When I had the great fortune to be hired by Dr. Floyd “Doc” Buchanan in Clovis Unified 38-plus years ago, we were a small school district. In fact, I’ll always remember how Doc would often introduce an accomplishment of our students or district. “Not bad for a little country school district!” he would exclaim with pride for our kids and our team.
Today, we can no longer call ourselves a “little” school district. With more than 42,000 students (and growing) and close to 50 schools, Clovis Unified is the 16th largest school district in California. Given that there are well over 2,000 public and charter school systems in the state, that’s pretty significant! We must embrace the fact that we are a big district, while working every day to give every one of our students the same personal approach to education that they could count on from a small district.
As we have grown over the decades, our teachers, school site leaders, administration and governing board have intentionally worked hard to create ways that keep our district accessible and responsive to the needs of our community. One of the ways we do so is through hundreds of small groups that bring parents, students and community members into conversations with our teachers, governing board members, and school and district leaders.
These meetings range from impromptu conversations at student events and activities, organized committees around a single topic or need, and most recently through the introduction of an expansive community engagement effort around development of our Local Control Accountability Plan or LCAP.
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When California introduced this new accountability model, which calls for school districts to do what Clovis Unified has been doing for decades — involve the community in planning and decision-making — we jumped at the opportunity to integrate the LCAP into our existing parent engagement work.
Today, our LCAP taps into the hundreds of existing connection points between the district, our students, parents, staff and the community at large to develop a plan to maximize services to every student, especially those facing the challenges associated with poverty, foster care and learning English as a second language. Our current LCAP was developed using a process that included more than 100 workshops and 900-plus stakeholders who shared more than 14,400 comments. Eight working groups and our governing board reviewed surveys, assessment results, state and local education priorities, school site plans and our district’s strategic plan before creating a document that details actions and investments we are making into our educational programs.
In January, more than 350 of our stakeholders gathered together for the first meeting this year of our district-wide LCAP team. Parents, students and employees at this meeting reviewed information and data from last year’s LCAP, examined student performance data, and discussed what is working well (and what can be improved) to boost student success.
Feedback from this meeting will then be shared at individual school sites and in parent, employee and student meetings before being developed into a draft plan that will be discussed at the second district-wide LCAP meeting on March 27. Ultimately, the work of all of these groups will become an action plan for the coming school year that guides how the district spends its financial and human resources.
Our current LCAP contains a wealth of information about our goals for Clovis Unified, and at more than 180 pages, it can be a little daunting to read. That’s why, in our continued efforts to make this process accessible to the community, we’ve created a short visual summary of the plan. This “infographic” is an easy-to-digest overview of the plan. Launched this month on our website, it’s an easy-to-understand, information-packed tool that anyone can use to better understand how our LCAP is developed and implemented in our schools. I invite you to check it out online at www.cusd.com.
Community involvement is by its very nature a constant “work in progress,” and I encourage anyone interested in more information about Clovis Unified to reach out to your neighborhood school, teacher or district leadership. No matter what your interest areas, I’m confident we can find a place for you to join the conversation as we continue our efforts to be better than ever for our students and families in Clovis Unified.