Transcript: The Power of Authentic Collaborative Leadership: The Transformation of Bassett Community School
On behalf of the California Center for School Climate (CCSC), I would like to welcome you to The Power of Authentic Collaborative Leadership, the Transformation of Bassett Community School. My name is Philander Steward and I’m a Senior Program Associate at WestEd, and I will be your moderator for today’s session.
The California Center for School Climate is a California Department of Education initiative led by WestEd. We provide free support and trainings on school climate and data use to local education agencies in California. We invite you to visit us on our website at ccsc.wested.org to explore supports provided to districts and schools across the state. The CCSC offers several types of supports, including data use webinars, peer learning exchanges around specific topics, professional learning supports, and our website can be found in the Linktree that is being shared in the chat.
In the keynote this morning, Jaleel Howard noted the importance of meaningful connections between students and adults and schools. He also shared examples of how to develop better relationships with young people in our schools. During this session, we will continue the conversation around the power of relationships in the context of authentic leadership in community schools. Our speakers will highlight the Los Angeles County Office of Education Community Schools Initiative as a school transformation model that aims at disrupting poverty and addressing long-standing inequities in Los Angeles County. It is an unprecedented partnership among Los Angeles County Office of Education agencies, school districts, to improve the academic and emotional and physical wellbeing of the students. The chat will remain open for the webinar and we invite you to interact with the audience members. Towards the end of the session, we will have times for questions and answers. We will invite you to submit questions you have in the Q&A feature at the bottom of the Zoom toolbar for presenters. Slides shared and resources mentioned are included in the Linktree being shared in the chat right now.
Today, I would like to present our speakers starting with Dr. Michelle Castelo Alferes, who serves the Los Angeles County Office of Community Schools Initiative as a Director. Dr. Castelo Alferes has over 20 years of experience in public education, focused on student support services, dropout prevention, child welfare and attendance, and mental health. She has dedicated her career to empowering school communities, leveraging their strengths and promoting social justice. Dr. Castelo Alferes is a three-time graduate of UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, master’s in Social Work, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership. Previously, Dr. Castelo Alferes came from the Los Angeles Unified School District where she served at-promise and historically underserved student populations and school communities as a pupil services and attendance counselor, lead PSA counselor and program coordinator, as well as a director of pupil services. In 2019, she joined Los Angeles County Office of Education as part of the support team serving Inglewood Unified School District. Most recently, Dr. Castelo Alferes served as Director with LAUSD’s Student Health and Human Services Division, leading the work of human relations, diversity and equity, PBIS, restorative practices and data program evaluation. She is also a part-time adjunct professor in the division of social work program for Mount St. Mary’s University.
Next up, Hector Vasquez is an experienced, highly dedicated administrator with a proven track record in effectively leading organizations through continuous improvement, professional training and development programs with an unwavering focus on the achievement and excellence of his students.
And finally, Estela Peregrina-Schubert. Her background in education is very diverse. She specializes in alternative education and coordinating resources to support students and their families. For the past 15 years, she has worked for the Montebello Unified School District. In the last 10 years, Ms. Peregrina has served at our at-promise youth as a counselor and administrator. In this capacity, she has supported and inspired young people with overcoming daily challenges within the juvenile justice system with substance abuse, mental health, and staying on track for graduation. Estela holds advanced degrees in educational leadership and educational counseling from California State University, Polytechnic University, Pomona, and Azusa Pacific University. She has worked in education for a total of 29 years. As a community school specialist for the Los Angeles County Office of Education at Bassett High School, her first year in this capacity has taught her that there is much more amazing work to be done in education.
