Stuart Foundation Sacramento Professional Learning Community Update

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June 18, 2014 Thank you to all of our members who engaged in the Stuart Foundation Sacramento Professional Learning Community (PLC) and contributed their invaluable expertise. We are finishing our first full year of the challenging yet necessary work of building infrastructure and expertise to support vulnerable populations, including foster youth and students with disabilities, in Sacramento charter schools and wanted to highlight the tremendous success of this collaboration.

Updates and takeaways:

  • The PLC is comprised of sixteen high-performing charter schools representing eleven charter organizations in the Sacramento region. PLC members attended nine in-person meetings that included school executives, administrators, special education directors, administrators of student supports and services, outreach coordinators, teachers, and outside experts.

  • Over the past year, PLC member schools touched the lives of nearly 10,000 students, out of which over 4,100 were considered socioeconomically disadvantaged, approximately 660 students were identified as students with special needs, and about 110 students were reported as foster youth.

  • The group engaged in a variety of discussions ranging from identifying barriers in serving foster youth and brainstorming solutions to school-wide systems of support to connecting with community resources and expanding their knowledge of the child welfare system.

  • PLC identified and embraced best practices of highly successful schools, including: early identification of students (through interviews with parents/students, and/or pre-assessments of academic achievement levels), laser focus on getting students college and career ready with an emphasis on credit recovery and graduation, individualized instruction and support to all at-risk students, a successful model of RTI/MTSS, dedicated staff and consistent staff sensitivity training, and flexible enrollment/lottery systems.

Discussion:

Due to numerous conflicts and challenges, one of the biggest growth areas of the Sacramento PLC has been developing a comprehensive system for identifying and tracking foster youth. However, since the formation of the PLC, most participating schools have made changes to their data systems and enrollment procedures to identify and track foster youth as a sub-group. We also anticipate that with the adoption of the Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs), foster youth identification and tracking will become much more streamlined at school, district and state levels.

Next Steps:

  • We look forward to continuing this important and exciting work with our current members in the upcoming year.

  • We would also like to extend an invitation to more schools in the region. Please note that even if you do not currently serve foster youth at your site, the PLC is also geared towards supporting students with disabilities and other vulnerable student populations, and we encourage all schools to benefit from a boarder network and additional resources.

Please contact Kate Dove with questions!