KCA Family Leadership Council: The Impact of Building a Strong Community

KCA Family Leadership Council: The Impact of Building a Strong Community

KIPP Corazón's school team and Family Leadership Council with the Mayor of South Gate Maria del Pilar Avalos (center in white)

KIPP Corazón Academy (KCA) elementary school is known for having a deeply connected school community. At the center is the Family Leadership Council (FLC), which has been pivotal in fostering a strong sense of belonging among students, families, teachers, team members, and community members since the school’s founding in 2017. 

Since its inception, the FLC has demonstrated how important it is to have an engaged school community to ensure the academic success and overall well-being of our KIPPsters. The FLC—which started with five dedicated members—currently has 20 active members that meet monthly to plan and execute events and fundraisers for the entire school community. The FLC also has a GroupMe group chat with over 50 engaged parents and holds yearly elections for president, fundraising chair, and communications chair positions to ensure the council operates smoothly and efficiently. 

“I always wanted my kids to have a great school experience, but that’s not always the job of the teachers and the staff. You need parent volunteers to help organize the events and be present — that’s why I decided to join. You can't expect things if you’re unwilling to help,” said FLC President Carmen Rodriquez, who joined in 2018 and has always served on the FLC leadership team.

FLC members volunteering at this year's Corazón Carnival

To help with recruitment efforts, teachers share the FLC’s mission of building a strong school community culture with parents during Open House events to inspire them to get involved. Each homeroom also has a designated parent representative who attends the monthly meetings to help coordinate efforts with teachers to help maintain FLC involvement. 

“The FLC is important because you can know what’s going on on-campus, and you get to know the teachers,” said Rubi Flores, the mother of a KCA fourth-grader who has been part of the FLC since her son was in TK. “I joined because I wanted to share my opinion and have my opinion heard.”

School Leader Michelle Cornejo (who started as a founding KCA teacher) and Business Operations Manager Carolina Hernandez (a founding KCA parent) began overseeing the FLC in 2020. Because of their backgrounds, they recognized the importance of involving parents in campus events, so they started actively involving members in planning school events, such as door decorating competitions, heritage month celebrations, and classroom potlucks.

FLC members Rubi Flores (left) and Pricilla Esquivel (right) at this year's Corazón Carnival

“I joined the FLC because I wanted to be part of the school, to know what’s going on, to show support where I could, and to show my child that I’m involved,” said Pricilla Esquivel, who has been part of the FLC for three years. “I really appreciate that they hear the parents' perspective of things, and they take into account what we want to see for our own children.”

The council quickly embraced its new role at KCA and introduced two signature FLC events, including the Corazón Community Tianguis, an open-air market made up of community vendors, and the Corazón Carnival, an end-of-the-year celebration for students that includes games, inflatables, food, and petting zoos. 

In addition to its signature events, the FLC was responsible for fundraising and hosting events like Muffins with Mentors and Truck-or-Treat. This year, the FLC raised over $13,000 in chocolate sales and provided complimentary breakfast and lunch for KCA educators during Teacher Appreciation Week

FLC members (left) volunteering at this year's Muffins with Mentors event (right)

“The entire staff at KIPP Corazón makes my kids feel so special. They always feel so loved. There are no words to describe my gratitude. I’m so thankful for everything they do. That’s what made me want to join the FLC,” said FLC Fundraising Chair Marya Rubio. “Seeing the kids happy makes me happy.” 

The FLC illustrates how impactful it is for an engaged school community to work together to create joyful, academically excellent schools for our KIPPsters. What began as a small group of parents coming together to organize fundraisers has grown into a group that empowers parents, promotes family engagement, and creates memorable experiences for the entire school community. 

Programs like KCA’s Family Leadership Council are just one of the numerous ways KIPP SoCal is committed to creating school communities grounded in love.

Learn more about KIPP Corazón Academy in South Gate