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California Association of School Business Officials

Summer 2014 Protecting privacy Bills, best practices aim to protect student data

Secrets of super-taskers The traits, tools, tricks of the highly productive

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California School Business I Summer 2014 California School Business I


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California School Business I Summer 2014

Innovative Solutions. Enduring Principles.


Volume 79 I Number Two I Summer 2014

departments 9 13

Checking in Accepting the challenges… Molly McGee Hewitt


In focus CASBO member profile: John Vinke


In focus CASBO associate member profile: Sean Baum


Out & about CASBO Annual Conference


Book club District Leadership That Works: Striking the Right Balance


Career Rx Mistakes, blunders and career suicide…


Last words


Bottom line A new age in California public education Vincent Christakos


interview 25

Valerie Cuevas The Education Trust – West leader discusses the moral imperative that informs her organization’s work Julie Phillips Randles


cover story 32

Protecting privacy Bills, best practices aim to protect student data Lisa Maria Boyles

features 18

Secrets of super-taskers The traits, tools, tricks of the highly productive Linda A. Estep


Recalibrating your hiring Districts have funding, flexibility; now it’s time for hiring know-how Julie Phillips Randles

California School Business I


ABOUT CASBO The California Association of School Business Officials is the premier resource for professional professionalism in all aspects of school business. Founded in 1928, CASBO serves more than 3,000 members by providing certifications and training,


promoting business best practices and creating

editor in chief

opportunities for professional collaboration.

features editor

CASBO members represent every facet of school


business management and operations. The

Molly McGee Hewitt Tatia Davenport Julie Phillips Randles Lisa Maria Boyles Linda A. Estep

association offers public school leaders an entire career’s worth of growth opportunities.


Sharon Adlis

advertising art

Lori Mattas


casbo officers

As the recognized authority in California school business, CASBO is a member-driven association


Vincent J. Christakos Hemet Unified School District


Leeann Errotabere Clovis Unified School District

that promotes ethical values; develops exceptional leaders; advocates for, and supports the needs of members; and sets the standard for excellence through top-quality professional development

vice president

and mentorship, meaningful collaboration and communication and unparalleled innovation.

Melissa Anderson San Bernardino County Supt. of Schools

immediate past president

Rich Buse Pajaro Valley Unified School District

advertising sales manager

CiCi Trino Association Outsource Services, Inc. 115 Spring Water Way Folsom, CA 95630 916.990.9999

CASBO BY DESIGN For the past 15 years, CASBO has been dedicated to the organizational planning discipline as a method for guiding the association into a successful future. In 2012, the association embarked on its fourth such plan, CASBO by Design. This living, breathing document will guide the association for the next five years. The process CASBO uses for long-term planning is grassroots in nature, invigorating in procedure and motivating in outcome. CASBO has long been committed to organizational planning because the approach has consistently helped the association envision its future and determine the clear steps to get there. The road map that strategic planning provides has allowed CASBO to remain focused on its unique mission,

goals and objectives, and to respond effectively to a continually changing environment. For more information on CASBO by Design, visit

California School Business (ISSN# 1935-0716) is published quarterly by the California Association of School Business Officials, 1001 K Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 447-3783. Periodicals postage paid at Sacramento and at additional mailing office. Send address changes to the CASBO membership department at 1001 K Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814., click on “About Us” and then select “CASBO by Design” from the drop-down menu.

Articles published in California School Business are edited for style, content and space prior to publication. Views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent CASBO policies or positions. Endorsement by CASBO of products and services advertised in California School Business is not implied or expressed. Copyright 2014 CASBO. All rights reserved. The contents of the publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the publisher. Published June 2014


California School Business I Summer 2014

California School Business I



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checking in

Accepting the challenges… This issue of California School Business highlights some of the significant topics and trends impacting the school business community. Before we begin each issue, the executive staff meets with our features editor and we brainstorm. We try to determine what will be important for our members to know and how to help them stay ahead of the challenges. We recognize in our editorial meetings that the profession is in constant flux and that the issues are continuing to evolve. Yes, the challenges in public education are continuous. The only difference lies in the intensity and the impact of each challenge faced. For those new to the profession, the last few years have presented tests in staffing, funding and operations. To protect student interests, we have worked tirelessly to continue to provide a top quality educational program. For veterans of school business, the last few years have brought both high-intensity and high-impact challenges. We are never challenge-free. From shifting demographics, union bargaining issues, governing board disputes, litigation, legislation or community issues – somehow, they keep on coming! The role of school business officials is to accept these challenges and know that, working in collaboration with our district and our colleagues, we can meet them and make a difference for the students we serve. Our focus and our vision cannot be shortsighted or farsighted, and tunnel vision is not allowed. Our focus must be on how each of us, our offices, units, divisions and operations directly impact student achievement and success. CASBO President Vince Christakos has set an agenda that focuses on “VIP Leadership.” In his column, he shares insight into our profession and the impact that vision can have on your job and your district. One of my favorite adages says, “Without vision, people perish.” Vision is the opportunity and challenge to see ahead and to help determine the course of action. Vision includes seeing the current challenges and seeing beyond today to what tomorrow can be. When a child is born, parents have hope and a positive vision for the child’s future. When we begin new endeavors, jobs, relationships, and even vacations, we have a vision and expectation for the outcome. Visioning is not something new – but it is something that somehow often gets lost in our day-to-day world. Sometimes our vision is blurred by our circumstances and sometimes it changes when faced with realities. Whether embraced or forgotten, the vision remains and is open to updating or improvement.

Vision includes seeing the current challenges and seeing beyond today to what tomorrow can be.

Great leaders have vision. CASBO members are perfect examples of this. Despite the challenges or obstacles, they keep their focus and keep student achievement their priority. No industry would still be in business after the last five years unless a vision for the future had held it together! We could not accept the challenges of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) without a vision for strong, locally controlled public schools. As we go forth, let us grasp and hold onto a vision for our profession, for public education and for the children we serve. A vision of excellence that accepts the challenges to come and perseveres. A vision that embraces the future with a positive and professional approach to raising standards, exceeding expectations and meeting the needs of the children of California.

Molly McGee Hewitt Executive Director California School Business I


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California School Business I


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California School Business I Summer 2014

bottom line

A new age in California public education We l c o m e t o t h e daw n i n g o f a n e w ag e i n C a l i f o r n i a p u b l i c education. Most districts have now developed their first Local Control

Accountability Plan (lcap) and are in the process of presenting their plans for

review and input at public meetings. By now, stakeholder groups have provided

what it should look like and how changes

geared toward improvement will be implemented will never be effective. The

essence of leadership is about influence

and change. A leader cannot influence change if he or she does not know where the road ends up.

Most leaders don’t just wake up one

input, budget priorities have been

day with a clear vision for the future of an

across the state are finally able to direct

a long, thoughtful process that involves

aligned with lcap s, and school boards the education of their unique student

population versus the one-size fits all approach by state politicians. This is an exciting time in the careers of most educators as we take control of our

districts and get out from under the compliance mentality of Sacramento. School business leaders and educational

organization. It’s normally the result of many people and ideas. The first step is to have a clear purpose or mission regarding why the organization exists. Step two is to understand exactly where the organization is now in relation to the

marketplace, competition and its stated purpose.

I know what you’re thinking: this

leaders are working together to align

sounds a lot like strategic planning.


method for a leader to gain a clear vision.

student needs and resources with district I came into school business more

than 20 years ago from a private sector paper manufacturing company where we used data and continuous improvement cycles to measure and update processes. It was a shock to me when I entered

public education and discovered that administrators and school boards did not have full discretion to decide how funds

would be used to serve student needs.

Exactly! Strategic planning is a great

Every district in the state that wants to be successful under the Local Control Fund-

men on the moon. Kennedy’s clear vision

self-analysis and develop a strategic plan.

directed the work of hundreds of thou-

ing Formula (lcff) will need to start with

Once you understand your purpose, know where you stand relative to other districts and know your strengths and

of “vip Leadership” in casbo members.

Each of my quarterly columns will address one of the letters “V,” “I” and “P.” In this column, I’ll discuss vision.

