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Valley Perspective | PERSPECTIVE ON LAUSD

Subdistrict Goals

September 03, 2000|DEBORAH L. LEIDNER, District A

A sweeping reorganization of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the cornerstone of a reform plan, has placed 11 veteran administrators in charge of new subdistricts that schools chief Roy Romer has said will bring administration closer to families. To better understand the effects of decentralization on the San Fernando Valley area, Valley Perspective asked the leaders of the three Valley-based districts to write about their challenges and goals, the changes parents and students can expect and what the administrators will do to improve education in their area. Here are the essays they wrote:

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District A represents a diverse student population. Whether our schools are in urban areas or in the rolling hills, all parents have the same goals for their children. Public opinion polls and satisfaction surveys show us that while our citizens love their neighborhood schools, they distrust the system.

To restore the public's confidence, we must be responsive, must communicate, must be accountable and must be honest.

We have a major responsibility to restore public confidence. Our move to local districts will allow increased interaction between the system and our "clients."

We in District A will work to support the goals of the district reorganization plan for each of five groups that interact to support our students:

* Teachers. As a system, we exist to support the teachers. The classroom teacher is the key to our success. We need to provide teachers with continuous training, from their pre-teaching experience throughout their careers.

The District A professional development team is already at work providing training and workshops prior to the beginning of the traditional school year. Recently, more than 1,500 District A teachers participated in workshops on reading, mathematics and language development. Training will be the foundation of the work of District A.

* Parents. We need to furnish accurate, consistent, timely information to parents concerning our goals, programs and the progress of their children. Parents must be provided with the educational opportunities they need to assist their children. Parent education will be focused on assisting children within the home. We will welcome parents and involve them as productive contributors to the educational process.

* Administrators. School administration plays a key role in the improvement of student achievement. They set a tone on the school campus and provide ongoing instructional support to the school staff. Future and new administrators need to be nurtured and encouraged, and our veterans need to be energized and validated. Administrators must be prepared to be managers, leaders and master teachers.

* Classified / support staff. Our classified staff and support personnel are vital to our success. They keep our schools running and support our students. They need to remain in the communication loop and understand the roles they play in our mission. School secretaries, classroom aides, plant managers and cafeteria personnel interact with our children and the public. They will be provided with the tools they need to do an effective job.

* Community / public agencies. There is a significant desire on the part of public agencies, business, industry and local colleges to play a role in our school communities. We need to let them in and allow them to be partners. We need to become user-friendly to an underutilized outside world.

District A is filled with people striving to improve student achievement. We need to work together but, most of all, we have to ensure that members of the educational community have vision and are willing to work tirelessly to do a better job of educating our children.

We have a large geographic area to serve, and while our goals are the same for all students, our priorities are determined by the specific needs at each site:

* Reading and literacy remain a top priority for all students, including our English language learners. Additionally, mathematics instruction will be a major focus this school year.

* Many San Fernando Valley communities, including areas in District A, have overcrowded schools. The need for space and new schools is a critical issue.

* A significant number of schools in District A are "high performing." Meeting the needs of gifted and high-achieving students is a challenge, as is assisting low-performing students at those high-achieving schools.

* At-risk students are found in every community, cross economic and ethnic lines, and need our best thinking and creative solutions.

Our students will understand our high expectations; know that we will be consistent; trust that we will provide them with a safe, clean environment, as well as the books, materials, teachers and support they need to be successful. They will know that we believe in them and in their ability to learn.

The educators, parents, students and support staff in District A can depend upon their district superintendent to set a tone for the district. Each of us must understand the need to be accountable and understand that as participants in an educational institution we have a responsibility to be positive role models for the children.

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