Thank you so much, Philander, for that amazing introduction. Hello, everyone. My name is, as mentioned, Michelle Castelo Alferes. I’m so honored to be with all of you today, especially for this amazing day of really focusing on relationships. And with that, we know that relationships and connections are key to what we do. And if we were all here in person, I would ask you all how you’re doing today. So in the chat, just so we can build a community here, if you can put two words in the chat. How are you doing? Just answer in the words, how are you feeling today? How are we coming into this space? So just invite everyone in the chat. How are you feeling? How are you doing? Maybe energetic, excited, open. Thank you. Excited, focused, feeling fabulous. Maybe for some of us who are here in Southern California, we’re getting a lot of rain, so maybe you’re feeling cold. I got a cold. There we go. Christie’s feeling cold, but excited to learn. Thank you. Ready to learn, ready to learn. Excited, happy. Thank you all. Keep on coming in the chat. This is amazing. As we are all here together, just super excited to join my colleagues from Bassett High School to really share with you about community schools here at LACOE and the model that we have here. And on the next slide, just wanting to share with you what our objectives are today.
Our objectives, really, are to learn about who we are as LACOE Community Schools Initiative. What is a community school? The role of a community school specialist/coordinator in many spaces, community school specialists that we call in LACOE are community school coordinators, maybe directors, maybe managers in other spaces. The role of a principal at a community school. And really just to show you how it works at Bassett High School. We hear a lot about community schools and especially now for those of us who are in California and absolutely across the nation, we’re hearing a lot about community schools. Really, this is a glimpse into one community school model, right? In the community school world, we have a saying of “When you see one community school, you see one community school.” Today you’re going to see Bassett High School. But knowing that everywhere there are so many different models and really at the core of what community school is, it’s really being authentic to what the needs and assets are of that specific community.
Thank you all for putting your two words in the chat. I am hoping to also ask you a question and if you could put in the chat … we’re all in different spaces and places of learning about what community school is, but if you can think of one word when you hear community school, what is that one word? So go ahead and put that one word in the chat. When you hear community schools, what comes to mind?
Hub, thank you Rick. Small, thank you. Megan. Collaboration, collaboration, money. Yep, resources, home, engaging all, happy. Love that. Thank you. Preparing future leaders. Absolutely. Unique, supportive, and thank you for also sharing in the chat, not really understanding what the word is. Hopefully today we’ll give you a glimpse. Belonging, unity. Thank you. Keep on coming in the chat about what you think of when you hear the word community school.
For us, when we hear the word community school, we think of it as a school transformation strategy and not a program. I think for many of us, we think of when you think of community school, it’s a program, it’s a place, it’s a person, but really it’s a strategy and a framework of how we do schools. And to define what community schools here in California specifically, on the next slide, what we’ll do is really share with you according to the California Community Schools Partnership Program — you’ll hear the word CCSPP a lot — the framework really defines community schools as several things.
One, it’s an equity-driven school transformation strategy, I think that I mentioned that before. When you think about transformation, really shifting the way that we’re doing schools, that is equity-driven and by that really lifting and empowering all voices of educational partners to the table — which I’ll get to in a little bit — building on assets within schools to really understand and know the holistic needs of every student population on that campus. And really it’s about going beyond the coordination of integrated supports, but really as mentioned before, and you might hear it ad nauseum, really transforming the academic and social emotional education outcomes for California’s most vulnerable students and really rooted in the four pillars. And so on the next slide, what you’re going to see is the definition actually developed and created by a collaborative, Community Schools Forward, a collaborative across the nation. And this is a definition that I really, really like because I think it really speaks to a lot of folks that is very digestible. I’m going to give you a minute, and I know it’s a lot of words on a slide, but give you a minute to look at it and then I’ll call out a few pieces here. (On screen: “A community school strategy transforms a school into a place where educations, local community members, families, and students work together to strengthen conditions for student learning and healthy development. As partners, they organize in-and-out of school resources, supports, and opportunities so that young people thrive.” — Community School Forward, 2023)
Again, when we think about community schools, it’s a strategy that transforms so, again, hearing that again. Bringing in a place where educators, local community members, families, and students really work together. So bringing everyone to the table to strengthen the conditions for student learning and healthy development. And as partners, we’re organizing in-and-out of school resources and supports and opportunities so that ultimately all young people thrive. This is something again that is really rooted in what community schools is. And on the next slide, what I’ll share with you is a little bit about us as LACOE Community Schools Initiative.
