In Sac City Unified, we recognize that our system is inequitable by design and we vigilantly work to confront and interrupt inequities that exist to level the playing field and provide opportunities for everyone to learn, grow, and reach their greatness. This is also true within our facilities department, where facilities staff not only ensure the physical environments of our schools are clean, safe, and welcoming, but that we also look at those sites and spaces through the lens of equity and environmental stewardship.
Countless studies have shown that the conditions of school facilities affect student achievement and health. Furthermore, studies have shown that students from lower-income zip codes are more likely to attend schools in poorer conditions, and schools in those communities often receive the least amount of school facilities funding*. That is why we not only strive to maintain our school facilities in an environmentally efficient and appropriate working manner, but we have created a first-of-its-kind equity index to guide how our Facilities Master Plan outlines how we are prioritizing the renovation of our facilities to address significant equity and opportunity gaps.
The equity index identifies the needs of under-resourced, historically marginalized neighborhoods and the student populations identified in the Local Control and Accountability Plan’s (LCAP) goals, using indices established by the Berkeley Opportunity Map and Department of Education’s California School Dashboard. The equity index drives the identification of capital projects rather than traditional means for identifying such projects. The District was recently recognized for this work with the 2022 Leroy F. Greene Design and Planning Award of Excellence provided by the California Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) and the American Institute of Architects, California (AIA), and we have begun to receive inquiries from interested Districts across the state and nation in relation to our facilities master plan.
I encourage you to learn more about how we are prioritizing the renovation of our facilities in highly segregated and impoverished neighborhoods above other sites that have historically seen higher capital investments. You can view our Facilities Mater Plan here.
-Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar* Filardo, M., Vincent, J.M., & Sullivan, K. (2019). How crumbling school facilities perpetuate inequality. Phi Delta Kappan, 100 (8), 27-31. Accessed on February 3, 2022 at https://kappanonline.org/how-crumbling-school-facilities-perpetuate-inequality-filardo-vincent-sullivan/.
The Sustainable Schools Program not only addresses resource conservation and building construction but it also dives deep into the culture of our District. The Sustainable Schools Program focuses on behavior and school systems by providing our staff with tailored materials and methods that create more hands-on learning and leadership opportunities for our students. Through this program students have an improved understanding of the world around them and will be better equipped to succeed in a career or higher education institution after graduation.