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
“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
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.”