Back in 2019, we started through a partnership with our county Department of Mental Health, started a partnership to implement the framework of community schools at 15 high schools in 15 different districts in our county. And really what we see and what we aim to do — I’ll draw you to the second paragraph here — is really we aim to disrupt inequities and break the cycle of poverty in targeted communities by leveraging again, the assets, so the assets and the strengths of community. And when we think about the assets and the strengths, really thinking about the assets, number one are the people, are the people within our school communities: our students, our families, our teachers, our staff, our administrators, and our community partners really lifting up their voices. And we really believe in seeing them as essential partners and collaborative leadership.
On the next slide, what you’ll see — and I should also say that you have in your Linktree a link to our website that gives you a lot more information about the community schools initiative — but we want to get into what that looks like at a particular school. What you see here is a CCSPP framework here in California, which we many times like to call the four by four. This framework is actually also in the Linktree and you can go to it and see it really extensively and really explained. This was developed by our State Transformational Assistance Center in Alameda County and their partners who really developed a framework, a flip book, that you can go through. But when we think about community schools, we’re really thinking about four pillars, right? Four cornerstone commitments, four conditions of learning, and four proven practices. We’ll go through this fairly quickly so that we again can see how does this look like in a school. When we think about the four pillars and really rooting down into the four pillars, we’re thinking about integrated student supports, family and community engagement, collaborative leadership and practices, and extended learning time and opportunities. Really want to call out all of these pillars with one in particular around collaborative leadership.
We mention a lot about building upon the assets and bringing folks to the table and to really lift up voice. And that’s really what collaborative leadership is, is having all of our educational partners at the table and shifting the power dynamics of a school. When we think about a school site principal, historically and typically the one who makes the decisions, maybe with some input of different voices, but what community schools is, is really bringing everyone to the table, representatives of everyone to the table, and really helping to make choices and decisions around the types of resources, supports that students and families need in school. The four cornerstone commitments mentioned this before, assets and strengths, racially just and restorative school climates, powerful and culturally proficient and relevant instruction — so thinking about in-and-outside the classroom, the learning environment that we create — shared decision-making practices, again, going in there.
The four key conditions of learning, again, supportive environment conditions, productive instructional strategies … when you think about social and emotional learning, absolutely, systems of support, and then proven practices. So, there’s been a lot of research, this has been around for decades, and really thinking about the proven practices that are out there is one, doing a really comprehensive community asset and needs analysis and assessment. Bringing on a community school coordinator who you’ll meet at Bassett High School. And then having a site-based and LEA-based advisory council. That’s your collaborative leadership and really integrating and aligning so that everything is coherent across the board.
With that, I’ve spoken a lot. What I really, really want to highlight here, and before I pass it on to my colleagues at Bassett, is this idea of what one of our big mantras is at LACOE Community Schools is relationships. We cannot get this work done without the relationships and truly authentic relationships that’s built around trust and communication. That really makes it key. And you will see that as our Bassett team presents. With that, I’m going to hand it over to Estela and Hector. Take us from here around Bassett High School.
Good morning, everybody. Welcome and thank you, Michelle, for that introduction. I truly appreciate it. We, to begin, we are a small community. We’re a small district, a little bit outside of Los Angeles. We’re centered in the San Gabriel Valley. Our school, typically, we have about between 850 students to 870 students. 94% Hispanic Latino, 93% socioeconomically disadvantaged, 21% of our students are English learners, with 17% of our students with disabilities, and 14% of our students currently experiencing homelessness.
As we began this work, this partnership, I really like this slide because most of our students here at Bassett unified in our surrounding community, they really started with the ladder on the far right. They have some tools, some foundations, but it seems like there’s always a fracture in the ladder somehow, somewhere so they really, really struggle and really have to work hard to achieve that goal, whatever that goal may be.
