Defining the Whole Child, Whole School, and Whole Community Approach in the AC-Stage of Education

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Jessica is an accomplished public education and civic sector trailblazer with nearly two decades of diversified experience with a commitment to leadership and service, where she has led public education initiatives with the California Department of Education. As a leader in Education, Jessica understands the importance of access and has an unwavering commitment to social justice.

Dr. Michael Conner

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. Welcome to another episode of Voices for Excellence. I am your host, Dr. Michael Conner, CEO and founder of the Agile Evolutionary Group and proud host of VFE. And today’s guest is near and dear to my heart. One of my good friends, I call her my bestie, she is a definitely a sister in the education field, a strong, strong proponent for community. Right. And you’re going to see that’s going to be a part of our conversation today. She is in the great state of California, Inglewood, up to no good as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg would say. But Ms. Jessica Ochoa is the Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations, where the Inglewood Unified School District in Inglewood, California. And just most recently, my sister, my good friend, my bestie just got on the CALSA Board of Directors. Congratulations with that. She is just a staunch advocate for equity, for families and for our kids. So without further ado, it is an honor to have Ms. Jessica Ochoa on Voices for Excellence. Bestie, you made it. 

Jessica Ochoa

Good morning, good morning bestie. Good morning. I’m humbled, I’m excited to be here with you today and be part of your podcast Voices for Excellence. And so I truly appreciate this opportunity to really be able to speak on a topic that is very dear to my heart. So I’m excited. You know, I’m ready to dive in and so it’s a pleasure.

Dr. Michael Conner

Now, one thing, right? Good minds think alike. We are only 3100 miles apart and we got the same color on, almost down to this shirt. There were…

Jessica Ochoa

Absolutely, absolutely.

Dr. Michael Conner

No communication at all to my listeners.

Jessica Ochoa

No communication, no communication. Great minds think alike.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely, there we go. So good to have you on the VFE. So let’s get into the podcast. I really want to focus on the merit of work that you have completed in the Los Angeles area. What you have done for Inglewood Unified School District specifically in alignment to your strategy around community and integrating. I like to say moving from this whole child to whole school to this whole community approach in the AC stage of education. So I think that this is very, very important because it’s going to be an educational imperative when we look at strengthening the education outcomes for kids, community has to be integrated thread within that strategy. So great to have you and for you just to expand on your expertise. But the first question, right, the work you’ve done has just been extensive in the Los Angeles area, specifically your community outreach strategy, which I think is a model across the country, but specifically your communicate your community outreach strategy in Inglewood. You are in award winning educator in the state of California as the Executive Director of Community Communications and Community Relations for the Inglewood Unified School District.  But you Ms. Jessica Ochoa. What song, what song defines your excellence and equity stance in education. Right? And I want to hear this because I got my pen ready to write this now, because what’s the song with education stakeholders, and leaders describe Ms. Jessica Ochoa as a leader in the ecosystem. 

Jessica Ochoa

It’s funny that you asked. I love music. And so and really kind of thinking about what song defines me, I just my mind was spinning, right? I listen to all genres, and when I say all genres, all genres in the box. And so as I was kind of just surfing, I guess the various songs that I, I enjoy listening to, there’s one song that kind of came to mind and I needed to learn. Just listen to it again. And I said, this is where it hits home and it’s actually a gospel song that you actually listen to when you know you’re at church or whatnot, right? You’re your safe haven. And it’s called Sanctuary. And it’s a beautiful song. It’s phenomenal. It brings peace. It just brings peace to the mind. And it really reassures you your purpose of why you’re doing what you do. And there’s part of the A section in the song and lyrics that says, Lower prepare me to be your sanctuary. And for me that really hits home because I feel that your sanctuary is where your heart is. And for me, it’s serving my purpose. What true heart and humility.  And that’s how I serve on a day to day basis. When you serve with heart, you have to love what you do, but there’s this level of humility that needs to live, work. Then you to be able to stay grounded to your purpose and why you do what you do. And so that song really resonated in me for the work that I do now, started my song colleagues, what they what they agree. possible is right. I consider myself someone who reads. I kind of stay under the radar, pretty quiet, but at the same time I allow my work to to be my voice or be my sound. And for me, ultimately, at the end of the day, I just want to make sure that we impact our youth, that we change the trajectory for our youth, and that we empower our youth to be able to see their true potential, to see the value that they bring forward in order for them to really ignite their potential to impact, you know, the greater world.  And so for me, it’s it’s understanding my sanctuary, serving with true heart and true purpose. And that’s just a constant reminder that keeps me grounded, allows me to continue to be boots on the ground, to really understand and truly impact the communities in which we serve. And by doing that is having those relationships, having those connections and with that you have to be present. And so that that song that really resonated I me highly recommend it. It’s heart warming and I love it, to be honest with you. So I told you I was going to give you a little twist and you gave a look, you know, now the million dollar question is what song would you have thought, you know, that really, you know, resonates. You know, in you as far as like, hey, this song totally reminds me of dancing. Is there one for you? 

