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 SDCOE Employees Collaborate for Court and Community Schools

​Employees throughout the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) are working together to improve the facilities and education for students in Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS).

The efforts are part of bigger changes to the structure and management of the schools, which are overseen by the SDCOE.

The JCCS system serves about 12,000 students each year who are either wards of the court or have been referred by social services, probation, or school officials.

In the past, the schools have operated relatively independently from other SDCOE programs and services with their own maintenance and technology personnel.

“There just wasn’t much collaboration,” said Stephen Clemons, assistant superintendent in charge of SDCOE’s Integrated Technology Services. “They were kind of isolated from the work we were doing out in other districts.”

Now, there’s much more teamwork and integration between the schools and the various divisions and units at the County Office of Education.

“Working collaboratively with our divisions is certainly going to be a win-win for our students,” said Jose Manuel Villarreal, JCCS senior director and principal.

JCCS educators are looking to the future, working to meet the needs of all of their students, said Stacy Spector, JCCS executive director. While establishing relationships with the various divisions and units will take time and effort, it will ultimately help to boost student learning and achievement, she said.

The Integrated Technology Services division has contributed by replacing old computers at the sites, providing technical support, and offering professional development to teachers at the schools. The division recently ordered 450 laptops for the campuses.

The Maintenance and Operations unit has been able to handle repairs and to fix up some of the 52 JCCS locations. The changes are bringing additional resources to the schools, said Bill Carpenter, director of maintenance and operation for the SDCOE.

“It’s easier to use a lot of different resources rather than just depend on your own,” he said. “You have more tools in the toolbox in order to assist the school sites.”

SDCOE’s Learning and Leadership Services employees have contributed by facilitating discussions with teachers, administrators, and parents about what has been successful and what needs work within the JCCS system. They also are working with JCCS educators to develop new classes that will meet state college entrance requirements and better prepare students for careers.

The efforts, which started late last year, are an example of the push at the San Diego County Office of Education to encourage more collaboration and teamwork among the different divisions and units.

“Everybody’s just rolling up their sleeves and working together,” said Jean Madden-Cazares, senior director of school improvement. “We’re really seeing this as an opportunity to show that we can create a system where our most challenged students can be successful.”