A leader without a clear vision of

where his or her school district is going,

What lofty vision represents the

1oo percent of their effort into realizing

nedy, “Some men see things as they are

my term as president is to instill the idea


A vision is a reality that has not been

visualize a better future for your district.

to its unique population comes with great With this in mind, my goal during

sands to achieve what many believed was

moon in your district? Whatever that

attained yet, but it offers the hope of a


of what could be was so powerful that it

weaknesses, you, as a leader, can start to

Freedom to make all the decisions about how your district will provide education

A vision is a reality that has not been attained yet, but it offers the hope of a better future.

better future. In the words of John F. Kenand say WHY, I see things that never have

been and say WHY NOT.” These words

looks like, be sure everyone is putting

it. Educating our students is not “rocket science,” but the next generation of rocket

scientists depends on us to give them the best education.

helped inspire Kennedy’s vision to land

a man on the moon and bring him safely

back before the turn of the next decade. On July 16, 1969, I stood on a beach near Cape Canaveral, Florida, and witnessed

the launch of Neil Armstrong and Buzz

Vincent Christakos President

Aldrin on the mission to land the first

California School Business I


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California School Business I Summer 2014

in focus

John Vinke

Whether piloting his district or a plane, similar skills lead to success

Photography by Hope Harris


s deputy superintendent of business services, John Vinke has been piloting the Lawndale Elementary School District’s (LESD) finances since 1988. In his spare time, you’ll find him soaring the skies as a licensed private pilot. Vinke says his two affinities, school business and piloting, may seem worlds apart but actually require some of the same skills – total concentration, the ability to multitask and addressing the issues of the day. “Piloting either underscores or hones the importance of focusing on the task at hand. There’s also a need to multitask because you have to monitor six instruments at all times. That translates to the job as a CBO where your multitasking areas like budgeting, facilities and risk management,” Vinke describes. “There’s a saying in flying that you should plan for a smooth flight but be prepared for changes to your flight plan or unexpected turbulence. That applies to the job, as well.”

Vinke has spent most of his career at LESD, joining the district in 1987 as director of budgeting and accounting. He previously worked as director for fiscal services and a teacher at the Southern California Regional Occupational Center, and as a teacher at Lawndale – where he also attended elementary school. He’s proud to have returned to the district in which he grew up, and says his long tenure there is due to a stable and supportive board and professional, independent thinking colleagues who always keep the focus on students. Vinke thrives on the opportunity to help children in the low-wealth district and is zealous about narrowing the equity gap for students. He’s addressed the issue by working to pass a bond and garner matching funds to build new facilities and modernize existing sites districtwide. “I’ve always felt an extra amount of energy for addressing equity and the facilities improvements were a huge accomplishment for me,” Vinke explains.

A CASBO member for two decades, Vinke is the chair of the CBO Professional Council. He’s also been actively involved in the Centinela-South Bay subsection where he’s currently the treasurer and has also served as president. He saw the value of CASBO for skill advancement early on in his membership, but also appreciates the legislative advocacy the association provides. He says membership has exceeded his expectations. “The complexity of school administration is such that CASBO should be an essential part of your toolkit. No one can know everything about all of the new and evolving topics. With CASBO, you can just ask a question or seek direction and people are there to help and support you,” Vinke says.

California School Business I



California School Business I Summer 2014

in focus

Sean Baum

He’s keen on creating student-centric learning environments

Photography by Hope Harris


ean Baum revels in finding solutions. As a K-12 and commercial furnishings pro for 14 years, he brings design, space planning and programming skills to the table when he’s tasked with helping school districts decide what world-class learning environments should look like and function like, as well as how they best serve students. As regional sales manager for Contrax Furnishings, Baum spends his work days meeting with school business leaders, learning about school districts’ needs and goals for education environments and working with clients from concept to installation. Some transactions are as small as a few desks and chairs for new students; some are as large as furnishing an entire new high school. Prior to joining Contrax Furnishings, Baum worked for 11 years as an account executive for a handful of office, education and government furnishings companies. He also became a certified master trainer for Smartboard interactive whiteboards.

He appreciates Contrax Furnishings’ commitment to creating world-class learning environments and enjoys the consulting aspect of the job. Inventing student-centric classrooms – from budgeting to design and implementation to installation – is thrilling work, Baum says. “I’m a parent of two kids and a taxpayer and I feel like I have a vested interest in the K-12 sector. If I can contribute to the success of districts and help students be more prepared for the world that’s out there, that’s exciting,” Baum explains. “Plus, there’s no one perfect answer, so partnering with clients to create better environments for students and teachers is intriguing work.” A CASBO member since 2003, Baum is currently a member of the board of directors, chair of the Associate Member Committee and a member of the Learning Environments of the Future Committee. He’s also served as an associate member liaison for the Northern Section.

Baum says associate membership is about more than access to education’s decision-makers. “Through CASBO, I’ve learned a lot about the business of schools and that knowledge helps me be of value to educators. They see that I understand their business beyond what benefits me and they appreciate that I understand their struggles.” As to the value of being a CASBO associate member: “It makes you visible and accountable,” Baum sums up. “There’s also huge value in networking with other associate members who then become trusted allies. It’s not about connecting with a single person or district. Even for associate members, CASBO is about professional development, better understanding customers’ businesses and establishing a sense of trust.”

California School Business I



California School Business I Summer 2014


Secrets of super-taskers The traits, tools, tricks of the highly productive By Linda A. Estep

Ever wonder how some people manage to accomplish so much more in a day than the rest of us? Are they super human? Super smart? Super energized? Maybe. Or maybe they have just learned by trial and error what works for them in getting things done and are motivated to see it through.

California School Business I


Secrets of super-taskers

That’s how Jim Novak, chief business and financial officer in

who rapidly switches between tasks that impact focus and

of calling himself a “super-tasker” as some experts label highly

tasks at once diminishes efficiency because most of us slow

Long Beach Unified School District, sees it, but he stops short

productive people. “There are days when I am, but others not so much,” he admits.

“You have to find what works for you, and some of the

things others recommend just don’t work for me, such as lists

memory. His experiments have shown that handling several down or trip up in the process. Even talking on a cell phone while

driving leaves most people cognitively impaired, compromising the ability to adequately focus on a single task.

There are exceptions to be sure, but they are rare, according

with colored dots,” he says. Novak puts his emphasis on the

to Strayer. Often such ability is found in the elite athlete who is

ing it as quickly as possible. “Highly productive people are

In an article entitled “Top 10 Habits of Super Productive

art of prioritizing, assessing an issue’s importance and resolvdecisive and don’t return to the same issue repeatedly,” he

says. “Deal with it or don’t. Keep a file of the things that are less important.”

Novak suggests that those who work in finance learn

quickly how to prioritize in order to be productive because the

consequences can be steep. He points to two directors of fiscal services. Susan Ginder of Long Beach Unified School District

and Evelyn Hernandez, Palm Springs Unified School District,

get his nod for being able to distinguish matters that need immediate attention and acting on them efficiently.

DROP RUBBER, SAVE CRYSTAL As for those who chronically complain about having so much to

goal-directed and able to shut out distractions.

People,” author Marg McAlister agrees that multitasking cuts into efficiency, adding, “A recent clinical trial performed by Dr.

Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King’s College London Univer-

sity, shows changing tasks over 10 times a day actually reduces your iq.”

Male skeptics might demand further study, particularly

since it also shows men are three times as bad at multitasking as compared to women.

McAlister’s topics primarily are targeted to writers, but this

article can be applied to many different fields. She argues that

addressing one task until completion before tackling another is more productive and leads to quicker goal achievement and higher levels of success.

McAlister believes, as Novak does, that prioritization is

do that they are overwhelmed, Novak likes to use the example

critical and the most productive people know what is important

balls, drop the rubber ones but keep the glass ones in the air,” he

man,” she writes. “They have just developed a way to look at

of juggling balls to make his point. “When you have that many

suggests, noting that the rubber ones are resilient and will come

back, but the glass ones, representing the most important, could be lost forever if you take your eye off them.

Are the skills behind high productivity innate or can they be

and what is not. “Extremely efficient people are not superhutheir life, their actions and their surroundings [developing] the

smartest plan of attack that maximizes every minute of their efforts.”

The author advocates making a plan for the next day before

learned? Novak absolutely believes such skills can be acquired

going to bed, then rising early to accomplish tasks before distrac-

“You have to acknowledge when you [fall short]. I am self-

Outsourcing can add hours to your day, according to McAli-

and uses himself as an example of learning how to improve.

reflective, so I look at my behavior and analyze what I could have done better. It is totally learned.”

