Introducing the California Dashboard
By Monica Green
What a busy morning, getting children to different schools, crazy traffic then straight to the PLAN office to California School Dashboard, the CA Department of Education’s new accountability tool, which is now available to parents and communities. This was the February 28th journey of Parent Leaders from REACH Academy, Madison Park Academy Primary, Elmhurst and Castlemont schools. At the PLAN office, a film crew from Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation stood ready to capture Parents’ reactions as they previewed and explored the California Dashboard.
Parents eagerly sat at the shining new computers and chromebooks. Facilitator, Pecolia Manigo, walked parents through the history, purpose, and the 5X5 color-coded grid at both the school site and student group levels. Once parents had a lay of the Dashboard, it was a deep dive into the status of students at their children’s schools.
Parents went beyond the status of the school and explored particular student groups, parents also compared schools, “Wow English Learners in your school are doing well in graduation rates, but English Learner in this ‘better’ school are in declining significantly” What is going on? “Look, be careful Red can mean increased significantly or declined significantly depending what it is measured.”
See and hear parents’ first-hand thoughts, reactions and lessons learned in the resulting Meet The Dash parent videos—now available throughout California in English with Spanish and Vietnamese subtitles.
Appreciations to PLAN Parent Leaders and staff helping increase the capacity of parents throughout the state. #MeetTheDash
Black Parent Committee
By Omar Taylor
On April 6th, 2018 Bay Area PLAN will kick off it’s new Black Parent Committee with the first meeting at its headquarters. As Black and Brown parents in the OUSD prepare for more budget cuts that are getting ready to happen in our schools, there is a collective sense of concern for how it will affect their children. In schools across the district, Black parents are aware that the school cuts and closures that will happen are going to impact them more than any other group. This deep concern is a driving force for Black parents to seek a forum to address these issues, and the Black Parent Committee of PLAN is going to provide this forum.
In addition to the budget cuts, Black parents are also concern about the unfair disciplinary practices, referrals, and suspensions that are disproportionately affecting their children. Black parents are extremely concerned that they’re children are unfairly targeted, and there are very little tools to be able to address these concerns. Attempts to hold school staff accountable for the unjust discipline of Black children can be very demoralizing and isolating. Oftentimes Black parents lack a space to be able to have a support system of other Black parents who can relate to what they are experiencing. This unfair targeting of Black children in OUSD is going to be a major discussion issue at the Black Parent Committee’s first meeting on April 6, and Black Parents who are concerned about this problem are encouraged to join us for the meeting.
PLAN is a membership driven organization that is designed to be a tool for its base of parents to build power for themselves. Today, Black parents in OUDS are calling for support in the fight for the education and dignity of Black children. This Black Parent Committee is PLAN’s response to the unique issues its Black membership are facing in the Oakland Unified School District at this time. As PLAN gets ready to hold the District accountable for the upcoming cuts in our budget, it makes sense for PLAN to provide the forum necessary for Black parents to more effectively be involved. It’s time for Black Parents to begin to come together and start to act like a team in the face of all of the challenges our young people are facing, and Black Parents in PLAN are just the group to drive this team.
By C. Gomez Arteaga
PLAN leaders and staff welcome our new Campaign Lead, Omar Taylor. As the Campaigns Lead Omar will be focused on growing the power of parents across OUSD, and working local, regional and state campaigns to ensure that parents build power that supports students of color to achieve academic success.
Omar who grew up in Oakland has been a lifelong organizer for over twenty years. He has trained with Center for Third World Organizing, and worked primarily as an Environmental Justice organizer and a Youth Development Coordinator. After nine years as a community organizer in the Bay Area, Brooklyn, New York, and in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he made the transition from community organizing to union work. As a union organizer he has experience doing both internal and external organizing work, mostly for the healthcare industry, for three different labor unions in two different states.
As a union organizer, Omar worked several years organizing hospital campaigns for SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, who at that time was the second largest SEIU local in the country. He gained his first Healthcare Union Organizer training under the WAVE Training Program from SEIU in Washington D.C. After working at SEIU-UHW, he has organized for two healthcare unions in Washington State, and led them to their first hospital strike. With his training and organizing experience, Omar has developed an organizing philosophy that emphasizes member-led strategies and actions. He believes members are like the players of a professional sports team, and as the organizer, he is a coach. The goal for both the coach and players is to work together as a team to overcome all obstacles to win, and that reflects his organizing style.
By C. Gomez Arteaga
The PLAN family is happy to welcome our new Communications Assistant, Ginika Oruche! Ginika will join a team that will support the robust work of PLAN program teams. She will support the reach and appeal of our work to parents through our nine Bay Area counties and beyond. Ginika Oruche is a digital media creator whose drive is for the inclusion and positive representation of Black women in film and media. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University, studying communications, digital media, film, marketing, and promotions.
In addition, she has worked in education as a teacher and childcare provider for both the Los Angeles and Oakland Unified School districts. Growing up in the public school system in San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County, Ginika built a passion for supporting families and communities of color through social justice and equity practices. At PLAN Ginika will be able to incorporate all that she is passionate about while further supporting PLAN’s communications and marketing plan. Ginika loves creative writing, filmmaking, cooking, and traveling. Help us welcome her to the team. You can reach her at 510-444-7526 or at Ginika@parentactionnet.org.
