Q. What can school districts do to improve their communications and community outreach?

A.  As the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) development process continues, districts across California are working to reach out to and engage school community stakeholders, as the law requires. Parents, students, and other community members' perspectives will be vital in determining the local priorities and goals, which will be reflected in the LCAP and budget. Some districts are going the extra mile to engage community members with strategies including the following:

* Reaching out to stakeholders in their preferred languages

* Providing the community with a timeline and/or sense of where the district is within the LCAP process

* Collecting input from community members in a way that can directly shape LCAP and budget

* Sharing important data and information about schools and students

* Providing opportunities for parents, students, and others to become meaningfully involved in the LCFF implementation process

We've gathered a few of the most promising approaches we've seen among school districts in terms of communications and community outreach, below.

 Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD)

* Survey- SCUSD collected input from parents and students via online and paper surveys. The surveys were made available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hmong, Russian, and Vietnamese and allowed participants to rank different activities for each of the State's Eight Priority Areas as well as suggest additional services and activities for the school district to invest in with LCFF funds.

* LCAP Timeline and Process- Within a PowerPoint presentation, which the district provides on its website, SCUSD outlines its LCAP development process, Community Planning Process,  timeline, and lists potential community partners to engage with in LCFF implementation.

 * Data- SCUSD has made data directly related to each priority area available to stakeholders both in the form of English, Spanish, and Hmong handouts provided at LCAP Advisory Committee meetings and on its district website.

* Volunteer Opportunity- SCUSD invited community members to get involved in the LCAP development process by participating as a Public Education Volunteer (PEV). In order to accommodate volunteers' different schedules, the district made the one mandatory training session available in mornings, afternoons, and evenings. Additionally, SCUSD provided volunteers with translation and childcare services during training sessions.

San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD)

*Multilingual LCFF Overview-  SDUSD has made a downloadable PowerPoint presentation on LCFF available on its website in English, Spanish, Arabic, Somali, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

* FAQs- The district provides a list of Frequently Asked Questions about LCFF, in Spanish and English, on its website.

* Input- SDUSD solicits community feedback around LCFF on its website through its bilingual (Spanish/English) stakeholder input form and by providing website users with an email address where they can send any comments or suggestions around LCFF. Additionally, the district will be gathering community input for their LCAP by hosting a series of 16 "cluster" meetings across SDUSD. Each cluster is comprised of a high school and the middle and elementary schools that feed into it and is led by a democratic council of diverse stakeholders. You can find the dates and locations for these cluster meetings here.  

Where can I find more information on strategies that school districts can use to engage and work with communities on LCFF implementation?

 * WestEd has created a great (and short!) list of Tips for Stakeholder Engagement

* Families In Schools has a great graphic representing their vision for authentic parent engagement and also produced report on the importance of parent engagement to the successful implementation of LCFF.

 

 

 

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