Also, the middle one, if given and our students are lucky enough to have a good foundation, family foundation, and a safe and supportive school, they have a little bit better path. It’s a straighter path towards their goals. But at Bassett High School, with the partnership of the Community Schools Initiative, we feel that our students demonstrated on the far left have a better opportunity to achieve those goals, whatever that may be. And some of those things that we provide through our partnership intentionally are safe and supportive environments, diverse education in the classrooms, community schools, the initiative itself, a very strong PBIS program that grounds everybody commonly, and then a college and career preparation that is centered around our students and their needs.
Our vision, very, very simply, we aim to prepare college and career students to become those lifelong learners, those responsible citizens and globally competitive individuals so that they have the tools to compete out in the world when they get out of Bassett High School. Our mission is to provide a diverse, high quality education in a safe environment for all of our students. And Estela, my partner.
Yes. Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for having us. We’re really excited to share what our community school framework has done at Bassett High School. And I’m a very visual learner, so I will have pictures throughout and just how powerful this place can be with the right supports, right? Our ideal school is the place where everyone loves to learn and feel safe. Hands down, that’s really important. If you could see here at the left side picture, we have our community partners and our parents, and most importantly our students. If you see there, our student is leading the conversation, we’d love to build capacity with our students and we’ll talk a little bit more about what that looks like and how our decisions are made, but definitely knowing that we are student-centered and we put students first, that’s really important. The picture on the far right is … it’s very rare to see a high school with a lot of parent involvement and you get to see how Bassett High School, we’re very privileged to have a high number of parents really want to do the work with us. In this place of course is where we have young adults, teachers, and families and just really built a partnership to promote change. And you’ll see throughout the presentation how we bring it all in.
What is a community school when you think of … or when Dr. Castelo Alferes shared earlier, is what you think of when you hear the word community school. I saw a lot of words like unity and a happy place. And although it’s not straight off the bat, it’s really building those relationships and having those key players, but always having the students let us know what kind of school they want to build. That’s really important. And knowing that the community school’s partnership is a framework — and we’ll talk a little bit more about what that looks like — and here we have our student leaders. We can back up a little bit. Yes. So we do have ASB that we work with, but we also built the Olympian Student Leadership Council where students were nominated by teachers to build a bigger team of students that, really, we want to get their feedback, and we want to include them and have them have a seat at the table as to what type of school they want to build, and what does success look like, what does student learning look like, and asking both students and teachers.
My role as a Community School Specialist, it’s fairly simple. It’s just improving student learning, building stronger families and healthier communities. Now it’s easier said than done, but my role is to provide that focus with the support, of course, of administration, teachers, and the advisory council. If you see here the picture on the bottom, it’s hard to see, but we really bring in data and we involve all key players. Before the school year begins, we take a look at student surveys, parent surveys, and we really want to know where are we as a school. Where do we start from and where do we start to close those gaps? Again, my role is to look at all the moving parts and how do I bring it together.
If I can ask you in the chat please. This graphic here is really powerful. If I can just have you take a moment and take a look at this graphic here and what’s the first thing that comes to mind or what do you see as you take a look at this, what jumps out? If you can please put in the chat. Yes, absolutely. We are child-centered. That is by far the most important thing that, as a school if you have other pieces and you have another agenda, it may not work so it’s really super important that we get the support from administration, that we know that we are student-centered. We are student-focused and by far that is number one. And so, when you have a lot of different resources — they could be haphazard if they’re not joined together — and my role is, if you see at every intersection, is to bring all those together obviously with the support of the principal, assistant principal, and even the board and the district to know that when you are building a community school, you have to be student-centered. My role is to create a platform so that all the key players come to the table, so that we’re focused on students, we’re looking at instruction, we’re looking at student supports. And I tie it all in and you’ll see more in a little bit how that works. Now that you know a little bit about my role, I’m going to let Mr. Vasquez explain the importance of his role in building a community school.
Thank you. Estela? Yes, the principal’s role working with the community schools initiative, it’s very intentional. Working hand-in-hand with Estela on leading an academic setting like is a high school, what I really appreciate about the approach from the community schools is that it’s a whole student approach, which doesn’t exclude the academic setting or the academic portion of it. As the instructional leader at Bassett High School, it is imperative for me to protect the instructional minutes that are assigned to our students. Working hand-in-hand, building that trust with Estela, we have been able to put together a good model, an intentional model, that really benefits all of our students in every single aspect that they need.
