I have two kids that attend Oceanside Unified School District (used to be three, one just graduated in Spring 2018.)
OUSD is a medium sized district, with 26 school sites, a budget usually around $200M/year, and attendence that hovers around 18,000 kids.
I love the schools here, the teachers are great, the administration and District are truly interested in making the education of our kids better.
Because of this I volunteer somewhat extensively to help, particularly to make sure the parent perspective is represented – not only mine but all parents.
I don’t know whether we’re having the impact we’d like to have, but you’ve got to try, right?
My school “resume”…
- Past Parent Representative for the District’s budget steering committee, called the “LCAP” Committee here in California, because it deals with implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and requires the production of an annual Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to do that.I was involved in this from the 2014-15 school year (to produce the 2015-16 LCAP) through the 2017-18 school year.
- Past co-leader of the District’s Parent Advisory Committee – the DPAC. This committee represents the best opportunity in the district for parents to be a part of the decision making process and – along with my co-leader Stacy Begin (who is really the driving force behind the organization of it all…) we attempted to make sure everyone’s voice is heard on issues that affect all of us with kids in the district’s schools.In 2015 I began attending DPAC meetings, at the time they were sparsely attended. Stacy and I (along with others) felt we could do better and, along with great help from the District, started a process of getting more parents involved.
During my time as co-leader (I resigned in Spring 2018) attendence went from often “less than 10” parents to our 2017-18 meetings, which typically had close to 50 people in the room – including great representation from school administration and the district.
- A past member of the organizing committee for the Oceanside Parent Network Group, an umbrella organization that helps the local PTO groups to share ideas and communicate with each other.In 2017, Stacy and I realized that the local PTO’s could use some help connecting with each other, to share ideas and support. With the help of the district (particularly Kasia Obrzut and Erin English) and fellow parent Corinna Goodwin we organized the initial Parent Networking Group meeting in Spring 2017, as well as implementing an idea-sharing website at ousdparents.org.
The PNG is now up and running and in the capable hands of Jaime Guches and Corrina who have stepped up to keep the idea alive and well.
- A current member of the local High School’s “site council”. Each school is required to have a steering committee, called the “site council” with representation by the stakeholder groups – parents, teachers, administration, students. I’m a member of El Camino High School’s council since the 2016-17 school year and, I hope, contributing to helping our school improve.
- Participated in a group called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF, again…) “Test Kitchen.” This is a small group – a subset of the LCAP committee, that is one of three such groups working with state organizations (WestEd, CCEE, Pivot Learning, etc) to improve the entire LCAP process to ensure greater transparency and encourage more participation by the community overall.
- And of course an intermittent presence at School Board meetings (where I occasionally sign up to speak) as well as the local school’s “coffee with the principal”, “Back to School night”, and any other parent-involved meetings.
In all this, my real core mission is to make sure that we have a consistent process in place to communicate between District and Parents, to make sure parent voices are heard, and – I hope – to hold the District accountable for the decisions they make that may not quite follow what the parents feel their interests are…