This issue of Voices from the Field introduces the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD), one of five CEI: Cohort I districts, and highlights the experiences, voices, and stories of theSuperintendent, a Parent Ambassador, a Family and Community Engagement Specialist, a Title I Coordinator, theDirector of Special Programs and theDirector of Community Schools & Family and Community Engagement. Through its participation in CEI, AUHSD is addressing its
Problem of Practice: Strengthen district systems to continue to reach all families, especially disengaged families, to address academic and non-academic needs.
The Anaheim Union High School District has a student population of approximately 30,000, making it one of the largest school districts in the state. The district covers 46 square miles and stretches across the cities of Anaheim, Cypress, Buena Park, La Palma, and Stanton in Orange County, California. Their students speak 49 different home languages.
For the last five years, the AUHSD has taken a more fruitful approach to its education model by integrating and aligning its teaching and learning so that students and educators can better develop their academic, career, social, and emotional skills to succeed as workers, citizens, and life-long learners. The “through-line” to this integrated approach is consistently cultivating and supporting student voice, identity, and purpose. These skills—often called civic skills—help catalyze young people’s engagement in school, foster positive student relationships with peers and adults, and bring purpose and meaning to students’ academic and career learning. By centering student voice and purpose within career and academic preparation, the learning process becomes unified, and community assets from traditionally different arenas can complement student learning and achievement.
AUHSD is building a bridge to the future so that students can achieve their unique potential based on their passions and talents. They call it the “Unlimited You.” Together, with their higher education, business, and non-profit partners, they are creating and implementing a new type of educational experience, one where education becomes relevant, meaningful, and moves beyond standardized tests to ensure students have skills and emotional well-being to handle and navigate an increasingly uncertain and unstable world. They are creating an educational experience that nurtures and unleashes the unlimited potential of their students.
Family and Community Engagement at AUHSD
AUHSD has a robust Family and Community Engagement Department that provides support at each school site via Family and Community Engagement Specialists (FACES), Community Liaisons, and Community School Coordinators. AUHSD is excited to have recently been awarded an Implementation Grant of $23.3 million through the California Community Schools Partnership Program to expand from the currently existing two schools to 13 schools in the district. Community Schools in AUHSD are a safe place at the heart of a community where students, staff, and families are connected and work together to expand opportunities and address the whole child’s needs so that all students can thrive and realize their unlimited potential.