Again, the principal’s role is a supportive role, a keeper of the vision, and make sure that I’m intentional with the cornerstones and the guidelines of the Community Schools Initiative. It is to desegregate data. I make sure that community schools, and Estela specifically, is involved in what I call putting fingerprints on every single aspect and every single part of what we do. And we keep hearing it’s not a service. It’s actually what exists at Bassett High School. I’ll continue that it is a transformation, champion transformation, because CSI is not a service provider in a room. It’s not. Estela doesn’t have an office where we send everybody and say, “Okay, go see Estela.” No, Estela is in the DNA of everything that we do. It allows me to do my job knowing that the resources are there. The systems that we put in place, the protocols that exist, allow for the students to get the services that they need. I also, I have a point person for the coordination with everything that we do that helps Estela. It could be for meetings or meetings with the parents or students, but everything, like I said, it’s intentional. Ad Estela, if you can add a little bit more?
Yes, the way that this works — and I know right now it’s like bring it in and you’ll see more visuals as to how it is that this works. First of all, Mr. Vasquez and I meet weekly. We discuss the goals. In the summer, we discuss the goals for the year with our advisory council and you’ll see pictures in a little bit so that we are being very intentional with the decisions, right? Because we gathered the data from parents, students, staff, and we create goals for the year. And then throughout we chunk it and we say, “How can we get everybody’s voice and everybody’s fingerprints on the goals?”
Everything is data-driven. We see what are the needs of the Bassett community, what I mean by community is a school community, the community outside Basset’s high schools walls. And we say, “Okay, this is where the needs are. This is what students, staff, and parents are saying.” And then we build as a leader, the guiding coalition, and our advisory council, we meet and we discuss how can we best create goals. If we move on to the next slide, these are our community partners. It’s not something that’s far out. We meet monthly and we discuss these goals and we discuss the data. If you see, we have our mental health partners, we have the Department of Mental Health, we have our ASB students, we have our OSLC or Olympian Student Leadership Council, and our teachers. We are gathering information and we are asking our advisory council to help us guide the goals for our school. It’s not like an outside entity, but you see them on our campus when we have meetings, when we have a family in need. It’s something that is very comprehensive and cohesive.
We create goals. We want to make sure that they’re specific, measurable, achievable, and they’re relevant. And just to give you a couple of samples of what our goals look like, we can go to our next slide. Here’s a great example. Here you see this picture of this room. This is our room. And last year we had clothing, we had our outside agencies come in, but we realized that there was more of a need to expand and this is where you need the support from the district and the principal. If you see here, our goal was for our students to receive more services as measured by our QR code. And we’ll talk a little bit about our QR code because we want access.
Goal number two, active family and community engagement. You see your community partners very present at all of our events. Our parents are able to have access to our advisory council and the agencies that are needed to give them what they said they needed. Parents are saying, “We need more support. We need more access to medical. We need more access to different types of resources,” so we bring that to them and so that’s where the school really becomes the hub for our families.
Academic support and enrichment for our students. We run reports, right? We meet with our counselors weekly who are also part of our advisory council and we say, “Okay, what is our focus with raising student performance?” So we look at our DNF report and we get very real, we get very raw. We have real conversations about not saying, “Well, everything is fine, everything is good.” But we want to take a look at where can we support in all areas. And working with our community partners, our community partners think together and after school programs said we can help pay for tutors if there is more of a need. How can we be more intentional? And this is where I think Mr. Vasquez can also explain how amazing we were able to pull out students during the day, the sixth period, and have them stay after school beyond the school day with parent support. And parents were all in saying, “Yes, let’s work together, think together, and have them pay for our tutors and really have students raise those grades,” because they weren’t too happy about staying after school beyond the school day and so they started having conversations. We went from having three classrooms full of students down to just five or six students really working to increase their grades in order to step out of this program. So, Mr. Vasquez?
