Setting Precedent for Collaboration, Innovation and Systems Change In Public Education

School District Case Study



Riverside Unified School District (RUSD)


Riverside School District and Board of Education, community stakeholders


Improve outcomes for students in local K-12 education through a community-informed, measurable, district-wide strategic plan

OUR SCOPE:        

Strategic Planning & Leadership Team Development



Improve Educational Outcomes through Participatory Planning

In 2014, the State of California mandated that each school district create a “Local Control and Accountability Plan” (LCAP) to address new statewide priorities for greater equity across student populations. The Plan needed to include strategies for supporting three vulnerable student populations: children in poverty, in the foster system, and/or English language learners.

As part of their planning, Districts were required by the state to integrate input from a range of school and community stakeholders and set metrics for improved student outcomes. Riverside Unified School District wanted to fully take advantage of the opportunity to deeply engage the Riverside community in how to better invest in the success of its 43,000 students. To do so, they needed a consultant to design and guide an appealing, engaging, and clear process.



Statewide Exemplar of Participatory Planning

Throughout 2014, we lead a participatory planning process that navigated district leadership and community members through the unprecedented process of developing a strategic plan that would meet the state’s requirements for their newly-mandated Local Control and Accountability Plans. The complex, multi-stakeholder process had 5 main elements:

  • We established a steering committee of parents, community members, faculty, and staff, whose purpose was to ensure that stakeholders were meaningfully engaged throughout the planning process
  • In partnership with the Superintendent, we trained high school student leaders to gather input from other students, promote attendance at community forums, and co-facilitate community meetings
  • We designed and co-facilitated 11 community forums (with Spanish language translation) that brought in over 10 times typical attendance
  • We prepped experts to brief the RUSD Board of Education on Board-approved plans already in effect and student needs, especially children in the 3 target populations
  • We facilitated teams of RUSD faculty and staff to translate broad stakeholder input into specific measurable goals for the LCAP 

In May 2014, the RUSD Board of Education approved our LCAP plan, which was then showcased as a statewide and national exemplar of participatory planning. Gina was invited to present to the California State Board of Education about how to creatively and successfully engage parents and students in LCAP planning. Our approach was also featured in an NBC News “Education Nation” webinar.