Marci McFadden — Chief of Communications and Engagement, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
Leslie Benjamin — Director, Communications and Community Engagement, Novato Unified School District
Jen de Forest, Ed.D. — Partnerships, YouthTruth
About the session
Too often in education, important decisions are made without the voices of those most affected—students, families, and school staff.
- How can we give agency to the people we’re ultimately trying to serve, so they’re not just our end users, but they’re also influencers?
- How can we tap into our stakeholders’ experience to close achievement gaps by race, family income, and English Language Learner status?
- And most importantly, once we’ve gathered community input, what should our road-map look like for using that feedback—what do we do next?
In this session you will:
- Hear about Novato Unified School District and Monterey Peninsula Unified School District’s experience integrating over 15,000 student, staff and family voices, and share your own experiences.
- Learn best practices for gathering feedback and getting high survey response rates, how to sort and prioritize, how to action plan with everyone from your cabinet team, to principals, school site councils, PTA, and even students, as well as receive tips for using your community input for your LCAP and CA Dashboard narrative.
- Share your challenges and victories and together we will compile best practices for gathering and using feedback to drive engagement and achievement.
About the speakers
Marci McFadden is the Chief of Communications and Engagement for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, where she oversees the district’s internal and external communications. Prior to serving at MPUSD, she was the communications officer for the Monterey County Office of Education for three years. Before re-locating to the Central Coast, McFadden served seven years as marketing director for the California School Boards Association. She teaches statewide on communications to members of the California Association of School Business Officials and the Association of California School Administrators. A product of the California State University system, McFadden holds her bachelor’s degree in speech communication and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from CSU, Long Beach. She and her husband Brett, superintendent of the Nevada Joint Union High School District, have two sons – Jack (20) and Ryan (17) – products of the public school system.
Leslie Benjamin is the Director of Communications and Community Engagement for the Novato Unified School District (NUSD). Ms. Benjamin is responsible for the district’s public relations, media communications, website, newsletters, social media and special projects. Prior to joining NUSD in 2009, she co-chaired two successful parcel tax campaigns for the district and her background includes working at a start-up company, a high technology company, and a management consulting firm. She earned her B.S. in Applied Economics and M.A. in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco. Her two children Lauren (20) and Alexander (19) attended NUSD schools.
Jen de Forest
Dr. Jennifer de Forest. Ed.D. has a life-long passion for the art and the science of school improvement. Jen spent nearly a decade in the classroom, and she led schools in California and New York City. From the perch of a state association, Jen worked with countless educators on school-based research projects, and she forged a consortium of over 50 schools that worked together to assess students’ SEL. Jen earned a masters as a fellow at Teachers College, Columbia and a doctorate from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. At Harvard Jen she served as Co-Chair of the editorial board of the Harvard Educational Review where she worked with leading scholars of education. As a professor at the University of Virginia, Jen published widely about the role of philanthropy in education reform, and she taught research design. Jen relishes her work at YouthTruth where she has the opportunity to help school leaders to access the insights of their communities and to turn those insights into actionable data.