This month we held a joint meeting between the Concord City Council and the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. It was a unique opportunity for two public agencies to share ideas, concerns, plans for future areas of cooperation, and our vision of the future.
For the record, let me report that both policymaking entities were unanimously present for this somewhat historic meeting.
I and Barbara Oaks, president of the school board, served jointly as hosts and chairs of the meeting, which conformed pretty much according to the normal procedural rules and Roberts Rules of Order.
The agenda, jointly agreed upon prior to the meeting, covered all of the areas of mutual concern and informational issues discussed by the elected officials and senior staff representatives, i.e., the Concord City Manager Valerie Barone, and the Mt. Diablo District Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer.
One of my enduring concerns is having the educational curriculum provide training for those students who may not wish to attend college, but have ability and will need to be educated so they can successfully complete the apprenticeship programs conducted by the various building trades.
In my discussions with a number of labor groups, they have shown an interest in working cooperatively with the all of the school districts in having a presence on school campuses, and partnering with the districts on classes that would be beneficial for students to complete prior to graduation, so they can move successfully into trade programs.
This effort is really only a part of the career development program I believe will enhance the educational curriculum and provide a relevant education for our young people.
I believe it is important for young people to be exposed to ideas that come directly from guest speakers, mentors, and having the city partner with the school district when the district conducts gatherings such as career fairs. I was pleased that this idea seemed to generate a favorable response from the school board members.
There were other areas where they agreed that partnering with the city, such as possibly expanding the SRO program, and increasing the police presence on campus, would be beneficial for both agencies and the community in general. Both agencies have budgetary concerns that limit the amount of partnering that is possible.
During this joint meeting, Concord Chief of Police Guy Swanger explained the vision the city has for a Family Justice Center. As you know from my previous columns, this is one of my initiatives that I believe is very important for Concord, and I was pleased the school board recognized that reducing the violence in children's lives is a significant factor in improving their academic performance.
Let it suffice for now to say this matter will be discussed in future columns.
Dr. Nellie Meyer gave a very effective presentation outlining the district's Local Control Accountability Plan, and its critical part of the new Local Control Funding Formula.
She explained that each school district receiving funds for the program must engage parents, educators, employees and the local community to establish the plan. These programs really encompass the vision and goals of the district and how the Accountability Plan will focus on eight areas identified as state priorities.
These eight state priorities are: Williams Settlement; Common Core; parental involvement; pupil achievement; pupil engagement; school climate, broad course of study; and course of study outcomes.
Each of these eight broad areas have a number of measurement tools that will provide for accountability by and for the district, and involve strategies that will enable the district to know how they are doing and what fixes need to be added to improve the outcome in these eight areas.
This really is an exciting program for the school district and it was of interest to the City Council to receive this briefing.
Dr. Meyer also commented on a recent parent education night when members of the Concord Police Department met with parents to focus on how to talk to young people about staying away from violence.
She reported that the Positive Behavior Support provides strategic training for teachers and is being implemented along with a districtwide discipline plan.
Finally, we discussed ways in which we could share our parks and school athletic fields as part of a collaborated partnership designed to assist the city in addressing its soccer field needs.
I feel it was a productive meeting. I believe we should meet again, to share visions for a better future.
Tim Grayson is the mayor of Concord. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.