He does caution, however, that a person has to care about

improving productivity in order to achieve it.

tions sneak in as possible disruptions.

ster. Using her primary audience of writers as her example, she

admonishes them to “just write” and leave cover designs or websites and public relations to those who are specialists.

Micromanagement eats away at time and some tasks are

better handled by others.

SUPER-TASKER OR MULTITASKER? Highly productive and the more commonly used “multitasker” are not necessarily the same thing, according to psychologist

casbo member Nina Boyd, associate superintendent, alternative

with Psychology Today, distinguishes the multitasker as someone

sees common traits among those who have high productivity.

David Strayer of the University of Utah. Strayer, in an interview



California School Business I Summer 2014

education, at the Orange County Department of Education,

“Productive people are flexible but balanced,” she says. “They have good judgment and must have strong teams.”

She believes some traits are learned but others are not, such

as dedication and good judgment. She also admits she is a supertasker with the help of others.

Among her essentials tools for high productivity are her

calendar and communication with her team members. “Most

“Highly productive people are decisive and don’t return to the same issue repeatedly.”

productive people use a calendar. They don’t fly by the seat of their pants. They prepare and stay on task,” she says.

“One person cannot do it all. I review my calendar at the

end of the day and again in the morning, checking to see how the team can be used,” she explains. Boyd tries to stay in touch with key team members, both personally and professionally, noting

she is on the move more than at her desk. “If you are going to be productive, you can’t check email every five minutes. When people do that, they lose connection (focus).”

Back in Long Beach, Novak acts quickly with email, sub-

that sometimes one can have an impact on the other.

scribing to a practice of read and resolve, file or delete, respond

but it is also one that most highly productive people manage

can’t let your inbox become a to-do list. There are times when I

Email has become a common communication tool at work,

systematically rather than constantly. Boyd checks hers approximately four times a day, usually by mobile phone or iPad since

or delegate. “Some people get bogged down with email. You can’t look at emails right away, but in general, my inbox is relatively small,” he says.

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California School Business I


Secrets of super-taskers

One highly productive person who feels he cannot afford

to assign specific times in the day to check email is Harold Freiman, casbo associate member and an attorney at law with

Lozano Smith, a casbo Premier Partner. “I look at it constantly,” he admits. “In my business, things come up and are needed

quickly. I will address an email that comes from out of office right away. It could be essential.”

His formula for success is straightforward: energy plus

organization equals production. He says he has a handle on energy and is working on the organization component, made more challenging in his work with school districts where many

jobs are now consolidated and just getting to the right person

The first recommendation is to limit how many entries go on the to-do list. Choose three “Most Important Tasks (mit),” the ones that need to get done that day.

to ask questions takes time. “Prioritizing is important, and for us that involves asking questions, then deciding what is the most important.”

Freiman agrees with Boyd that balance is important and

points to his outside interests, including family, that serve that

purpose. Unlike Boyd, his indispensable tool is a yellow legal pad divided into four columns for calls, tasks, received calls and

timekeeping. He uses his mobile phone for calendaring. “And I

Finally, build habits to help you stop working. Establishing

and keeping a firm cutoff time for work can be a motivating factor in accomplishing your task.


am one of those weird people who knows where everything is

And then there’s the secret to organization. “Most school leaders

my desk, but I know where every paper is.”

doing,” Freiman warns.

on my desk. If I have an active project, that file stays on top of

SMARTER, NOT HARDER Jeff Haden is a columnist for Inc. Magazine and ghostwriter for more than 40 books in business and leadership. In a recent

column he outlined five effective ways to work smarter, not harder, crediting Belle Beth Cooper, a social media writer, for the tips.

The first recommendation is to limit how many entries go

on the to-do list. Choose three “Most Important Tasks (mit),”

the ones that need to get done that day. Writing the list the night before will actually help you sleep sounder.

are not in a 9-to-5 job so they had better like what they are “If you love what you do, you will be productive,” he as-

sures. “I worked on an assembly line when I was young, and

I hated it. I screwed the lids on wrong and that slowed up productivity. You have to love what you do if you want to be productive.”

His desk might look like a cyclone aftermath, but he can

instantly retrieve from those stacks exactly what he needs at any time and produce results. He likes it that way. He loves his work. z z z

Linda A. Estep is a freelance writer based in Fresno, Calif.

Secondly, measure results, not time. He says if you evalu-

ate what you actually accomplish instead of how long it took

to complete, you will begin to notice a difference in how you work.

Next, build a routine to start working. The goal: to chase

away procrastination tendencies. For example, to work in the mornings, you might first read email or newspapers, enjoy a

cup of coffee, then settle in to the most urgent task on the list.

The idea is to establish a cut-off point, in this case, finishing a cup of coffee.


California School Business I Summer 2014

Weigh in on Facebook at https:// and share your productivity tips.

California School Business I


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California School Business I Summer 2014


Valerie Cuevas

The Education Trust – West leader discusses the moral imperative that informs her organization’s work By Julie Phillips Randles

Valerie Cuevas is the interim executive director and director of external relations for The Education Trust – West, an Oakland-based education advocacy group.

Cuevas joined the organization in 2010 with a deep background in gov-

ernment affairs, nonprofit management and education administration at the national, state and local levels. According to its mission, The Education Trust

– West “works to ensure high academic achievement of all students at all levels, Pre-k through college.” The group exposes opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth and identifies and advocates for strategies it believes will close those gaps.

With expertise in education equity, state legislative policy and k-12 gov-

ernance, Cuevas is a former director with the National Association of Latino

Elected and Appointed Officials (naleo) where she worked with hundreds of elected officials across the country.

She has also served as an aide to the chair of the California Assembly

Committee on Higher Education and as chief of staff to a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.

As an education practitioner, Cuevas held student affairs positions at

various two- and four-year colleges and universities. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree from California State University, Long Beach.

What three people, living or dead, would you invite to dinner? Why? I would invite first lady Michelle Obama, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Photography by Hope Harris

Massachusetts and Facebook coo Sheryl Sandberg to dinner for a lively

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California School Business I


The Education Trust – West leader discusses the moral imperative that informs her organization’s work

I would really like to get their

caring investment and collective support

director of The Education Trust – West,

cation topic here in California, the Lo-

various guiding mentors throughout

research and advocacy organization. The

thoughts and ideas about the big educal Control Funding Formula (lcff). I wonder what ideas they might have for

balancing the three big ideas at the heart

of lcff: local control, flexibility and the

equity promise. It would be great to hear

their opinions regarding how they would approach creating an inclusive Local

Control Accountability Plan (lcap) process for all education stakeholders.

of my family, public school teachers and

my pre-k to professional career journey. As a third-generation Californian, I am

the daughter of teen parents and was raised in the working-class, blue collar

community of El Monte. From humble beginnings as an early learner in the

federal Head Start program for lowincome preschoolers, to benefitting from

publicly funded Gifted and Talented

a leading statewide education policy, personal joy and professional fulfillment

I have received from serving others

while working collaboratively to ensure

all students have access to their college and career dreams serve as a constant

reminder of how fortunate I am, and drives me to give back to help others live out their college and career dreams.

Education ( g at e ) , I am proud that the opportunity to be the first in my

As a lifelong advocate, I’ve had to face

college and has led me to serve in my

education issues out there head-on.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?

my public education has afforded me

What is one of your hidden talents?

As a direct beneficiary of increased

immediate family to graduate from

some of the toughest and most serious

educational opportunity, the best gift thus far has been the high expectations,

current position as interim executive

With the long days and hours, I’ve come

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California School Business I Summer 2014

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1953 ce en

ing A Positive Mak Di ffe r

As a lifelong advocate, I’ve had to face some of the toughest and most serious education issues out there head-on.

to realize over the years that laughter and optimism have served me well; so

well, in fact, that my hidden talent for comedy and humor has emerged. I just

recently jumped into the world of stand-

up comedy. It’s just a hobby for now, but

with more and more stage time under my belt, don’t be surprised if you see me

with my own hbo comedy special one day soon.

high levels. That’s why we expose the

How would you distinguish the work of The Education Trust – West from the organizations that are generally characterized as representing “management,” such as the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), the California School Boards Association (CSBA), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA)?

separate students of color and low-in-

At the height of the lcff debate year,

any opportunities that exist to further our

Gov. Jerry Brown eloquently and succinctly captured the moral imperative that has informed the work of The

Education Trust – West since day one:

opportunity and achievement gaps that

education landscape, including lcff. These steps are:

come students from other youth, and we

1. Equitable access to rigorous standards,

that will forever close those gaps. Over

For students to gain the deeper knowledge

identify and advocate for the strategies

the years, our thoughtful policy analysis,

ground-breaking research and partner-

ships with educators and communities have put us at the forefront of moving educational equity forward in California.

