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Sold-out crowd expected at King’s best-practices sharing session on Saturday

Mike Szymanski | July 20, 2016

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Michelle King LAUSD

A groundbreaking summit that plans to share best practices between LA Unified traditional school and charter school educators is at capacity with more than 350 people signed up for the Saturday event planned by Superintendent Michelle King.

From the moment she was appointed to the position in January, King said she planned to find ways to share best practices between educators at magnet, charter, pilot and traditional schools resulting in this Promising Practices Forum scheduled all day at the Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies in Cypress Park. But don’t expect to just drop in to attend.

Although the event was free and open to the public for registration of 350 seats in early June, the registration closed on July 8. According to district spokesperson Monica Carazo, “We are at capacity and cannot accommodate any other participants.”

The event will kick off with school leaders such as King, school board President Steve Zimmer, board members Ref Rodriguez and Monica Ratliff as well as Local District South Superintendent Christopher Downing and Local District Northwest Superintendent Vivian Ekchian. They also expect Antonia Hernandez, president of the California Community Foundation, 
Yvette King-Berg, executive director of the Youth Policy Institute, and other LA Unified and charter school leaders.

Rodriguez and King plan to lead a panel discussion at the beginning of the event. Rodriguez spearheaded a resolution recently asking the superintendent to report back to the board after identifying successful programs and potential funding sources.

The forum is a culmination of King’s seven-month “listen and learn” tour as superintendent, and she is well aware of the divisiveness and conflicts that have occurred between traditional and charter schools with issues involving student safety, school choice, charter co-locations, teaching assessments, equitable funding, union disputes and general distrust among parents.

The forum will feature more than two dozen breakout sessions where school experts plan to share ideas and successful strategies for improving learning, parent engagement and school climate.

Results from this and other meetings will form the basis of King’s three-year plan for the district.

“We are all LA Unified school students,” King said at a previous forum with parents when asked about what she thought of charter schools. “It is unfortunate we have labels, saying that this one is better than that one. It’s not us versus them.”

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