Schools Looking to Engage Students Rather than Suspending Them
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Board of Education approved today a landmark plan that makes the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) the first in California to ban suspensions for what is known as willful defiance.
“I am pleased that the Board of Education voted today to support the Superintendent’s request to approve the increase of 4-million dollars for hiring of additional school police officers and police resources”, said Steve Zipperman, Chief of the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD). “The men and women of the LASPD understand these very difficult budget requests at a time when limited funding is available, and many important funding requests are on the table. Superintendent John Deasy and the Board of Education both recognize that the safety of our students, staff, campuses and District assets and infrastructure must remain a top priority. Today’s budget approval reaffirmed the commitment to school safety”.
Contact: Daryl Strickland, (213) 241-6766
Will Speed Up and Improve Investigations of Teachers Accused of Abuse
LOS ANGELES (Tuesday, April 16, 2013) —The Los Angeles School Board today directed Superintendent John Deasy to develop a team of professional investigators to take the lead regarding allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct against teachers and other employees—and a plan to speed up the process.
Sponsored by Board Vice President Tamar Galatzan, the resolution also sets strict timelines, which would more quickly exonerate or establish guilt in place of current procedures that in some cases have taken years.
“There is nothing more important than getting the most accurate, highest quality investigations of suspected physical or sexual abuse of a child, ” said Galatzan, who worked for months with district staff, teachers, union members and parents to put together this resolution. “In the long run, not hiring professionally trained investigators will cost us money, put our children in jeopardy, and perpetuate a system that is often unfair to teachers trapped in the limbo of teacher jail.”
Board President Mónica García, a co-sponsor of the measure, said, “Kids and taxpayers win when all adults accept their responsibility to protect the rights of children. LAUSD must have a process when criminal and inappropriate behavior occurs and is dealt with it effectively and efficiently. That is what the 99.5% of all law abiding, hard-working employees deserve.”
Emphasizing safety for students and fairness for employees including teachers, the resolution called for additional improvements including informing employees of the specific accusations, unless doing so would jeopardize a law enforcement investigation. In the past, some teachers have been removed from the classroom, and housed in a location away from children without knowing why.
The Board of Education unanimously approves a resolution sponsored by Board Member Tamar Galatzan, to expedite the dismissal process of District employees accused of abuse and sexual misconduct.
LAUSD Executive Lauded for Helping Teens Return to School
LOS ANGELES (April 15, 2013) – Debra Duardo, interim executive director, Student Health and Human Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District will be honored with an alumnus award from the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA.
Duardo will receive the 2013 Joseph A. Nunn Alumnus of the Year Award April 20 at 3 p.m. A reception will be held in her honor at the Westside Tavern, in the Westside Pavilion, 10850 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.
The award, given out annually, aims to recognize alums who have helped improve social welfare through service and professional achievement. Duardo said she felt “surprised and humbled by this recognition.”
She added, “I am honored to have been selected for this prestigious award. With the admiration I hold for so many of my social work colleagues, who work endlessly towards social justice, I am humbled by this recognition.”
Her unique life experience, after dropping out of high school, drives her passion to steer at-risk students and their families toward educational success.
“When I was 15 and about to drop out, I wish someone had been there to help explain what school is all about, and how much a diploma would mean to my future,” said Duardo. “That experience informs my work every day—I want to make sure every at risk student in our district has the opportunity I never had.”
In her current role for the nation’s second-largest school district, Duardo is responsible for implementing support services aimed at reducing the high school dropout rate. Her vision is simple: to increase the number of those earning a diploma.
Her strong commitment to serving these students led to the award. Duardo advocates passionately for those who historically were denied access, and even discouraged from receiving a quality education.
Duardo has led efforts at Los Angeles Unified to find dropouts, resulting in more than 2,000 teens over the past three years returning to the classroom. She also established a partnership with the city of Los Angeles that give students returning to the classroom more options to obtain a diploma at 13 youth recovery centers.
She also initiated programs for other troubled students. When the district was forced to eliminate dropout prevention programs due to severe budget cuts, Duardo wrote grants to bring back more than $12 million to maintain the Diploma Project, a program that places social workers at schools with high dropout rates to help bring back students to the classroom. Recognizing that attendance is one of the highest predictors of dropping out of school, she also implemented a district-wide attendance improvement program that rewards students for good attendance and supports parents to make school attendance a priority.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed her to the L.A. City Commission for Children and Families. She also is a member of the National Dropout Prevention Network Board. Duardo earned a Master’s degree in the School of Social Work at UCLA. She is completing a doctorate degree at the university in Educational Leadership.
