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Parents View: These LAUSD parents support Carvalho’s plans to revamp literacy program Primary Promise

Parent Warriors | July 10, 2023

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An LAUSD student picking a book to take home. (Courtesy Families In Schools)

As engaged LAUSD parents of color, we are focused on our children’s academic success and well-being. As such, we often talk about how the education system is not working for enough of our students. 

Imagine our delight when superintendent Carvalho announced his plan to expand a highly successful literacy intervention program, Primary Promise, by expanding it to many more students, not just for some students.

So why do we support the superintendent’s decision? There are three key reasons. First, we believe the district is right to present a plan that will help all students who need it, and to do it in a way that can be sustained over time. Primary Promise was focused on K-3, which makes sense at first because if we get our youngest students started on the right path, they are more likely to stay on track. 

But what about students in the upper grades? We know too many students in middle and high school (including some of our own kids) who were left behind and are not reading at grade level. Expanding the program from 283 elementary schools to 319 and adding 128 more secondary schools makes perfect sense because we cannot forget these young people. 

Second, the district used one-time recovery funds to hire the additional staff needed to provide the kind of intensive one-on-one intervention that Primary Promise offered in K-3. Given these were one-time dollars, the district’s new model will only be sustainable if all LAUSD teachers are trained on effective literacy and numeracy instruction. 

We recently learned the district will provide system wide professional development this summer in small group instruction on the science of reading, and the science of writing. Also, the district will be creating an interventionist academy for educators  to use updated strategies that are grounded in the science of reading. Students will receive progress monitoring every two weeks. Both families and the community will receive frequent updates on student progress.

Third, the district is adding a family engagement component to this new model, which is a good indicator they are listening to us. Not only do parents and caregivers need to better understand the changes but parents also are eager for information on when the new model will be implemented at their school. Once implemented, families will want school-level data  communicated regularly in easily digestible language and with helpful visuals. This will help parents know if the new model is working. We encourage the district to ask for our feedback as this will help the district meet the academic goals we all have for our children.

Finally, we all know authentic family engagement helps make schools. more accountable and transparent. As collaborative partners with LAUSD, parents and caregivers are a valuable source of insight and knowledge about our children. Our engagement in decision-making processes and in program planning ensures that diverse perspectives are considered, leading to more informed and inclusive decisions. 

We applaud the superintendent for his commitment to help all of our children read at grade-level so that they can succeed in school. If  the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are ALL in this together. All students deserve a more equitable promise — a promise for all.

This op-ed was written by Parent Warriors Hilda Avila, Lisette Duarte, Sonia Guzman-Gonzalez, Mary Lee, Monica Martinez, Mireya Pacheco and Raquel Toscano.

Parent Warriors, sponsored by Families In Schools, advocate for an equitable education system that promotes the academic success and social, emotional well being of all students. Families In Schools, an L.A.-based nonprofit, builds capacity of schools, districts, and low-income families/families of color in support of a quality and equitable education for children.

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