Parents Unleashing Their Power
Amy Parada, Associate Director of Parent Leadership & Community Organizing for Rocketship California
Rocketship is a movement that began with parents at its core. Parents looking for better options, parents wanting a better school, and parents using their voice to bring about change. As we celebrate Rocketship’s 15th year anniversary, it is a privilege to be able to look at the history of parent power in California. A few years ago, when someone talked about parent power, we only envisioned heightened parent engagement for school renewals. But now, we’ve redefined parent power into something deeper, stronger, and more impactful. Parent power has grown into a year-long practice of partnership with our parents across all our Rocketship schools.
In California this year, we have strategically aligned our grassroots efforts with our grass tops (strategic elected officials and stakeholders) work to strengthen the organization, increase our visibility, and showcase our power externally across the Bay Area. This year, Parents have been coming together to demonstrate their power to transform schools, communities, and lives. This momentum started in the spring when our San Jose parent leaders kicked off a series of election candidate forums with the San Jose Mayoral Candidate Forum. The forum boasted over 1,000+ attendees, making it the largest mayoral candidate forum for San Jose – the 10th largest city in the United States. Our parents spent months planning this event, leading research meetings with all the candidates, formulating the questions for candidates at the forums, and emceeing the event. The power of our parents was so momentous that it garnered live news coverage from large local news affiliates, including Univision 14 and KRON 4.
But our parents did not stop there – just over a month later, parents led the virtual City Council Forum with over 1,000 views. Two major election forums and over 2,000 participants later… our work is not yet done. The election season is not over. November is a critical month for all of our schools here. With 14 school board seats open across five of our authorizers that represent 6,000+ students in the Bay Area, parents are getting their power box ready and dusting off their microphones once more.
In partnership with our parents, this fall, we are planning two more candidate forums for important school board and county election races. In the East Bay, our fearless Education Organizer Becca Alvarenga, has been marketing this important event to families and community members who want to learn more about the candidates for open seats on the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) and the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) school board. She is working with parents to prepare for this mass virtual candidate forum to ensure its success. The forum is open to all on Wednesday, October 5th at 5:45 PM PT. One of our very own Rocketship Delta Prep parents is a candidate in the race and is running for the CCCOE Area 5 seat! Join us and show your support!
In San Jose, our amazing Paola Arellano-Rosales is engaging our ten San Jose schools and our Redwood City school for the first EVER Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) Candidate Forum, which will be in-person on Thursday, October 13th at 5 PM in San Jose. The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is our direct authorizer for eight out of 10 San Jose schools and, at any given point, could authorize all 10 schools. SCCOE is one of the largest authorizers in California, and it has been years since we have seen a highly favorable board. Besides authorizing our schools, SCCOE is an important governing entity that provides public oversight to all public and charter schools in the county, conducts site visits, and can greatly impact the success of our schools. This year, there are three of seven seats open for election, and a major opportunity for families to elect candidates that better serve the interests of their communities.
In a matter of six months, we will have had a total of four major candidate forums with nearly 4,000 Rocketeers learning directly from their candidates. This has NEVER been done in the history of Rocketship, but parent leaders in California are ready to use their voice, stand up for their community, and change the future. We are more powerful when we organize together.
If you’d like to join the candidate forums:
(OPEN TO ALL NATIONALLY) Virtual East Bay Candidate Forum RSVP (Wed, Oct 5th, 5:45 PM PT https://rocketshipschools.zoom.us/j/82065953702 )
In-person San Jose SCCOE Candidate Forum RSVP (Thurs, Oct 13th, 5 PM PT at the Point Church – 3695 Rose Terrasse Cir, San Jose, CA 95148)
Published on September 30, 2022