After establishing itself for a decade on the East Coast, Eskolta School Research & Design heads west to expand its impact through a statewide community initiative in California. The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) is part of California’s Statewide System of Support and is responsible for building the capacities of students, families, educators, and community partners to work together to support student success through a continuous improvement science lens.

The initiative will reach 6.5 million students across 47 districts throughout the state of California through the 2026-27 school year.

The CEI started in 2018 when the CA General Assembly allocated money to convene professional learning networks designed to improve student outcomes and community engagement. This first phase of the work was co-administered by the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) along with San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Families in School, and California Association for Bilingual Education.

In 2022, the CA General Assembly extended the project and funding. Eskolta is a partner on CEI 2.0 along with CCEE, the San Diego County Office of Education, and the University of San Diego. This second phase is designed to:

  • Build capacity in communities and school districts to facilitate difficult conversations that focus on improving outcomes for students;
  • Identify effective models of community engagement and metrics to evaluate those models;
  • Develop effective peer-to-peer partnerships between school districts and county offices of education to deepen community engagement;
  • Expand successful community engagement practices statewide.
  • Serve as a facilitator, resource connector, capacity builder, and relationship builder concerning school districts’ efforts to develop community engagement.

“CEI allows students to develop their leadership skills and utilize their unique perspectives to shape the future of education in California,” said Makila Meyers-Burgos, Director of Research, Policy and Network Strategy at Eskolta. “The initiative shifts from just listening to empowering students, families, and community members to actively engage in decision making and build more equitable schools. And, the initiative is not done in isolation. Through the California Statewide System of Support, CEI partners with stakeholders to create a holistic and individualized approach to equitable education.”

Eskolta began this work in the fall of 2023. And to date we’ve seen incredible momentum for community engagement and collaboration across the state.

“It’s often so easy to end up working in silos, especially when it comes to education. But this never captures the maximum impact compared to when we work in partnership,” said Nada Ahmed, CEO of Eskolta. “This initiative has prioritized collaboration from the beginning, and we’re so happy to continue this important work that aims to help 6.5M students thrive in the California system. You can actually make change when each partner brings their strengths, resources, and experiences to the work in a coordinated and intentional way — and that’s exactly what we’re doing in the Community Engagement Initiative.”

Stay tuned to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn for updates on this exciting project.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This