Yet, we know that there’s still much work that needs to be done and we welcome

collaborations with management groups

to make educational equity a reality for all students in California.

curriculum, instruction and assessments.

embedded in the new standards, districts

must support teachers in transforming their instructional practices and must

ensure every student is taught using

rigorous, high-quality instructional materials. For every child to succeed in

our increasingly technological world and succeed on new computer-adaptive

assessments, district and state leaders

must secure the technology for the Smarter Balanced assessments, close

the digital divide and expand access to promising new instructional strategies

under the tutelage of former Executive

CASBO’s legislative platform states that California students are the basis of the association’s priorities, with a goal of ensuring that all students have an opportunity to be educated in safe and healthy environments with appropriate educational resources. Do you see that as being different from the work of The Education Trust – West? If so, how?

Directors Linda Murray and Arun

Ramanathan, educational equity is at the

The advocacy agenda of Ed Trust – West

forefront of everything we do.

is focused on educational equity for all

2. Adequate and equitable funding.

students, especially our highest need,

implementing l c f f , the state must

“Equal treatment for children in unequal

situations is not justice.” Today, there are approximately 6.3 million public

school students in California, with low-

income, students of color and English Learners making up the majority. Since

our inception 13 years ago by founding

Executive Director Russlynn Ali, and

As ardent advocates for better educa-

California’s many diverse communities

about the new education standards, and

the state must evaluate and monitor the implementation process.

As districts and communities begin

policymakers should take in four core

importantly – about educational justice.

and committed network of supporters

policy areas to ensure that students of

at high levels when they are taught at

families and other stakeholders in

ensure the new law is not just about local

policy agenda, we recommend steps that

firmly believe that all students will learn

year, education leaders must inform

most underserved students. In our 2014

tional outcomes for low-income students and students of color, our talented staff

such as blended learning. In the coming

color, low-income students and English learners benefit from the changes in our

control and flexibility, but also – and most The supplemental and concentration grants must be used to increase and

improve services for low-income, English California School Business I


The Education Trust – West leader discusses the moral imperative that informs her organization’s work

learner and foster youth students at

should be the ones chiefly guiding

services level the playing field and when

parents as true partners in spending

to the needs of those students and the

suffer the most. The supplemental and

their school sites. Districts must engage decisions and report expenditures down

to the school level in a way that is transparent to all stakeholders.

3. Equitable access to effective teachers.

California must incentivize its best college

graduates, particularly in fields such as science and math, to select teaching as a career. To close gaps in students’ access

to great teachers, we must ensure that districts attract and retain our very best

teachers in our highest need schools. To transform the teaching profession,

district and state policies must guarantee that every teacher receives a high-quality,

multiple-measure evaluation every year. And state policymakers must eliminate

bureaucratic laws such as seniority-based layoffs that ignore teaching effectiveness

and disproportionally destabilize highneed schools.

4. Accountability for student results.

State leaders must streamline our systems

of accountability and maintain a focus on

strong student results. An accountability

system that fragmented, that contains too

many indicators and that drifts away from a focus on student academic achievement

will risk confusing stakeholders and fracturing the public’s understanding of school success.

educational hopes of the community,

and are best positioned to develop the programs and supports those students need and want. At the same time, the

state must play a role in ensuring that every child has an equal and adequate

education, and it is the state’s job to ensure that no student group falls

through the cracks. Every student must have a fair shake at college and career

readiness, and only the state can provide

the direction, monitoring and support to ensure this happens in every district and every school.

In recent correspondence to the Department of Education on the proposed permanent LCFF regulations, The Education Trust – West expressed concern regarding the use of supplemental and concentration funding by school districts for, among other things, offsetting debt and providing across-the-board salary increases. Given that LCFF will only restore districts to their 2007-08 revenue levels upon full implementation in eight years, how would you advise a district that is receiving significant pressure from its staff and the local community to restore programs and spending that were reduced significantly during The Great Recession? The vast majority of a district’s funding

In his introduction of LCFF, Gov. Brown emphasized the concept of subsidiarity – that the state should not be involved in functions that can be accomplished more effectively at the local level. How does The Education Trust – West view the governor’s statement on subsidiarity?

is base, and we see no problem with

We agree that district leaders, principals,

time, support services, counseling and

teachers, parents and communities


priorities for students. They are closest

California School Business I Summer 2014

cuts are made, the highest need students concentration funding is a relatively small portion of the budget, especially in

the first few years of lcff, and we believe it’s just and fair to ask that these student receive their fair share of those funds.

Some CASBO members have expressed concern that there is a lack of appreciation and understanding regarding the scope of changes in school finance that resulted from LCFF. One chief business official recently said, “My staff and I are working really hard to implement these changes, and frankly we still have questions about how it will work in the long run. And we feel like there are people looking over shoulder waiting to sue us if we make one little mistake.” Do you see that as being a valid concern? Everyone, especially Ed Trust – West,

wants lcff to work. We are not out

there searching for mistakes; we are here to support equitable and effective implementation of this reform. We hope that in a year or two, we are celebrating

what districts and communities were able

to achieve together for kids. Now that said, we won’t be silent if we see glaring violations of the letter and the spirit of

law. It is our hope that our management

colleagues would not be silent in these instances either.

districts using those funds to offer teachers long-overdue and well-deserved

Moving forward, how do you see organizations such as yours and CASBO collaborating on LCFF implementation?

pay increases. Students, too, weathered

cuts in The Great Recession, with low-

The role of statewide advocacy and local,

income and other disadvantaged students

community-based organizations is so critically important in this work, and

experiencing damaging cuts to learning

many other programs they need. These

we know many local cbo s are focused

on funding support for programs and services that most effectively serve

students, especially high-need learners.

before. Seismic shifts in school finance,

implementation, these initiatives could

together to make this focus even more

sent shockwaves through our state’s

sures between our highest need students

There may be an opportunity to work prevalent in the cbo community and to

connect the essential work of financial planning and budgeting to proven

practices that work for low-income

students, English learners, foster youth and other students who are too often on the margins of our education systems.

standards, curriculum and instruction education policy landscape. Long-

familiar landmarks in school finance, accountability and assessment were replaced by a host of new initiatives

including lcff, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Common Core

State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

In the coming years, as they ripple

This is obviously a provocative question, but what is the level of trust that you and your organization have that school districts will implement LCFF fairly and accurately?

through our education system, these new initiatives have the potential to shift

widen existing gaps and create new fisand their more advantaged peers. We

trust our management colleagues will work closely and collaboratively with

all education stakeholders, especially parents, students, civil rights and community advocates to ensure the equity promise of lcff. z z z

Julie Phillips Randles is a freelance writer based in Roseville, Calif.

California’s focus more toward equity

The past several years have jolted California’s education system like never

and close our state’s achievement and opportunity gaps. But we also know

that without close attention to equitable

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California School Business I



California School Business I Summer 2014

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California School Business I



California School Business I Summer 2014

cover story



s technology and information gathering hurtle forward

closer scrutiny has risen to the surface: protecting

with unprecedented speed, one area that has needs

student data in school systems.

u.s. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the is-

sue at summit on student privacy issues in February hosted by Common Sense Media.

“Keeping children safe and secure is the most important

thing in the world,” Duncan said. “Privacy is a part of our

The stakes are high. Children are 35 times more likely than

adults to be identity theft victims, according to a recent article in

the San Jose Mercury News that quoted Suzanne Barber, director of the Center for Identity at the University of Texas at Austin.

Identity thieves target children because they have pristine credit ratings, and because it can be years before the crime is discovered, when the child comes of age and begins to apply for credit.

Thus the attention from both Congress and states. Two bills

children’s safety and security – especially in our fast-changing

are currently in various stages in the California Legislature:

can’t be a trade-off with the security and privacy of our children.