Dr. Michael Conner

Well, I didn’t even think about, you know what? Let me come back to you.

Jessica Ochoa

And I guess I’ve never thought about it. You know, I was like, wait, a song that resonates, you know? I mean, that speaks to the work that’s like, wow, that’s that’s pretty deep. I never thought about it that way. Right. Right. And  the first song in verse thing that came to mind was graduation, right? I love graduations. That’s one of my favorite culminating ceremonies when it comes to public education. And because it’s where our students, you know, I mean, that’s where their chapter ends. And they’re starting a new chapter in their life. And it’s a culmination of almost 13 years of public education. And so I needed to think about it a little bit more. And I was just like, you know what? What song? Really? Really. And I thought and I thought about a few songs, right? You know, some hip hop army going to the landmarks. But at the same time, I said, You know, that sanctuary has always been a sign that I’ve always enjoyed listening to while being in church. And I listen to it when, you know, I have to recollect myself. My thoughts are sometimes we have those we don’t use that. We have to remind ourselves why we do what we do. So it really I grew up with God. 

Dr. Michael Conner

I got you know, what I’m going to do is I’m going to have to think about this. And I will definitely I’m going to give I got to think about that because, Jessica, you got me. You got. You got me. Talk to us now because I got to be like, okay, what is I was thinking maybe what kind of because the work right now I’m looking at the individuals and the impact they’ve had within the music industry. And when I think about your work in alignment to community for community outreach, for community impact with regards to ensuring access and opportunity, when we look at, let’s say, this isolated threat of homelessness right, I think of the I think of Artist of Light, the Tina Turner’s of the World, the Whitney Houston role, because they had impact in that. So I got to go down, you know, the the Whitney Houston Tina Turner list to see what that song is because, you know, I see the influence that they’ve had and the influence that you have in the Los Angeles area, specifically in Inglewood and how and I’m going to bring it up. You’re leveraging the Olympics to bring or revitalize right, Inglewood. And right now, we’re going to unpack that, obviously. But congratulations on you being elected as a board member of CALSA Region five Director. Yeah, there we go. All the way around. Right. The congratulations. Right. So but now going back, right. You’re entry plan when you were when you became executive director for communications as well as community relations, you have an entry plan, right? Your your 90 day entry plate is infamous. Whatever was plan the business model. Okay. But now as a new board member. Right. What does that entry plan look like when you be formally when you formally matriculate into the role in July? And what are your plans to strengthen the mission and organizational objectives of council?

Jessica Ochoa

Well, absolutely. Absolutely. Now, first and foremost, we must recognize the leaders who have been and will be instrumental partners in leading CALSA familia and what those who have come before us and will come after us. Right. And so really understanding the legacy that has been built thus far and what can we do to continue to carry that legacy forward, to really be able to create an even stronger playing field for future leaders within CALSA. It’s really, really instrumental to understand proactively as as a board, what everyone’s visions are. They can be very different, they can be very similar, but ultimately, collectively, how do we the works forward and for me it’s my focus is is Region five right? Part of my work as a new board of directors to lead our local Angelinos, which I am super excited about, whether it’s building capacity in membership within outside building capacity within our leaders, whether by providing professional development, an area that I’ve really been spending some ideas is we have a lot of renowned authors within the college community. How do we share the work that they’re doing within their spaces, within their roles, where they been able to to publish the work in help support leverage that professional development? Brothers But at the same time, how do you inspire leaders to be able to share their craft, their knowledge, their experience, and be able to bind it in a board, to be able to share it with what the greater community, whether it be in L.A. and in California and nationwide, worldwide. And so I’m really looking at different ways to really be able to expand the capacity within CALSA and the visibility. You think that’s tapping into our local media outlets? There’s a lot of great work that is being done within the council by media, but also our members at their school districts, right? How do we amplify their voices to be able to truly showcase the work that is being done that ultimately up end to the day it inspires others? And so there’s a lot of great work that will be done that has been done. And ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s going to be a collective effort. It’s a coalition alliance to really be able to move the mission and the vision across the board. And so I’m super excited to be diving in starting July 1st and really being able to to drive that strategic plan and not only for the state of California with the council community, but also for for the L.A. County region.

