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Blueprint 2014-15 Archive

Community Conversations

Vista Unified has recently partnered with the United Way of San Diego to implement a series of Community Conversations with parents and community members. This partnership is a component of Strategy 1 of the Blueprint aimed at expanding and improving Family and Community Engagement. 
The United Way's CJ Robinson has developed a Community Conversation process that utilizes a "Kitchen Table" style format to gather authentic feedback about where the community should be heading as it relates to education. During the six Community Conversation sessions held in September and October 2014, Ms. Robinson lead parents and community members through a one-hour process that included opportunities to share aspirations and a desire for meaningful change. The district level Community Conversation sessions were a huge success. The following themes were identified during this process:
Community Conversation Themes      Español
  • Teachers/Mentors
    • Inspirational / Motivating
    • Spoke at their level / spoke to them
    • Made them feel safe
    • Challenged their self-imposed limitations and raised their consciousness
    • Taught social norms – listen and behave
  • Community Aspirations
    • Same goal and same harmonious relationship
    • United, respect, support
    • Two-way Communication
    • Merit system (reward those who work hard)
    • Safety (after school programs)
    • More Community Centers (physical activities)
    • Guidance on how to predict consequences (juvenile detention prevention)
    • No families on the streets, no vandalism 
  • Education​
    • Teaching values – learning at home
    • Focus on character education and social growth of students  - paying specific attention to reducing bullying 
    • Ensure there is adequate support staff to address the emotional aspects of learning 
    • Provide opportunities for student to learn about different career paths - not just 4 -year university goal 
    • Parent volunteer to teach classes / greater parent involvement
    • Workshops on Common Core (what it practically looks like)
    • Matching education received with a job, more career days
    • Want our children to go to college, be good people
    • We all want the best for our children
    • Get into a good profession
    • Need more love of learning in the classroom
    • More hands-on experiences for students
    • Increase the use of technology – equally distributed with adequate IT support for glitches
    • Academic support activities for struggling learners 
    • Rekindle the neighborhood school feel – too much security pushes parents away
  • Communication and Barriers​
    • Multiple forms of communication (e-mail, phone, written, social media, Peach Jar, newsletter, bulletin boards)
    • Build an open relationship with the teachers
    • Language sensitivity
    • Balance safety with inclusion
    • Avoid overlap
    • Paper-based is better than Peach Jar
  • District-Wide Improvements ​
    • Reduce control
    • Need more TK classrooms and support
    • Need better playground equipment
    • Teachers need more professional development
    • Special education is improving with new program model
    • Need to reach out to the Hispanic community and involve them more
    • Teachers need to have more patience with students
    • Students need smaller class sizes
    • Need more IT support with new technology 
    • Students need more activities going on in school  
Click HERE to view the entire set of ideas and feedback shared during the Community Conversations. 
Click below to view more specific ideas and feedback gathered during Community Conversations
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Vista Unified Community Conversation Session in October 2014