Steinberg, has been approved by the Senate and is awaiting as-

world. The benefits of technological advancement for students

sb 1177 (sopipa), by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell

We must provide our schools, teachers and students cutting-

signment to committee in the Assembly (as of csb’s publishing

We can and must accomplish both goals – but we will have to

laws that allow Internet companies to mine and exploit students’

edge learning tools. And we must protect our children’s privacy. get smarter to do it.”

deadline). The bill would close loopholes in existing California

data for profit. It also incorporates three key principles that Com-

California School Business I



mon Sense Media has called for to ensure that student informa-

tion is not exploited for commercial purposes:

> Students’ personal information should be used for educational purposes only.

> Students’ personal information or online activity should never be used for targeted advertising.

> Schools and educational-technology providers must follow appropriate data security, retention and destruction policies.

Steinberg explains why the issue of student privacy is im-

portant to him, and why he has addressed the issue with sopipa and an earlier bill:

“Our kids are literally growing up online and they need to

have safe spaces to learn. In 2013, I authored Senate Bill 568 to

protect the online privacy of California’s children in our digital

age. This bill, also known as the ‘Eraser Button Bill,’ requires operators of Internet sites, including social media sites, to allow

minors to remove posts or information that they place online.

The bill also prohibits direct and targeted online advertisement

Reader, Read 180, etc. We read and evaluate the user agreements

for these tools to determine if they are acceptable,” Resciniti says. “This legislation proposes to further restrict what these companies can do with the student data they collect. We feel

this legislation strengthens and reinforces our students’ privacy. If passed, the legislation’s overall eventual effect on these web-

based software tools and whether they can provide the same service within the new restrictions remains to be seen.”

“We follow the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

(ferpa) federal law in addition to California Education code and

our own local board policies and regulations regarding the privacy of student records,” says casbo member Chuck Szilagyi,

director of technology services with Riverside Unified School District. “Our best practice is to continually reference these guidelines, identifying any changes and making sure that our

current practices are in compliance. Local policies, regulations and practices need to be reviewed and, if needed, re-aligned to

the most current guidelines. Staying informed on any changes in the laws is essential.”

Cautious and deliberate scrutiny is another effective

of products and services that are illegal for minors to purchase,


spired me to take a deeper look at children’s privacy in our new

any third-party instructional systems that may require access

including alcohol, tobacco, firearms and diet pills. sb568 indata-driven world.”

“Our best practice is to follow board policy and scrutinize

to student data or information,” says Clovis’ Resciniti. “If these


systems are to be used districtwide, we evaluate the data sys-

tracts, digital storage services and digital educational software.

how the information will be used, encryption and transmission,

Joan Buchanan, concerns pupil records, privacy, third-party conRick Pratt, Buchanan’s education committee consultant,

said passage of ab1584 would mean schools would have to pay

much closer to student privacy issues when contracting for services. ab1584 has been approved by the Assembly and will be

heard in the Senate Education Committee mid-June (as of csb’s

publishing deadline).

Dan Resciniti, chief technology officer for Clovis Unified

School District, isn’t sure how the proposed legislation would affect how school districts implement student privacy issues.

“Current classroom instructional technology makes use

of a wide range of web-based applications and cloud services

such as Google for Education, Office365, Edmodo, Accelerated


California School Business I Summer 2014

tems as to the specific student data being gathered or requested,

security of the data center and recovery. From a data perspective, cusd is very protective of student information. We prefer to keep all data in-house and share data only after careful consideration and only when absolutely necessary.”

Szilagyi at Riverside Unified says the staff’s awareness of

district policies and procedures is the most cost-effective step to protect student privacy.

casbo member Harold Freiman, an attorney with Premier

Partner Lozano Smith, presented a workshop at the casbo

Annual Conference in April on technology issues relating to protecting student privacy. Here are some of the key points from Freiman’s presentation:

> Many school districts have turned to cloud computing as

perhaps as a result of a virus.


guarantee that it will exist forever; districts relying on

tion’s Council of School Attorneys in developing a guide to cloud

a storage solution for district documents, including email. In many cases, this means that student records (which can include email and other electronic records) are being uploaded to the cloud.

> Even the best cloud storage agreement cannot completely

protect against the risk of data theft or data inaccessibility,

> Further, even a behemoth like Google or Microsoft cannot cloud providers need to consider contingency plans in

computing contract issues for school attorneys.

> In the end, no third party can ensure that a district’s

still developing, even the lawyers are having to play a very

a district must weigh the risks carefully.

Lincoln says.

the event of a provider’s bankruptcy or other failure. interest in protecting student data is entirely met, so

Attorney Devon B. Lincoln, a casbo member, says attorneys

at Lozano Smith are assisting the National School Board Associa-

“Because legal issues regarding newer technologies are

rapid game of catch-up concerning the latest potential issues,” A recent Washington Post article suggests that the Education

Department’s framework for protecting student privacy (issued in February) raises more questions than it answers.

California School Business I



With such an abundance of information on the subject, what

“We spend a fair amount of money working with our dis-

can school districts do to keep up with an ever-changing ed tech

trict lawyers on these agreements,” she points out, “but not all

“This is always going to be a huge task for school districts,”

working with their lawyers. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than one


says Szilagyi. “New technology tools are being introduced at an accelerated rate, and district staffing will never keep pace with that growth. 

“We use a technology standards committee to review new

technology and make recommendations to the sites regarding equipment and services to use. The committee is composed of

personnel from all areas of responsibility within the district. Us-

ing a committee approach helps to filter the incoming information and helps our sites make more informed purchasing decisions.”

Ann Dunkin, the chief technology officer with Palo Alto

Unified School District, believes an organization like casbo could help school districts deal with the issue by developing unified standards.

districts can afford to spend several thousand dollars a month

lawsuit obviously, but not all districts have that kind of money. I think there are probably a lot of districts that are facing potential

risk trying to figure this out in-house. It would be helpful to have some unified standards to be able to hand to vendors.”


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with the rapid-fire changes.

“We have a team, Information Technology, whose main

responsibility is to continually upgrade and monitor our infrastructure to handle the ever-increasing number of devices,” Resciniti says. “We have another team, Educational Technology,

that pilots and evaluates new devices and software in the class-

room. They provide professional development to teachers to show best practices of using technology tools in the classroom.

This team works closely with our curriculum and instruction department.”

Dunkin says her district faces an additional challenge in the

realm of educational technology.

“I think every district, whether you’re in Montana or

Wyoming or New York or California, deals with a lot of ven-

dors coming through the door, trying to get teachers to use their

products. We have the additional problem here in the Silicon Valley; every little startup in the Bay Area looks at us and wants us to test their products,” Dunkin said. “People want the cachet

associated with having their product tested in Silicon Valley. I think the closer you get to the epicenter of Palo Alto, the more


pressure there is from vendors trying to get in your district. I © 2013 McGrath RentCorp. All rights reserved.


California School Business I Summer 2014

think that’s a huge challenge.” MM-2028CA-AD-v1.1 08/13

Where can districts turn for guidance and resources?

Szilagyi says seeking legal counsel is an option, and re-

searching upcoming legislation that could affect student privacy policies and procedures is good practice.

“We continually read educational periodicals – for ex-

ample, Tech & Learning, Education Week, Learning & Leading with Technology – we monitor blogs and Twitter feeds, and network

with educational organizations like iste (International Society

for Technology in Education), cetpa (California Educational

Technology Professionals Association), cosn (Consortium for

School Networking) and cue (Computer-Using Educators) to find out what other districts are successfully doing,” adds Resciniti.

Still, it seems likely that some of the changes in how districts

handle the issue of protecting student privacy will come via legislation. Sen. Steinberg said he has found tremendous support for sopipa.

“Common Sense Media is a national children’s advocacy

group that is in strong support of sopipa and the Eraser But-

ton Bill. We also have the California Parent Teacher Association

in support,” Steinberg said. “I am working very closely with education community stakeholders and will continue to do so

throughout the process. This bill also has the support of The

Sacramento Bee, Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times editorial boards. I am confident that my colleagues will pass sopipa. Protecting student personal information is a bipartisan issue.” z z z

Lisa Maria Boyles is a writer and communications specialist in the Fresno area.

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California School Business I


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California School Business I Summer 2014

California School Business I



California School Business I Summer 2014


Recalibrating your hiring Districts have funding, flexibility; now it’s time for hiring know-how By Julie Phillips Randles

First there were concerns about

Ed.D., deputy superintendent, human

Those worries gave way to angst about

District and a casbo member. “We have

the graying of the superintendency. how many would, or wouldn’t, choose

retirement as The Great Recession swept the state. Then came round after round

of layoffs as school district budgets

tanked. Today, districts and county offices have improved funding and increased flexibility to restart hiring. But

resources, for the Hemet Unified School

are coming to interviews with prob-

to be more thoughtful about our stake-

specific workplace culture expectations.

holders’ interests, and we now get to define the strings attached to the money.

