After denying parent trigger, district meets with school but some parents are still unhappy
About 100 parents from 20th Street Elementary School met Tuesday night in the auditorium with more than a dozen school administrators after the district denied a “parent trigger” that would allow them to make sweeping changes to the school. Some of the parents were still unhappy, however. “It was like a big cheerleading session,” said parent...
By Mike Szymanski | March 16, 2016
Charter school scores hard-won approval despite objections by board staff, president and superintendent
To help a model charter school expand into high school, the LA Unified school board took unprecedented steps Tuesday night to cobble together a plan, concocting at least half a dozen proposals and amendments during a lengthy and at times contentious discussion. District staff had recommended that the board reject the school’s petition. Ultimately, the charter...
By Mike Szymanski | March 9, 2016
KIPP Raíces celebrates its National Blue Ribbon Schools award
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award given out each year by the federal government is considered among the highest honors a school can achieve, and of the 335 Blue Ribbon schools in 2015, only one was from LA Unified. That school, KIPP Raíces Academy School in East Los Angeles, celebrated the award today in a...
By Craig Clough | February 23, 2016
What does it mean that LAUSD is a ‘safe zone’ from immigration officials?
The second largest school district in the nation went on record last week saying it won’t allow law enforcement agents looking to deport those without documentation into any of its 1,274 schools without a review process. The LA Unified School Board voted unanimously to make the district a “safe zone.” The district is not the first. Across the nation...
By Mike Szymanski | February 18, 2016
How this math teacher helps kids get perfect scores
It was cause for celebration when 17-year-old Cedrick Argueta was one in 12 students in the entire world to ace one of the toughest college-level calculus tests. But it wasn’t just one test. Cedrick also earned perfect scores on the English and math sections of the American College Testing entrance exam. And it wasn’t just...
By Mike Szymanski | February 12, 2016
School board’s high-drama discussion: Are we fair to charters?
If anything, it was good television. LA Unified school board members confronted each other headlong in a dramatic discussion Tuesday night over whether charter schools were being treated fairly by the district. The discussion opened calls for a deep dive into how district staff comes up with its recommendations for denials or approvals of charter schools....
By Mike Szymanski | February 10, 2016
Parent trigger tries takeover at South Central school, again
For the first time, a Parent Trigger has been threatened twice for the same school. The parents of the 20th Street Elementary School in South Central Los Angeles are fed up with the lack of response from LA Unified after their first attempt two years ago to take over the school and on Monday filed...
By Mike Szymanski | February 3, 2016
Expulsions dropping across LA Unified with focused efforts to help
The number of expulsions in LA Unified has decreased drastically over the past two years, with numbers far lower than neighboring school districts. Expulsions have decreased by 31 percent, to 77 in the last school year from 111 in 2012-2013, according to a report presented this week to a district board committee. That compares with...
By Mike Szymanski | January 22, 2016
LAUSD could recoup $139 million by curbing chronic absences
What’s the easiest way for LAUSD to save millions of dollars to help stave off a budget crisis? Keep students in school. More than 80,000 students are chronically absent at LA Unified, and that results in an annual loss of $139 million in revenue, Debra Duardo, executive director of Student Health and Human Services at...
By Mike Szymanski | January 21, 2016
Charters, budgets, expulsions on LA Unified committee agendas
Three LA Unified board committee meetings that were delayed a month by the superintendent search are scheduled back-to-back-to-back tomorrow, all at district headquarters. Some of the issues on the agendas involve the continuing discussion about what it would mean to turn LAUSD into an all-charter school district, early childhood education and new information dealing with...
By Mike Szymanski | January 18, 2016