Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
Over 300 educators at our Investment schools have participated in the Reed Restorative Communities Professional Development and are on their way to earning a certificate as a Partnership Restorative Communities Practitioner. After 40 hours of successful completion of the specialized training, these educators will be certified to incorporate restorative practices and principles in their teaching, support and/or supervision of instruction.
Educator Spotlight: Mr. John Stephens, 8th grade U.S. History & Media Arts teacher at Carver Middle School
Earlier this month, Mr. John Stephens, eighth grade U.S. History & Media Arts at Carver Middle School, completed a remarkable literacy achievement: his class won the “Achieve 3000 Read to Succeed” contest! Mr. Stephens, who has been teaching at Carver Middle School for 11 years, has made it his goal to successfully created a truly blended classroom, where he uses computers and traditional books to keep his students motivated and wanting to learn.
On Saturday, January 24th, dozens of students, families, and community partners with the Building Healthy Communities – Boyle Heights Health Happens in Schools Workgroup participated and facilitated at “Illuminarte,” an all-day community event at the General Hospital Wellness Center.
Thanks to our funding for restorative justice from The California Endowment, we were able to participate in the planning and execution of the festivities. Several of our students from Roosevelt and Mendez created and led carnival-style learning games on the School Climate Bill of Rights (SCBOR) and Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
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.