We have freedom and the resources that come with it, but we also have a large responsibility.”

Employment experts assert the hir-

how? Who? And what’s changed in the

ing process has changed. Employers

“Now, with more flexibility and

diligence and should be prepared for can-

half decade since hiring collapsed?

some money to hire people, we are being very thoughtful about how we hire and who we hire,” describes LaFaye Platter,

In many cases, potential employees

should expect to engage in more due didates who are no longer naïve; after all,

many have just slogged through multiple years of job searching.

ing questions of their own, along with Think green initiatives, workday flexibility, collapsed management hierarchies,

collaborative environments, community

service opportunities and scant office

politics, explains Preet Kuar, executive recruiter and business development manager for Pacific Staffing in Sacramento

and vice president of member services for the Sacramento Area Human Resources Association (sahra).

The buzz words for this trend are

“employee value proposition,” explains

California School Business I


Recalibrating your hiring

Jon Meyers, a principal with Mercer, a

global human resource consulting firm.

create a space for others to contribute,

to respond to employers’ questions,

which allows him to learn? Being the

Today’s candidates aren’t just prepping they’re asking themselves: Why would I want to be at your organization? Is it

and also exhibit the intellectual humility

know-it-all leaves little room for learning.

for the culture? The career-growth op-

• Ownership – does the job seeker

“The big issue is the idea of employer

ownership that leads her to step in and


branding and trying to give employees an

honest look at what you offer. Candidates

like the idea of joining a community, a greater good, being part of a culture. If

you don’t offer that, you become very inauthentic. If you can make that case, that’s

have a sense of responsibility, a sense of

try to solve any problem? Ownership should be paired with the humility to

step back and embrace the better ideas of others when presented.

At the bottom of the list: expertise.

a powerful attraction tool,” Meyers says.

Find a candidate with strong cognitive

a jumpstart, attracting top candidates,

ness to learn and emerging leadership

minimum are certainly the goals. Here’s


And if hiring at your district has seen

ensuring fit and keeping turnover to a what you need to know to attain them.

ability, a sense of curiosity, a willing-

skills and that candidate will likely be



Google calls its human resources division

Platter and her colleagues in school

way one of the world’s most successful

of candidates. There are plenty of people

“people operations.” That’s not the only

companies distinguishes itself in the business of hiring.

Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of

people operations at Google, recently ex-

business aren’t suffering with a dearth

in the job market, but they don’t seem to have spent the last half decade increasing their skill levels.

“It takes more time to get down to

plained to the New York Times the leading

that perfect employee,” Platter says. “Just

• General cognitive ability – also known

ange County Department of Education

attributes to look for in candidates:

as learning ability, this is the ability

to process on the fly, to pull together

to get to an interview is quite a feat.”

That’s certainly the case at the Or-

(ocde) where Renee Hendrick says that

if an opening gets 60 applicants, fewer

disparate pieces of information.

than 10 are interviewed. Job postings for

• Emergent leadership – when faced with

one attempt to fill.

a problem as a team member, does the

high-level positions often take more than “One thing that’s changed in the last

candidate, at the appropriate time, step in

five years is that there are more people

know when to step back, stop leading or

but they don’t have practical experience,”

and lead? And equally critical, does she let someone else lead?


• Humility – can the potential employee

California School Business I Summer 2014

with degrees applying, and that’s good,

says Hendrick, assistant superintendent

Today’s candidates aren’t just prepping to respond to employers’ questions, they’re asking themselves: Why would I want to be at your organization? Is it for the culture? The career-growth opportunities?

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California School Business I


Recalibrating your hiring

administrative services and a past casbo

failed and what you did to address it?

attempting to enter school business from

how did you gain influence in the group?

president. Most are new grads, some are

Employers want candidates to disclose their adaptability and agility and they’re getting that knowledge by asking about decision-making strategies and problem-solving techniques.

a different profession and others just don’t interview well – all confounding factors for candidate selection.

ocde’s Hendrick says.

Employers want candidates to dis-

close their adaptability and agility and

some skills. “The employee we hire now

about decision-making strategies and

has to be more technologically proficient, starting from when they apply,” Platter

they’re getting that knowledge by asking problem-solving techniques.

“People are writing questions so


candidates can demonstrate not only

will have a hard time making it through

done successfully,” says Suzanne Speck,

Those without basic computer skills

the application process which most dis-

what they know, but what they have associate vice president for casbo Stra-

tricts say is almost exclusively online, no

tegic Alliance partner School Services of

candidates to come to headquarters to

“Also popular are questions that really

matter the position. Many districts allow

access a computer for the application process and to get staff assistance.

Common Core Standards, changes in

California and the head of its search unit.

get at relationships with the superintendent, board and unions.”

Education’s biggest issues are also

assessments and the state’s new educa-

the subject of queries. “We want to know

leading candidates need to arrive with

new funding model. What’s their role in

tion funding formula also mean that the

expertise on these topics, and perhaps their back pockets.

what candidates know about the state’s developing a Local Control and Accountability Plan (lcap)?” Speck says.

After the inquiries are complete,

many employers are having candidates


complete specific tasks to back up what

Conversational interviews are out. Be-

get and develop a PowerPoint presenta-

havioral interviews are waning. Problemsolving interviews are all the rage.

“Studies show that the two areas that

are attractive to employers are problem-

solving ability and learning ability. We’ve

they say they can do. Review a draft budtion for the school board. Draft a memo

to a sensitive party. Create a spreadsheet.

Write a report to a superintendent or board based on a fictitious scenario.

“We’re looking for a person’s ability

gone beyond the behavioral interview to

to communicate. We may give a scenario

they’ve had to adapt or to tell about a

level of judgment in responding to the

asking candidates to share times when decision they had to make when they

were under time pressure,” Mercer ’s

and look at how they reason and their scenario,” Platter describes.

Speck says the days of hiring being

Meyers says.

about who you know, rather than what

employers are digging deep with ques-

engage in rigorous processes of selection

Resilience is another big theme and

tions such as: Tell me about a time you

California School Business I Summer 2014

Or, tell us about how you collaborate,

Today’s perfect employee, as Platter

describes, needs to come to the table with

even training in these areas already in


When did you last work with a group and

you know, are long gone. “People really to hire the best candidates. Most are do-

ing a good job of taking hiring seriously

credit, academic credentials and criminal

in the private sector, districts and county

In some organizations, the interview

Candidates should also be prepared

“We don’t check social media be-

and ensuring it’s fair and compliant.”

history checked.

offices remain wary.

starts at the application stage. At ocde,

for employers to ask about them through

cause we’ve been told it’s legally risky,”

the online application so that review-

“We have a saying here, ‘Every day

School Service’s Speck agrees. “I

preliminary questions are now part of

their personal contacts at various districts.

Hendrick said.

ers can get a feel for candidates. “Some

is an interview.’ It gets interesting if you

worry if you don’t hire someone based

their application answers may lead us to

go well and then you see them on an in-

be considered discriminatory. We rely on

candidates may have less experience, but interview them,” Hendrick says.

meet someone in public and it doesn’t terview panel. School business is a small

world; your reputation follows you,”

on something on social media, it might reference checks, background checks, two

interview panels, writing samples and presentations.”


Hendrick explains.

Reference checks have gotten intense

small world by seeking references from

prepared to provide as many as 30

tion to the candidate’s listed backers.

It used to be that people were just happy

social media may be par for the course

loyal to an organization for years. Times

and in-depth. Candidates should be references for high-level positions. Job seekers should be prepared to have their

Some employers are exploiting that

the folks they know in schools, in addiWhile tracking candidates’ posts on

ON CANDIDATES’ LISTS to have a job and, once on board, remained

Change the world All kids are optimistic and think they can change the world. At SELF, we believe they can. Our founders changed the world of excess liability coverage but they didn’t do it by themselves. They had the right education and training as a foundation for making their contribution possible. At SELF, we are dedicated to ensuring that the next generation has a stable learning environment from which to launch their world altering careers. Our members know they can count on SELF’s strong financial foundation and claims handling expertise to keep things steady in the event of a catastrophic loss. It is never easy, but SELF’s goal is to make the journey as smooth as possible. Join our team now. Call 866-453-5300

Schools Excess Liability Fund

California School Business I


Recalibrating your hiring

have changed. The best candidates have

“We’re looking for people who are

of Education.

energized and bring fresh ideas from the

While those requirements may vary

nectivity, and devices to ensure that, Fort

the type of work districts do,” Hendrick

days are looking for an organization that

mobile devices in the workplace, particu-

requirements of their own for what they want in an employer.

by the candidate’s generation, most these

is environmentally responsible, offers flexibility, has established wellness programs and is a good social fit.

