IN A VICTORY for San Diego students and communities, San Diego Education Association educators reached agreement with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) in April on a contract article that stipulates an ongoing and expansive commitment to community schools.
The “SDUSD Community Schools Initiative” acknowledges and supports the proven community schools model to advance racial justice and quality education in high-need school communities. In addition to articulating school site and district processes such as conducting needs and assets assessments, hiring full-time community schools coordinators and establishing shared decision- making and governance teams that involve all stakeholders, the article specifies several other items to ensure success:
• State and federal grant funds can be used for ongoing investment in, among other things, parent/community/youth organizing, outreach and training; and curriculum training time for educators, specifically around culturally responsive and community-based curriculum;
• Community school initiatives will be sustained “to the fullest extent possible” if grant funding expires;
• Establishment of community schools site coach project resource teacher positions, initially part-time but individual sites can expand to full-time if needed; site coaches are educators
who work with school staff, site governance teams and community schools coordinators to support expanded and enriched learning and collaborative leadership;
• Establishment of community schools district coach positions, who build the capacity of site coaches and site governance teams.
“This new community schools article in our contract is the product of five years of continuous advocacy by SDEA union educator leaders in partnership with the San Diego Community Schools Coalition,” said Dr. Kyle Weinberg, SDEA president and middle school special education, English Language Development and social science teacher. “Our SDUSD transformative community schools model is now enshrined in what will soon be a legally binding agreement that provides accountability and resources to sustain the initiative.”
He anticipates that the contract article will be ratified by SDEA members and SDUSD soon after a yearlong SDEA contract campaign that includes pickets at over 140 schools, school board actions and a community rally to support a demand for expanded after-school opportunities.
The contract article ensures that educators, parents, students and community have a say in school site-level decisions for community schools. It also ensures that the community schools initiative is integrated and aligned with other racial justice, education justice and equity initiatives at the district and school site levels.
For more on CTA’s work with community schools, see