About Us

The California Policy Collaborative Supports, policy-focused professional learning communities to build expertise in California’s Capitol

Our Mission

is to build policy knowledge, expertise and connections for policy staff in the California State Legislature for the ultimate benefit of California’s children and communities.

About the California Policy Collaborative Approach


It is our belief – grounded in the science of adult learning – that to successfully support professionals as they develop complex knowledge and skills, it is essential for:

  • Learners to be engaged shoulder-to-shoulder with peers who share similar obligations and constraints
  • Content to be relevant to the current context and germane to the learner’s role and responsibilities
  • Learning experiences to be individually paced, self-directed exploration of new material, which can be applied through engaging, inquiry-based group activities
  • Learning environments to be intentionally structured, psychologically safe, skillfully facilitated and available consistently over time
What Our Learners are Saying
“The program has been thoughtfully designed to balance heavy content with opportunities to create a safe and fun supportive learning environment... Participants seem comfortable, have gotten to know each other... The module content is outstanding. The panelists are top-notch.”
“The fact that the policy experts are a diverse group of people from varying backgrounds shows me that diversity and inclusion was in mind.”
"It is the material I have always wanted to review. It fills in knowledge gaps and is becoming my go-to resource.”
"I like that it is really driven by the participants. I feel like it's always up to us to discuss what we don't know, instead of just sitting through pre-made presentations."
“This is the highest quality, in-depth, tailored training available to staff.”
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The California Policy Collaborative is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives. This work has been made possible by the generous contributions of the Stuart Foundation, Heising Simons Foundation, Sobrato Philanthropies, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Silver Giving Foundation and the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation.

The Team

Samantha Dobbins Tran is the Founder and Executive Director of the California Policy Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that works to build the knowledge, skills and networks of California’s legislature staff to effectively tackle the complex issues facing children and young people in the state. As former Senior Managing Director for Education Policy at Children Now, Ms. Tran oversaw the organization’s birth-to-college-and-career education policy agenda, which included managing the organization’s comprehensive policy, advocacy and communications campaign strategies on early learning and K-12 systems in California, including finance reform, accountability, system of support, workforce, data and dual language learners/English learners. She also was a strategic advisor on Children Now’s foster youth and health policy work and led cross-team Communities of Practice (CoP), including a CoP focused on the implementation of California’s Local Control Funding Formula and its multiple measures accountability system. Prior to joining Children Now, Ms. Tran was a senior research and policy consultant at the California School Boards Association (CSBA) where she provided guidance to governance teams on the implementation of state and federal law and regulations. She also was an independent contractor for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Governor’s Committee on Educational Excellence. Ms. Tran completed her B.A. in Communications at the University of San Francisco and her M.A. in Education Policy at Stanford University.

Samantha Dobbins Tran

Founder and Executive Director, California Policy Collaborative

Learn More About Our Courses