San Diego Early Implementers Take the Lead in Strengthening Support for Science in Their District LCAP
By Jill Grace
For the past couple weeks, the *Core Leadership Team and Teacher Leaders of the CA NGSS (K-8) Early Implementation Initiative in San Diego have rallied together to positively impact San Diego Unified School District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to increase support for science in their district. With State Board of Education President, Mike Kirst and Member, Trish Williams call to start implementing NGSS in this recent Ed Source article, I thought it prudent to share with you the grassroots work this team is doing to support those of you who are also raising up your voices as a stakeholder group in your district plan.
As a very large urban district of over 131,000 students (SDUSD is the second largest district in California), this team faced an onerous hurdle to try and make an impact. Realizing that support for science and implementation of CA NGSS was very weak in the plan (by law, districts must post these drafts on-line for public input), the team decided to take action. Two weeks ago, the team formed an “LCAP committee” making sure they had representation from all six “areas” in the district. The committee poured through the district website to get information on when area community meetings were taking place and set to work filling out a sign-up schedule for representation at all LCAP meetings. This is a big task for San Diego as each of their six areas have sub-area’s known as “clusters” which host their own community meetings. Each area representative on the committee then recruited teachers who would be available to attend and speak at the meetings. Fortunately, cloud sharing documents make it convenient for the committee to set up and track a schedule.
The committee then used resources from the LCAP toolkit and input from the California Alliance for NGSS to draft a statement to be read at the community meetings along with specific edits and recommendations they were calling for in LCAP. Finally, the committee created a handout organized around the district goals to be distributed at meetings and/or emailed so other teachers, administrators, parents, and community members could submit specific feedback via the district’s LCAP survey.
To date, the team has received mixed responses at the community meetings (held through the end of May). In some cases, they have a very short time to speak but were encouraged to give on-line feedback. In others, they were warmly welcomed and had meaningful discussions around the importance of supporting science in the LCAP.
The team has graciously agreed to share their work in the hopes that it might support others trying to strengthen their district LCAP:
Support NGSS in the LCAP Speech for Community Meetings
Support NGSS in the LCAP Handout (in English)
Support NGSS in the LCAP Handout (in Spanish)
The end of the year is a hard time for teachers who are tired, overwhelmed, and really just need a break. Despite that, this team decided to be proactive and take on a leadership role in rallying their District to support science and implementation of NGSS! Knowing how much work and support is truly needed to transition to the NGSS, the team knew they had to fight for strong support in their district LCAP. In doing so, they are fighting for a quality education for ALL students they serve, reducing the chances of inequity among schools, and empowering their students to be college and career ready. Power of one!
*The CA NGSS (K-8) Early Implementation Initiative is currently in it’s 2nd of 4 years and facilitated by the K-12 Alliance/WestEd. In each of the 8 districts and 2 charter management organizations that are a part of the initiative, they have set in place a leadership structure to retain capacity in the district long after funding for the initiative is over. The Core Leadership Team is made up of teachers, administrators, and science resource teachers that receive mentoring in supporting teacher leaders and outreach at the administrator and district level. Teacher Leaders are teachers receiving targeted support for implementing the NGSS and, in turn, provide guidance to their respective school sites.