by John Fensterwald | EdSource today | http://bit.ly/Wdeg82
January 29th, 2013 :: The parents at 24th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles Unified will have plenty of choices for an operator to take over their school under the “parent trigger” process they initiated this month. One of the contenders will be the district itself.
The school’s Parents’ Union announced Monday it had received letters of intent from eight organizations saying they would submit detailed proposals on how they would turn the low-performing school around. They include six outside charter school operators, a former teacher at the school who created a management organization and Superintendent John Deasy, who pledged “to collaborate with the parents and students of 24th Street by implementing the necessary reform efforts to vastly increase student achievement and the community engagement efforts to date.”
Ten days ago, parents at 24th Street Elementary became the third group, following efforts in Compton Unified and Adelanto Unified, to file a petition under the state’s three-year-old Parent Empowerment Act. That law permits a majority of parents at a low-performing school to petition for a change in governance. The 24th Street Elementary Parents’ Union became the first to actually be welcomed by their district.
In receiving their petition, Deasy had promised to collaborate, not thwart, the parents, and he reaffirmed that commitment by meeting with parents at a park in the rain last week. His three-page letter, submitted by Friday’s deadline, outlined how the district will do so. The letter implied that the district will move forward immediately by assigning Angel Barrett, the district’s instructional director, to conduct a three-day comprehensive assessment of the needs of the school and then create an action plan..There will be a particular focus on English learners, who comprise 45 percent of the students. Deasy also pledged to work with community groups, including Parent Revolution, the nonprofit organization that has organized parent groups around the parent trigger.As a low-achieving school, 24th Street Elementary already is in the district’s Public School Choice program.
As part of that process, the principal and staff at the school submitted their own plan to turn the school around. But Deasy rejected that plan days before the parents submitted their petition. In his letter to the parents, Deasy said it “did not inspire confidence that 24th Street is on a path toward rapid improvement.”
Deasy also expressed appreciation in the Parents’ Union’s “confidence in LAUSD as the parents’ preferred partner in this transformational process.” The parents, though, will make the final decision after reviewing all of the proposals, which are due March 8. Charter operators that indicated they will submit are Academia Moderna; Crown Preparatory Academy; Frederick Douglass Academy Elementary School & Vista Academy Elementary School; Global Education Academy; Para Los Niños, and Celerity Global Development. Celerity was the choice of the parents’ union in Compton Unified, the site of the first parent trigger. After litigation prolonged the process, Celerity abandoned its quest to operate McKinley Elementary and started a school in a nearby church.