Winning Community Engagement in the System of Support for Schools
The System of Support now being implemented by the State Board of Education and the California Department of Education is an integral part of California’s new multiple measures school accountability system. The system is designed to provide schools identified as needing assistance based on School Dashboard data with a range of resources, tools, technical assistance, and, if needed, interventions to help them meet the needs of students, sustain improvement, and address disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes.
In 2019, John Affeldt, Managing Attorney and Director of Legislative and Community Affairs Liz Guillen consistently advocated for inclusion of robust community engagement as part of the System of Support process. In April, John coordinated an LCFF Equity Coalition presentation to the Cross-Agency System of Support Planning Group on how to promote transformational leadership and emergent practices and challenge assumptions that are obstacles to the inclusion of student and parent voices in district and school transformation. Our January, March, and November letters to the State Board of Education also emphasized the important role of community engagement.
Finally, in November 2019, in response to our advocacy, the Board instructed Department of Education staff to add community and stakeholder engagement as one of the foundational principles of the System of Support. This is a significant victory for parents and students. Failure to recognize the role of community engagement would have created a serious disconnect between school improvement activities, the Local Control Accountability Plans, and school site communities.