California Educator

June/July 2022

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 59

"We can teach our hearts out, but our students need more." OCEANSIDE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: Involving All Stakeholders Oceanside Unified School District Enrollment: 18,984 Unduplicated pupil count of free/reduced-price meals, English Learners & foster youth: 58.6% English Learners: 11.9% Educators in Oceanside are excitedly preparing for the debut of four community schools (three elementary, one middle) this fall, after pushing for and placing in the district 's Local Control Accountability Plan a process for this to happen. Oceans- ide Teachers Association (OTA) President Tiffany Cooper-Ortega says community schools are about so much more than the wrap-around services often associated with the model. "It's also the mindset of the stakeholders working together," says Cooper-Ortega. "I don't want to say this is the future of edu- cation — it's what education should have always been." Cooper-Or tega says OTA and school district officials established shared lead- ership from the star t of their collaborative work on community schools, lauding their "strong par tnership." With an active political action committee, OTA worked to get progressive leaders elected to their school board, which now has three current or former CTA members. She says the district 's "ask a teacher first " mentality has laid the groundwork for the impor tant community schools effor t. "We worked hard to cultivate this partner- ship and this shared decision-making in this district," Cooper-Ortega says. OTA is currently surveying key groups in school communities, informing members about community schools, and even looking at potential bargaining implications, such as winning contractually guaranteed shared leadership in community schools. With stu- dent needs exacerbated by the pandemic, Cooper-Ortega says the services and support provided in community schools are more important than ever. "We can teach our hearts out, but our stu- dents need more," she says. "I'm excited to see families and students validated, letting them know that this is their part in educa- tion. It's not just something that happens to them but something they have a hand in." The recent funding for community schools has accelerated plans in Fresno's Central Unified School Dis- trict , according to Judee Martinez , Central Unified Teachers Association (CUTA) president. "It's not going to take two to three years," says Martinez. "We need to get on it now." CUTA set out to inform its mem- bers about communit y schools and their transformative power. When the district said it wanted to move CENTRAL UNIFIED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: Empowering Families Central Unified School District Enrollment: 15,742 Unduplicated pupil count of free/reduced-price meals, English Learners & foster youth: 71.2% English Learners: 13.9% 2 3 28 Ti•any Cooper-Ortega Judee Martinez Feature

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - June/July 2022