Featured Breakouts

The following sessions will be on our conference schedule in 2013. These sessions received early approval because each one was among the best attended and most highly rated from our March 2012 conference in Sacramento.


Annual Business Managers Meeting

Do you have questions about the new budget proposal and how the state's financial situation will impact your school? Look no further than the Business Managers meeting! We will cover the current funding rates, updates on proposed changes, details on new deferrals and the budget trigger, information on state and federal categorical programs—plus legislative and regulatory updates.

Presenter: Alice Miller, California Charter Schools Association
Strand: Budget & Cash Flow
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: 32AB, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Alice makes the information easy to understand. Thank you for another outstanding presentation!

  • I am always amazed at how thorough and knowledgeable Alice is. We could not prepare without her help and advice. Thank you Alice and thank you CCSA.

  • Wonderful . Thank you so much. Every year you help us with your knowledge and expertise Alice. We are grateful.

  • These are complex and confusing issues and Alice makes it easy to understand and interpret.



A Strategic Approach to Instructional Planning Using the Common Core

How can schools ensure high expectations and academic rigor using Common Core or state standards without stifling the innovative nature of the teaching profession? In this highly engaging and interactive workshop, participants will learn about a process that empowers teachers and administrators to address this critical question. Participants will learn to use research-based strategies and resources—Bloom's Taxonomy, a standards analysis process, and the Common Core standards—for developing authentic learning experiences in a standards-based system.

Presenter: Jason Stricker, Insight Education Group, Inc., Carol Cienfuegos, Insight Education Group
Strand: Teachers
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Room: 27AB, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Wow! What a great presentation- very dynamic & thought-provoking. Great ideas to get out of the lesson plan rut.

  • Jason Stricker & Michael Moody were very engaging & well-prepared. They made the presentation relevant to everyone in the room.

  • The presenters had a great passion for the topic. The interactive activities were really helpful.

  • Amazing- thorough and very resourceful- thanks for the ideas I can take back to the classroom.

  • Great job! Very important conversations for teachers to have!



Avoiding Personnel Landmines: Hiring, Firing, and Evaluation

Unfortunately, employment liabilities (many of which are preventable) end up costing charter schools invaluable time and require enormous resources to defend. Take charge of your personnel system and prevent problems before they occur or escalate. Learn from expert legal practitioners how to best evaluate, hire, and fire charter school staff to minimize exposure to legal liability for preventable mistakes. Start-ups to seasoned charter schools will benefit from this presentation.

Presenter: Chastin Pierman, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP, James Young, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP
Strand: Human Resources
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM
Room: 32AB, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • This session was extremely informative and entertaining! Thank you!

  • The presenters were THOROUGH and dynamic!

  • The material you presented was very useful advice that was pertinent to the entire audience. Thank you for sharing your expertise in this difficult area of operations!



Avoiding the Break-up: Preparing for Renewal and Avoiding Revocation

Got a good thing going that you want to protect? We want to help you avoid non-renewal and revocation. We have 18 years of experience in defending charter schools against revocations, and supporting charter schools through renewal. We will outline the top 15 reasons charter schools are revoked or non-renewed, and discuss real-life examples, taking the lessons from each. We will also discuss the legal steps for renewal of the charter and critical tips for submitting a renewal petition.

Presenter: Paul Minney, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP, Janelle Ruley, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP, Lisa Corr, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP
Strand: Local Advocacy
Schedule: Wednesday 3/13 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM
Room: 26AB, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Great slide show and information package.

  • All MYM sessions were awesome. I attended 5! Thanks.

  • Great speakers. Great work shop. Very helpful both for charter and authorizer.

  • Very informative! Outstanding Content!



Best Employment Practices and Policies: The First Line of Defense

Too many employers develop their employment policies only after an issue arises, and then it is often too late. This session will provide you with an understanding of what practices and policies your school needs in place to maximize employee efficiency and to protect your school, students, and staff members. Attendees will be provided with sample policies and have their individual questions answered.

Presenter: Hollis Peterson, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, LLP, Wendy Tucker, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP
Strand: Human Resources
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: 28C, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Most informative, useful session I've been to yet this week.

  • Thank you for the samples!

  • Thanks Wendy and company! I have more work to do, thanks for helping me to understand that and for protecting my school!



Board Member: Your Fiscal Responsibility

Don't be surprised. Know what questions to ask when reviewing your school's financial position. You are ultimately responsible if your school is financially mismanaged. This interactive, hands-on session will provide you with unique facts about school finance and the skills needed to identify potential problems. This workshop will also include a group discussion and a review of sample school financial statements.

