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LA Parents Opting for Varied “Trigger” Options

Hillel Aron | April 3, 2013

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LA School Report has learned that, on Tuesday, the 24th St. Elementary Parents Union selection review committee met and decided to recommend what’s being called a “hybrid” governance model for the school.

Under the parent trigger law, a majority of parents at a low-performing school can petition to revamp the school in any number of ways, including by converting it to an independent charter school.

In January, the parents of 24th St. signed a parent trigger petition, becoming the third school in the country and the first in LAUSD to do so.

Under the newly recommended governance model, LAUSD would operate grades Kindergarten through 4th grade while Crown Preparatory Academy, an LA-based charter operator, would run grades 5 through 8.

“This is really a ground-breaking partnership between a district and a charter school to do what people have wanted to do all along — share best practices between a very successful charter school and the district,” said Glenn Gritzner, a consultant for Crown Prep.

Meanwhile, the next parent trigger for LAUSD — at Weigand Elementary in Watts — is apparently just around the corner, using a softer kind of trigger that would keep the school within LA Unified and wouldn’t require a changeover of staff.

Taken together, these events may represent something of a shift for the parent trigger movement toward a less combative middle ground, working with school districts and even teachers unions to change schools.

The 24th St. parents received four proposals from organizations seeking to operate their school, two from charter school operators (Crown Prep and Academia Moderna), one from LAUSD, and one from an education management organization called Transition.

The proposal from the selection review committee is scheduled to move to an organization committee on Thursday, April 4, and if that committee approves the”hybrid” recommendation then the 359 parents who signed the original petition will vote next Tuesday on whether or not to ratify the plan.

In the meantime, sources tell LA School Report that parents of Weigand Elementary in Watts have been working with Parent Revolution organizers to gather signatures for a trigger petition there, which would be the second LAUSD school to embark on the process. Reportedly, around 60 percent of parents have signed so far. A formal announcement is still a few weeks away.

The timing, said a source, was to “allow the 24th St. process to run its course, so that parents in both schools get their proper recognition.”

The Weigand petition will be the first-ever “in-district” petition — that is, no one will take over the school and all of the teachers will keep their jobs. This is being called the “transformation” model, as opposed to a “restart” model, where the school is taken over by a new operator and all employees must reapply for their positions.

“My understanding is that Weigand parents didn’t want to go the extreme route,” said the source. “Apparently, the parents have a lot of respect for many of the teachers, so the transformation model allows them to work with the district and with the school in bringing about changes.”

Previous posts: Contrasting Reactions to Parent TriggerDistrict, Union Face Opportunity from 24th Street TriggerParent Trigger Coming to LAUSD,

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