“We’re finding people are making

different decisions about how they use

their time and where they place themselves,” Platter says.

That’s why Hemet Unified tells

candidates about its green initiatives like gardens and solar energy systems

at schools sites, as well as an on-staff en-

Candidates are also seeking con-

Merrill says. “The use of technology and

forever,” Platter says. z z z

employees stay connected because their

‘desks’ now move around. The expectation is that employees can check email,

look at work files and fully communicate

ible workspaces are an option. At Hemet, those at the district office who prefer a

stand-up workstation need only ask. Employees who value wellness initiatives

most candidates no longer sign on

can they answer the age-old interview

question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” But those in the business

of hiring to have a top-10 list of skills, according to Forbes:

can participate in drop-in yoga classes four, 10-hour days.

3. Ability to plan, organize and

“Creating an environment that’s

pleasant and fun is only good for serving students,” Platter says. “The more we do, the more people like to work here.”

Candidates also want quick access

to training, leading many districts to put

new employee orientation and ongoing training online, replacing “sit-and-get” meetings.

Paid holidays, longer breaks due to

school schedules and strong health benefits programs remain attractive to candidates, says casbo member Michele Fort-

Merrill, assistant superintendent, human

California School Business I Summer 2014

Julie Phillips Randles is a freelance writer based in Roseville, Calif.


1. Ability to work in a team 2. Ability to make decisions and

during summer months when staff works

years than someone who is less proficient


with an organization for a lifetime. Nor

need to align with the school day – flex-

Platter’s on the lookout for luminar-

connectivity. We’re looking to ensure

trend which forces employers to offer

ute to the district’s energy efficiency.

While flexible hours may not be easy


ies. “I’d rather have a superstar for two

Employers have come to realize that

to offer – employees’ schedules typically

outside if they can draw a correlation to

larly in management positions, is a huge

ergy conservation manager that educates

employees about how they can contrib-


resources, at the San Diego County Office

solve problems

prioritize work

with people inside and outside

4. Ability to communicate verbally

an organization

5. Ability to obtain and process information

6. Ability to analyze quantitative data 7. Technical knowledge related

to the job

software programs

written reports

8. Proficiency with computer 9. Ability to create and/or edit 10. Ability to sell and influence others

CASBO POLL: What’s the top trait you look for in new hires? Years of experience? Positive attitude? Leadership skills? Flexibility? Star power? Weigh in at

The California School Boards Association, in association with Piper Jaffray & Co., has partnered with the California Association of School Business Officials, and enhanced the Certificates of Participation program.

û Fixed and variable interest rate options û Flexible prepayment provisions û Capitalized interest û Flexible repayment schedules û Low cost of issuance û Education Code 17406 financings

California School Boards Association

3100 Beacon Blvd. | West Sacramento, CA 95691 | 800.266.3382

California School Business I


out & about

CASBO member Gary Matsumoto addresses attendees at the 2014 CASBO Annual Conference & California School Business Expo. Joining him on stage are Ron Bennett and Nancy LaCasse of School Services of California, a CASBO Strategic Alliance partner.

Rich Buse, immediate past president of CASBO, addresses CASBO conference attendees.

Rich Buse, left, passes the CASBO presidential gavel to new CASBO President Vince Christakos, right.

Gary Matsumoto speaks to general session attendees at the 2014 CASBO Annual Conference.

Steve Uzzell, an advertising and corporate photographer who teaches about creative problem solving, speaks at the second general session during the 2014 CASBO Annual Conference.

Performances by area students are always a welcome part of conference.

Please send in your Out & About photos from CASBO events along with the names of the people in the photos and the event where the photo was taken. Digital photos may be sent to


California School Business I Summer 2014

out & about

Rich Buse, left, and Michael Johnston, right, at the CASBO President's Dinner.

CASBO conference happenings A look a the people, places that made the 2014 conference a success

California School Business I


CASBO book club

As a result of providing dedicated service to public schools throughout California for over thirty years, the SISC name is one public school district administrators know they can trust. We feature: • Customized plans and services • A wide range of options • A long track record of stable and affordable rates We currently cover: • Over 400 Public Entities • Over $1 Billion in Annual Payroll • Over $11 Billion in Total Insured Value • Over 225,000 member lives We offer: • Workers’ Compensation • Property and Liability • Health Benefits • Risk Management Services • GASB 45 and Post-Employment Benefit Solutions Please contact Nick G. Kouklis, CEO by calling 800-972-1727 for more information A Joint Powers Authority administered by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office Christine Lizardi Frazier, Superintendent

Helping Districts Save for 30 Years PARS is proud to partner with CSBA to provide the GASB 45 Solutions Program to school districts, a trust program to help pre-fund retiree health care liabilities, or “OPEB,” in a simple cost-effective way. Contact PARS about: • CSBA GASB 45 Solutions Program • Retirement Incentives • Social Security Alternatives for part-time, seasonal and temporary employees

Strike the right balance and achievement increases With Common Core State Standards coming down the pike, now’s the time to join your CASBO colleagues in reading “District Leadership That Works: Striking the Right Balance,” by Robert J. Marzano and Timothy Waters. The book identifies how school leaders can unite a district by establishing common goals that will improve overall student achievement. The authors discuss a top-down power mechanism they call “defined autonomy” which they argue puts the focus on district-defined, non-negotiable goals. A system of accountability, supported by assessment tools, should also be put in place. With this approach, the writers say districts can successfully address student achievement and respond more quickly when students fail. Throughout the book, the authors assure educators that district leadership is not a unilateral decisionmaking process, but is instead a process that involves schools, unions, students and community members in collaborative goal setting. Leaders are also tasked with ensuring that the school board is accountable for appropriately allocating resources to support the goals of stakeholders. Along the way, Marzano and Waters acknowledge that their recommendations require a mental and procedural break with past educational paradigms. But that break, they argue, nets improved student achievement and stronger school districts.

Trusted Solutions. Lasting Results.

800.540.6369 ext 127 © 2014 Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS). All rights reserved.


California School Business I Summer 2014

Interested in participating in an online book club where you can share your thoughts and analysis with colleagues? Let us know at http://www.

career Rx

Mistakes, blunders and career suicide… By Molly McGee Hewitt Executive Director

Past Career Rx columns have been directed at providing readers with how to’s and ways to excel in their school business career. This column has a different angle. It introduces five behaviors you must avoid at all costs if you want to advance your career. While no individuals are identified, all examples are taken from real life and have actually occurred in school districts or county offices of education. Bashing your previous or current boss or organization. People look for new jobs and opportunities for many reasons. Family moves, increased income, upward mobility, a need for change and, sometimes, to get out of a toxic environment or organization. If you are leaving to change your environment or supervisor, under no circumstances should you bash, put down or make negative remarks about your current or past employer or organization. Education is a small world and there are few degrees of separation between people. One candidate shared with a hiring panel “the organization they were in was cumbersome, political and administered by people with no vision or integrity.” What the candidate didn’t know was that members of the panel were related to or had worked with the leadership of the district being discussed. The candidate was oblivious to the realities and lost an opportunity. In another district, a new hire shared with a group of professionals that he was excited about the new job, but had heard that the CBO there was in trouble and about to be fired. Colorful and uncomplimentary language was used to describe the colleague’s attire and leadership style. The CBO’s mother was in the group and shared it with her son. The person’s longevity in the district was cut short before it even began. Telling lies. Lies are interesting things. Sometimes they are outright sharing of false information, sometimes shading partially true information, and sometimes lies are used to build up reputations, talents or skills. Beware. A lie on your employment application can stop you from getting an interview,

