Researchers from the Policy Analysis for California Education highlighted how community engagement has remained one of the most challenging expectations of the state’s Local Control Funding Formula. The challenge is so pronounced state leaders have funded an initiative to support regional networks focused on engagement. Educators and leaders from around the state are playing a role in developing capacity to implement new approaches to the community engagement focus. The San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS) was selected as lead agency for the state’s Community Engagement initiative. The goal is to develop expertise and resources to help school districts improve their ability to engage stakeholders in a meaningful way. This year, SBCSS, along with a group of partners including Families in Schools and California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), will begin implementation of the initiative and planning for its expansion into other regions throughout the state. According to Beth Higbee, Assistant Superintendent, SBCSS, the objectives of the initiative include building the capacity of communities and districts to have difficult conversations with each other and build trust, with a focus on improving outcomes for the students. The initiative will further Identify effective models of community engagement and establish metrics to evaluate those models while also developing effective peer-to-peer partnerships between county offices, other agencies, and school districts to deepen community engagement. Finally, the most effective models will be introduced to communities statewide, incorporating policies and practices that have proven effective and will help maintain focus on this important element of the Local Control Funding Formula initiative. When Researchers from the Policy Analysis for California Education met with SBSCC a participant in the session share their sentiments. “Oftentimes, training for stakeholder engagement is about building the capacity of families and communities. It also needs to be about building the capacity of school, district and county leaders to engage with families.” This effort is design to help address that concern.
Header Photo: Ted Alejandre, Superintendent of Schools