LOS ANGELES – Six new school districts in California have been selected to be part of the second cohort for the statewide Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) to help increase dialogue with a focus on improving schools.

The following districts have been selected for the second cohort of CEI: Chino Valley Unified School District in San Bernardino County; Moreno Valley Unified School District, Riverside Unified, and Val Verde Unified in Riverside County; Pajaro Valley Unified in Santa Cruz County; and Upper Lake Unified in Lake County.

“We wanted to be part of a high-quality network of organizations and districts that inspires us to grow our community engagement goals across our schools,” said David Hansen, superintendent of Riverside Unified. “Our schools and families deserve our constant improvement.”

Chino Valley Superintendent Norm Enfield said CVUSD joined CEI to collaborate with other school districts and participating agencies to share and gain new knowledge.

“Joining CEI provides opportunities for districts to reflect on their community engagement, strengths and areas of need, through collaboration with your team and other districts,” Enfield said. “Engaging in dialogue will allow for self-reflection, thus helping to create a path to refining community engagement.”

The growth of CEI is intended to benefit school districts throughout California. “With numbers comes strength,” said Upper Lake USD Superintendent Giovanni H. Annous. “As districts join CEI, they will bring their experience, expertise, and limitations to the cohort. We are able to share our effective practices and learn from others to enhance our academic, social, and emotional educational outcomes.”

Michelle Rodriguez, superintendent of Pajaro Valley Unified in Watsonville, said her district was honored to be considered to join the statewide CEI effort. “The possibility of collaborating with other districts to strengthen community engagement systems throughout California … is truly exciting,” Rodriguez said.

CEI is a collective effort to build Systems of Support statewide and was formed in 2019 as a collaboration among the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, the California Association for Bilingual Education, and Families in Schools.

“Participating in this cohort … will increase our ability to continue creating successful student outcomes across our district,” said Martinrex Kedziora, superintendent of Moreno Valley Unified.

Community engagement is vital to the growth of schools in Val Verde Unified, Superintendent Michael McCormick said. “It is our belief that our progress and efforts could be part of a greater vision to build strong schools and communities throughout our state,” McCormick said.

CEI is designed to:

  • Build capacity in communities and districts by having “difficult conversations” with a focus on improving outcomes for students;
  • Identify effective models of community engagement and develop metrics for evaluation;
  • Develop partnerships between districts and county offices of education to deepen community engagement;
  • Scale-up outcomes to improve community engagement statewide and use effective practices toward continuous improvement for districts and county offices of education.

In 2019, six statewide districts were selected to be in the first cohort of CEI. The original districts selected were Anaheim Union High School District in Orange County; Azusa Unified in Los Angeles County; Cajon Valley Union in San Diego County; East Side Union in Santa Clara County; OntarioMontclair in San Bernardino County; and Oxnard in Ventura County.

The second cohort is expected to grow to more than 20 total districts. The deadline to join is September 28, 2020. If your district is interested in applying to be a part of the initiative, applications are still being accepted. Visit californiaengage.org to learn more!

For more information on CEI, visit the CCEE website at cceeca.org/CommunityEngagement/index.asp

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