Supporting students with a new structure – The Willits News
They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, the pandemic has given us a whole new set of necessities to consider, so at the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE), we’ve been busy making changes to better meet the changing needs of schools. and Mendocino County students.
Most people don’t really understand the role of county offices of education. Basically, we are responsible for two main functions: regulatory oversight and technical support for local schools and districts. We also provide direct instruction to students.
Our 185 employees work with 12 public school districts serving more than 12,000 TK-12 students, as well as an additional 15 charter and private schools serving 1,500 students. Additionally, we offer adult education and certification for dental assistants, medical assistants and phlebotomists.
In order to do our job as efficiently and effectively as possible, we recently developed a strategic plan to guide our organization into the future. During this process, we identified the need to restructure our organization into four main divisions: Office of the County Superintendent, Business Services, Administrative Services and Educational Services.
The Office of the County Superintendent
As Superintendent of Schools for Mendocino County, I am a California State Constitutional Officer. The Office of the County Superintendent is responsible for agency-wide oversight, including county school board coordination, community relations, advocacy for Mendocino County schools at the provincial level. State and interpretation of state and local policies to ensure that local schools comply with numerous and constantly changing regulations.
Educational Services Division
Our Educational Services Division, led by Kim Kern, provides leadership and support to school districts to ensure high quality planning, curriculum development, course delivery, student assessment, academic coaching and professional development. The departments that make up this division are Continuous Improvement, Early Learning and Child Care, Alternative Education, and Special Education.
This division supports many of Mendocino County’s most vulnerable students with direct services for students who have complex disabilities, as well as tried and incarcerated students served by courts and community schools. Many districts find it profitable to partner with the MCOE to help these students achieve personal and academic success.
One of the issues highlighted by the pandemic is the persistent and overlapping barriers that some students face when striving for academic success. Our rural county includes large populations of people who have been historically and structurally excluded from accessing services and a wide range of educational opportunities. For example, many Native American students, homeless students, homestay students, students whose family income is below federal poverty levels, and English language learners need additional support indoors and out. outside the classroom to flourish. MCOE provides leadership, resources, services, and programs to improve the educational experience and outcomes for all Mendocino County students.
Business Services Division
The Business Services Division provides tax support and oversight to school districts. Many of the financial services provided by MCOE are required by law, including budget review and approval, attendance accounting, financial reporting, and resolution of audit findings. We also provide financial training, software, pension reports and supplier payments. Finally, we offer schools cost-effective group purchasing programs and general support for facility maintenance and operation.
I am thrilled to announce that we have just welcomed a leadership dynamo to fill the position of Assistant Superintendent of Business Services: Merilyn Tiriboyi. Merilyn comes to us from Woodland, California, where she was the government industry accounting manager for the Yolo County Department of Financial Services. His goal is to ensure the agency’s fiscal solvency while “bringing joy to our work.” In our short time working together, I can tell you that she definitely succeeds on both counts. Merilyn and the entire Business Services team provide the financial information schools need to make sound business decisions.
Administrative Services Division
Finally, our administrative services division, led by Becky Jeffries, includes human resources, risk management and technology. This division manages employee recruiting and benefits, policy development and enforcement, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, emergency preparedness, technology support, and more. Becky’s goal is to ensure MCOE employees have the training and tools they need to grow professionally and effectively support our districts and schools.
At MCOE, we believe our reorganization will support equitable and fiscally responsible service delivery and resource management so that schools can provide a wide range of educational opportunities for all Mendocino County students.