LOS ANGELES (July 20, 2012) - The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and two of its key labor partners began showing hundreds of educators this week how to take ownership of more decision-making matters ranging from curriculum to staffing to governance at their schools.
The new school models described at the training move the District away from using a one-size-fits-all style to a tailored approach to educating students that will boost their achievement. Until now, only certain District schools enjoyed such independence in curriculum, staffing, schedules.
But new contract agreements between the District and its unions allow staff, students and families to decide what works best for each campus and potentially, every campus across the District. In turn, the District’s central office provides more support for individual schools to put their plans into practice.
“There’s a fundamental belief that if teachers, administrators and families feel that they own what is going on in a school, when something doesn’t go well, they will take responsibility for that and fix it,” said Rachel Bonkovsky, Executive Director, Division of Intensive Support and Intervention.
Echoing this sentiment, Judy Perez, President of Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA) said, “We strongly believe that students benefit most when the responsible adults—administrators, teachers and other staff, parents, guardians and community members—work collaboratively. We also believe students themselves have an important voice.”
Said Gregg Solkovits, Secondary Vice President, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the teachers union: “It gives you [schools] a tremendous opportunity to take control of your school, and run it the way it should be run.”
Also unique to the new agreement is the partnership formed between the District, the teachers union, and the administrators union through an entity called the Local Options Oversight Committee or LOOC.
The three organizations are working together to provide everything from training for schools, oversight of the application process for these different school models and guidance to the central office staff that will be working closely with these schools as they apply these new approaches to their work. The District believes this will result in every student selecting from high-quality neighborhood schools.
“We think that our partnership with UTLA and AALA has gotten off to an incredible start and believe we have the chance to set precedent for the nation,” said Donna Muncey, Chief of the Division of Intensive Support and Intervention.
The innovative agreement allows schools over the next three years the option of choosing from three models of school governance. All comply with state and federal laws. They are:
- Choosing how the school is governed.
- Selecting staff and other key positions.
- Deciding what is taught and how.
- Making budget decisions that support school priorities.
- Changing incentives and consequences of student behavior.
To adopt one of the models, an application process is required. The next training session will be held at Cesar Chavez Learning Academy, 1001 Arroyo Ave., San Fernando, CA 91340 on Monday, July 23 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, please look on the District’s website at http://qualityschools.lausd.net; call 213-241-5104 or send an email to EmpowermentAgreement@lausd.net;
Contact: Daryl Strickland (213) 241-6766
Photo: Rachel Bonkovsky, Executive Director, Division of Intensive Support and Intervention (left) and Gregg Solkovits, Secondary Vice President, United Teachers Los Angeles.