Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Community Vision: Meaningful family engagement in West Contra Costa

Malaika Parker, Director of Community Action, wrote to The Contra Costa Times on Oct. 14, 2009  highlighting a success of the REAL Schools Now campaign, but still pushing for more improvements in West Contra Costa:

In August, the West Contra Costa school board passed a revolutionary resolution that was the product of collaboration between the REAL Schools Now campaign (RSN) and the school district.

The resolution, highlighting the district's Equity Initiative, was the first step toward creating schools that nurture the next generation of dynamic leaders in our communities. The passage of this resolution sets the stage for the school district to become a model of innovative approaches towards racial justice.

At the Sept. 16 board meeting in honor of Mexican Independence Day, students, families, and teachers collaborated to create a beautiful performance of traditional Mexican dance.

Following the performance, encouraging words came from board members, highlighting that family engagement, volunteerism and artistic expression are vital to academic rigor and achievement.

While encouraged by this touching display of progress, families in the district are committed to ensuring these moments are not limited to occasional expressions of diversity but are integrated across district policies and practices.

RSN is working toward a school district that honors traditional dance, costumes and foods, as well as political analysis of oppression, leadership development, and views families and parents as valuable educators.