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Common Ground
The Power of Community

Common Ground serves as a vital resource for educators, parents, and communities seeking to bridge the gaps intensified by recent controversies. Fostering unity within educational ecosystems has never been harder amidst a division over critical social issues. Through candid insights with educators, parents, and students, this episode explores the strained relationships between schools and their communities, particularly in the wake of the pandemic and the resulting gaps in academic and social competencies.

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The Power Of Community

In the face of ongoing debates around curriculum inclusivity, particularly regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion and racial equity, “Common Ground” sheds light on the critical need for empathy, understanding, and collective problem-solving. The shared fatigue among parents, students, and educators is a critical issue for the education ecosystem—and the importance of modeling constructive dialogue and problem-solving for the younger generation has never been higher. 

This docu-training film emphasizes the power of community, the significance of grace and understanding in rebuilding and strengthening the bonds between schools and families, and the urgent need to create a supportive environment that caters to the social and emotional needs of students. This film is a tool to help you advocate for a collaborative approach and encouraging all stakeholders to listen, understand, and work together towards a common goal of nurturing a supportive, inclusive, and resilient educational communities.

Share “Common Ground: The Power of Community” within your community circles to inspire a movement towards unity, understanding, and collective action in addressing the challenges faced by our schools and students. Brought to you by All It Takes® and CalHOPE Schools, Common Ground serves as a stepping stone towards fostering a more cohesive and supportive educational environment for all. ​

Featured in this Film: Alan Arkatov Executive Director, ASU Learning Transformation Studios & Center EDGE Brandi Butler Mother Jessica Colvin District Wellness Counselor Gigi Crowder Executive Director, National Alliance for Mental Health, Contra Costa Justine Fischer CalHOPE Schools Community Director Magda Geronimo Mother Josh Godinez, M.A.Ed High School Assistant Principal, California Association of School Counselors Board Member Julienne Ho Mother, All It Takes Board Member Ashley Jaron High School Teacher Iris Latin Mother Marcy Melvin, MA Speaker, Mental Health & Education Consultant Pedro Noguera, PhD Sociologist & Dean, University of Southern California Rossier School of Education Dr. Vincent Pompei Education Equity Consultant on LGBTQ+ Inclusion Maria Sandoval Middle School Teacher Valerie Shapiro, PhD Associate Professor of Social Welfare & Public Health, UC Berkeley Nicole Vitto, MA K-8 School Counselor Lori Woodley-Langendorff, MS Founder of All It Takes, School Counselor, Speaker, Writer, & Education Consultant Students Christian Claire

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When Paperwork Interrupts Learning

When Paperwork Interrupts Learning

School finance is notoriously complex. As Justine Fischer expresses, "Do you know how complicated school finance is to get anything done? It shouldn't take 25 different regulations to pay the electric bill." Her frustration truly captures a widespread challenge in education systems nationwide—balancing the necessity of regulation with the pressing need to focus on student learning. The layers of regulations governing school finances were largely instituted as responses to past mismanagement and legal challenges. While these rules aim to ensure transparency and accountability, they also come with a significant downside: they can divert attention from educational goals. Educators find themselves mired in paperwork, struggling to navigate a sea of bureaucratic requirements that can seem disconnected from the classroom. Research reveals the extent of this bureaucratic burden. According to a report by the Center for American Progress, administrative tasks consume about one-third of a school's budget—funds that might otherwise be directed towards enhancing student learning experiences. Moreover, educators spend countless hours on compliance tasks that could be spent teaching, planning lessons, or engaging with students. The question then arises: Could these processes be simplified without compromising accountability? Many experts believe so. Streamlining administrative procedures can free up resources—both time and money—for direct educational purposes. For example, integrating technology and automating certain financial operations could reduce the manual workload and minimize errors, making the system both efficient and transparent. Prioritizing children in the educational ecosystem means reassessing how administrative tasks impact teacher availability and student interaction. Schools need to ensure that administrative necessities do not overshadow the fundamental goal of education—enhancing student learning. Advocates argue for a shift in focus from stringent compliance to flexible policies that empower educators to make decisions best suited for their students' growth. This conversation about school finance reform is part of a larger dialogue on how to optimize educational environments. It ties into broader discussions about educational equity, resource allocation, and the effectiveness of current educational policies. As education systems evolve, finding the right balance between necessary oversight and operational efficiency remains a key challenge. Reevaluating and potentially simplifying the regulatory framework around school finances could have far-reaching benefits for educational quality and efficiency. By reducing the administrative load, we can redirect energies towards what truly matters: providing students with the quality education they deserve. As the educational community continues to debate these issues, the ultimate goal remains clear—putting children first, and ensuring they receive the attention and resources necessary to thrive in an increasingly complex world.

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