“If not for the excellent education that I received as a three-time UCLA alumnus, I would not be in a position to be an agent of change in the field of Education and Social Work, “Duardo said.
The cost of attending the reception is a toiletry item that will be donated to the Downtown Women’s Center, a day center and residence serving homeless women in downtown Los Angeles. For further details, please contact the UCLA Alumni Relations office at (310) 206-8034.
Contact: Daryl Strickland, (213) 241-6766
Special congratulations to Taft HS, Westchester HS and Downtown Magnet HS for winning the judges over with the implementation of their solutions and successful impact.
LOS ANGELES (April 11, 2013) — Some programs will be cancelled this summer due to budget restrictions facing the Los Angeles Unified School District. However, LAUSD will offer limited classes and support services, including summer school courses for students who have failed classes during the academic year. The District also will provide families with a variety of age appropriate links to online Internet resources designed to keep youngsters academically and actively engaged during the summer months.
Summer school will be provided at select high schools from July 8, 2013 to August 2, 2013 for students currently enrolled in LAUSD schools. Classes will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. and will include a 20-minute break. To be eligible students must be in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade and failed a course required for graduation. Additionally, ninth-grade students, who have failed an entire year of Algebra 1, may enroll. Current 12th-graders (Class of 2013), who do not graduate, may be referred to adult school for specific courses. Eligible students must register with their respective school counselors. A list of summer school/credit recovery sites will be available on the LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell Branch website http://btb.lausd.net.
Comprehensive Summer Enrichment Programs
LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell Branch will operate Summer Enrichment Programs at more than 160 elementary and middle schools during the 2013 summer vacation period. The programs will provide daily activities Monday through Friday, beginning June 10, 2013.
Each program will include three components — academic, enrichment and fitness. Participation will be limited to students who attend those schools. The County of Los Angeles supports select school sites with their summer reading program. More information will be posted at: http://btb.lausd.net.
LAUSD’s Beyond the Bell Branch will provide a variety of online resources for students. Websites, instructional materials, and worksheets will be accessible from the Beyond the Bell Branch website (http://btb.lausd.net). Beginning in June, students and families can access these online resources to reinforce learning, and provide a variety of projects and activities to keep youngsters engaged during the summer months.
Contact: Javier Sandoval, (213)241-7900
This groundbreaking survey represents the voices of an extraordinary range of religious, political, civic, and community leaders across the city. I‘m tremendously gratified and heartened by their profound knowledge of, and passionate involvement in, the future of public education.
The astonishing 78% response rate heralds a new day for parent and civic engagement in Los Angeles. Above all, the survey stands as an unshakeable commitment to youth rights.
It’s absolutely critical that this administration continue to move the reform agenda overwhelmingly endorsed by the respondents. We are being held accountable for preparing our students to face the economic, environmental, political, and social challenges of the 21st century. Our core constituents — administrators, families, and teachers – deserve and expect nothing less.
With the election of a new mayor next month and, in July, the beginning of a new term for the Board of Education, we are preparing to write the next chapter in the history of Los Angeles. Nothing is more critical than public education to determining whether that chapter will have a happy ending.
While the responses to this survey indicate that we are moving in the right direction at the Los Angeles Unified School District, they also send a clear message that this agenda must move quicker and with more courage. My administration will continue to work closely with all those who care deeply about our youth to realize the high expectations and hope for our schools reflected in the CLASS survey.
Contact: Tom Waldman, (213) 241-6766
LOS ANGELES (March 19, 2013) — The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) unanimously approved a plan today that grants greater local control over budget, curriculum, staffing and scheduling decisions at Francis Polytechnic (Poly) High School in Sun Valley starting July 1.
The Board’s approval affirms an earlier vote in which 92% of the Poly faculty voted in favor of establishing a pilot school at their campus. It is the first comprehensive high school pilot in the LAUSD.
“This is truly a historic day for the Sun Valley community,” said Board Member Nury Martinez, who represents the school. “I’m proud to support the local control and instructional quality reflected in a plan that is a tribute to the power of teachers who believe in their students and who believe in themselves.”
“We believe we will be able to be even more responsive to our students’ needs, to parents and to our faculty as a pilot school,” said Chapter Chair Robert Scott, commenting on the vote. “For example, we are eager to tackle the common core standards, embedding them into our own curriculum, assessment, professional development, budget, governance and staffing.”
