LOS ANGELES (Aug. 1, 2012) - An independent monitoring team has concluded in its interim report that with regard to parent engagement over time, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) “has done better than most Districts nationwide.”
Superintendent John Deasy said, “The findings of the task force reflect the commitment and passion that Maria Casillas and her team have brought to parent engagement at LAUSD over the past year.” He added, “It is now embedded in the culture of this District that we cannot succeed on any level without actively involving parents and guardians as genuine partners in the education of their children.”
Casillas, LAUSD Chief of School, Family, Parent and Community Services, said, “Though we are pleased with the initial findings, we have much more to accomplish. We know schools want parental involvement and support from families, and we also know that parents want their children to succeed in school. Our aim is to support both families and schools, so that children benefit from their mutual trust and support—the ideal partnership!”
The report credited LAUSD with taking five key steps to improve parent engagement:
A. Creating a new position, Chief of School, Family, Parent and Community Services, to direct parent engagement as an essential District priority, and hiring veteran educator and reformer Maria Casillas to lead the new effort.
B. Creating, with input from parents, a Parent Bill of Rights that promotes shared responsibility with schools for results.
C. Strengthening support to schools so that school-family activities are linked to learning and achievement, and to ensure all parents and guardians are welcomed as partners.
D. Redesigning District-wide parent engagement committees to eliminate redundant efforts and costs as well as to focus on school level parent leadership and advocacy.
E. Identifying “pilot” schools – Belmont High School, Mendez Learning Center, Roosevelt High School and their feeder schools– to be studied over the next 3-5 months to determine the extent to which the District is moving forward in several areas, including expanding parent centers and creating family action teams.
The 15-member task force, which was headed by Stuart Biegel, a member of the UCLA School of Law and UCLA Graduate School of Education, spent several months looking closely at the state of parent engagement in LAUSD, the nation’s second-largest, with a K-12 student enrollment of nearly 650,000. The team was created as a result of the Parents as Equal Partners resolution, approved unanimously two years ago by the Los Angeles Board of Education.
During the next three-to-five months, the task force will document the District’s efforts regarding the work of the new parent engagement administrators, the extent to which more transparency can be brought to the process, and the development of the identified pilot schools.
Graphic: Courtesy of The Thick Envelope blog