Friday, December 10, 2010

Reforming Parent Engagement @ LAUSD

On December 14, 2010, the Los Angeles Board of Education will consider my resolution to reform parent engagement at LAUSD. Below is the resolution:

Parents as Equal Partners in the Education of their Children
Ms. Flores, Mr. Zimmer, Ms. Martinez – Resolution

Whereas, The Los Angeles Unified School District has set forth a vision that every student will receive an education in a safe, caring environment, and every student will be college-prepared and career ready;

Whereas, The Governing Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District has identified “Engaged Parents” as one of its five overarching goals to help the District track progress to meet the vision set forth above and ensure that every child it enabled to meet his/her full potential;

Whereas, Research has shown that parent engagement is inextricably linked to student achievement and success and the District has, therefore, identified family and community, together with students and educators, as part of its theory of change;

Whereas, The District’s Strategic Plan for Parental Involvement and Engagement, created by the 2008 Parent Engagement Leadership Task Force and implemented by the Parent Community Services Branch and the Parent Engagement Steering Committee, has made important progress in creating an infrastructure capable of transforming the practice and culture of parental engagement;

Whereas, Despite these efforts and incremental progress, internal and external parent engagement and Parent Center studies and surveys continue to reflect missed opportunities for authentic engagement and parental support and programmatic imbalance throughout the District;

Whereas, The Board believes that in order to fully engage and equip parents to participate fully in their children’s education at school and at home, school leaders, parents, teachers and students must first be clear and take ownership of each of their roles, rights and responsibilities in ensuring successful student achievement;

Whereas, In order to create the conditions under which parents are likely to become active participants in their child’s education, we must identify and help to remove real life barriers that hinder parental involvement by designing and aligning programs, partnerships and services that reflect the needs and challenges our families face everyday;

Whereas, We must prioritize and maximize the District’s support of parental engagement practices and promote an inclusive culture at all school sites through our office of School, Family and Parent/Community Services; and given the District’s shrinking and finite resources we must fully assess and deliberately (re)direct all our categorical, local, and discretionary investments, in compliance with federal and state laws, to reach this stated obligation to all parents; and

Whereas, Principals are the driving force behind the creation and sustainability of a welcoming school environment and the fostering of a strong culture of parental engagement; now, therefore be it

Resolved, That the Superintendent shall within 30 days deliver to the Governing Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District a report outlining the District’s current parent engagement funding sources, allocations, outcomes yielded from these investments over the last 2 years;

Resolved further, That the Board directs the Superintendent to commission a taskforce representative of District parents, each District-level parent committee, parent advocates, school leaders, teachers, staff, labor partners, key District units including the Parent Community Service Branch, Adult Education, Personnel Commission, Student Health and Human Services, Office of Curriculum, Instruction and School Support, Office of Early Childhood Education and others, key public institutions including County and City departments, universities and philanthropies for the purpose of developing the following:

• A District Parents’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
• A Core Parent & Family Center Resource Curriculum and Parent Center (henceforth renamed Parent & Family Center) Accountability Matrix
• A framework and menu of viable delivery models for our Parent & Family Centers and the implementation of a District Family Support Network as a key component of the Parent Centers

Resolved further, That the taskforce shall present their proposal for a District Parents’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities to the Board for consideration and adoption within 90 days. The proposal, building upon current state and federal guidelines, shall be reflective of the following principles:

• Parents are the first and lifelong teachers of their children
• Parents are knowledgeable and critical advocates for their children
• Parents are equitable partners in education requiring access to all pertinent information about their child’s school environment, instructors, and educational options and school site personnel
• Parents are inseparable from the academic success of their children
• Parents are equally accountable for educational outcomes

Once adopted, the distribution and use of the District Parents’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities as a tool to improve District-wide parental engagement shall be outlined in the District’s 2011-2014 Strategic Plan for Parental Involvement.

Resolved further, That the Taskforce shall build upon the existing Parent Engagement Toolkit and further develop a Core Parent & Family Center curriculum and Parent & Family Center Accountability Matrix within 60 days. The curriculum shall reflect the tools and resources necessary for parents to participate in and fully support their child’s education.

Programming at all school site Parent & Family Centers, at a minimum, must reflect the core curriculum and Parent & Family Center accountability measures set forth by the Taskforce. Parent & Family Center staff, together with the school principal, shall submit annual Parent & Family Center program plans to the Parent Community Service Branch for review and approval prior to each academic school year. Such plans should be developed in conjunction with a community organization with well-established parent engagement training expertise, reflect clear outcomes and accountability measures, and demonstrate sufficient staffing budget allocations for successful program execution.

Resolved further, That the Taskforce shall deliver within 90 days a framework for the creation and implementation of a District Family Support Network (Network). The proposed Network shall seek to remove barriers to meaningful parent engagement in our schools through the systematic alignment of comprehensive parent and family wrap-around services and trainings through a central access point, e.g. Parent & Family Centers, at every school site.
The Network framework shall set forth the vision, goals and outcomes for a family support system that seamlessly links existing District student and family services, both academic and non-academic, and creates partnerships that connect parents to additional family supports provided by the County, City and other community and government institutions.

Resolved further, That the Taskforce will also develop a menu of viable delivery models under which to operate the Parent & Family Centers and Network. Each model shall include all necessary staffing requirements and/or reconfigurations to ensure successful implementation and long-term sustainability.

In determining the necessary staffing levels and expertise to ensure robust Parent & Family Centers and the successful implementation and sustainability of the District’s Family Support Network, the Taskforce will, first and foremost, prioritize the interests and rights of parents to advocate for their children and the responsibility of District to support their empowerment to do so successfully. As such, the Taskforce’s staffing recommendations shall reflect exploration of typical staffing positions commonly found in successful parental engagement models around the country, pilot programs and mixed-resourced positions.

Resolved further, That the Parent Community Services Branch, in conjunction with District parent committees, using existing funds shall create an Administrator Leadership Best Practices program that identifies principal leaders who have successfully fostered a culture of parent engagement, disseminates best practices, strategies and models for parental engagement District-wide, and provides additional support for outstanding proposed and existing parent leadership and training programs;

Resolved further, That school sites (i.e. principals and teachers) and Parent & Family Centers shall support the full implementation of critical District parent resources e.g. the School Report Card and Parent Survey, as well as the generation of individualized Parent-Teacher-Student compacts outlining the annual expected academic goals and expectations of individual students and the responsibilities of the parent(s), student and teacher in supporting those goals; and be it finally

Resolved further, That every local district Superintendent will support principals in the development and implement of successful parent and family centers.

Resolved, That the Superintendent will work collaboratively with our Administrators bargaining unit to incorporate the use of multiple measures such as the successful implementation and execution of parent engagement strategies including the use of the District School Report card; accessibility of school site orientations; and successful elementary, middle school and high school student articulation as important and measurable components in the annual evaluation of principal leaders during the 2011-2012 collective bargaining negotiations.