Today’s vote is the culmination of a process that began three years ago. During that time, the plan received significant input from faculty, parents and community members. Poly Principal Ari Bennett and faculty members enthusiastically endorsed the change in public comments at the board meeting.
Contact: Tom Waldman, (213) 241-6766
Resolution Urges Activities to Promote Education and Prevention of Sexual Abuse
LOS ANGELES—The Board of Education unanimously approved today a resolution in support of Denim Day on April 24. Organized by the group Peace Over Violence, the annual rape prevention education campaign promotes awareness with activities, and by encouraging everyone to wear jeans to work.
Board President Mónica García sponsored the resolution, “Break the Silence to End Sexual Violence: Denim Day 2013. It directs Superintendent John Deasy and staff of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to support activities, which promote education and prevent sexual assault.
“We stand against violence in Los Angeles and join all the voices that demand an end to sexual abuse,” said Board President Mónica García. “Education and courage are key to breaking the silence and building awareness.”
Her co-sponsor Board Member Steve Zimmer said, “I am proud that LAUSD continues to lead our nation’s school districts in the struggle to end all forms of violence against women and sexual assault. We cannot rest until all our daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers are safe in their homes, our workplaces and our schools.”
The Denim Day movement began in 1992 after the Italian Supreme Court reversed a rape conviction on the grounds that an18-year-old female victim had consented because she had to help her rapist remove her tight jeans so he could assault her. To protest, women in the Italian Parliament wore their jeans to work. That fashion statement spread to California when members of the State Assembly and State Senate decided to show their support in the same way. Locally, Peace Over Violence (formerly the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults against Women) has drawn attention to these issues since 1999 with various activities and by encouraging men and women to wear jeans to work.
García’s resolution encourages broad participation. “By participating in Denim Day in LA on April 24, 2013, we promote prevention through education; make it possible for more survivors of sexual assault to reach out and find help; and help men and boys understand the critical role they play in preventing violence against women.”
It also calls on those who live in Los Angeles County to unite “to send a message that we are all against rape of girls, women, boys and men; that we stand in support of survivors and that we will no longer be silent in the fight to end sexual violence.”
Contact: Tom Waldman, (213) 241-6766
This Resolution Follows Up on Martinez’s Work Assisting Valley Students Applying for Deferred Action Following President Obama’s Executive Order
Los Angeles, CA (March 19, 2013) —The Los Angeles Unified School Board (LAUSD) today voted to support and recognize March as National Coming Out of the Shadows Against Deportations Month.
The resolution, offered by Board Member Nury Martinez, serves both as recognition of the work of immigrant rights advocates and adds LAUSD’s voice to those who are urging Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
“Today’s Board action reaffirms LAUSD’s strong support and commitment to comprehensive immigration reform. I offered this motion because I felt it was important that the second largest school district in the nation continues to speak out on behalf of our deserving students and their hard working immigrant families,” said Board Member Martinez. “These activities remind us of the nearly 11 million Americans who are forced to live in the shadows because of our current antiquated and dysfunctional immigration system,” she added.
The resolution also requests that the Superintendent directly encourage schools, district employees and local communities to strongly support and participate in events planned to commemorate Coming Out of the Shadows month.
Martinez has previously hosted area workshops to assist young immigrants through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application process set up through executive order by President Obama last year. She recently assisted the San Fernando Valley Dream Team in securing a school site for a rally to raise awareness of our broken immigration system as part National Coming Out of the Shadows Against Deportation Month.
Contact: Jason Levin, (818) 253-1202
Resolution Asks Supreme Court to Strike Down Prop. 8 and Defense of Marriage Act
Los Angeles (March 19, 2013) —The Board of Education unanimously approved today a resolution in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples and with all the federal benefits for spouses such as employee health insurance, income tax deductions and Social Security survivor’s payments.
Sponsored by Board Member Bennett Kayser, the resolution specifically “urges the United States Supreme Court to respect the dignity of all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender families by supporting marriage equality and striking down both California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.”
“Education is often referred to as the great equalizer. I am pleased to let the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender members of the extended Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) family know that we stand with them as they seek their civil rights in marriage,” notes Kayser. “As educational providers to one million-plus children and adult students, employers of over 100,000 faculty and staff, and elected representatives of over 4.5 million constituents across 770 square miles, this governing body urges the United States Supreme Court to strike down the laws that create inequality and instability for our LGBT families, students and staff.”
