Four years ago, a team of researchers embarked on a journey to follow the implementation of California’s landmark change in how it funds public schools: The Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF. Most recently, we have studied three districts and their noteworthy efforts to utilize the flexibility of the new law and its emphasis on local decision making to improve teaching and learning in their districts.

As our report details, we ultimately found that all three districts relied on a common strategy that was intimately connected to all of their improvement efforts: broad and meaningful community engagement focused on parents, principals, teachers, students and other core groups.

The funding formula requires districts across the state to engage the community as part of their Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, development process, but each of these three districts moved beyond the letter of the law.

  • Palmdale School District used a strategic planning process that included teachers, principals, students, parents and community members to build a consensus around how best to improve student outcomes.
  • Anaheim Union High School District placed the implementation of the Common Core standards and instructional improvement at the center of all of the district’s work.
  • San Mateo Foster City School District’s implementation strategy expanded opportunities for each of its schools to make decisions about the allocation of money and personnel.

Much of the conversation about LCFF implementation has rightly focused on the allocation of supplemental and concentration grants to increase supports and services to the target student groups (low-income, English learner, and foster youth).

Read the full article about community engagement improving school districts by Daniel Humphrey at EdSource.