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Our History

During the 2017-2018 school year, concerned African American community members and County Superintendent Steve Tietjen met to address the persistent lack of achievement outcomes for African American students in Merced county. In response, Supt. Tietjen convened those community members, with representatives from a number of school districts within Merced County, and staff from Merced COE to form the Council for African American Student Success (CAASS). Since then CAASS members have worked together to study and identify ways to improve educational services and outcomes for African American students at every level.

Collaboration efforts from CAASS have begun to positively change the trajectory of success for African American students locally and within the state. Evidence is noted throughout Merced County schools through increased parental and community involvement in local planning, increased attention to programs specifically for African American students, and emerging positive trends in the data from state and local measures. Moving beyond a local conversation, Merced County Office of Education launched a statewide network called California Network for African American Student Success (CaNAASS) in a pre-conference session held at the 2019 California Instruction Steering Committee (CISC) Annual Conference. Despite setbacks from the COVID pandemic, CaNAASS forged ahead with a growing membership across the state providing a common ground to identify barriers and share promising practices. An outcome of the collective efforts from CAASS and CaNAASS is this website which serves as a resource for all who are joining the mission to focus on successful futures for African American students.
students standing in a line outside
school project timeline on wall
students accepting an award
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