Val Verde Unified School District
Revolutionizing Family Engagement
Val Verde Unified School District is located in Riverside County, California, and serves close to 19,500 students every year from grades TK-12 who reside in portions of Perris, Moreno Valley and an unincorporated area of Riverside County. The demographic breakdown is .20 percent American Indian; 1.5 percent Asian; .2 percent Pacific Islander; 1.1 percent Filipino; 79.8 percent Hispanic; 11 percent African American; 3.7 percent White; 1.8 percent two or more races; and 4,225 (21.8 percent) of the students are identified as English Learners. In addition, 87.3 percent of the students in the district fall within the socioeconomically disadvantaged bracket.
VVUSD’s philosophy of family engagement is built around three important pillars and is embodied by all stakeholders: 1) engagement over involvement; 2) strength-based family partnerships; and 3) a focus on empowering families as leaders and change agents. A fundamental practice for us has been consistency and the development of a team that not only believes but remains truly vested in the work. Family engagement requires passion and a true love for families and the community but it also requires a commitment to building strong and lasting relationships. It is thanks to these strong relationships that we are able to offer dozens of free classes and workshops for our families as well as large district-wide events. The numerous events that we offer are family-driven offerings that concentrate around five different areas: Family Support for Student Academic Achievement, Adult Education, Parent Leadership, Health and Wellbeing and Parent Networking Support. A pivotal part of our work is making sure we remain flexible and open to change and adapting to extenuating circumstances to better support the needs of our community.
No one person can do this work alone, it takes a team, and we have a team of various stakeholders that understands the importance of making family engagement a core component of the work of schools and our district. It is crucial to have the support of board members and district leadership; and a key element is to partner with families as the true leaders they are and work hand in hand with our community partners as allies. This is what makes the work revolutionary and transformative.