District forms new group for race relations
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.