or, if discovered after you’re hired, can end your job. One superintendent lied about his education and degrees received. Job lost. Another job applicant stated a bogus degree from a prestigious university along with employment from a nowdefunct organization. Both thought no one could, or would, check on the degree and figured it would be impossible to verify the employment. Wrong on both counts. Another job applicant took credit for responsibilities and successes in their current position that, upon review, were found to be bogus. Lies are an indicator of a lack of integrity. No one wants to take a chance on a liar. Creating bad cyber mojo. What will we find if we Google your name? A simple Web search might reveal negative information including past litigation, bad publicity and interesting lifestyle choices. While some districts may undertake a LexisNexis background search that includes credit, legal and employment history, other stakeholders may Google applicants and find things that do not done bode well for employment. One candidate was shown with his child on his lap having a beer after a softball game. The toddler’s hand was on the beer and it appeared that the child was drinking! While the child was just grabbing the glass, the image was enough to take this candidate out of consideration. Image and perception are reality in the cyber world. Guard your words, your postings, your pictures and your reputation carefully. Another applicant was Googled and a video that involved a dangerous off-road sport was revealed. The implication was that this would be a high-risk employee. If you have bad cyber mojo, address it before it surfaces. Making a poor personal presentation. From your personal appearance at interviews to the quality of your resume, cover letter, job application or other materials, your chance to make a good impression will be drastically reduced if your presentation in these areas is weak. One applicant cited accuracy and professionalism as a strong

suit, but job-related materials were filled with typos and misspellings. Another applicant came to the interview dressed for a round of golf. The interviewer and committee felt that the applicant was not the image they were looking for. Dress for the position you want and dress up, never down. Make your materials reflect you in the best possible light. Consider the candidate that submitted an application used by another district, along with materials directed to the wrong LEA. The message – I’m sloppy and desperate. Exposing “I” issues. I did this. I directed this. I created this. If you use “I” in your materials or interviews with no acknowledgement of your colleagues or other contributors, you’re heading for trouble. “I” issues can reveal arrogance or lack of ability to work in a team. Very little gets done in most LEAs by only one person. Acknowledge others and share the role you played in the success. One applicant told an interview panel that they had successfully orchestrated and led a bond campaign for the district. The way the candidate told the story, without them, the voters would have voted the campaign down. The interviewer had just been a part of a successful district and community team for a bond and knew the tale was not true and saw taking full credit as arrogant. In another interview, a candidate shared with the panel how they did business and how they would do business. At no time did they acknowledge the district, the culture of the organization or the work of others. It was obvious that the candidate was a lone wolf who wouldn’t collaborate. Another applicant, when asked about their philosophy of managing employees, stated that they were a longtime supervisor and they could “whip a team into shape” and knew how to evaluate for dismissal. No mention of mentoring, using evaluation for professional growth or acknowledgement of good employees was mentioned. The interview team included future co-workers who did not like the idea of being “whipped into shape.” Interview over.

California School Business I


advertiser index

Accounting, Auditing and Financial Services Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman LLP (626) 857-7300 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

California Lottery California Lottery (916) 822-8103 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Consulting Services DecisionInsite (877) 204-1392 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 School Services of California, Inc. (916) 446-7517 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Cooperative Purchasing The Cooperative Purchasing Network (888) 884-7695 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Demand Management Schneider Electric (615) 793-1508 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 TerraVerde Renewable Partners (650) 868-0410 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Financial and Facility Planners California Financial Services (707) 544-7800 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

ASCIP (562) 677-2012 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Keenan & Associates (310) 212-0363 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Financial and Human Resource Software Smartetools, Inc. (760) 242-8890 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

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Financial Services

Legal Services

Piper & Company (800) 876-1854 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (562) 653-3428 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company (415) 364-6839 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Jones Hall (415) 391-5780 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Fraud Prevention, Detection & Investigation

Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz (800) 399-3122 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

Office DEPOT (888) 263-3423 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Furniture & Equipment Virco, Inc. (800) 813-4150 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Back cover

Healthcare Services/Insurance California’s Valued Trust (559) 252-2500 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Southern California Schools Joint Powers Association (909) 763-4900 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Insurance and Financial Services Horace Mann Companies (402) 290-3116 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

California School Business I Summer 2014

American Fidelity Assurance Company (800) 365-9180 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Schools Excess Liability Fund (SELF) (866) 453-5300 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman LLP (626) 857-7300 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26


Insurance Benefits/Services

Modular Buildings, Relocatable Classrooms Mobile Modular Management Corporation (800) 944-3442 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Network Solutions, Servers & PC Solutions Sehi Computer Products, Inc. (800) 233-7344 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Performance Management Systems and Data Analytics Act PointÂŽ KPI (425) 977-2120 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Public Finance Stifel, Nicolaus & Company (415) 364-6839 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Retirement Benefits Public Agency Retirement Service (800) 540-6369 #127 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

advertiser index


Risk Management Services

School Bond Underwriters

Schools Excess Liability Fund (SELF) (866) 453-5300 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company (415) 364-6839 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Southern California Schools Joint Powers Association (909) 763-4900 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

School & Office Supplies

American Fidelity Assurance Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 ASCIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Office DEPOT (888) 263-3423 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 California Financial Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 California Lottery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

School Bus Sales Service & Parts Creative Bus Sales (909) 465-5528 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

California’s Valued Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Creative Bus Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 DecisionInsite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Student Information Services

CASBO Career Headquarters is the premier electronic recruitment resource for the industry. Job seekers can click on Career HQ to view a host of career opportunities; employers can visit the HQ to both post available jobs and to track qualified candidates.

Act Point® KPI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Infinite Campus, Inc. (651) 631-0000 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Eagle Software (888) 487-7555 Please see our ad on page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Eagle Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Horace Mann Companies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Infinite Campus, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Jones Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Keenan & Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Mobile Modular Management Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Office DEPOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Piper & Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Visit and look for the Career HQ tab.

Public Agency Retirement Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Schneider Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 School Services of California, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Client Focused Successful Results

Schools Excess Liability Fund (SELF) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Sehi Computer Products, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Self Insured Schools of CA (SISC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Smartetools, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Southern California Schools Joint Powers Association . . . . . . 23

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• Contracts

Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

• Special Education

TerraVerde Renewable Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

• General Advisory

The Cooperative Purchasing Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

• Civil Rights

Vicenti, Lloyd & Stutzman LLP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

• Mandated Training

Virco, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Back cover

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California School Business I


last words


The best managers were always willing to see talented people whether or not they had an open job to fill. They were also willing to modify an open job to attr and better meet the career needs of a strong person.

Sixty-nine percent of employees report that work is a significant source of stress and 41% say they typcally feel tense or stressed out during the workday Source: American Psychological Association

– Lou Adler

$550M ” California’s expanded learning programs reach nearly 4,400 schools statewide. Most are funded through Proposition 49 which guarantees $550 million annually for the state’s After School Education and Safety Program – more than all other states’ spending combined.

If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple: Know what you’re doing. Love what you’re doing. And believe in what you’re doing. – O.A. Battista

Source: California Department of Education

Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day. – Sally Koch


California School Business I Summer 2014

Employees spend about 20 hours a week online and 5 hours a week surfing non-work-related sites. Source: Huffington Post

Do you have an inspirational quote or interesting statistic to share with your colleagues? Send your favorites to tdavenport



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improvements. Our work with California school districts includes


general obligation bonds, Mello-Roos bonds, certificates of

Bruce Kerns Managing Director (415) 364-6839

Erica Gonzalez Director (415) 364-6841

Katherine Perkins Vice President (415) 364-5961

Roberto J. Ruiz Assistant Vice President (415) 364-6856

participation, leases, bridge financings, TRANs, and the refinancing or restructuring of previously issued bonds. Stifel’s presence in California and our services to school districts are represented by the staff of the former public finance firms Stone & Youngberg and De La Rosa & Co., which recently merged with Stifel. We give back to the communities we serve by providing college scholarships to graduating high school seniors through Stifel’s annual Fabric of Society essay competition and by supporting school-related foundations and functions through the Stifel Education Program (“StEP”).

* Source: Thomson Reuters, 2013

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA | LOS ANGELES OFFICE Dawn Vincent Managing Director (213) 443-5006

John R. Baracy Managing Director (213) 443-5025

Robert Barna Managing Director (213) 443-5205

Scott Henry Managing Director (213) 443-5206

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated Member SIPC & NYSE |

California School Business I


















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California School Business I Summer 2014

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CASBO School Business Summer 2014  

CASBO School Business Summer 2014 magazine

CASBO School Business Summer 2014  

CASBO School Business Summer 2014 magazine