District forms new group for race re­la­tions

Antelope Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - By AL­LI­SON GATLIN Val­ley Press Staff Writer

CAL­I­FOR­NIA CITY — Af­ter an ad­vi­sory coun­cil in­tended to aid African-Amer­i­can stu­dents in the Mo­jave Uni­fied School District be­came too mired in lo­gis­ti­cal de­tails to be pro­duc­tive any longer, District of­fi­cials are tak­ing a new ap­proach to is­sue with a less for­mal African-Amer­i­can Ad­vi­sory Group.

The new group will hold its first meet­ing at 6 p.m. Wed­nes­day in the mul­tipur­pose room at Ha­cienda El­e­men­tary School, 19950 Ha­cienda Blvd.

The new or­ga­ni­za­tion will meet with much the same goals as orig­i­nally in­tended for the coun­cil: to re­view data, dis­cuss prac­tices and pro­vide in­put to the district’s for­mal plan­ning doc­u­ment to im­prove out­comes for African-Amer­i­can stu­dents in the District.

The orig­i­nal coun­cil was formed in re­sponse to par­ents’ con­cerns about African-Amer­i­can stu­dents in the district and be­gan meet­ing in Novem­ber 2018.

District of­fi­cials out­lined the pos­i­tive im­pacts the orig­i­nal coun­cil was able to af­fect, in­clud­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­put into the 20192020 Lo­cal Con­trol Ac­count­abil­ity Plan, the doc­u­ment that lays out the District’s goals and the steps to be taken to reach them. It also dic­tates bud­get pri­or­i­ties.

Im­prove­ments in stu­dent achieve­ment were seen in the 2018-2019 school year, in­clud­ing scores in English Lan­guage

Arts and Math and a re­duc­tion in sus­pen­sions across the District, of­fi­cials said.

How­ever, over time the coun­cil be­came in­ef­fec­tive, pri­mar­ily due to dis­agree­ments sur­round­ing the by­laws, of­fi­cer po­si­tions and elec­tions, ac­cord­ing to Dan Sex­ton, Di­rec­tor of Cur­ricu­lum In­te­gra­tion and Ed­u­ca­tional Part­ner­ships, who served as a li­ai­son to the coun­cil.

The im­passe led to de­clin­ing mem­ber­ship and attendance at meet­ings, with only a hand­ful par­tic­i­pat­ing by late last cal­en­dar year.

“Es­sen­tially, we’re so dis­tracted by by­laws and the struc­ture of the thing that we are no longer serv­ing the orig­i­nal pur­pose of putting the stu­dents first and try­ing to in­crease those out­comes,” Sex­ton said dur­ing the Board of Trustees meet­ing on Dec. 12.

In re­sponse, the coun­cil by­laws have been sus­pended and the District has es­tab­lished the African-Amer­i­can Ad­vi­sory Group in its place.

The com­mu­nity is in­vited to at­tend the meet­ing next week.

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