With generous support from the Lumina Foundation, the L.A. Compact invited the National Equity Project (NEP) to design and facilitate an equity seminar for L.A. Compact Stewardship Group members. NEP is a leadership and organizational development group committed to increasing leadership capacities in order to eliminate racialized outcomes and achieve thriving, self-determining, and educated communities. Over half of Stewardship Group members participated in NEP’s Leading for Equity seminar on January 24, 2019. Through a series of reflective activities, NEP guided Stewardship Group members to think about the conditions and forces contributing to racial inequities throughout the cradle-to-career continuum in the LA region and what will be required of the Compact to advance racial equity in the region. This is the start of many conversations to come. Stewardship Group members will play a key role in helping us integrate equity into our Compact work, so that every child receives what they need to develop their full academic and social potential.
Joint Advocacy Workgroup
Following the Joint Advocacy Workgroup (JAG) meeting in December, the team met in mid-January to discuss and finalize their priorities for 2019 in preparation for FY 2019-20. A hefty agenda, JAG will continue to champion and advocate collectively for cradle-to-career education at the State and Federal level. Specifically on the federal level, the group will work on the following: Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), Head Start/Early Head Start Reauthorization, Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, Comprehensive immigration reform, and the 2020 Census count. On the state level: Increased investments for early care and education particularly for children 0-3, English Language Learners/Dual Language Learners, adequate compensation for the ECE workforce, Support the “California Way”, Public Education Pensions, Special Education funding, LCFF funding, Willful Defiance, teacher shortages, Reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, FAFSA simplification, and support the increase of the Federal Pell Grant maximum.
Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) Collaborative
- L.A. College Promise
The L.A. College Promise was highlighted for the effectiveness of its cross-sector partnerships at a recent Promises That Count Alliance meeting. The Alliance, convened by WestEd with support of the California Community Foundation, UNITE-LA, and the Campaign for College Opportunity is comprised of Los Angeles County College Promise programs looking to improve their student services to improve college completion. At the convening, Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) College Promise Faculty Coordinator, Joanna Zimring-Towne, discussed the strength of the partnerships between the LACCD, Los Angeles Unified School District, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office, and UNITE-LA, and how these partnerships are directly benefiting students. Later this year, the L.A. College Promise will celebrate the graduation of the inaugural Promise cohort, which promises to be a momentous occasion.
-Los Angeles Educator Pathways Partnership (LAEPP)
At the latest LAEPP Workgroup meeting in January, member participants explored improvement of teacher preparation programs through a critical discussion of STEM Teachers’ inclusion in pathways analyses. Members recommended and agreed on the rationale for a working STEM Teacher definition and will move forward with identifying implications for preparing STEM Teachers alongside non-STEM Teachers. The next meeting in March will focus on examining the appropriate questions to guide the data collection and analysis for the project’s next phase.
-Student Success Workgroup
The L.A. Compact Student Success Workgroup convened on January 15th to begin exploring how the partners might collaborate around advising to support successful student transitions. The Workgroup will return to this topic at its next meeting on March 20, 2019.
The CSUN Connections workgroup, convened with support from the L.A. Compact, continues to make great progress in implementing a pilot reverse transfer project in the San Fernando Valley. The partners - California State University, Northridge, and L.A. Mission, Pierce, and Valley Colleges - launched an outreach email campaign designed to re-engage students, with colleges conducting follow up via text messaging and phone calls. These students are within striking distance of completing their associate degree, or qualify to have a degree conferred based on coursework completed at the community college and at CSUN, “combined” through the CSUN Connections initiative. The partners are also working to “reroute” students who have been academically disqualified from CSUN into a partnering community college.
Kindergarten Readiness Assessment
As school districts are getting ready to collect a new wave of Early Development Instrument (EDI) data in their kindergarten classrooms, both First 5 LA and UNITE-LA have started planning for the launch of the L.A. Compact Early Childhood Stewardship Group in June 2019. To understand how the Early Childhood Stewardship Group can use the EDI to drive innovation in early childhood policy and service delivery in Los Angeles County, UNITE-LA interviewed 5 EDI pilot communities funded by First 5 LA and a representative from First 5 Orange County. Orange County is the first county in California to use the EDI across all public elementary schools. The findings from the interviews will guide First 5 LA and UNITE-LA in defining the vision, role and membership of the Early Childhood Stewardship Group. L.A. school districts participating in EDI data collection include: LAUSD, Compton USD, Lowell Joint School District, Mountain View School District, Pasadena USD, Pomona USD, Rosemead School District, El Monte School District and Santa Monica-Malibu USD.
Fostering Careers L.A., convened by the L.A. Chamber of Commerce & Alliance for Children’s Rights
LA County DCFS and WDAC entered into and MOU to provide administrative guidance and procedures to Youth@Work (Y@W) County operated and non-County operated America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs) on a new foster youth regional referral process and updates to age participation requirements to better serve current and former foster youth ages 14-24. All referred Foster youth will be provided with a full 120 hours inclusive of paid work experience.
OYC Foster Youth College Advancement Project
On February 1st, John Burton Advocates for Youth and UNITE-LA trained Foster and Kinship Care Education providers across local community colleges on higher education resources. The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will require select Resource Families with youth between 12-19 years old to complete this training as a part of their annual training requirements. The partners also developed a Facilitator’s Guide to support trainers. On February 7th, DCFS sent a memo to their caregiver monitoring and support social workers to inform them of this new higher education training requirement. Countywide implementation is targeted to begin in April 2019.
In addition, the partners have translated the Financial Aid Guide for California Foster Youth to Spanish to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking caregivers.
L.A. Workforce Systems Collaborative (LAWSC)
The Workforce Systems Collaborative met in February at the Cal State LA’s Downtown campus to make recommendations on the Compact 3.0 career readiness and success goal language and metrics and share information. The group will reconvene in April to share in-depth information on workforce development efforts across the region and discuss systemic coordination of employer engagement efforts.