Yeah, thank you, Estela. And that’s again another way that we intentionally looked at the feedback that we were getting from parents and the teachers. And with our team we were able to do two things to be specific. Number one, we had a problem with first period tardiness. If you work at a high school, you know exactly what I’m talking about. So, we ended up putting together … as a team we ended up putting together a system to better track our first period tardies. We told the teachers that administration would take care of first period tardies, because we really wanted to track and we really wanted to identify the students who really were being tardy on a consistent basis. We were able to bring in students with the help of community schools, Estela, we would bring in those students at lunch to really have a conversation and to really figure out what’s going on. And it was because of this that we were able to determine that some of our students really couldn’t help not being on time. We had a student whose mom was a bus driver, or is a bus driver, and the student needed to stay at home to watch the siblings until the mom actually got off of her route and then the mom actually drove everybody to school. Through the work of the group and our counselors, we were able to help that student. We were able to give that student a free first period so that we were able to remedy that roadblock for that student.
The program that Estela is talking about, our coaches and our teachers were very much talking about our athletes having difficulty with their grades. And we partnered with our team, with our group and with the work. With the help of all of our coaches, I was able to bring in all of our athletes that were not in season, or if you were in season with bad grades, to tutoring. Through the help of our partners think together and community schools, we were able to again reduce that number from I believe it was something like 50 to three in a very quick manner or amount of time because students either wanted to go home on time or they wanted to go to back to practice or their games. Again, just a couple examples.
Thank you, Mr. Vasquez. Yes, being very intentional, again, working with tardies, working with DNFs, and bringing students in and having that capacity to have the counselors continue to do the work that they’re doing, having administrators continue the work that they’re doing. And I come in and help coordinate the advisory council, say, “Hey, how can we go deeper with these issues using our interns?” Okay, let’s call these students out and find out, get them in here in groups and let’s discuss further. Why are you late? How can we support having them reflect and really think about what are some behaviors that can be changed? So again, it’s looking at a bigger issue and being able to hone in and say, “How can we support our students?”
Here, for goal four, we know that basic needs support, especially after the pandemic, was a really high need for our Bassett students and the community. And so we did two things, a couple of things. We created a QR code so that students all over campus, teachers, counselors can just scan that QR code and really get really personal as to what it is that they need. Do they need rental assistance? Do they need clothing? Do they need food? Do they need to see a counselor? So students can scan that QR code and let us know what it is that they need. Number two, Mr. Vasquez was gracious enough to say, “Look, we have a room available. Instead of having the racks in your office, let’s create a boutique, and let’s have students build it from the bottom up.” And so we were able to create that through our business pathway and have students be part of every step of building, right from the business aspect, from the creativity aspect, and having them solicit items for this boutique where now … this was last year. Now this year we had a grand opening and having students really feel the empathy and say like, “We’re going to help out our community, our own community,” and students can come in and shop. In fact, today, later on, we have our very first job interviews. Working again with our local agencies, AJCC, to make the pay-to-work site. That’s soon to come, but we’re going to hire hopefully today our very first store manager.
And so it’s giving students a real life experience every step of the way and having that access. Again, who needs what and do we pull the students out of class? We have the boutique open Mondays and Wednesdays where students can just come on in and shop for free, like a thrift store. Or do students want more private — “Can you please pull me out of my art class I need a sweater?” It’s just amazing to see how students, once they get to build something, you see the climate change. You see students take ownership of their school and the needs within the community. And again, we also have students in our advisory council so they know what’s happening every step of the way.
We added an additional goal. Normally we work with four goals per year, but we felt the need, there was a need for drug intervention here at Bassett, as I’m sure — and all high schools with the fentanyl scare — this has been happening. We wanted to get it from all angles and working with the Department of Mental Health, again another one of our advisory council members, and saying, “How can we be intentional with giving information to parents, district-wide and just at Bassett High School? How can we provide lessons for all of our students, not just targeted students, but be more intentional with intervention, working with all grade levels?” As far as classroom lessons group, we just added a brand new advisory council member, or a new agency, on board to help them here on site that deals with drug issues and just having that more presence of drug group counseling. Again, and we have noticed already, just a change in parents feeling more empowered instead of seeing it from a deficit lens, but being more transparent, where we have an issue and we’re going to address it head on.