Dr. Michael Conner

Yeah, congratulations on that. I’m super, super proud of you for that. And then just you highlighting how honoring the legacy is so foundational. And, you know, every single member, whether it be the current president right now, is Zandra Jo Galvin, the president elect, Dr. Roxanne Fuentes. As you hear that theme, even across the board of directors with regards to honor in the past, that honoring the legacy, the last I believe it was the last conference that I attended, which house of the whole theme was around honoring the legacy. And there were Jessica, educational giants, I mean, educational changes. So I was at the last Institute because and congratulations on that. I hear a lot of focus on capacity. I hear a lot of focus on now, this is a new VoiceThread and I want you to expand on this is agency, right? And that is so important because your work in alignment with that the voice. Right. The quite the voice of the people and around capabilities and capacity expansion, foundational for the expansion and the growth of course. And good luck to you with that. Very very proud of you. But I want to expand on a thread. Right. A very within your last answer, and it’s around voice is around ensuring that voice is a part of that. As you stated, you elicit it so well that the agency, the collective agency, is so important to lift CALSA as an organization, but want to bring it back now to your expertise. Right. And this is me. You know, subjectively and objectively saying is that you are one of the national experts when it comes to community. Right. And I consider you as czar around this whole community approach and education now more than ever, where we saw the inequities, a multitude of different levels in the D.C. stage of education, during COVID. But now as we move seamlessly, not seamlessly, but we move into this AC stage of education, and we know that in order for Generation Alpha and Generation Z to be successful, whether it be in the education sector or even in the economic demand, community is going to play a critical aspect in that you have successfully engaged various community and national entities to strengthen the equity work in the Inglewood Unified School District.  Now, as I said at the outset, moving from this whole child, whole school or community approach in AC stage of education, right to meet the generational needs of Generation Z and Generation Alpha. Now, Jessica, tapping into your your your your expertise said a multitude of tiered levels when it comes to community. Right? If I am a leader within any thread of the education ecosystem, even at the school based or classroom level, how do I create a whole community approach in alignment to achieve the desired outcomes for families of students that we serve?

Jessica Ochoa

That’s really and so first and foremost, relationships are important, Mom. Relationships are key to success in our reality and being present, being boots on the ground, and to be able to understand how to approach the whole child, the whole student or the whole school, the whole community, it’s really important that you you emerge yourselves to the community in which you are serving. And by doing so, it really allows you to understand if there is any what’s the word I’m looking for disparities that exist in in the system within itself, right. Within the ecosystem of the school community. What resources are lacking for students to ensure that they’re successful but also learn from their other families and the communities in which they serve? Is there any red tape that is stopping the ability for growth for those communities or those schools or that ecosystem or those students? And I’m a firm believer that sometimes we get so convoluted in our own space. How do we get there? How do we do it? But rather, who can I bring to the table to have a real active conversation, sharing of ideas, to be able to meet the needs of the community by and by those natural conversations you learn and you learn how to be able to to process those needs, right? To get those resources to the students. So it’s really those sharing admissions to one power to unities. And so from it’s really understanding who are the stakeholders, who are the partners that are present in the communities? Are communities at large being able to understand the needs, bringing those partners to the table, having those conversations. It’s an alignment of visions and purpose to the organization to be able to meet those needs of our students. And so, you know, I’ll bring an example to the table. Some of our facilities, you know, they they they can use some lobbies is what I say. We have renowned athletes who come out of our school district. We have phenomenal athletes who are currently in our school district. But how do we empower our students to be able to unleash their hidden potentials in these state of the art facilities or firsthand experiences in the athletic world? And so, you know, we’re in the process of this really big project coming to Inglewood, but we can’t do it alone. It’s a collective effort with our partners is where really bringing the resources to the hub of our community to be able to enrich our families. And so it really goes back to those relationships. It’s who can you bring to the table to have those conversations, But it’s really understanding who you’re serving and serving what you are. 

