Everything to Know About Certificated Focus Groups
Certificated Colleagues, you are absolutely central to equity work in CV. This is why you show up in the Equity Team Vision Statement above. (You're in our Mission Statement, too!) Equity work in this district must aim for educational justice for students, as well as workplace justice for employees. For us, the two go hand-in-hand.
While we hope to have more Certificated Staff openly sharing their experiences in face-to-face focus groups on every campus, we are certainly aware of the many reasons that in-person focus groups may not be a palatable option for some. If you find yourself among those for whom this is the case, we understand.
Still, I urge you not to allow this opportunity to slip away altogether. Completing the written form your Site Equity Coordinator has provided or will provide shortly will ensure that we hear your voice, which is crucially important. The forms are set up NOT to collect email addresses. Your responses will be completely anonymous. (If you receive a form that asks to verify your email address, do not complete it. Instead, gently alert your Equity Coordinator to adjust the settings and re-issue the link.)
While you're thinking about the option of anonymity, please read on for more details on our purposes and our process.
"So, Equity Team, what exactly do you want out of these focus groups?"
Only Certificated Staff can tell us about the work experience of certificated employees in this district, and only you can share YOUR singular experience. Not only will your responses help us to see what CV is doing well regarding Certificated Staff, but they will also help us identify inequities, unjust conditions that make work and life more difficult than necessary. We will then be able to make recommendations to expand and more evenly distribute the positives, address the problems, and help the District shape future hiring, training, and support of Certificated Staff.
"Great. Now, be specific: What happens to the data you collect from us?"
Your Site Equity Coordinator will analyze the responses from your campus, using an equity-centered approach we developed last year. Then, each Coordinator will carefully summarize their findings and present their summaries to the Team as part of a robust, collaborative process. Coordinators will then prepare to share their findings and site-specific recommendations with Campus Administrators. Administrators will determine next steps for taking responsive action. A progress monitoring phase comes next.
"Got it. So, Dr. Holt, what's your role in all of this?"
As District Equity Officer, I am responsible for gathering as many focus group responses as possible from non-admin Certificated DO Staff and performing the same steps mentioned above. However, my biggest job here is to compile a report that provides a districtwide, bird's eye view of the most pressing equity issues facing CV's Certificated Staff, raising key questions when more investigation is required, and, where possible, making recommendations for District action. I will then bring this report back to the Team so that we can engage in a thorough peer review process. After final edits, this report will be shared with District Administrators, as well as made public on the Equity Team webpage. District Administrators will determine next steps for taking responsive action. The process will then enter its progress monitoring phase.
And that's about everything to know about focus groups! More likely, it's more than you ever wanted to know, but it's all true, and you see how much of our work here revolves around you.
You should know that the preceding paragraphs present this entire process as much, much neater and much, much faster than it actually is. This is complex, intense, recursive work, and our team is very small and also very busy, just like all of you. Please know that we will be working as quickly as we can, with you in mind.
I hope this message has convinced you to share your experience--the positive as well as the negative. We need both and everything in between in order to see relevant matters with depth and clarity.
As soon as you can, please contact Tamika Dyson (HW), Linda Lai (LL), Jaime Rapp (LZ), or Manuel Sandoval (LW) to request the written focus group form, if a face-to-face session is just not for you. One way or another, please make sure we hear from you. Your voice is vital!