Sonoma County Office of Education Increases Student Engagement

According to El Molino Dance Teacher Jolene Johnson, “Teaching is more than just learning, it’s about building relationships and communicating beyond the classroom.”

On Friday, May 17, the Sonoma County Office of Education hosted the Rooster Fellowship Public Exhibition at the Petaluma Hotel in downtown Petaluma. Greeted by educators and volunteers, it was obvious that the community was pulling together to positively impact the educational system in our community – one student at a time.

Kaiser Permanente granted $62,000 in August 2018 to the Sonoma County Office of Education’s Rooster Fellowship as the next iteration of the Restorative Culture Collaborative and E3 Community of Practice work and endeavors to bring lofty efforts to scale. The Fellowship is fearlessly facilitated by the brilliant Becky Margiotta of the The Billions Institute. Borrowing from Improvement Science’s “Wedge and Spread” model, our approach has been to leverage all levels in a system to produce replicable solutions around empathy,  equity, and engagement. This school year, the focus has specifically been on student engagement.

The Rooster Fellowship Public Exhibition attendees were asked to provide feedback to the six schools participating in the Rooster Fellowship throughout the 2018-19 school year, including:

1. Casa Grande High School (Petaluma City Schools)
2. El Molino High School (West Sonoma County Union High School District)
3. Old Adobe Charter Elementary School (Old Adobe Union School District)
4. SCOE Special Education at Windsor Middle School (Sonoma County Office of Education)
5. Slater Middle School (Santa Rosa City Schools)
6. Windsor High School (Windsor Unified School District)

El Molino High School presented “Increasing engagement through discovery of self and community,” in which they found that by providing a safe environment that promotes reflection, growth and confidence, students are more likely to be engaged with their learning. They did this with community circles, welcoming students at the door, interactive personal and peer critiques, increased opportunities to reflect and share voice, teacher/student feedback surveys, empathy interviews and more. According to the data, El Molino fellows found that students learn to selfreflect, self motivate, persevere, and self-advocate while being more present and engaged in their own learning.

“We are thrilled to see the transformation of the six fellowship school sites which has resulted in deeper student involvement and a climate where students are engaged with empathy and authentic compassion,” said Kaiser Permanente’s Regional Community Health Manager Alena Wall. “As we work with the community to restore a culture of success for all in Sonoma County, it is powerful to see students taking an active role in their education and finding their voice – because it matters!”