Some of our partners here on campus, we have the Wellbeing Center through the Department of Mental Health, of Public Health. We have safe spaces through our … LACOE hired a social worker for the next four years that’s here on site on campus. And that’s his space up to the right.
Our goals in action — I’m going to pick up the pace here a little bit — our community schools model is woven into the fabric, as Mr. Vasquez mentioned, so I’m everywhere. I’m in … I know the goals of the single plan for student achievement. I know the WASC goals. I’m involved in school site council, the guiding coalition. We use the platform of Coffee with the Principal for parents, counselors’ meetings, ASB, PTA, and our student leadership council. I am part of all of that so that I can check the pulse of the school and be a part of the school and be familiar.
And if I could add, and that was a very intentional piece on my part, having to build that trust with Estela. I wanted her to, really, if she was going to be able to help our community and our students the way it needs to be, she needed to really be in the DNA of everything. Thank you.
Some of our goals in action, getting feedback from ASB, what does student engagement look like? Looking at what teachers are saying, okay, teachers are saying, “There’s a lack of engagement.” Students are saying, “Well, yeah, there’s a lack of engaging teachers.” So we are having that conversation and being real and being transparent as to what do you want engagement to look like and identifying and working with staff and working with students and bringing it all together and creating subcommittees so that we can really get a true voice of what it looks like.
Here we have a great example of students saying, “This is what my most engaging teacher does. These are some activities that promote student engagement.” And then bringing that back to the staff and saying, “This is not what admin is saying, this is what students are saying so, hey teachers, let’s look at some practices that heighten student engagement.” And this is just a prime example of how it works, really building and moving and shifting a school and what the learning looks like, what engagement looks like. Having activities through Coffee with the Principal. It’s something where it becomes a place where families are welcome, student feedback is welcome, and just really bringing all key players together. Changing the landscape of the community. We’re inviting parents to come visit the adult school and linking them to programs that maybe they didn’t know that existed. And so now we’re inviting the tios and the tias and the family members to come see what else there is for you — not just at Bassett High School, but Bassett Adult School — and really building the capacity of our parents.
Here are some samples of student-led activities. Having our peer leaders, having our students really say, “Okay, take it away and guide us in some wellness activities.” And again, these flyers are created by students so that they’re a part of all of the activities going on at Bassett High School. So, this again, was one of our goals. We have an empty classroom and what do we do with it? And really bringing students in and saying, “Okay, what do you want to create?” And students really, I mean you can see that kid kind of scratching his head there, “Where do I even start?” And just having boxes full of things and for them really taking in, “I created this. I asked for items and the items came in and where do I put them?” And having them have those conversations and really, really take part in creating something out of nothing, which is really powerful. And there’s the grand opening and there’s families learning how to use the QR code. And just really having that, that whole collective program or that collective piece of saying, “This is my school,” so parents really feel like they’re a part, and students really feel that they’re a part, and it just becomes a reality for them, and their young siblings, and it’s just a great testament to the hard work that they’re doing.
Then building on already existing … so now we have this internship program through the business pathway, through the BRC Boutique, working with our agencies and our advisory council to now let’s create these spaces for students to take what they’ve learned and take it out into the real world, which is ultimately the plan and the goal.
Things to come … so we’re creating links to pathways via our local community colleges, our adult school, connecting our parents to job training programs, and the BRC Boutique, again, is in the process of being a paid work site for our students so that hopefully in the community, local businesses say we want to hire those Bassett kids, they’re learning things that some people in our community aren’t learning so our students do have that upper hand, that upper edge. Next slide. And here we have for you a quick 32nd video. Oh, I think we—
Estela, we’re running out of time, so we’re going to skip that.
Okay, got it. Awesome. Okay. And I think it’s in the Linktree if you guys do want to see it. So, funding opportunities? I’m not sure who’s going to speak about that.
