CREATING HOLISTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Building on solid foundations requires spaces for community members to engage with one another.
Organizations will be able to
be more responsive to their communities requests
provide additional clarity around policy and procedures relevant to their communities
The result being
an increase in parental agency and empowerment
a space to share the tools they have learned with others in their community
If you learn the process,… share that knowledge… It builds more community and we help each other out as a community. ~ Laura
Parents need to be able to
Identify needs specific to their community
There might be things that are missing that we might have never thought about. And so, having that communication with families, that helps us come back and say, hey, this is an essential part... these are worries families have or these are barriers that we didn't think about. ~ Celina
What do holistic relationships look like in action?
Parent lead initiatives
Teachers as a liaison between community and school
Community organizations linking services
STORIES OF ACTION
Lowell High School is one of the most sought after, competitive schools in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Among the application process, interested students submit annual standardized test scores. Due to a shift in policy in the spring of 2015, California public schools replaced one standardized assessment with the Smarter Balanced Assessments Consortium (SBAC), a computerized approach to yearly testing.
In the first year of field testing, SBAC scores were not reported. As a result, all students applying to Lowell High School submitted scores from the Terra Nova test, a standardized test traditionally administered by private schools.
The following year, SFUSD reported student SBAC scores; however, parents understood that the test was still in the field testing phase. Some parents “were told the scores didn't count, some schools still didn't have adequate technology, … and families were given no indication that scores would be used to determine Lowell admission” (M. Anderson, personal communication, May 8, 2017). Parents assumed that middle schoolers applying to Lowell for the 2016-2017 year would have an opportunity to take the Terra Nova exam.
However, when the SFUSD published the Lowell 2016-2017 admissions packets, SBAC scores were listed as the only test option for SFUSD students. Parents were dismayed at this change in policy, citing their assumption that the 2015-2016 SBAC scores were extraneous.
Based on parent response, PPS-SF advocated for students to have the choice of sitting for the Terra Nova exam. In the end, the school board extended the Terra Nova test to public school applicants for one more year, allowing students to submit the higher of the two scores on their applications.
In 2016, the MPN Community Advisory Council (CAC) campaigned for Proposition N (Prop N), the Immigrant Parent Right to Vote measure. Parents believed that they had a right to vote in district level education policy regardless of their residency status. Through the space provided by MPN, the “parent council petitioned to have parents vote in school board elections, to elect our school board officials” (Laura A.). The CAC, made up of 12 parents from the Mission district, identified the need to be decision makers in their own schools. Not only was the group successful in the passing of Prop N, they now are represented as “part of an implementation committee to ensure that they’re at the table ensuring their safety and designing the process by which they will be voting”. (Laura O.)