Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation has renewed its investment in the Partnership with a $350K grant. Funds will primarily support leadership development for principals in addition to the broader school transformation work of the Partnership. The Biller Family Foundation has invested over $2.5 million in the Partnership’s work since the organization’s launch in 2008.
Over 400 Partnership high school students from Mendez, Roosevelt, Santee and Jordan high schools ventured away from their neighborhoods to Westwood for what, to many, was a first-time experience: attending a professional theatre production at the Geffen Playhouse.
We don’t just tell people about our work with restorative practices; we open our doors and invite them in. We welcome visitors to participate in circle, interview our students and staff, and engage in deep conversations about the lessons we’ve learned. On September 18th, Roosevelt, Gompers and Markham had visits from two school networks and several community partners eager to see our implementation of restorative practices in action.
Something’s different this year. Walking down the halls of our schools, there’s something notably different about the school and classroom environments. It’s not just the summer deep cleaning or the freshly waxed floors (though they help); there’s something collective about our environment expectations that has shifted the way schools and classrooms look and feel across the Partnership network.
This summer the Partnership once again welcomed several interns to work alongside our staff to learn more about our turnaround efforts. Interns came from all over the State including Berkeley, CA. Partnership summer interns participated in everything from family and community engagement to assisting the CEO and the executive team. We asked our interns to reflect on their time at the Partnership.
With the generous support of The California Endowment and the technical assistance of the California Conference for Equality and Justice, Roosevelt High, Markham Middle and Gompers Middle Schools each received a Restorative Justice coordinator to develop and implement restorative practices this past school year.
A colleague once remarked to me that teaching is about enabling connections. We work to connect students to the content, to ourselves, or to their classroom peers in an effort to engage their minds in learning. As educators, we should similarly connect ourselves in as many ways as possible to those who can help us further refine our craft. One way of enabling this is by traveling abroad and fostering relationships with educators of different nationalities. Not only do we gain insight into how different cultures approach the central problems in education, but we see our own society's approach to education with fresh perspective. Such a trip is invigorating both on personal and professional levels.
It's been almost eight years since Antonio Villaraigosa moved into LA City Hall and announced fixing the public schools would be a hallmark of his administration -- even though he had no formal control over the school district. Cynics scoffed and advisors cautioned, but the new mayor was on a mission and the behemoth Los Angeles Unified School District, or LAUSD, would never be the same.