Presenter: Graham Dye, ExED, Tammy Stanton, ExED
Strand: Governance
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Room: 28B, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Tough subject but did a great job explaining, thank you!

  • Thank you. Very resourceful.

  • You saved my team time and money with this presentation, thank you!



Bulletproof Your Charter: Navigate the Approval Process

Ensure that you put your best foot forward for charter approval. We have over 18 years of experience assisting charter school developers to obtain approval at every level: school districts, county offices of education, and the State Board of Education. Attendees will learn valuable drafting tips and how to aggressively manage the authorization process, and will receive a recommended list of supplemental materials for a complete charter school petition.

Presenter: Janelle Ruley, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP, Lisa Corr, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP, Michelle Lopez, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP
Strand: Developing New Charter Schools
Schedule: Wednesday 3/13 8:30 AM - 9:45 AM
Room: 25B, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:


  • What a great lesson!

  • Engaging! Thank you!

  • Fantastic takeaways and tools, I really appreciate this session.



Character's Impact on Learning; Blended Learning's Impact on Character

In our efforts to close students' skill gaps with our Khan Academy math program, we have found that we are in fact addressing a character gap. Do our students bring character issues into the classroom (irresponsibility, lack of effort, low confidence)? What caused this character gap? How does it impact education? What role does online learning, and Khan in particular, play in fixing this character gap? OUHS has demonstrated the largest growth in 9th grade Algebra CST performance in California over the last two years.

Presenter: Peter McIntosh, Oakland Unity High School, Sam Brewer, Oakland Unity High School, Maureen Suhendra, Khan Academy, Kallie Berg, Oakland Unity High School
Strand: Online Learning
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: 28D, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Very interesting presentation. I found the math teacher refreshingly honest about his strengths and how Khan was teaching things he wasn't (confidence, habits, and efforts) especially.

  • Fantastic! One of the most- if not the most- effective presentations of the conference.

  • One of the best I've attended, informative as well as inspirational. I'll definitely incorporate info I gleaned from this session into my classroom practices.

  • My favorite CCSA session in the past 4 years!



Education Law 101: What Laws Apply to Charter Schools?

While charter schools are exempt from "laws governing school districts" under the Charter Schools Act, there are a multitude of critical laws, regulations, and agency rulings which are applicable to charter schools. We will also review recent legislative, regulatory, and court cases affecting charter schools. Whether you are a charter school beginner or a veteran, make sure you know what laws are applicable to you, so you can audit your program and/or prioritize areas in need of refinement. Learn to tackle issues before they become costly legal problems.

Presenter: James Young, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP, Paul Minney, Young, Minney & Corr, LLP
Strand: Legal
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: 27AB, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:


  • Thank you for wealth of information and making a difficult subject easy to understand.

  • We love you!

  • Excellent material, topics, info and presenters!



Highly Motivating Writing Instruction for ALL K-6 Students

Imagine every student writing dynamic, rigorous, at-standard compositions. Techniques teaching students, from beginning to fluent writers, to compose powerful sentences, rich paragraphs and compelling, multiple-paragraph essays will be highlighted. A Milken National Award-winning principal will provide vision-building techniques designed to help teachers and administrators facilitate immediate writing reform, improve daily writing instruction, and create a climate for a successful standards-based system.

Presenter: Linda Fisher, Learning Headquarters
Strand: Teachers
Schedule: Wednesday 3/13 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Room: 30A, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Well-organized speaker and PPT.

  • I loved that you applied the strategies used with the children in the workshop with us, such as allowing us to talk to each other. I loved that because many workshops talk about student involvement but it says a lot when it's applied to workshops.

  • Great posters around the room :) Thank you for the graphic organizers- I plan to use them for my H.S. students! Love your powerpoint :)

  • Completely enjoyed the session. And really appreciated being able to get the blackprints to the prewriting.

  • Excellent. Informative, I will use info immediately!



How Implementing Professional Learning Helped Us Achieve an API of 963!

Implementing Professional Learning Communities provided a critical new element we needed to move academic performance at our schools to the next level. In our fourth year, we teachers and administrators have made fundamental, second-order, changes to our classroom practice, teams and whole-school collaboration. This session will share our journey and provide participants with both the conceptual changes and the concrete examples of how we do it!

Presenter: Wendy Mitchell, Rocklin Academy, Laura Regan, Rocklin Academy, Robin Stout, Rocklin Academy, Dr. David Patterson, Rocklin Academy
Strand: Performance Management
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Room: 24B, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Thanks for the templates and specific, concrete processes.

  • Well organized with lots of useful information!

  • Great resources! I also really appreciated hearing your story and how it started -> got me thinking about ''first steps. Thank you!

  • Excellent info and resources! I appreciate learning from your experiences and best practices (and resource list). Thank you!



