Stockton schools embrace collaboration for student success. New initiatives, community engagement, and partnerships pave the way for a brighter future.

At San Joaquin A+, we believe deeply that when it comes to supporting the education of youth in our region, we’re better together. In fact, our entire mission is built on the premise that through collaboration and innovation within the broader community, our schools can provide great outcomes for students. 

As we move into the fall of the 2023-24 school year, we think Stockton area schools, community organizations, and businesses are better positioned than ever to do just that. We see a few core examples we are particularly excited about. I want to share them with you in the spirit of bringing more community members into these initiatives and helping us identify more areas of success that show promise in the upcoming year. They include: 

  • New District Leaders are Prioritizing Community Engagement and Collaboration: In the two largest districts in our region – Stockton USD and Lodi USD – new superintendents are leading by example that community collaboration and partnership can make us better, as evidenced by their broad community engagement early in their respective tenures. Let’s work together to offer our support to their educators and students when they reach out and validate their community outreach.
  • A High-Dosage Tutoring Initiative Brings High School Students together to Support their Elementary School Piers Across Multiple Districts: In a true win for innovative collaboration, we are seeing the expansion of a tutoring pilot that provides high school students with an AI assisted tutoring software called Amira Learning, to support and tutor their elementary school piers under the supervision of professional staff. This model allows our schools to both catch up elementary students who are behind in reading and provides high school youth with professional learning experiences. See the announcement made about the pilot with Linden USD this summer to learn more.
  • Businesses and Schools are Collaborating to Create Career Connected Learning Opportunities: Back up in Lodi, we saw the launch of the Growing Futures initiative this summer where local agricultural and viticulture employers are working with schools to provide internship experiences for students, while in other areas of the county we see similar career connected learning pathways developing for students who want to be teachers or those who are interested in health care.
  • The Housing Authority of San Joaquin County is Working with School Providers to Bring New School Buildings to Stockton Communities: In Stockton, the Housing Authority is working with the Aspire and KIPP organizations to build new schools that serve students in grades K-12 at the sites of the Sierra Vista and Conway homes respectively. This collaboration will not only provide students in these communities with access to brand new facilities and educational opportunities, but it will also play an important role in the complete redevelopment of Sierra Vista Homes.

These partnerships are notable in part because they come after a particularly challenging period, where it was not only difficult to build partnership through the trying years of the pandemic, but also difficult to build trust through periods of leadership turnover and political upheaval in some districts.

Our ability to move past this upheaval with increased collaboration creates an opportunity to sharpen our focus on what is working best for students. The more partnerships like these we create the better understanding we can develop of what is working for students – which helps us better define what success looks like for the long-term and seek out more partnerships and learning opportunities that work for students. 

That is what makes the actions of new leadership, local community members, businesses, school partners, educators, students, and others so exciting. We truly are better together, and we can show Stockton area families what is possible if we build on the momentum we have, begin to expand what is working, and increase our collective focus on the joint goal of improving life and learning outcomes for our students.

Don Shalvey is the chief executive officer of San Joaquin A+, which consists of a group of educators, business leaders, active citizens and philanthropists who support education. Dr. Shalvey  has spent the past 55 years in public education, including serving as a deputy director for K-12 Education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and he is the founder and former CEO of Aspire Public Schools. Dr. Shalvey’s opinions are his own and do not reflect the views of Stocktonia News Service.

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