The Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District held a special board meeting August 25. A “Superintendent’s Entry Plan” was the primary item for discussion. Dr. Mayra Perez made the presentation. Perez commenced her duties as the Superintendent on July 1. If you’ve never heard of a superintendent presenting an entry plan, you are not alone. Also, if you are a subscriber to YouTube, and the District’s page, you can listen to that presentation there. It provides a sense of what our new superintendent believes and values; what she brings to the district, and what she considers her areas of strength.
In summary, an entry plan outlines the superintendent’s plan for her first 90 days. Perez would have preferred to make this presentation back in July; however, she delayed it because of the more immediate needs to deal with budget and plans for reopening schools. Both those issues are ongoing, but at least now she can start the process of introducing herself, goals and hopes for the district. She started even while dealing with those issues over the last few months. Even before she was officially the superintendent, back in May, she began her effort to learn about our district and the key issues by attending school board meetings and discussions.
Beliefs and values were discussed. She believes that “together armed with a common vision and goals we can serve our community better as well as make a difference for all students.” Equity was a key theme. For equity she stated it’s important that we “provide every child with what they need to succeed.” She said, “the whole child/family must be taken into consideration as we design educational programs for students.” Also, she wants “to bring the voices of our marginalized students and their families to the table.”
Another theme was teamwork. She feels “that we can accomplish our goals if we work together to identify our strengths and areas for improvement.” She intends to “build relationships.” To do that, she wants to “seek input from a variety of stakeholders and build a roadmap that reflects their needs.” This includes staff, teachers, community leaders and especially students and their parents. So, she’s in the process of getting to know people in the district.
Her Phase One effort is to listen and learn. It covers May through September. Her one-on-one meetings are with district and school staff and various community members. Discussion of district goals and initiatives are held in order “to learn about the strengths, challenges and areas of improvement.” Asking key questions to each of those that she meets with, she’s identifying emerging themes. These include communications, celebrations, professional development and community engagement.
She reported that communications centered around having consistent, frequent, and accessible information. For celebrations, she said folks wanted to know about the positives happening in the district, not just the problems. Professional development was about what can be done to improve the skills and abilities for our students, especially for persons of color and English learners. Community engagement revolved around how to increase participation parents and families, and make sure that it reflects the diversity of our students and community.
Phase Two will be “analysis of the data and information” gathered from Phase One. This will take place between October and December. She plans to develop a summary report and present an outline of “findings, observations and next steps” to the board and community at a December board meeting. The board wanted to make sure alignment with previously adopted board goals occurred. A study session with them will be held so that they can review and adjust “current goals, initiatives and priorities” based on her findings.
After the presentation, board members shared comments with her. They will work with her to establish evaluation goals for her to meet. That works for her. She wants to be held accountable for what she plans and brings to the district. She accepts her responsibilities. She said, “If I am unable to deliver on my promises, I will make every attempt to make it up to anyone I may be letting down.”
It took a while to find and hire a new superintendent that our district needs. I suspect that was time well spent. Maybe you’ll be able to meet Dr. Perez in one forum or another in the next few months. If you want to share or participate, Perez asks you to contact the superintendent’s office at (707) 792-4722.