The youth-led campaign brought about public commitments from Coachella Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) representatives that will reshape the future of the school district. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Darryl Adams, School Board President Lowell Kamper, and School Board Member Anna Vargas were present for the report which highlighted youth-led research uncovering major obstacles youth face in realizing their dreams.
These impediments include graduation requirements that do not align with University of California or California State University system admission requirements, excessively punitive discipline policies, and structural barriers for local families.
Superintendent Adams committed at the meeting to implementing an A-G Default Curriculum in CVUSD high schools by 2013-14, meaning all Eastern Coachella Valley freshman will be on a pathway to attend college by next fall.
“It is too late for me to be affected by the A-G Default Curriculum,” said senior Ruby Carillo, referencing the deficiencies in the current graduation requirements. “But for the future of my family it is a big benefit.”
The CVUSD representatives also agreed to create a district task force with students to study and implement alternative disciplinary policies. To address the informational barriers and lack of coordination between educational institutions and partners, CVUSD will work with ICUC to create a partnership aimed at putting students on the college and career pathway of their dreams. This partnership will convene in July 2013 with a meeting of students, parents, higher education institutions, teachers, administrators, and other partner agencies.
Liliana Aguilar, a local student who gave a testimony at the event, said afterward, “these changes mean better lives for people and more help for students who want to succeed.”
Mireya Herrera, a recent CVUSD graduate, stated that “some students feel they have been given up on. What happened tonight will help change that by motivating students to go to college.”
Superintendent Adams and School Board Members Vargas and Kamper agreed to sit down again with ICUC leaders within 30 days to evaluate progress towards Tuesday night’s commitments. After the meeting, School Board Member Anna Vargas said that the district is dedicated to “preparing students to achieve their educational goals and dreams,” and also committed to implementing an A-G Curriculum.
ICUC youth leaders who organized the forum sought to refocus public attention on quality education for local families. After a year of research and over 1,000 conversations in their schools and community, leaders were excited to receive these public commitments, although equally motivated to ensure that the school district follows through on the agreements. ICUC youth assured the audience this is the first step in many to put their faith in action and bring about positive changes in their community and schools.