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Root 6: Systems and tools are made to be community-friendly

What this root looks like:

  • Districts and schools avoid the use of jargon and “education speak”
  • Districts and schools create budget documents for the community that are easy to access and understand
  • Districts and schools provide high-quality language translation and interpretation
  • Districts and schools create audience-specific documents when needed to ensure access to and understanding of information
  • Districts and schools understand what “community-friendly” means in their context
  • Districts and schools have effective communication and outreach practices

Jenn Edic Bryant, Director of Metrics &n LCAP (ret.), Azusa Unified School District on Root 6 in her district.


Which two descriptions are examples of what Root 6 looks like in practice?

Districts and schools understand what “community-friendly” means in their context,


Districts and schools have effective communication and outreach practices


Districts and schools prioritize their time and resources toward relationships


Districts and schools hire staff for their community engagement skills


Districts and schools understand historic and systemic racism and inequities, white supremacy, and privilege,


Districts and schools work to include and empower families and students who have differences in their sense of agency and empowerment in schools


Districts and schools provide for families' and students’ language translation and interpretation needs,


Districts and schools are preventive in their mindsets and practices rather than reactive


Thoughts from the Field

Together, these roots create a framework to guide progress and growth in districts and schools. Along with growing the roots must also come a shift in mindset about our relationships with families, students, and collaboration. Sandra Candler, CEI participant and Family & Community Engagement Supervisor in Cajon Valley Unified School District, expresses the mindset shift this way:

“As I looked at [the Essential Roots], I think of two things that are needed: First, we must believe that families want the best for their children. We can have the best strategies in the world, but if we don't present them on the basis that we believe all families want the best for their children, we will only get a handful of the students and families we are trying to reach. All those roots of effectiveness come from the Engagement Team/School System having that belief. Second, it means that as an Engagement Team/School System, we must leave our assumptions and biases at the door when we go to serve and partner with those students and families; otherwise, we will never come across as desiring to have authentic relationships with students and families. Since starting this work, my favorite saying has been, 'People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ And, to do that, we have to drop our assumptions that ‘those people’ don't really care and have a genuine, authentic belief that all families genuinely care about the success of their children, no matter what life issues mom, dad, or that family is going through, they want the best for their children.”
Sandra Candler Wafer
Family & Community Engagement Supervisor, Cajon Valley Unified School District
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