Best Practices

Mayor Patricia Bates

City/School Partnership

The City of Laguna Niguel was incorporated in December 1989. As the governing body of a new community, city officials wished to develop cooperative relationships with the local schools and sought opportunities to become involved and interact with the youth of the community. The vision included positive and proactive partnership programs to demonstrate city interest, support and appreciation of the challenges faced in education and by today's youth.

The City/School Partnership centers on the city's only junior high school, Niguel Hills Middle School (NHMS). The city and the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) entered into a joint use agreement for a sports complex at NHMS. The agreement included cost-sharing for the improvement and maintenance of the 8.7-acre sports complex, which includes five softball fields, four sand volleyball courts, two football/soccer fields and a 400-meter running track. The city provided the $600,000 capital investment and the maintenance responsibilities for the facility are shared by the city and CUSD. City staff members handle reservations for all community use of the fields and collect fees to help defray maintenance costs. The 50-year joint use agreement benefits the school and its students by ensuring school access to quality recreational facilities during school hours. The agreement also benefits the community at large by providing community access after school and on weekends. The use of the school facilities adds greatly to the city's inventory of available venues for participants in active youth sports, a group that continues to grow at the rate of four to five percent per year.

The City/School Partnership also provides opportunities for positive contacts with members of law enforcement. A Community Support Unit Deputy is assigned to the school to foster positive student-police relationships, offer student counselling and intervention and to trouble-shoot. This unique relationship has allowed Deputies to respond to potential issues before problems develop and to be a resource for at-risk students.

The city's law enforcement services for the students also include the Laguna Niguel Police Auxiliary Citizens Team (PACT). PACT members are senior citizens who volunteer their time to provide many valuable services, such as security and chaperon duty at school dances. An additional benefit of the PACT members' interface with the youth includes the fostering of intergenerational respect and understanding.

The City/School Partnership is further enhanced by the commitment of the Mayor and City Council. The city participates in the local chamber of commerce's "Principal for a Day" program and the district-wide "Authors Week" through which City Council members serve as mentors, interacting with students on campus. City staff and Council members regularly participate in Career Day to highlight career opportunities and provide positive community role models.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (714) 362-4300

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