The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District revealed a preview of their Local Control Accountability Plan at their last board meeting. The LCAP preview/annual update displayed the district’s progress, needs, and plans to satiate those needs.

According to the California Department of Education, the LCAP is “intended as a comprehensive planning tool to support student outcomes” to engage with the public to show how the districts are meeting “annual goals for all pupils, with specific activities to address state and local priorities.”

The presentation — initiated by Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati and led by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jacqueline Mora — was a preview of the district’s LCAP. Mora noted that the preview was part of a three-year plan. The presentation highlighted improvements, identifying needs, and key changes throughout the district.

Items highlighted in the presentation included the beginning implementation of the American Counseling Association national model at secondary schools, development of a Social Justice Framework and action plan and integrating those plans into practice, and developing a Family Engagement Framework to strengthen family and school partnerships.

Needs identified in the district had a strong emphasis on helping minority and underserved students.

Increasing access and support for English Learners, Latino, African-American, Special Education, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and Homeless/Foster youth students were all objects of discussion, with Mora saying the district plans to increase these groups’ state standards and decrease their truancy, absenteeism and suspension and expulsion rates (which she adds are low).

“We want these students to not just have a seat at the table, but to have an understanding and comprehension, so they can be successful in following courses,” Mora said.

The district plans to assist these groups and others by refining and monitoring their LCAP goals. Their goals include ensuring all students are “socially just and ready for college and careers,” helping English learners to become proficient in English while keeping them engaged in a rigorous curriculum and to have all families and students engage in “safe, well-maintained schools that are culturally responsive and conducive to 21st-century learning.”

Mora said the LCAP process — which included several meetings with stakeholders (parents, teachers, counselors, principals, etc.) — has helped engagement to “continue the work and deepen it” helping all sides “meet in the middle to best serve the students.”

Board member Maria Leon Vasquez was pleased with the presentation, calling it “wonderful” and lauding Mora for “a concise, culturally responsive document” and getting feedback from various people in the community.

As for next steps with the LCAP, Mora and her team will make adjustments based on board suggestion (Board consensus was the presentation was opaque, asking for easier to digest, “elevator-pitch” style document for public consumption), with a public LCAP hearing on June 19, with planned approval on June 28. From there, the LCAP will be sent to the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

angel@smdp.com

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