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Mondays with Maria - 1/9/23
Posted on 01/09/2023
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Dr. Maria Vazquez: Hello, I'm Maria Vasquez, Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, and this is Monday's with Maria.

Nancy Alvarez: Hi everybody, I'm Nancy Alvarez.

Jamie Holmes: And I'm Jamie Holmes.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: So in October I started hosting town hall meetings across the district, um, at 22 of our high schools. Uh, we've hosted an employee town hall and then one for parents and parents are invited from elementary, middle, and high school. Attendance has been great. We have so many people that have turned out to have conversations and I'm really enjoying hearing from all of our stakeholders. And as you know, it's part of my 100 day entry plan as Superintendent.

Nancy Alvarez: Yeah, it's quite the tour you're on and you're just getting started. You're hosting 44 town hall meetings in all. So what is one of your biggest takeaways so far from what you're hearing?

Dr. Maria Vazquez: So from an employee, um, stand, we're hearing a lot about teacher and employee salaries. That's a, a concern. We're also hearing that having the necessary resources and support and of course discipline is also, uh, a concern from the employees. Our parents are, um, really have great things to say as far as our technology, our staff, they too have concerns with discipline. Uh, they have concerns sometimes with reaching staff and they've also, uh, brought up the transportation issues and buses being late.

Jamie Holmes: So the thought exchange platform, you use that as well during these town halls and how, how's that going?

Dr. Maria Vazquez: It's going great. The parents, um, are intrigued because, you know, you tell them, we're gonna ask you these questions. They think, oh, it's another survey. But when they get to see that they get to rate everyone's responses, that's been very helpful. Additionally, it is, uh, able to translate into their language. So does it matter if English isn't your first language, you're able to participate and also see others' responses in your language? So it's been phenomenal.

Nancy Alvarez: That's so great that it's accessible for everyone. So after all of the town halls are done and you take a nap and maybe go on vacation, because that's a lot, uh, when you're back at it, what's next?

Dr. Maria Vazquez: So one of the great things about this platform is that we are able to look at the responses from across the district. And what we're looking for are what are the key trends. Once we've identified that, I'm going back to our strategic plan. Look at the, um, plans that we have to implement, see how, um, the responses to what's going well and what we need to fix are incorporated into that. Do we need to make any adjustments? And then I will be formally communicating out to all stakeholders the results of the town hall and what actions are gonna be taken as a result of that. So, um, it's, it's very exciting for me because it's going to lay a path to ensure I'm doing the right things and hopefully our community and our employees are gonna see that we're listening and that we're in it together.

Jamie Holmes: 44 town halls. That is remarkable. That's fantastic. And I think Mondays with Maria is probably the biggest hit out of all of us.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Well, I have gotten lots of positive feedback about Monday's with Maria,

Nancy Alvarez: If we do say so ourselves.

Jamie Holmes: We didn't know we were in band cause we tune our own horn.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: No, it really has people, um, have loved the communication. They love the format, uh, and really getting to know more about our district, things that, um, they weren't aware of before. So, uh, Mondays with Maria is definitely a hit.

Jamie Holmes: So congratulations. 44 town halls. That's, that's gonna be amazing. And February is the date to kind of look back on them. All right.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Yes, it is. We'll be checking back in and giving you, uh, update on those conversations. Thank you all for watching. You'll be getting an invitation to a town hall near you very soon if you haven't already. In the meantime, if you're not able to attend one of the town hall meetings, you can share your thoughts and questions on thought exchange. The link is on your screen right now. I want everyone to be part of our conversations.

Jamie Holmes: Well stay tuned for another episode of Mondays with Maria next week.