Members of the African American Community attended the very first community Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) meeting at a Merced Union High School District facility. That informational meeting was organized in part by Trustee Ida Johnson, the sole black Merced Union High School District (MUHSD) School Board member.
The community members, continued to attend MUHSD LCAP meetings as individuals in subsequent years. Between them, they attended every LCAP meeting including specific teacher and administrator-bargaining unit LCAP meetings.
During a February 2018 LCAP Community meeting at which all of the African American LCAP community were in the same consensus group, everyone learned that none of the suggestions that African American citizens had forwarded over five years had ever been written into the LCAP. The African American community members who were present at the February meeting were dismayed to hear that every effort they had made to improve school for their children had been in vain. This shared dismay galvanized the Community members to share information and began to work together as a loosely organized group to address the discounted LCAP participation of African American community members. Toward that end, the group forwarded and championed the following LCAP recommendation for African American students:
The District will identify and send a team to visit model schools/programs whose African American students perform academically on par with other student groups. The purpose is to replicate such programs in the MUHSD in an effort to reduce the African American achievement gap.
Even after the group had meetings with the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction and packed the final LCAP meetings with additional support from the African American Community, the recommendation was refused. In further talks with the MUHSD Superintendent, and the Superintendent of the County Office of Education, the LCAP Community members were assured that their recommendation would be included in the 2019-21 LCAP. The recommendation did, in fact, become a part of the LCAP at the June 2018 MUHSD School Board meeting.
Community members, Estella Dunn, Loretta Spence, Tammie Cobb, Annette Lee, Charlie Bennett and Pamela Merritt-Bennett, along with Assistant Superintendent Aguilar joined administrators from the Merced City School District, Los Banos Unified School District, and County (Merced County Office of Education (MCOE)) administrators to form CAASS – The Council on African American Student Success, headed by Rosanna Ayers of MCOE. The purpose of the council is to encourage the addition of the African American Community recommendation to other district LCAPs and to support districts in carrying out the recommendation through successful implementation.
Estella Dunn met Marian Bryson at a Sacramento event about school issues as related to African American students. Marian told her about work being done by a Black Parallel School Board (BPSB) in Sacramento. The CAASS community members agreed that a similar organization in Merced might benefit our students and schools.Carl Pinkston and Bakari Chavanu of the Sacramento Black Parallel School Board addressed the CAASS Community Group in March of 2018. They helped lead the first Merced Black Parallel School Board meeting on May 10th.
The six LCAP Community members were elected as temporary officers and Executive Council members for a six-month term beginning in July and ending in January 2019.The Black Parallel School Board continues to meet to date. It has begun work as outlined by the Board members in August. Its members will participate in School Site Council, LCAP and School Board meetings with the purpose of achieving the goals laid out by the MBPSB.
Current officers (July 2018 – January 2019) are as follow. Estella Dunn – ChairpersonLoretta Spence – Vice ChairpersonPamela Merritt-Bennett – SecretaryCharlie Bennett – Treasurer (No treasury at this time)
Executive Council Members are: Tammie Cobb, Annette, Lee, Joyce Dale, Jean Wood (July 2018 - January 2019).
The following additional Executive Council members were nominated and will take office in December. Pastor Daryl Robinson, DaChaun Robinson.
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