The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Foster Focus data system will be presented with a Golden Bell Award at the upcoming 36th annual California School Boards Association (CSBA) awards program. The highly respected award will be presented at a ceremony during CSBA's Awards Luncheon in San Diego on Saturday, December 5, 2015. The ceremony is held in conjunction with the annual CSBA Education Conference.
Frequent school moves are one risk factor threatening the education outcomes of youth in foster care. As a child moves from school to school, important academic records can lag behind or become lost. Designated school district staff, Child Protective Services, and Probation Departments may access the Foster Focus system and instantly retrieve student data that once took weeks to collect, resulting in immediate and appropriate enrollment and placement, and a smoother transition for the child. "Our educational system, and society at large, must do everything possible to help our most vulnerable children," said Sacramento County Board of Education Dr. Eleanor Brown. "Foster Focus enables us to keep foster youth connected with school so they can get the help and support they need to succeed."
Currently, 27 California counties and 135 agencies use Foster Focus. Through a grant from the Stuart Foundation, SCOE is linking district student information systems in multiple California counties to Foster Focus, expanding the network throughout the state and making it possible for users to retrieve data—refreshed daily—to help improve the education outcomes of foster youth. "We have all seen the studies showing that foster youth often struggle in school and are at increased risk of dropping out," said David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools. "But with the help of Foster Focus, we have made great strides in providing foster youth with the services they need."
This is the ninth Golden Bell Award SCOE has earned. CSBA previously recognized:
- Preschool Bridging Model (PBM) Plus (2014)—enhances the quality of child care for young children [News Story]
- Leadership Institute (2013)—collaboration with local districts to prepare aspiring education leaders [News Story]
- U.S.A. Learns (2012)—online interactive English language learning website developed by IMS [News Story]
- Project MOVE (2011)—program to improve functional mobility skills for children and adults with severe physical disabilities [News Story]
- LINKS (2010)—career technical education model tailored to individual students' needs [News Story]
- ROP Manufacturing Technology/Welding Program (2008)—career technical program located at the now closed Carson Creek Jr./Sr. High School at the former Sacramento County Boys Ranch [News Story]
- Outreach Construction Technology Program (1999)—career technical partnership with local businesses [News Story]
- Linkage to Education (1992)—program for Juvenile Court Schools students
For information about subscribing to Foster Focus, contact Foster Youth Services Director Trish Kennedy at (916) 228-2730.