WestEd’s Kevin Schaefer recently received the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA)* Partners in Educational Excellence Award for Region XIX (Riverside, CA).

The award recognizes exemplary school-community partnerships and honors those who have made significant contributions to public education.

“Kevin brings extraordinary talent to our work at WestEd,” says Rorie Fitzpatrick, Co-Director of WestEd’s National Center for Systemic Education (NCSI). “His dedication to children, families, and the professionals who support them is equally matched by his strong capacity to support positive conditions of teaching and learning on behalf of all students, and particularly children with disabilities. This award is hard earned and well-deserved!”

As a Technical Assistance Facilitator for NCSI, Schaefer was acknowledged for his work with Lake Elsinore Unified School District to increase inclusive practices and to improve access to services for all students.

Using Schaefer’s training on Multi-Tiered System of Supports as the foundation, Lake Elsinore (CA) Unified School District has “become prevention oriented rather than reactive,”  and has “designed a framework to address the academic, behavioral and social needs of every student, creating a culture where the entire school community is responsible for the learning of each student,” states the award nomination form for Schaefer.

The training also has resulted in the hiring of a full-time intervention specialist whose focus is to support the transition of special education students into the general education setting. In addition, parents have banded together to form the MTSS Parent Network to strengthen the partnership among school, parents, and the community. Parent Network attendance continues to grow.

“I was both surprised and thrilled by the nomination and, ultimately by receiving the award,” says Schaefer, pictured on the left working with Lake Elsinore Unified School District staff. “Over the last two years, the implementation of MTSS in the Lake Elsinore Unified School District has been a collaborative effort among the district, WestEd, the California Teachers Association, and the California Department of Education.”

Adds Schaefer: “I was honored to be asked to be part of the continuous improvement team and activities that are improving outcomes for all students in the Lake Elsinore Unified School District. They are doing amazing things!”

Schaefer is a Senior Program Associate with WestEd’s Center for Prevention & Early Intervention, which houses NCSI.

* ACSA is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the United States, serving more than 17,000 California educators. Schaefer’s award automatically triggers his inclusion as a candidate for ACSA’s statewide Partners in Educational Excellence award.