Dr. Michael Conner

Yeah. Wow. I left You left me speechless. Right. And Jessica, you don’t leave me speechless a lot of the times. But your answer, right? Because I would I like to use this and I say this pretty much every episode is I like to use this as a professional learning tool around direct instruction where, you know, asynchronously they’re taking the adult learner is taking time and learning art so that now time could be this variable to impact learning and practice. And what you said was foundational right around relationships. A mentor of mine, Dr. Bill Daggett, always used to say rigor, relevance, relationships, but he switched it now to relationships, relevance and rigor. Right. And essentially, you targeted, unwrapped and unpacked equity at its best. If you think about what you’re talking about, the alignment of resources, a shared ideas, conversation, empowerment, those are all giving voice back to the community, which is a foundational and fundamental pillar to be able to leverage excellence and equity in our communities. Now I’m going to brag about you because this is this is you know, this is this is your brothers in the spotlight, right? Right, right. Yeah. You already know this. You already know Well, and this is your brother who is just super proud of you. And I’m thorough in this in there because I want I want to be able to I have concrete examples of how you leverage partners to be able to expand. Right. To expand the access and opportunity for students and families in Inglewood, but moreover, the culture responsive alignment to your partners so that the students at your servant right, the demographics that you serve in, are really elevating in this a celebrated manner. So if you can just provide some examples of what that what the partnerships look like and how you leverage that, including the Olympics.

Jessica Ochoa

You know, absolutely. And so earlier this year, we had the opportunity to unveil our first e-sports center at one of our high schools, which is phenomenal. If you know, if you’re familiar with e-sports, it’s it’s a pathway that is is taken on. And there’s so much to learn from from EA Sports, from computer engineering to technology to gaming, graphic design. And so the ability to bring able to bring that type of facility in the classroom to expose our students to, to different pathways that they may not realize are existing but their talent lives with. And I’m a firm believer that talent is universal, access is not. And with that, thanks to some of our partners there, to our going blank, the College football playoffs, Foundation, school specialty and other partners who really need this project come to fruition. We were able to introduce a renovated brand new space EA Sports Center state of the art for our students that is now being integrated into our parkways and in Inglewood and really being able to open those doors and opportunities for our students where it’s a safe space for them, made their students that really, truly enjoy gaming. And there’s some hidden potential. There’s hidden potential within them where their artist, they enjoy the mechanics of computers, but being able to integrate that to what drives them really motivates them and ignites them to be able to say, I know where I want to be, I know where I’m going. This is what I enjoy doing and this is what I love. Now, how do I get to that next phase? And so that’s where additional partners come in and I’m currently working with went into it and and and the donor who’s who’s partnered with them, former professional athlete where they’re going to be providing students what scholarships and with that it’s getting them to their next chapter in their lives. And so we’ve been very fortunate to be able to to afford students access where they’re able to receive scholarships for four different spaces, but is preparing for that next future. Hollywood Park hosts, I don’t want to say annually, but a few times out of the year they’ll host panel conversations at their at their sites where students are able to shadow just various staff members within the field in different concentrations within careers, whether it’s entertainment, hospitality. But it’s that exposure piece and the ability to be able to lean on and be able to see firsthand the work that is being done behind the scenes really gives students the exposure. And so those have been very beneficial to our students. Another piece that we’ve been able to do here in Inglewood is support our students and really expose our students to our HBCU colleges and universities, bringing representatives across the nation to Inglewood. And a lot of our students were awarded full scholarships for ride scholarships to HBCU colleges and universities. And we’re not talking about 1 to 3 students. There is a plethora of students that were on the spot granted full ride scholarships to our students, and that has been huge for a community, right? It’s opening those opportunities and those experiences to say the world there is possibilities outside of, you know, your your normal scope of of space and what is their norm. And at the end of the day, it’s it’s been a collective effort. We have the Olympics coming in 2028. We’re working on a state of the art sports complex, one of a kind in our community, but we can’t do it alone. We’re doing it with partners who believe in the vision of affording access to our students around athletic spaces that will not only be open for our students, our student athletes, but also our greater communities and our community leagues to be able to unleash that hidden potential at a young age for our students, expose our students to the value of sport, to be able to only start that potential with them, which will then lead it to becoming these athletes that that live within them.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely amazing. And I remember her and this is to my audience, right, meeting Jessica or hear about Jessica’s work when I was out in California and this was a success in multiple people multiplicity and I’m using that word intentionally. I said the same phrase If you want to know if you really want to see someone that has an outreach strategy of aligning resources to give back to kids, that’s all I heard. You know, like you have to see Jessica Ochoa, Jessica Ochoa. So when I met Jessica, I was like, okay, I know. I heard you’re the guru of community. I heard that you can be able to make sure kids you had a tier two pot at making a dollar 53, right?

