Amended in Assembly April 6, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 580


Introduced by Assembly Member O'Donnell

February 24, 2015


An act tobegin delete repeal Sections 44504, 44505, 44506, and 44507end deletebegin insert add Chapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 44700) to Part 25 of Division 3 of Title 2end insert of the Education Code, relating tobegin delete teachers.end deletebegin insert school employees.end insert

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 580, as amended, O'Donnell. begin deleteTeachers: California Peer Assistance and Review Program for Teachers. end deletebegin insertSchool employees: in-service training: early identification of pupil mental health issues.end insert

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Existing law establishes a system of public elementary and secondary schools in this state. Existing law provides for the establishment of local educational agencies to operate public elementary and secondary schools and provide instruction to pupils. Existing law requires local educational agencies to actively and systematically seek out all individuals with exceptional needs, from birth to 21 years of age, inclusive, who reside in a school district or are under the jurisdiction of a special education local plan area or a county office of education.

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This bill would state the Legislature’s findings and declarations regarding pupil mental health issues. The bill would require school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to provide in-service training every school year to teachers of pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and to classified staff who have regular personal contact with pupils, on the early identification of pupil mental health issues, as specified. The bill would authorize those entities to provide the required training in an online format outside of a regularly scheduled staff meeting. The bill would provide that the Legislature encourages these entities to provide the required training as part of a larger initiative aimed at improving mental health outcomes for pupils, and to use existing funds from other state and federal sources, as appropriate, to provide the required training. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

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The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

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This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

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Existing law establishes the California Peer Assistance and Review Program for Teachers, which is a program established to assist teachers by setting forth performance goals, providing multiple observations of the teacher during periods of classroom instruction, and encouraging a cooperative relationship between the consulting teacher and the principal with respect to a process of peer assistance and review. Existing law provides for the implementation of the program by school districts that elect to participate in the program, and establishes a system for apportioning state funds to participating school districts. Existing law requires a school district that does not participate in the program to report the rationale for not participating annually at a regularly scheduled meeting of the governing board of the school district.

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This bill would repeal specified provisions relating to the implementation and funding of this program and would delete an obsolete provision relating to the preparation of a comprehensive evaluation of the program.

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Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: begin deleteno end deletebegin insertyesend insert.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

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begin insertChapter 3.3 (commencing with Section 44700)
2is added to Part 25 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the end insert
begin insertEducation Codeend insertbegin insert,
3to read:end insert

begin insert

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2Chapter  begin insert3.3.end insert In-Service Training: Early Identification
3of Pupil Mental Health Issues
4

 

5

begin insert44700.end insert  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the
6following:

7(1) In 2012, the Superintendent convened the Student Mental
8Health Policy Workgroup, a collaboration between the department
9and the California Mental Health Services Authority, to develop
10policy recommendations that promote early identification, referral,
11coordination, and access to quality mental health services for
12pupils. The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup is comprised
13of teachers, school counselors, school social workers, school
14psychologists, school nurses, and school administrators, as well
15as state and county mental health professionals.

16(2) The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup has issued a
17 recommendation calling for increased training of school personnel,
18in order to promote earlier identification and intervention to meet
19the needs of California’s pupils.

20(3) The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup has found the
21following:

22(A) Research points to a strong connection between mental
23wellness and academic achievement.

24(B) Research demonstrates that early detection and treatment
25of mental illness improves attendance, behavior, and academic
26achievement.

27(C) The percentage of children with mental health issues is
28estimated at 20 percent, with 80 percent of those undiagnosed and
29untreated. The lack of attention to their mental health has
30significant effects on school achievement and life outcomes.

31(D) Mental health challenges disproportionately impact pupils
32who face stressors such as violence, trauma, and poverty.

33(E) Mental health training for educators and other adults
34working with pupils can help identify mental health issues early,
35allowing pupils the opportunity to grow and thrive by receiving
36the support they need to overcome barriers to their education.

37(F) California’s educators report their lack of preparedness in
38addressing pupil mental health challenges as a major barrier to
39instruction. Most educators and staff lack training to identify pupils
40who may be in need of support, make referrals, and, as
P4    1appropriate, to help pupils overcome or manage mental health
2barriers and succeed in school.

3(G) Statewide action is needed to expand training throughout
4California so that all school staff can help address the significant
5mental health needs of pupils.

6(H) While some parts of the state have benefited from mental
7health training on a small scale, limited budgets have restricted
8the reach of training that is critically needed in all districts.

9(I) Federal grant funds are now available for pilot programs
10in school districts and county offices of education to help
11disseminate mental health training throughout the state.

12(J) The department has been authorized to administer the federal
13“Now is the Time” AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience
14in Education) State Agency Program grant.

15(K) This program will build and expand statewide awareness
16of mental health issues among pupils by supporting training for
17school personnel and other adults who interact with pupils to
18identify possible mental health issues and connect pupils to
19appropriate services.

20(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature that California
21educators become knowledgeable about early identification of
22pupil mental health issues, including protocols for pupil referral
23for additional support.

24

begin insert44701.end insert  

(a) (1) Within the first six weeks of every school year,
25as part of a regularly scheduled staff meeting, each school district,
26county office of education, and charter school shall provide
27in-service training to teachers of pupils in kindergarten and grades
281 to 12, inclusive, and to classified staff who have regular personal
29contact with pupils, on the early identification of pupil mental
30health issues, including referral protocols.

31(2) The training required pursuant to paragraph (1) may instead
32be provided in an online format outside of a regularly scheduled
33staff meeting.

34(b) The Legislature encourages school districts, county offices
35of education, and charter schools to provide the training described
36in subdivision (a) as part of a larger initiative aimed at improving
37mental health outcomes for pupils.

38(c) The Legislature encourages the use of existing funds from
39other state and federal sources, as appropriate, to meet the
40requirement of subdivision (a).

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begin insert44702.end insert  

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as doing
2either of the following:

3(a) Requiring school personnel to identify, assess, diagnose, or
4treat pupil mental health issues.

5(b) Authorizing or encouraging school personnel to act outside
6of the authority granted by their credential or license.

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7begin insert

begin insertSEC. 2.end insert  

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If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
8this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
9local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
10pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
114 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

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SECTION 1.  

Section 44504 of the Education Code is repealed.

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SEC. 2.  

Section 44505 of the Education Code is repealed.

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SEC. 3.  

Section 44506 of the Education Code is repealed.

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SEC. 4.  

Section 44507 of the Education Code is repealed.

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