Culture & Immigration: Building Bridges
By Sasha Shane
REACH Academy families parents participated in the school annual health fair. The event brought a diverse groups of families who had a chance to learn more about different resources and programs at their schools including the coming up events with Bay Area PLAN. PLAN will support REACH Academy parents leaders to host their annual Spring Cultural Celebration where families from different cultures will be sharing their culture, food, music, and dances. Parents are excited as they prepare to share with teachers and staff their culture at this event being scheduled for the first week in May 2018.
Madison Park Academy is currently working on an immigration series to support immigrant families. Bay Area PLAN hosted the first of this series focused on immigration at our office in East Oakland where families had a chance to meet with representatives from the Mexican Consulate, PODER and the Alameda County Rapid Response. Each representative explained resources available and shared how immigrant families can protect themselves from separation because of undocumented status. Over the next month, Madison parents and teachers will have a continue this important dialogue on how we can support immigrant families with public school children to talk about how immigration impacts our families and how in our district can support a safe environment to lessen the fear parents have to transport their children to and from school.
Providing Essential Food Security for Food Desserts East Oakland School Communities
By Minx Manuel
Every 2nd and 4th Thursday, REACH Academy and Cox parent volunteers gather to serve their community; thanks to the efforts of Community Schools Manager, Ms. Camila Barbour, and the Alameda County Food Bank. For growing students across the country, food is the foundation and fuel they need to thrive as scholars; but many lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. The Food Bank set up at REACH Academy provides fresh produce that would otherwise not be accessible to community members because of boundaries such as rising costs of transportation and inflation.
In the aftermath of devastating mid-year budget cuts to public schools across Oakland, many parents have been left feeling discouraged by the missed opportunity to be involved in district matters, and uncertain about the future of their scholar’s education. At the Food Bank on February 8, 2018, Principal Moore at REACH Academy took the opportunity to engage parents for their input concerning priorities for the 2018-19 school year budget. Principal Moore continues to encourage parents to be proactive in expressing what they find necessary to support their students’ growth while attending REACH Academy.
The LEAP program provided support to these efforts by creating a live parent survey, administered in both English and Spanish. This survey allowed them to give feedback on the current criteria outlined in the current School Site Plan: Conditions for Student Learning, Conditions for English Language Learners, Language and Literacy, Standards Based Instruction.
Consequently, LEAP also supported by participating in the School Site Council, so that parent’s visions could be considered, and approved for the 2018-19 school year budget.
PLAN’s Free Family Movie Nights Kick-off
By Julián Rivera
On Friday, March 23rd PLAN celebrated a Family Movie Night. It was an evening of community with popcorn, pizza, & refreshments. Seven families, including around 20 kids enjoyed the movie Coco. Coco is a 2017 American 3D computer-animated fantasy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on an original idea by Lee Unkrich, it is directed by him and co-directed by Adrian Molina. The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel Rivera who is accidentally transported to the land of the dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living.
After the featured presentation, families reflected on the conflicts in the movie and some of the topics lifted included pain, forgiveness, been hurt and communication. Also the aspiration of fame versus been right by friends; but most importantly the supportive role of families when individuals face self- blame.
Our next Free Family Movie Night would be on Friday, April 27th, 2018 at 6PM in our office. More information coming.
Reporting from CABE – California Association for Bilingual Education
By Sasha Shane
The 2018 California Association for Bilingual Education teacher, parents, administrators and staff arrived in our annual conference in Sacramento. CABE participants shared best practices in bilingual education across the state of California. Parents were greeted at the Parent Center with Sacramento Chorus that play popular songs from the Chicano movement.
The conference encourages monolingual parents to engage in their children education through reading Spanish books that connect their kids. The Latino Literacy Project program offers books that can support parents become readers and support their children to read in Spanish and develop their vocabulary to then be able to transfer those skills in English.
CABE teaches us to see parents culture, and language can be an asset for our schools and that parents play a major role in student success. It is important that we support parents leadership development so that we can continue to transform schools. Through the exhibits and workshops, we learn here at CABE the importance of representation in books that tell the story of families who have experience having to adapt to a new culture, new language and have also experience family separation due to their immigration status.
Bay Area PLAN Parent Leaders, members, staff, and the rest of our Board of Directors Congratulates…
PLAN supporter John Affeldt and PLAN Board Member Angelica Jongco on receiving the California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award. They were honored alongside co-counsel Laura Muschamp, Thomas Garten and Michael Plimack of Covington & Burling LLP, and Sylvia Torres-Guillén, Victor Leung and Ana Mendoza of the ACLU of Southern California for the historic settlement they reached with the Los Angeles Unified School District in Community Coalition of South Los Angeles and Reyna Frias v. LAUSD.
Bay Area PLAN UPLAN Video of National Gathering of Parent Leaders
Bay Area PLAN attended the United Parent Leaders Action Network National Gathering in Albuquerque, New Mexico in November 2017. It’s available on the UPLAN website and YouTube channel. Thanks to the Akonadi Foundation PLAN parent leaders and staff traveled to this exciting gathering and training!
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