The future of California education was forever changed when it was decided to move more decision making from state offices in Sacramento to the local schools districts across the state.
The reasoning was practical and sound. In the local districts, the people are more familiar with their own unique needs and therefore better suited to make the decisions that affect students and classrooms.
It was a change–a big change and an opportunity for some critical thinking for school district superintendents and board leadership. .
Enter California Forward and the California School Boards Association. Thanks to a grant from the Stuart Foundation, they worked with 20 school districts and four county school boards of education from across California in a three- year effort that was dynamic, and participants will tell you, meaningful.
The LCFF Collaborative Working Group would meet every quarter, turn off their cell phones (most of the time) and get to work on discussing some best practices at the district level and the overall needs of how to make education more relevant and effective for the students and their families.
The implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula and how to make sure that the Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP) were relevant and accessible to the district stakeholders. These important but sometimes complicated plans are meant to hold schools accountable to improving the outcomes for low-performing students.
The group spent three years working on how to improve student outcomes, allocate resources equitably and improve community engagement, sharing what they were doing and improving areas where they hadn't been focusing enough energy.
Their final meeting was in Sacramento in June—with participants strategizing together how to continue the collaboration and broaden the impact of their work together.