The Supreme Court is scheduled next week to consider whether the Federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 violates the U. S. Constitution’s promise of equal protections to all under the law. For example, a same-sex spouse who works for the federal government cannot put his or her partner on employee health benefits. However, LAUSD was one of the first school districts to offer domestic partnerships to employees who are part of same-sex couples.
The nation’s highest court is also expected next week to examine whether California’s Proposition 8 – the ban on same-sex marriage approved by the voters in 2008 wrongfully denies LGBT partners an equal right to get married. The year that measure was passed, the School Board approved a resolution supporting marriage equality.
Today’s resolution points out, “The Supreme Court has stated that marriage is a fundamental right of all individuals; Same-sex couples in California are denied the ability to express their love and commitment to one another through marriage and as a result of the Defense of Marriage Act, the inability to marry harms families and children by depriving parents and their children of over 1,000 rights and benefits the federal government provides to opposite-sex couples.”
Contact: Tom Waldman, (213) 241-6766
February 25, 2013
I am writing to register my distress at the potential impact of sequestration on the students of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
The District receives over $1 billion annually in federal funding. According to our internal calculations, the across-the-board cut in major federal education funding alone would mean a loss of approximately $37 million to LAUSD. The cut would cause crippling reductions to our schools that serve our students with the highest needs (students who live in poverty and our English learners). For a school of 1,000 students this could mean a loss of $75,000 to $100,000. In addition, to the direct impact on our schools, our teachers would also lose critical funding for professional development.
As you know, over the past five years the LAUSD experienced a cumulative $2.7 billion reduction in state funding. During this bleak period, the District was forced to lay off thousands of valued teachers, library aides, guidance counselors, custodial staff, and more, as well as cut deeply into vital academic programs.
The passage of Proposition 30 this past November offered our schools hope for the first time in years that the fiscal nightmare was coming to an end. Principals are now cautiously optimistic that their schools will have the funds to restore at least some of what was lost during the ongoing crisis, but sequestration threatens to undermine this effort. It seems particularly cruel to hit schools with the possibility of new cuts just as it appeared their circumstances were finally improving.
I am confident that the entire California delegation understands the devastating consequences of the loss in federal funding to K-12 students across the state. On behalf of our children, I strongly urge you to work together with your colleagues from around the country to reach a budget agreement before March 1, in order to avoid these devastating cuts.
Dr. John E. Deasy, Superintendent
Los Angeles Unified School District
LOS ANGELES (Feb. 15, 2013) – Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent John Deasy today issued guidelines to all principals in the District to take steps to comply with the Doe v Deasy court ruling. Effective immediately, LAUSD administrators must explicitly include and consider data of pupil progress during the initial goal-setting phase with teachers and used when determining the overall performance in the final evaluation.
In the released guidance to principals, the assessment of student progress and other student data-driven results will carry a weight limited to 30% of the total evaluation determination. Observed classroom performance and other similar factors will remain the primary and controlling factors.
“These guidelines are a vital step in our continuing effort to provide students with the highest-performing teachers,” said Deasy. “I look forward to working with the teacher’s union and principals in successfully implementing this system.”
This directive is a result of the Supplement Agreement ratified by members of UTLA on January 19, 2013 and adopted by the LAUSD Board of Education on February 12, 2013. The Supplemental Agreement was reached in response to the Doe v. Deasy Court Order enforcing the requirements of the Stull Act, which compel the District to evaluate teacher performance as it reasonably relates to student growth and progress toward District standards and State standards for pupil achievement, as measured by State-adopted criterion-referenced student testing results under the California State Testing program (the “CSTs”).
The District has consistently maintained that measures of student achievement should not be used as the sole means of measuring quality or effectiveness of instruction.
By the start of the 2013/14 school year, all principals will be trained to implement a full multiple-measure system, which includes the pupil progress factor (or Contributions to Student Outcomes), comprised of both individual classroom level and school-wide assessment of pupil progress. Details about the other measures include in the full multiple-measure system will be released throughout the remainder of the school year, as discussions with the District’s labor partners progress, and as policy and implementation decisions are finalized.
“It is critical that we not only learn from the classrooms and schools where exceptional teaching and learning is taking place, but that we provide an organized opportunity for teachers to receive useful feedback about their practice and provide meaningful pathways for development and growth,” said Deasy. “Our teachers deserve nothing less.”
Contact: Tom Waldman, (213) 241-6766
Statement: Lawsuit Filed Against The District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2012
For More Information: