Peer Leading and Learning Network – Cohort III


The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE), San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools  (SBCSS), California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), and Families in Schools (FIS) invite school districts in California to submit a letter of interest via the application process to be part of the Community Engagement Initiative’s Cohort III Peer Leading and Learning Network (PLLN).

Cohort III will join 17 other California school districts in Cohort I and Cohort II. The three groups will lead the Community Engagement Initiative’s efforts to build capacity in communities and school districts. The school district networks will identify effective models of community engagement and develop peer-to-peer partnerships between school districts to improve outcomes for all students, especially English learners, low-income students, foster youth, and those from other underserved groups.

Applications due: Thursday, June 16, 2022, by 9 a.m.

The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) is a five-year (currently in year three) effort intended to strengthen the California State System of Support by building the capacity of school districts and communities to authentically engage each other in:

  • Identifying effective models of community engagement
  • Developing metrics to evaluate those models
  • Having difficult conversations
  • Building trusting relationships
  • Participating in the LCAP development process

Benefits of participating in the CEI Peer Leading and Learning Network:

  • Be a part of systemic change for community engagement in the California State System of Support.
  • Learn about effective practices for community engagement from districts across the state.
  • Engage in an open dialogue on issues related to improving local pupil outcomes.
  • Partner with other communities and school districts to improve community engagement practices, policies, systems, structures, and procedures.
  • Receive an annual district stipend to be used in support of district team members’ participation in the CEI (in addition to any travel cost incurred and reimbursed).

Consideration may be made for rural/remote districts, see application for more details.

Any interested district will need to submit a letter of interest via the application process by email to Steven Sterling Mitchell, CCEE Assistant Director, Community Engagement and System of Support ( by Thursday, June 16, 2022, by 9 a.m.

For details please visit

View the RFA
Printable Version of Outreach Flyer

Information Sessions & FAQ

In March the CEI hosted two information sessions for interested districts to learn more about the initiative and ask any questions they had about the application process. The video to the right is edited to include portions of each session, and the FAQs below are based on feedback from interested LEAs.


Our Cohort III expansion is for ANY district or LEA looking to learn, lead, revitalize, or transform their current Community Engagement efforts, at any stage of development. This includes:

  • Small districts
  • Rural districts
  • Charter schools
  • Districts at any community engagement capacity

By our first convening in August Cohort III teams should include the following members:

  • District: a cabinet-level district administrator (e.g., Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent)
    who oversees Family & Community engagement for the district and (if different) a district staff
    member who leads Community Engagement implementation for the district
  • Specified school site: the principal, assistant/vice principal, or dean who oversees Community
    Engagement at the school and (if different) another administrator or staff member who leads
    Family & Community Engagement implementation at the school, and instructional/support staff
  • Student/Family: high school students and family members of elementary, middle, and high
    school students enrolled in the participating school
  • County Office of Education: an administrator or staff person who oversees or provides support
    for Community Engagement to school districts in the county
  • Community: a representative of a community-based organization that works with the district or
    specified school

Consideration may be made for rural/remote/small districts that may face challenges in meeting the above delineated membership suggestions. In this instance we encourage teams to apply as consortium teams (where the various suggested roles are represented across member districts). Please contact Steven Sterling Mitchell to propose alternative participant structures.

It is not required that the team represent a singular school site, but in terms of developing and implementing a Problem of Practice, the team should consist of representatives who will work together to find solutions. In some cases, teams may have representatives from multiple sites, but use a singular site to test/improve on their Problem of Practice.  The only statutory language is Sec. 140 (d) “common single school district”.

If selected, each District Team will commit to contribute to the statewide effort to build capacity for
authentic Community Engagement through the Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) and will agree
to the following:

  • Participate in the Network for at least two years, with eight professional leading and learning convenings per year (consisting of a combination of virtual and in-person sessions).
    • Travel and overnight stay may be required (to be covered by the CEI).
    • Additional time for collaboration and coaching may be required between convenings.
  • Replace any team member who leaves, within one month of that team member’s departure, keeping within the requirements for participants set forth below, and to notify the CEI designee.
  • Ability to provide space that is video-conference equipped at specified school/district site for Network convenings.
Teams joining CEI as part of Cohort III will be issued a stipend of unrestricted funds to be used in support of their community engagement practices. Stipends are currently $30k per team, but this number may change next year based on a variety of factors.

Travel costs associated with CEI partnership will also be reimbursed.

Any interested district will need to submit a Letter of Interest (as both a word document and a PDF) up to three pages in length, signed by the District Superintendent. The deadline to submit is 9:00 a.m. PST, Tuesday, May 17, 2022 via email to Steven Sterling Mitchell, CCEE Assistant Director, Community Engagement and System of Support ( and cc Nicole LoBese at

The Letter of Interest must include the following:
District Information:

  • A description of the district, its community, and its student body
  • Why the district is interested in participating in the Community Engagement Initiative
  • How the district has previously engaged and/or hopes to improve engagement with:
    • community members in district-level decision making and/or families at the school level.
      (e.g., through the LCAP process)
  • Examples of efforts that have been made and/or barriers to
    • build capacity to have difficult conversations with their school community and build trust, with a focus on improving outcomes for all students.
    • engage communities that have not historically been engaged.

School Information:
The Letter of Interest must identify a specified school site that would be represented on the District Team. (In the case of consortium teams, the district which will be the primary contact/focus of the initiative efforts)

Point of contact:
The letter must include the name and contact information (phone and email) for the district employee to be contacted regarding the application.

Participating School Districts