VUSD meets parents outside of district office


‘Visit with VUSD’ listening sessions continue Monday, Sept. 9 and Wednesday, Sept. 11
VISALIA – From bus schedules to special education philosophy, the topics parents broached with Visalia Unified administrators last week were as individualized as their own children. 
Parents asked these questions and many more during Visalia Unified School District’s (VUSD) “Visit with VUSD” listening sessions held at different days and times throughout the community. The meetings were led by Superintendent Dr. Tamara Ravalín and she was joined by Robert Groeber, assistant superintendent of administrative services, Dedi Somavia, interim assistant superintendent of human resources, and Vicki Winfield, transportation director. 
“It was a way for the community to come and have a free-flowing conversation without having to talk in front of a large group of people,” said Ravalín, who has been serving as interim superintendent since May.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Tamara Ravalín and school board member Niessen Foster listen to parents talk about issues ranging from bus routes to special education programs at their children’s school sites. Photo by Reggie Ellis.

Ravalín said attendance varied from three to a dozen people last week and no questions were repeated throughout the week. She said parents primarily asked about issues concerning their own students such as transportation issues, school site councils, special education programs but were also interested in how Measure A funds were helping with overcrowding and what Measure A funds are being used for. Ravalín said one of the more interesting discussions was between two parents. One parent was concerned that her child was not getting enough homework while another wanted less to have more family time at home. 
“Any time you can engage in a real conversation, you can gain a deeper understanding of what parents are looking for, what they think is working well and what needs to change,” Ravalín said.
The impromptu meetings, often referred to as listening sessions, have no structured agenda, and guests can arrive and leave at any time during each event. 
“We really appreciate the people who took the time to share information, stories and concerns with us,” Ravalín said. “And they were very appreciative that the district was willing to put themselves out there.”
Visit with VUSD continues on Monday, Sept. 9 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at McDonald’s, 3102 N. Dinuba Blvd. and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Corner Bakery Cafe, located at 4021 S. Mooney Blvd. 
“There were a lot of requests for evening meetings so we are looking at that,” she said.
For further information, contact Dr. Ravalín’s office at 559-730-7522.