Jessica Ochoa

I had the relationships, to be honest. It’s those conversations and when when I when I’m out on the ground in the community for community events, whether it’s district, the city or events that you’re invited to in the greater Los Angeles, that’s it’s networking that’s getting to understand other leaders in L.A. and the work that they do. And that’s aligning the visions and it’s sharing like, hey, there’s a need. Is this something that your organization can support us with? Let’s let’s jump on a call. Let’s have these conversations. And it’s and if it aligns, let’s, let’s move on it, right? Let’s get our students let’s support our students this opportunity and access. And so it really goes back to having those heart to heart conversations of making sure that you know, if there’s an opportunity that is present, let’s let’s make sure that our our students are engaging in that experience. And so I’ve been very blessed to be surrounded by phenomenal partners in our community who want to give back to our students. But it’s not about transaction, all right? It’s about being transformative and being able to scale and sustain the partners that we have to really be able to not only impact our current generation, our future generation, and truly embedding them into what is, you know, the whole child, the whole school, the whole community and so ultimately, at the end of the day, partnerships there should be longevity in the partnerships that you create to truly impact the communities in which you’re serving. But ultimately, at the end of the day, it goes back to relationships. It’s serving what true part and purpose and ultimately, at the end of the day, and not forgetting the work that you do for who you you do the work for. And ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s at scoring access to our students who are our future generations.

Dr. Michael Conner

I’m glad that you’re bringing in a divergent ideology, right, because when you hear the words language, sustainability and scaling or scalability, you you hear it from an academic and an operational context. But when we hear about strategically aligning partners and partnerships or outcomes of our kids, the strategy, the approach, the relationships, right there has to be longevity, there has to be sustainability, and there has to be this level of scalability. Thank you for that, Jessica, because now my audience can really look at being intentional about how they would use their academic or systems broad strategy to be able around longevity, sustainability and scalability with what you’ve clearly articulated in such a lucid manner around longevity, scalability and sustainability and interface it so that we can be able to accelerate equity outcomes. But as I move into move seamlessly into this next question, because you hit upon the partnership component. And Jessica, thank you. Continue to keep that level of vitality around partnerships. I can tell you, I go around across the country and the work that you’re doing with regards to that is a model is a gold standard for us in education. But I want to now get down to this level of specificity, right? Something that is near and dear to both of us. It is. And a part of this equity and this equity conundrum that we face. But I don’t think a lot of people talk about it much because of the fact that, you know, I think we need to build capacity and I’m talking about education, ecosystem or entity capacity around homelessness. Right? We’ve seen there’s multiple quantitative metrics out there that highlight the increase, the propensity of increase, the percentage of students that fall into that criteria of homelessness. Right. And this is around Generation Alpha in Generation Z. So the professor, a renowned professor that you and I always love to reference out of the University of Southern California, Dr. Pedro Noguera. You know, I heard him I heard him in a keynote speech. And this is as simple as it can get, but it is 150% true. If basic needs of children are not met, it will be hard for them to learn in school. Now, let’s say we use that that that ground is sentiment that Dr. Noguera stated. And we’re seeing this increase of percentage of homelessness and the stage of education with limited resources because that’s what we see in here in education across the country.  How do we truly address this economic and education quandary? Because it’s going to have longitudinal impact in the education space?

