) approached WestEd to conduct an organizational review of the district with a focus on moving systems and processes toward greater equity.
The purpose of the review was to analyze how the district was currently organized, conduct comparisons to similar districts, and recommend system improvements with assigned leadership responsibilities and clear next steps. Through the organizational review and collaboration with AUSD leaders, WestEd identified strengths and opportunities related to improving systems and processes to better serve students, families, and school site staff. We led this project with a focus on equity and system coherence and a commitment to measuring impact through valid and reliable data.