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AUSD Leadership Continues Community Conversations

An enthusiastic group of fourth and fifth graders offer their suggestions during a workshop in February, 2020. Photo by Helen Arase


Alhambra , CA

Alhambra Unified School District hosted the second Zoom meeting in the ongoing Community Conversation series, a group of intimate talks between parents, Board of Education members and district officials.

Superintendent Denise Jaramillo, school board members Bob Gin and Joanne Chavez, and district communications staff and interpreters facilitated the meeting, with less than 15 parents and grandparents participating.

The group first went around the Zoom “room” and introduced themselves by saying which school their student attended. Their students spanned grades across the board, from early elementary to high school. Some parents added topics they were interested in discussing or expressed an interest in helping the district better educate their children at home.

Some topics covered stemmed from the parent introductions. The first was about special education at home and the possibility of bringing assessments or small cohorts to campus as is allowed by the health department.

The Zoom live translation service was not working, but the conversation would pause for the parents who spoke Spanish or Chinese – Mandarin or Cantonese – to be caught up and allow them to ask a question. The chat function was also being used as a live translation tool.

The conversation turned COVID-19, health and safety precautions and the million-dollar question of whether the students will return in the spring.

“It’s probably not polite to answer your question with a question, but I’m really asking you, what do you think? You see what’s happening in the community as much as I do,” Jaramillo responded, saying they are making plans, want the children when it is safe and have precautions in place – but only when the health department says the district can bring students will it do anything.

The takeaway: each meeting is tailored to the participating parents’ concerns. The district wants to hear from parents ­– be prompted to give information and answers ­– not monologue and hope the participants find the conversation enlightening.

The next dates are scheduled in October and are planned to go throughout the school year. Participants are able to sign up on the district homepage when meetings become available.

There is a special Board of Education meeting on Sept. 29 to approve the Learning Plan discussed at the last meeting.

RSVP on Eventbrite.

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