More than 15 years ago, Henry Perez along with students and parents from InnerCity Struggle walked around Boyle Heights, knocking on doors to ask residents to sign a petition. The petition would be used to allow the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools to become external managers of some of the highest-need schools east of downtown Los Angeles.

“Our students and our parent members were very excited to bring about change in the schools on the eastside, and to find an alternative to the status quo, which was not working for our students and families,” said Henry, executive director of InnerCity Struggle, a nonprofit organization promoting healthy, safe and nonviolent communities. 

InnerCity Struggle members supported the Partnership for its approach, seeking increased autonomy over school sites, and its aim to improve academic outcomes. Members were particularly impressed by the Partnership’s commitment to transforming a culture of exclusion and low expectations into one characterized by collaboration, higher expectations, and students and parents as vital contributors in identifying and solving problems, Henry added.

“The Partnership opened up the doors and invited us in. The value of our community organization working with the Partnership is that we need the inside and the outside approach to solve the needs in our educational system,” he stated. 

Through intentional and mutually beneficial collaboration with community partners, the Partnership has been able to leverage additional support and resources for the individualized needs and goals of its schools. 

“The Partnership has demonstrated a bold and intentional commitment to creating change and that they are not afraid to partner with the community and be transparent,” Henry said.