Jessica Ochoa

No, absolutely. I feel more than ever now it’s crucial that our partnerships at large join forces with the local school districts because there’s a need. And so ultimately, at the end of the day, we all have a collective resource and service that we can provide our students. And so how do you do that holistically and intentionally to be able to meet the needs of our students? And so there’s a lot of great programs, a lot of great resources that are available to our students. Whether you’re looking at after school programs before and after school, it’s a safe space for our students to be able to meet those basic needs for our children and those additional time that is being spent in school. There’s a big push around community schools really be able to leverage those resources and support not only for our students, but for our families at large, whether it’s through food banks or professional development, etc.. The the levels of support when it comes to resources is endless. And so there’s a lot of great systems that are currently in place, in programs that are currently in place, but ultimately at the end of the day, it’s truly understanding what is the need. There is the need and making sure that we have the players that we’re bringing to the table to ensure that we’re giving our families and our students the basic needs to be successful. Right? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s it’s it’s it’s a challenge must you know I mean it’s the psychological piece are there needs to be met do they have a roof over over their head Are they eating? Do they feel safe? And so there’s these levels for our students to be able to get to the self-actualization of being able to be successful and be able to see themselves to that next level of of impact that they’re making, not only for themselves and their own investment, but for the future investment and their future generations to come. And so art of art of making sure that we’re meeting the needs of our students is every adult plays, plays a role in ensuring that the student’s needs are being met, but also the families, because we can’t forget about the families if we’re not building capacity within our families, how are we building capacity within our children? And so as I shared more than ever, it’s it’s very instrumental. It’s very crucial that we join forces with all of our partners, our constituents, to ensure that we’re creating those spaces and those resources and an effective ecosystem system of support for our students on a day to day basis.

Dr. Michael Conner

And this is this is great because if you think about it right, and I hope you copyright this sentence because it is it’s really dead. So when I mean, my dense is dense in a positive context that it should be carried out in every conversation. Every adult plays a role that is huge, right? Every adult plays a role in this. And that kind of goes back to that whole aspect of community and relationships. But one thing I want to highlight just kind it is so true, and you stated it in such an eloquent way that if we are building capacity and our students, i.e. instruction right, i.e. learned experiences, creative, innovative designing of of of engaging learning opportunities for students. We have to, in this parallel context, build capacity in our families. wow. That is that that is, that is so refreshing and is sobering because of the fact that now we’re trenchantly investing in our constituents right when we build capacity. That is a context of an investment into our people and Maslow, now you get the you getting out of the research. You might, you see you crossing over to my way now.

Jessica Ochoa

No, no. But it’s an it’s important. And so, you know, we just concluded our school year and so we’ve been very fortunate to to partner with various partners around financial literacy and and, you know, it’s it’s been a huge success for us, not only for our students, but also for our families.  And so when we talk about generational wealth and how do we elevator families, that that’s an important factor, right? No one wants to talk about finances, right? It’s a sensitive subject. And so ultimately, how do we build those those financial traits in our children if those conversations aren’t taking place at all? And so leveraging those opportunities for families to engage in our students, in addition to our students, it really helps kind of build that capacity, you know, for our families in the greater community and impacting the future generations to come.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. Year And again, like I stated from the outset, this moving from a whole child to whole school, the whole community approach, I think you highlighted three critical variables that could be triangulated with regards to a community strategy or outreach strategy to ensure that families of students are levered. One empowerment. You talked about two, you talked about agency, right? And the third one around relationships. Wow. Empowerment agency and relationships to deepen and strengthen the partnership Partnership work between schools, communities and our families and students. But last question. In the last last year, Jessica, and again, I get you I’m want to get that so to you, since I write along the way.

Jessica Ochoa

I I’m very curious. Just say now that you know so you there is you know, as far as what song you would select, as far as what you feel relates to me and the work that I do.

Dr. Michael Conner

it might my like, I it’s going to be somewhere that Whitney/Tina I agree I, I can I can why I cannot wait so but just last question right and take it for what it is because people now education leaders right. Have come on here some of some of the leaders that I didn’t meet would stay with in the title. I like to say three word box. They did, but others than I thought would be rule followers. They were completely disrupted it. So as I say to everybody, take it as it is. What three words do you want our audience to leave today’s podcast regarding community to lever rich excellence in Equity in the AC stage of education.

Jessica Ochoa

Honestly, if I’m going to speak from a heart right now, it’s you have to love what to do. It’s not three words, but you’re going to have to love what you do to be able to serve a true purpose. And by doing so, ultimately, at the end of the day, you’re going to be showered with endless blessings every single day. And so for me, it’s just you got to love what you’re doing and and do it with true heart. Empower you lead with chorus song. And by doing so, you know your rewards are gonna be less. You’re going to be just blessed with so many blessings. Ultimately at the end of the day, because you’re going to create those strong relationships you’re serving with heart. And ultimately at the end of the day, collectively, right through your own coalition of partners and relationships and your networking, your transport forming and affording access to you, then that’s what’s important.

