Cherina Betters has been named chief of Equity and Access for San Bernardino County Schools. In her new position, she will represent 33 school districts and more than 400,000 students.
Her new duties will include, “working to forge strong relationships with parents and community members, as well as serving as the equity lead to promote positive learning outcomes for all students,” according to the San Bernardino County School Superintendent’s office.
She starts her new job — a role some education stakeholders hope would be elevated to a statewide model for California — on April 13.
Los Angeles, San Diego and neighboring Riverside Counties all have similar programs that involve engaging parents, students and parents to become part of an engaged and supportive network that contributes to improving the academic success of all students.
Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, has begun assessing those programs, too.
San Bernardino County Superintendent Ted Alejandre is confident that Betters will succeed in her new role.
“Betters has extensive experience in our region in supporting students, schools and districts in the areas of equity and access,” Alejandre said. “With our office, she will lead efforts to close achievement, equity and opportunity disparities among student groups — with attention to cultural, racial, language and socio-economic differences.”
Betters has a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Social Justice from California State University, San Bernardino, and previously worked for the San Jacinto Unified School District and Yucaipa-Calimesa Unified School District.
At Cal State, San Bernardino, ‘Betters was named Outstanding Doctoral Student” and defended her dissertation titled, “Bridge Over Troubled Water: Creating an Ecology of Transformative Care for Students At Risk of their Promise.”
Betters appointment to serve as a liaison between the school district and community comes at a time when California is trying to find ways to close a troubling achievement gap between White Students and their Black and Latino counterparts.
Hardy Brown, former president of the San Bernardino County School board, says he’s excited that policy makers in Sacramento and school districts across the state are studying the model and weighing its merits.
“The Superintendent and San Bernardino County board is proud to continue growing the impact on our cradle to career roadmap by targeting equity and the success of all students,” said Brown.
In San Bernardino County, African Americans make up about 9 percent of the population and live in some of the most underserved census tracts. Among Blacks, both the poverty rate (25.7 percent) and the unemployment rate (14.3 percent) are well above the state averages.
Only 21 percent of African American adults are college-educated.
Brown says the board has been working with the county’s African American task force to find practical solutions for helping Black kids improve their test scores and academic performance.
“This just adds to the research we’ve been doing around these issues,” says Brown.