By Angela M. Coggs
On September 11, 2014 the District’s African American Advisory Council (D.A.A.A.C.) held its second meeting of the year. The meeting was called to order by the President Gwen Rodgers promptly and the panel of new officers was introduced. The new officers include Angelia Watts (Vice President), Nikki Chambers (Secretary), Devona Robertson (Palimaentiran), Miesha Porter (Historian) and Angela Coggs (Press Media). The parents were greeted by officers as they entered the Community Room at the Board of Education.
There were several topics on the agenda for DAAAC meeting, such as, the African-American Task Force Results, Aeries: Parent Portal, New Elementary Report Card, and DAAAC’s new meeting series S.W.A.G. (Success With Academic Goals).
Two SBCUSD Board Members, Danny Tillman and Mike Gallo, were also in attendance at the DAAAC meeting. Both members gave an impromptu greeting to the audience and congratulated the officers for their commitment to volunteering their time and dedication to serving the community. It was great to have their support as Board Members and also as parents.
One important part of the evening was the presentation by Dr. Lori Caruthers-Collins of Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (C.O.P.E.). She discussed the final report and recommendations of the Task Force for African American Student Achievement and using it as a starting point for addressing African American student achievement in the San Bernardino City Unified School District. African American parents were sent a survey in the mail and asked for them to be answered and returned while other parents were given the survey at other community events. As a result, the following are the strategic developments that are recommended for achieve success:
- Improve proficiency in math and English Language Arts among 3rd grade students.
- Improve Algebra One proficiency rates among African American students who are on track and complete UC/CSU courses by 12th
- Increase the percentage of African American students by improving school attendance.
- Address chronic absenteeism among African American students by improving school attendance.
- Reduce suspensions through effective implementation of positive behavior support systems.
- Strengthen engagement among parents/caregivers of African American students.
In addition to DAAAC’s agenda topics for the year, other items that are scheduled to be covered this include: A-G graduation requirements, AVID, How to navigate the school system, school police, Rigorous Curriculum Design (RCD)/Common Core (CCSS), Promise for students to attend Cal State San Bernardino, Promise for students to attend San Bernardino Valley College MOU, K-16 Bridge, Richardson/Rodriguez/IB, Program Entrance Requirements and Affirmative Action.
The teams of officers have worked together since the beginning of the school year to come up with new and improved ideas and strategic plans to increase and retain parent involvement throughout the district. A new approach that was implemented recently was a proactive method. The officers went out in teams and attended 20 back to school nights armed with DAAAC and AAPAC informational brochures and sign-up sheets with a mission to engage parents and get commitments to become actively involved in DAAAC and AAPAC. This approach was a monumental success because they were able to sign-up 190 new parents. These were parents not previously involved in DAAAC or AAPAC. Going out, meeting parents, and making connections with parents was a group effort and the commitment of the officers made a big impact on the overall outcome.
“I feel like I have a support system,” stated Rita Jordan. Not only is Jordan the mother of a child at Bonnie Oehl Elementary, she is also an employee of the SBCUSD who also works at her son’s school. According to Jordan, the principal at Oehl Elementary, Robert Morales, approached her last year to start an AAPAC at the school and to get involved in DAAAC. Ever since she has been attending the DAAAC meetings she feels like she has learned a lot. For example, how better prepare for her son’s educational future. She stated that there is always a wealth of resource information available at every meeting. She was very interested in the results gathered from the Task Force survey because she participated in planning process and was one of the employees that were interviewed for the survey.
As a component of the San Bernardino City Unified School District, DAAAC has goals and expectations as a whole however; it is also important to note that each officer also has their own personal goals they would like to achieve within their perceptive position they want to see realized this school year.
Gwen Rodgers (President)- “My goal as the District African American Advisory Council President is to rebuild parent relationships that will encourage more parent engagement and interaction on campus in the community to ensure student success at all levels.”
Angelia Watts (Vice President) – “I believe the collective efforts of DAAAC should be geared toward penetrating the hearts of African American parents from all social, educational, and economic backgrounds. I want to evoke them to get involved in their children’s educational process. As African American parents we must represent a united objective, and that is to create a healthy and happy learning environment where our children can thrive.”
Nikki Chambers (Secretary) – “Parental involvement is a critical, and proven, technique in helping African American children be successful and lessening the achievement gap. My goal is for parent to become actively engaged advocates for their children and their future. Our community can no longer sit back and wait to change to happen. We must begin to affect change in our communities and our lives.”
Devona Robterson (Paraliemarian) – “As a mother of three students in the SBCUSD I know the importance of being my children’s advocate. During my time with DAAAC I hope to encourage and empower parents. The partnerships between the school district, community organizations, and churches are in place, we must now include the voice of the parents. The parent voice represents the future of our children here in the district. So along with discussion and planning we must also have some action. I look forward to working with DAAAC board members, parents, teachers, principals, and school district staff. In the words of Malcolm X, ‘Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today’.”
Meisha Porter (Historian) – “My goal as an DAAAC officer is to support our African American parents and students to help them realize that there is a great need for us to become active in our community. To help be a voice for those who are afraid to speak up and to be an example for those who want to become more involved. I want to be there when history is made with the help of our team to ensure and establish success and expose opportunities for our children and their future. I see DAAAC officers as a group of leaders who will inspire other parents to become leaders. To help make a difference on how our kids learn, how they interact with teachers and their peers. To show them that we care for them and their education is important.”
Angela Coggs (Social Media/Public Relations Coordinator) –“My goal for this school year is to increase parent engagement and involvement and visual exposure of DAAAC via printed and digital media. Making connections with the community and supplying parents with much needed information is very crucial to the success of each and every student in the SBCUSD district. I want to reiterate to parents the importance of not only being involved in their children’s educational journey when they are young but to also continue to stay involved through middle school and high school and beyond. We must encourage our children to challenge themselves, to step away from their comfort zone and not to be afraid to have dreams and big goals. Big dreams lead to big success. I believe that it certainly takes a village to raise a child. We have to advocate for our children. As Frederick Douglass once stated, ‘it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men’.”
Jon Gaede, a representative from Assembly Member Cheryl Brown’s office, presented each new officer with a certificate in recognition of their nomination to provide the community with leadership and initiative. The parent turnout for the meeting was very encouraging and D.A.A.A.C. looks forward to the rest of the school year and hopes that numbers continue to increase from here on.
DAAAC would like to invite all parents and caregivers of African American students who attend SBCUSD schools to the meetings during this school year. The meeting dates are as followed:
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Thursday, May 7, 2015