Literacy and Comprehension Strategies for Students Struggling to Read

Difficulty in reading and comprehending is one of the primary reasons students are referred to special education programs. This session will focus on hands-on strategies to improve students' reading fluency and comprehension. The presenters will share lists of strategies that successful readers use before, during, and after reading, and demonstrate how to teach key strategies to students who struggle the most. Educators will walk away with ideas they can implement in their classrooms immediately.

Presenter: Caroll Brant, PCI Education, Jill Haney, PCI Education
Strand: Special Education
Schedule: Wednesday 3/13 8:30 AM - 9:45 AM
Room: 32A, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Thanks for the great practical suggestions.

  • Great skills to take into the classroom!

  • Great strategies! Thank you!

  • Great presentation. Very helpful! I will be using these strategies while reading for sure.

  • Thank you for giving me ideas to take directly into my classroom.



Making the Parent Empowerment Law Work

The parent trigger law provides a new way for parents to take control of a local school and transform it. Hear how you can make it work for your community from the team that is bringing the idea to life in Adelanto through community organizing, political, and regulatory and litigation actions. We will answer questions and update you on the conversion of the Desert Trails Elementary School to a community-focused charter school. Can you do this at your school?

Presenter: Ben Austin, Parent Revolution, Mark Holscher, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, Gregory Moser, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, LLP
Strand: Developing New Charter Schools
Schedule: Wednesday 3/13 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Room: 26AB, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

NEW 2013 session!



Measuring up: Using and Understanding Benchmarks for Budgeting

Ever wonder what other schools are spending? This session will feature a comparative analysis of averages, ranges, and patterns in charter school expense data that provides a valuable perspective on the budgeting process. Presenters will demonstrate how to support decision-making by examining statewide data, broken down into sub-groups by demographics, region, and years in operation. Discussions will focus on interpreting and analyzing data, and on how schools can use benchmarking to make better-informed budget decisions.

Presenter: Kelly Theofanis, EdTec Inc., Bryce Fleming, EdTec Inc., Gene Straub, Larchmont Schools
Strand: Budget & Cash Flow
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: 24A, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Thank you, very good, interesting presentation.

  • Very useful information!

  • Thank you for the practical information to take back to my school.

  • Most useful breakout session of the conference, top rate!



Merit Pay: Incentivizing All Teachers to Be High Performers

Seven years in the making, Summit Public Schools has a merit pay system that helps to attract, develop, and retain high performing teachers, leading directly to our students' success. The system, designed and supported by teachers, is a key factor in an annual teacher retention rate of nearly 90%. We will examine the process for designing and implementing a merit pay system, the elements of the system, lessons learned, potential pitfalls, and relevant research.

Presenter: Diane Tavenner, Summit Public Schools, Drew Grimshaw, Summit Public Schools
Strand: Human Resources
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: 30A, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Interesting paradigm shifts to consider closing this session. Thank you!

  • Info was great and informative. Finally a merit pay breakout session that gives me real info.

  • Thank you! This session gave me lots of great ideas to bring back to my school!

  • In 6 yrs of attending CCSA conferences, this was THE BEST SESSION ever! You guys ROCK!

  • School presenters are always the best! I will use a lot of your ideas to improve our K-8 merit pay system- Thank you!



Raising and Borrowing Money...with No Commercials

An unbiased session offered by finance lawyers on the various ways charter schools can raise funds. This is a detailed presentation of fund-raising techniques and borrowing opportunities, but without people on the panel who have a business interest in slanting the discussion one way or the other. Fundraising, factoring, sale and leaseback, bonds, grants, and NMTC will be discussed, among others.

Presenter: Neal Millard, Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP, Brian Holman, Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP
Strand: Fundraising
Schedule: Wednesday 3/13 8:30 AM - 9:45 AM
Room: 31A, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:



Tell Your Story: Charter Schools Using Communications Tools to Stand out

What makes your charter school unique? Do you have a communications plan in place? Are you engaging the media? This breakout session will include tips on how to put together an integrated communications strategy, build a strong media outreach plan, effectively reach out to parents and supporters, use technology and social media to stand out, and engage your various audiences.

Presenter: Sierra Jenkins, California Charter Schools Association, Dannie Tillman, California Charter Schools Association, Meagan Fox, California Charter Schools Association
Strand: Communications/Public Awareness
Schedule: Tuesday 3/12 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: 23C, San Diego Convention Center
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Comments from Attendees of the 2012 Session:

  • Wonderful info! Helpful!

  • Eye opening- thanks!

  • As a charter communications staffer, the info here was great as best practices.

  • Very practical and helpful! Thanks!


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