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Californians for Justice Part of Statewide Lead for Community Schools

Artist: Brandie Bowen of San Francisco and Coleman Advocates

The California State Board of Education approved the Lead Technical Assistance Center for the California Community Schools Partnership Program, a team that includes Californians for Justice (CFJ). The $3 Billion program prioritizes racially just, relationship-centered community school models across the state. Californians for Justice is honored to be named part of the team and will work closely with the Alameda County Office of Education, UCLA Center for Community
Schooling, and the National Education Association to lead by example, supporting the transformation of schools into places of healing, joy and vital resources for students and families.

“Community schools present a model of school that centers the voices and needs of our most impacted students. To do that, we know how critical it is to create structures and processes of shared decision-making with students and families, and this investment is an opportunity to do just that,” said Karn Saetang, Policy and Alliance Director at CFJ.

The SBE also announced approval for the first round of grants from the $3 Billion community schools program.The funds will support students, families, educators and community members in 458 schools and 268 districts across the state including Oakland Unified and Fresno Unified School Districts where Californians for Justice organizes directly with youth leaders and staff. An additional $1.5 billion is proposed in the recent Governor’s May Budget Revision.

“This partnership represents the Community Schools model we want to see, where schools and districts genuinely partner with community-based organizations to arrive at transformative solutions. We are excited to continue to elevate the lessons we’ve learned from youth-led school transformation work to a statewide arena,” said Najla Gomez Rodriguez, Capacity Building Director at CFJ.

CFJ and allies at the California Partnership for the Future of Learning and the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color worked with students, families, community members, and educators to shape the CA Community Schools Framework. Core commitments to shared power and decision making with students, families, community partners and educators, and restorative school climate and culture are expectations of any community school receiving CCSPP funds. We envision this wave of community schools to be more than traditional schools with supplemental services; schools themselves must change and rethink roles and relationships.

We are honored to play a leadership role in supporting grantees to make this vision for racially just, relationship-centered community schools a reality. Together with students, families, community partners and decision-makers we are moving closer to transforming the state’s public education system into a model of equity, racial justice and relationships for CA’s youth and families.

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