LOS ANGELES – John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, praised the state’s largest private health care foundation for recently launching a major effort aimed at supporting minority boys and young men.
The California Endowment of Los Angeles plans to spread $50 million statewide over a seven-year period on a project known as “Sons & Brothers”. The program aims to help young males of color, whose odds against success are “staggering,” the endowment said, by reaching milestones essential for health and success in life. Those include reading proficiently by third-grade, graduating from high school and receiving a college degree.
“This is an extraordinary commitment from the foundation that will further help boys and young men of color succeed in school,” Deasy said. “L.A. Unified is committed to saving our sons, which requires a broad effort throughout our communities to place them on track for success in school, in college and in careers. Our future as a city, as a state needs them to succeed.”
L.A. Unified, the nation’s second-largest school district, recognized barriers that kept students out of classrooms and have changes that it hopes will keep students learning in school. The turnaround has had a positive effect on students. For instance:
· District students lost 26,000 instructional days due to suspensions during the 2011-12 school year compared to more than 46,000 during the previous school year, a 44 percent drop.
· The District helps those who have frequently absent from class, returning to school since October 2009 more than 4,000 students. During that same period, District and school staff have made more than 13,000 phone calls and 8,500 home visits to students and their families, even going door to door and even connecting them with family services.· The District has approved a new policy that scales back harsh punishments and works to resolve issues through positive incentives first, in an effort to keep students in class. The policy, known as the School Climate Bill of Rights, is considered unique nationwide.
The foundation’s latest program is part of its broader, $1 billion effort over a decade that seeks to 14 California neighborhoods. It is a long-term effort to improve life for families.
“The foundation is doing amazing work to help vulnerable children in our communities,”
Pictured: Superintendent John Deasy spoke at the California Endowment where the “Sons & Brothers” program was announced.