Leadership magazine May/June 2015 V 44 No 5 - Page 17

for each student, including UC a-g approved courses, differentiation for students with special needs and second language learners, Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) and Career Technical Education (CTE) options, flexible scheduling, and strong relationships with adults who know them well. JCCS strongly believes in honoring the whole student, so we also offer extensive social, emotional and behavioral support through trauma informed care, Positive Behavior Intervention and Support and Restorative Justice practices. get smarter in our practice, our systems and service delivery model, and the ways in which we assess and monitor student learning while providing for their emotional and behavioral needs. rather than regular and ongoing. We have expanded this definition of collaboration to now focus more on networks that are regular, fluid and evolving groups of people who have similar beliefs and values with the Youth experience and voice: “Listen to us” Providing these services and supports is a relentless process made with the best interests of students at the core of every decision. Author Shaena Fazal writes, “Youth experience and voice should be an integral part of policymaking and service delivery. When asked the question, ‘If you could talk to adults who make decisions about kids in the juvenile justice system, what do you think is most important for them to know about what kids need and how to help them (for example, what works and what doesn’t work and why),’ the youth clearly show in their responses that they want to feel as though those making the decisions hear what they have to say and that they are judged and treated fairly. “The most common answer to the question about what they would say to an administrator: ‘Listen to us’” (2014). About 18 months ago we started asking students the questions, “How is your learning working for you?” and “How would it look different if it was working better for you?” and we listened. Many students wanted more career and elective offerings, less repetition of content, more understanding and control over their course of study, and greater opportunities for “voice and choice” in their learning. Building on our strengths We knew that in order to provide an even stronger learning program for every student we serve, we needed to change. This meant building upon our strengths in personal relationships and developing expansive networks and allies who could help us At Monarch School, which serves the homeless, students grow and cook vegetables through work with partners that include UC Cooperative Extension, Master Gardeners and other local groups. We needed networks and allies that could provide models of simplicity that demonstrated: 1. Relentless belief – and demonstrated behaviors toward – a growth mindset for students. 2. Proof of impact on improved student learning and achievement. 3. Nimble and flexible systems that would enhance program development. A better job of meeting students needs In JCCS, high student mobility, open enrollment, fluctuating student exits, lack of consistency in instruction across the organization, significant gaps in students’ learning histories, multiple partner agencies with different priorities, and changing federal, state and local policies all contributed to a culture where sometimes students’ needs were the last to be met, even with the best of intentions by adults. Historically, collaboration revolved around a particular project, used the same small group of people, and was timely knowledge, expertise and experience we can leverage to improve our organization’s capacity to better serve students. These networks include groups of teachers, staff and administrator experts who already work within JCCS; staff from our trusted partners in SDCOE divisions; parents, families and guardians; members of business, non-profit and community organizations; probation and county, state and federal departments; education, including post-secondary public and private sectors; and national and international education, policy, research and think-tank organizations. )=