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ABCUSD Superintendent’s Message: The Power of Partnerships

Dr. Mary Sieu, Superintendent of the ABC Unified School District

Dr. Mary Sieu, Superintendent of the ABC Unified School District


By Dr. Mary Sieu

For the first time, ABC Unified School District has been selected to receive the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Magna Awards 2015 Grand Prize for our program, the Parent Leadership Academy and Conference. It is one of the most highly honored awards in this year’s competition in the country. In addition to being recognized at the NSBA Annual Conference in the Magna Awards Best Practices for School Leaders Luncheon in Nashville on March 21, ABCUSD will receive $5,000 from the program’s sponsor, Sodexo School Services. This is equivalent to earning an Oscar for the school board in the education industry!

The Parent Leadership Academy and Conference is only one example of the power of partnerships in ABC Unified School District. For almost twenty years, the District has embarked on increasing parent/family engagement and parent leadership capacity in the schools. The Parent Leadership Conference began in 1997 when a small group of parents worked with me in creating a network for parents to learn how to navigate the educational system in ABC. The first Parent Leadership Conference was convened in 1997 with over 100 parents. Today, over 5000 parents have participated representing all 30 schools in the District. Each year, the Conference held in the spring, provides free workshops for 400 parents and family members and the opportunity to network with other parents from throughout the District. The workshops are conducted by District staff, parent leaders and local community organizations.

The partnership with PTA, Adult School and local community organizations helped to strengthen the Conference goals to increase parent engagement and connection. Each year, the Parent Leadership Academy coordinated by Adult School provides a yearlong calendar of workshops organized around the needs identified by the parents in the District. In recent years, with many changes in education, the topics have included the “Common Core State Standards”, the “Smarter Balanced Assessment”, “Technology for Parents” and “Prevention of Bullying”. Translation services are always available for the parents.

Clearly, parent and community participation is important to our school improvement efforts. As we move forward, we invite you to join us to build a stronger relationship and new partnerships. We know the power of partnerships and how it can make a difference!