Dr. Michael Conner

So we love what you do, right? You gave a forward, you gave your word, but then you went out. You went in a diatribe with, you know what.

Jessica Ochoa

I did it. You got it. You got to serve with our right. It it’s it goes back to that sound, right? It’s your sanctuary. My heart is my sanctuary. And it reminds me on a day to day basis to you lead with humility. You lead with heart. And you have to know, you know, what your true purpose is. And to me, it’s it’s making sure that we’re preparing our students with the proper resources, giving them the experiences and the opportunities for them to be successful. We have lived our lives, right? We’ve had our opportunities. It’s it’s our opportunities. It’s our responsibility. I apologize if feed them hope right. Be able to feel their true potential, ignite, you know, their hitting their head and potentially ignite their purpose to be able to truly become what they may have not seen before. Right. And so it’s unleashing that hidden potential. And our students and you do that through through those relationships and relationships are key. And to to the success of any work that you do, so.

Dr. Michael Conner

I appreciate you with that. And you know, you said endless blessings. Right? And, you know, I can you know, from an observatory standpoint, third party, you know, the Inglewood community, families, parents, students, community, they should be blessed to have you with what you have what you have led, what you have accomplished with regards to bringing in strategic partners to lever equity and excellence, access and opportunity for kids in Inglewood. So thank you for that, because the endless blessings that they are getting is starts with leadership. And you have some great, great, great leadership out in Inglewood that I just absolutely admire. So I know that community is going to be a major a major thread, and I should have already been, but now intentionally, because there’s various metrics that support that, there needs to be a focus, conversation, depth and breadth with scale, with regards to community and all of the specific threads that we talked about, if my audience, if any of my leaders want to be able to just communicate and touch base with you with regards to a coherent and in-depth equity strategy in alignment to community outreach, how would I be able to get in contact with you.

Jessica Ochoa

So I am more than happy to connect. They connect with maybe a LinkedIn they can send me an email. I’m more than happy to respond back and definitely jump on a call to be able to have those conversations. So you can find me at Jessica Ochoa via LinkedIn. Currently an executive director, communications media relations with the Inglewood Unified School District. And so I’m super excited to, you know, in and have conversations with anyone who wants to really just have a conversation around communications partnerships, community, just anything that really entails public education, anything that is aligned with the work of impacting students. I’m completely open to just to having that organic conversation and kind of see where it goes, right? It’s about aligning those visions, but at the same time it’s about how do we uplift and support each other to the work that we’re doing to really build capacity within the leaders?

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. And Jessica, you made it. You lasted through VFE. Now, to my audience out there, here is a little tidbit… It was a pleasure. But here’s a little tidbit about Jessica. Okay. That people might not know. But Jessica, her golf game is a listed golf game.

Jessica Ochoa

I wish, I wish, I wish I was a scratch golfer. Almost there.

Dr. Michael Conner

I see. That’s one of the 90% of the people out there.

Jessica Ochoa

You just heard answer literally every day’s away and. Right. It’s like as we say, we’re a day closer to retirement. We’re I’m a day closer to getting scratch. So one day maybe I’ll be part of like the seniors LPGA tour or something.

Dr. Michael Conner

And look, look, I cannot wait to golf with you. Please go easy on me. But Jessica, they use so much. We’re being on. We have a sister, bestie. It is just a true, true, true honor to have you on VFE. But more importantly, bring this. I like to say, strategy notion around community, where sometimes it could be left out of the conversation in the ecosystem. So thank you so much. I will get back to you with the song. Don’t worry about that, like I said…

Jessica Ochoa

Don’t worry, no, it’s been a, it’s been a pleasure. I appreciate the outreach. It’s been a blessing to be able to be a part of Voices of Excellence and share just, you know, a bit of the work that I’m doing and continuing to do the work. But I’m not successful. I can’t do it alone. And there’s individuals like yourselves and other remarkable leaders who have really been able to, you know, push me to to greater limits. But ultimately, we push each other to greater limits to be able to excel and shine and impact our use. And that’s what it’s all about.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely, thank you, Jessica. And on that note, onward and upward, everybody. Have a great evening.