I am here. So, Michelle is back on. Thank you so much. Oh my gosh, thank you so much Hector, Estela for sharing the wonderful work that you all do at Bassett High School. Truly inspired every single time I hear your story, it’s just so inspiring. And when we really think about just the mindset shift as well as the transformation of what a school can be, this is a wonderful example and just how so powerful to see the example of really lifting up the voices of everyone. Where we don’t need to, as the educators and the leaders on our school campus, don’t have to have all the answers. To be able to lean on the experts really out there, all of us together with our students, our families, our teachers. You all have just exemplified that so wonderfully. The next few slides, I’m going to go by super-fast.
Those of us in California, if you don’t already know, there is a $4.1 billion investment in California Community Schools Partnership Program, multiple grants out there currently. In the next slide, what I do want to share is there is a planning grant that that application unfortunately just passed, but there is an application for a grant for implementation. An RFA was released at the end of January. It’s due on March 21st, so if you’re sitting here thinking like, “Oh my goodness, I haven’t heard about this implementation grant. Our school, we’re doing some work that’s very similar and we could definitely use some support, some financial support and resources.” The annual grants, depending on your enrollment size, can go anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000 per school site, per year, actually.
On the next slide, what you’ll see — and this is from our State Transformational Assistance Center — just a timeline of … January, the implementation grant was released. In that last box in May, the approval, you’ll find out if you get the grant, you will hear about it in May. And in the next slide, some other details. It’s a five year grant. Again, anywhere between $150K to $500K per school site, annually … due March 21st. There’s a lot of information on their website that it is in the Linktree. You can also reach out to ourselves as well. Our information is there. And on the next slide we have some additional resources on our website such as a toolkit. This was made prior to the CCSPP framework — a lot of learning has happened since then — however, it’s still something that’s really useful if you wanted to learn more about how to develop community schools, maybe in your school community.
Then finally, just want to say thank you for this amazing opportunity again to be able to share about community schools here at LACOE Community Schools Initiative, and particularly over at Bassett. Really again, want to thank my colleagues at Bassett High School for just sharing their learnings and being vulnerable in this space, and the challenges and the successes along the way of developing a community school. So with that, I know that we are running out of time. Happy to answer any questions that you all might have.
We have a few questions from the panelists, I mean from the participants. And the first one is for Michelle, Estela, or Hector. “What role does the social worker play and how does that differ from the counselor?”
Yeah, so I’ll speak on it on a broader level, and then specifically at Bassett they might be able to speak specifically. For the school social worker … really looking at the multi-tiered system of support related to mental health services, when we think about tier one services related to mental health, that’s universal practices versus the tier three types of services that are provided. And so really helping to … and when we think about community schools integrating to what the assets are that the school has already, and so if there were needs before the school counselors could not meet in terms of again, the multi-tiered for mental health services, that’s where they would fit in. But definitely coming in with first assessing where are our strengths and where are possible gaps that we can maybe support with. I don’t know if Estela, Hector, if you wanted to add anything additional?
Yes, I can add. So our social worker, Sergio, is amazing at really identifying the gaps or the areas where he can be used. Usually it’s where students are pending to see a mental health provider. There’s that lag, there’s that need to see the student once or twice a week until the mental health provider is available. There’s also a series of Wellness Wednesdays. He really helps just fill those gaps where needed, if a student needs to self-regulate, if they need a safe space for 15 minutes before class. So he’s really, really there to support wherever the counselors may not be able to have time to meet with them or pending a mental health provider.
Thank you very much for that. And we have one final question, one final thought. If you can answer this in about one minute. “Are you able to share your needs assessment or your surveys that you use?”
Yes, absolutely. We could definitely do that. And some of the, actually our toolkit, you’ll see some resources in there, but we can definitely do that and we can coordinate with our partners at WestEd on how to make sure to get that out and maybe adding it on the Linktree.
Thank you very much for that, Dr. Castelo. And I just want to thank you for joining us. It was an amazing session today. And again, thank you to our host as well as our presenters. Thank you very much. And you guys have a great day. Thank you.