By Jennifer Reyes, Ed.D., Educational Support Services Manager
September 9, 2019
Embrace Local Control
As one of the key pillars of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), stakeholder engagement has a prominent section in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The idea behind LCFF is that Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) will have “local control” over the use of their funds through the combined input of parents, teachers, school leaders and staff, and other community partners. At the district level, LCAP engagement efforts may not address school-specific concerns, but charter schools can easily align LCAP engagement with the goals and plans of their unique school community.
Create a Plan to Engage all Stakeholders
According to Ed. Code, the LEA must “consult with teachers, principals, administrators, other school personnel, local bargaining units of the school district, parents and pupils” in developing the LCAP. They must describe in the LCAP the steps they took to engage parents, pupils, and the community and how this engagement contributed to developing the LCAP. The CDE is preparing to introduce a new LCAP template in the coming months, and the proposed template requires a description of how the engagement of each group impacted the current plan (see below for a screenshot).
Proposed New LCAP Stakeholder Engagement Section:
Leaders will need to be prepared with specific responses for the applicable groups. This can be accomplished with a little bit of backwards planning. For example, I may hope that by year’s end I would like to be able to state that my English Learner Parent Advisory Committee carefully reviewed the actions and services dedicated specifically to English Learners and made recommendations. I can plan now for those committee agendas and surveys to include LCAP input. I can do the same to ensure that LCAP is part of the agendas for board, parent, and staff meetings periodically throughout the year.
Avoid Information Overload
Now that I have planned LCAP engagement into the calendar of meetings for each stakeholder group, how do I make the information digestible? What kind of input do I ask for? Again, we can think ahead to the impact we would like each group to have in our LCAP development. I might decide that I want all my parents, students, and staff to be able to articulate my school’s three big goals. I want to be able to review data points with all three groups to keep them invested in achieving the goals. Then with my advisory committees, perhaps I want to do a deeper dive into the curriculum or professional development initiatives. I can select key components to review with each group instead of asking them to sift through the entire plan.
Make it Meaningful
Hopefully your school has an LCAP that is well organized and aligned to your school’s mission and vision. If not, you can redesign it. The more the plan speaks to your community, the easier it will be to align it with the work you do and the conversations you already hope to have with all your stakeholders. By taking a few steps now to set up the system of engagement for the year, you can ensure that you have much to say about the impact of your various groups on your school’s LCAP.