New Sac City Superintendent Jonathan Raymond (CPR photo/Ben Adler)
It’s back-to-school Tuesday for the Sacramento City Unified School District – not just for students, but for new superintendent Jonathan Raymond too. He wants to improve communication with teachers and parents, something parents say is much-needed.
Sure, it sounds like a cliché. Everyone wants to communicate better. But ask the president of the Sacramento Council of PTAs what the district most needs to improve, and the first thing she’ll say is …
Hughes: “I think communication is a big key.”
Lynetta Hughes of South Sacramento is the mother of three Sac City graduates. She says it’s been a problem not just at the school level, but at the district level too.
Hughes: “One parent has spoke to me last year before about not knowing when there’s different workshops that were available that parents could attend. But they weren’t aware of it until they were over and done with, because nobody had gotten the information to them.”
And sure enough, one of new superintendent Jonathan Raymond’s favorite buzzwords is communication. In fact, it hasn’t taken him very long to decide the district has some work to do. Here he is, in an interview late last week:
Raymond: “I’ve been here nine days. One of the things that I’m seeing is the way we communicate, how we communicate, how we involve people in our decision-making – those are areas that we can improve.”
So what’s he doing? First, he’s visiting every school – including eight of them today, on the first day of class. Raymond says even that is something new.
Raymond: “I was with a team of teachers and principals earlier this week. On both instances, they said they had never, ever met or even had a small conversation with a superintendent before.”
Second, Raymond wants to hold town hall meetings twice a month. And third, the district is looking at using technology to more effectively communicate with parents. For example, the district doesn’t email them yet – but it will soon. Officials are also working on an online system for parents to check in on grades and homework assignments … plus get in touch with teachers. Oh, and how could we forget? Facebook and Twitter, too.