Group of panelists



Panelist Maria Ott and Attallah College Dean Margaret Grogan



Steve Barr



Sarah Yatsko speaks during the panel session



Representatives from the El Sol Science & Arts Academy of Santa Ana and the Anaheim Union High School District discuss their planned collaboration

Chapman University’s Donna Ford Attallah College of Educational Studies has launched their inaugural ePrize, or “education Prize,” to foster collaboration among local districts and charter schools around innovations that improve educational outcomes for underserved students in Orange County.

The college received four different proposals from multiple district and charter schools that hoped to collaborate on issues including college access, growing STEM career pathways and support to implement ACES, the Adverse Childhood Experiences program which attempts to reduce the impact of traumatic events and increase mental wellness in a school setting.

The ePrize was awarded during a Roundtable event to representatives from the El Sol Science & Arts Academy of Santa Ana (an independent, community-based charter school) and the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) on October 25, 2017 on the Chapman campus.

The winners briefly discussed their collaborative project chosen by a panel of judges. The two entities plan to implement a parent engagement program at El Sol that has been successful for 15 years at AUHSD. The program includes:

Parent Learning Walks

The innovative parent engagement program is the Parent Learning Walks (PLWs), which has been comprehensively implemented in AUHSD. PLWs bring parents into the classroom to observe 21st Century instructional techniques that foster the students’ competencies in the areas of communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and character building.

Teacher Reflective Learning Walks

The PLWs are implemented alongside Teacher Reflective Learning Walks, or TRLWs. Designed to increase the teachers’ understanding of essential elements of Lesson Design and First Best Instruction, TRLWs is a professional learning opportunity that helps teachers reflect on their instructional practice and stimulate thinking about how teachers can continue to refine their craft through collaboration and collegial discussion.

Parent Leadership Academy

AUHSD has developed a districtwide Parent Academy that houses staff members who provide trainings not only to parents but also teachers, staff, and administrators to ensure the entire school functions as a supportive ecosystem for robust parent engagement.

“There is a sense of urgency. We need change because what we have is not working,” said Michael Matsuda, AUHSD superintendent. “We need to work together to come up with that answer. We’re committed to asking the difficult questions to find a way that we can take these parent engagement projects to scale.”

Reggie Gilyard, the former dean of Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman, was one of seven ePrize judges. He said all proposals were both relevant and interesting, but the deciding factor for him came down to proof.

“The team presented in detail how these walks have already generated more parent engagement, and it has for years now,” Gilyard said. “Building on evidence is key for me because they can predict the outcome.”

Funding for the ePrize collaboration allows up to $100,000 per year over three years. The first two years of funding have been raised by the Attallah College’s funding partner, eXCELLENT SCHOOLS OC (eSOC), through a $200,000 commitment from the Pamela and Andrew Horowitz Family.

The evening also included a panel of experts who voiced their diverse viewpoints on district and charter school collaborations across the country, and how to sustain the projects when leadership changes. Panelists included Sarah Yatsko, a Senior Research Analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) at the University of Washington; Steve Barr, who founded Green Dot Public Schools to transform secondary education in California by creating high-performing charter high schools using available public dollars; and Maria Ott, a retired school superintendent from the Los Angeles Unified School District.