Lynwood Unified Board of Education Approves African American Parent Advisory Council

Lynwood Unified’s Board of Education approved the formation of the African American Parent Advisory Council (AAPAC), which supports the needs of parents of African American students by providing resources and opportunities to help students succeed on their academic journeys.
 
During a Board of Education meeting on Aug. 19, the AAPAC shared its mission to raise awareness – from parents to educators up to the regional level – and educate them on cultural differences and social issues regarding the education of African American students.
 
Lynwood Unified’s AAPAC will select a team of representatives composed of a District employee and advisor, a parent, and a student.
  
Lynwood Unified parents and educators were inspired to begin formalizing the Council in March 2020, when they attended the annual summit hosted by the California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA) and learned how AAPAC could benefit their community. Following the summit, LUSD Council members took part in AAPAC training with the Los Angeles Department of Education on their path to formalization.
 
During distance learning, the Council engaged with parents, students, and educators by conducting virtual meetings, such as parent-family nights and a virtual African American award ceremony. They participated in a “Rites of Passage” drive-through event, held in collaboration with the National College Resources Foundation, during which $17,000 in scholarships was awarded to students.
 
“We believe in the African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” said Dr. Patricia Brent-Sanco, LUSD Director of Equity, Access and Instructional Services. “The Council really gives us the opportunity to tighten the village, educate and inform parents of District resources, policies and programs, and encourage parents to become advocates for their children in a positive, productive way.”
 
The mission of Lynwood Unified School District, the model urban school district, is to ensure each student fearlessly achieves their highest academic and personal aspirations while contributing to a diverse, global society through an evolving system.
 
The LUSD Equity, Access and Instructional Services Department has consistently provided academic and social support to the parents of African American children by working with them to host parent forums, family nights, and educational trips since 2016.

“Over the years, the Equity Department has provided various targeted academic, encouragement, and socio-emotional supports to African American students and their families in LUSD, in an effort to close the achievement gap and level the academic playing field,” Equity Coordinator Shirley Davis said. “As a result, LUSD has achieved higher graduation rates among African American students, and more college and university acceptances and scholarships, providing hope, increased self-esteem and improved academic performance for students.”
 
The formalization of AAPAC will allow members to reach more parents and families to further create a learning environment where students of all abilities and backgrounds can succeed. The Council hopes to expand its marketing strategies in order to reach the community on a wider scale.
 
“This is an exceptional resource and opportunity for our Lynwood Unified families,” Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “At Lynwood Unified, we are committed to equity and we are proud to help our students achieve their full potential.”