When child-, youth-, and family-serving agencies facilitate systems change efforts without those who are impacted by these systems, they run the risk of perpetuating inequity and causing harm to the very people they intend to serve. Join this session to learn about an approach to systems change that draws on the frameworks of community organizing, liberatory design, and participatory methods. System leaders can use participatory systems change strategies to work collectively with young people, families, and communities to identify, design, and assess priorities, actions, and investments that work toward creating safe, supportive, and positive school climates.
- Objective 1: Deepen understanding of participatory systems change as a lever for equitable, transformative change.
- Objective 2: Gain conceptual and actionable knowledge on integrating and aligning participatory methods to continuously improve school climate.
- Objective 3: Engage in collective reflection to determine opportunities for applying elements of participatory systems change to improve school climate.
Amber Valdez, EdD (she/her) is a Senior Program Associate II with WestEd’s Resilient and Healthy Schools and Communities team where she supports local, regional, and state agencies and organizations to design and transform complex systems for equity. Her expertise includes complex systems change, transformational leadership, participatory change approaches, cross-sector collaboration, continuous improvement/improvement science, and human-centered/liberatory design. Valdez brings experience working with public and private sector systems, including education, health, and community development agencies, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and foundations. Before coming to WestEd, Valdez led a consulting business supporting youth-, family-, and community-serving agencies and organizations with strategic planning, resource development, and community partnerships. She also served as a nonprofit leader supporting school and district administrators with resource development, community schools design, family engagement, and educational leadership.
Rebeca Cerna (she/her/ella) serves as the Director for the California Center for School Climate. As an Area Director at WestEd, Rebeca supports districts, schools, and community partners in centering equity and improving educational, prevention, and health outcomes. Rebeca’s areas of expertise include health and wellness, school culture/climate, partner voice, data use, and cross-sector collaboration. She has extensive experience in working with communities that have been challenged by infrastructure deficiencies and in lifting the voices of all community members. Rebeca has also worked with diverse settings, including rural and urban communities, recent and mixed-status immigrant communities, and alternative education.
Shazia Hashmi (she/her) serves as a Technical Assistance Provider for the California Center for School Climate. As a Program Associate at WestEd, Shazia translates and applies research on equitable, developmentally appropriate strategies to support state education agencies, district leaders, and educators in serving communities. She supports research and technical assistance projects that focus on improving practices in social–emotional learning, school climate, and community engagement. She currently works with The California Endowment’s School Health Data Team to create supportive, engaging learning environments for students using school climate data. She also serves as a technical assistance provider for the National Center to Improve Social Emotional Learning and School Safety.