It’ll take more than one blog post to cover this topic. But that’s ok because it’s my favorite topic!
There are various entities involved in our educational system. Beginning with the student, their first educational influences are from their family. When they are brought into a classroom, their teacher is of course influential. From there, are several more entities which are important to the delivery of education however you may rarely see in the student’s classroom. They are the Principle, School Site Council, School District Board, County Department of Education, State Department of Education, Federal Department of Education and many educational agencies.
Unravel a complex system with this example
In 2016, I learned that only 3 out of 10 Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) graduating seniors were eligible for California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) enrollment. Although students were graduating from high school, they had not completed the required courses to be eligible to apply to a CSU or UC. These courses are known as the A-G requirements. This left many students and families disappointed, discouraged, and frankly, very confused.
Advocates, including parents, students, and teachers, wanted to know how this could happen and how to improve this statistic. I’m so very proud to have been a part of the Stockton Schools Initiative during this time. That year over several months, we learned how to research the data. We learned how to advocate. We held meetings with our community including families and city officials such as School Board Trustees and City Councilmembers. We learned how to effectively ask the SUSD School Board to set a defined goal to increase the number of CSU and UC eligible high school graduates. There was growing support for change from many community partners, parents, and both current and former students.
Change takes time and patience. Our school board trustees had to agree to consider these changes. Once in agreement, then a committee is formed among SUSD leadership to, among many tasks, carry out research and write an official resolution. The SUSD College and Career Readiness Resolution #18-05 was approved by the SUSD School Board in July 2018.
The resolution, a thorough document of data and instructions, is interesting and exciting to me because it’s very much a promise to our students. It’s a promise to have each student college, career, and community ready by graduation. Following goal to increase CSU and UC eligible graduates, we can see the impact the A-G requirements will have in our schools. AngelAnn Flores, SUSD Board Trustee, Area 2, explained SUSD will begin implementing new standards aligned curriculum in grades Transitional Kindergarten (TK) – 12 in both English Language Arts and Mathematics. From the beginning, a student’s education will mapped and supported so that by graduation they will have completed the courses required for entrance to a CSU and UC. She says, “Our teachers, coaches, and administrators have been hard at work learning the new curriculum.” This school year and in years to come, we’ll see the promises of the resolution implemented, watch it in action, and benefit from its outcomes.
Find yourself within the system
Who was involved in this process? Everyone. Where do you see yourself in the process? Are you a parent? Are you an advocate? Are you a community partner, business or organization? Do you work for the school district? Are you a teacher? The process took over 2 years to see the resolution approved. It could not have been done without the advocacy and partnership from many families, agencies, businesses, and our school district. What is an improvement you’d like to see in your child’s education? Could you see yourself advocating with others for change? I hope so.