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  • LAUSD Community Schools Initiative History

    In 2017, The Los Angeles Unified School District passed the board resolution Embracing Community Schools Strategies in Los Angeles Unified School District, which established a Community Schools Implementation Team (CSIT) comprised of business, education, community, and civic partners to develop a roadmap for the implementation of a community school program in the District. As part of that effort, L.A. Unified and UTLA, as signing partners in the L.A. Compact, brought forward a recommendation to the Stewardship Group to endorse community schools as a priority strategy for the collective impact initiative. L.A. Compact Stewardship Group members—which includes representatives from L.A. City and County government, First 5 LA, the LACCD and CSU systems, United Way, L.A. Unified, LACOE, and labor partners –provided feedback to the L.A. Unified Community Schools Implementation Team (CSIT) on their recommendations to support and expand community schools in Los Angeles.

    The CSIT’s belief that “every child is entitled to a quality public and district operated school in every neighborhood” and that a comprehensive community school model had great potential to advance shared goals that all students: 1) are healthy and ready to succeed in school; 2) graduate from high school; 3) complete postsecondary education; 4) acquire skills and knowledge for career success; and 5) thrive socially emotionally and contribute positively to the community. The group endorsed the following strategy as 1 of 8 priorities in 2019-2020:

    Expand a comprehensive model for prek-12 community schools and the coordination of wrap-around support services for students from early childhood through college countywide.

    As part of its new contract agreement with UTLA, L.A. Unified agreed to fund:

    • $150,000 per school for up to 20 schools selected in Cohort 1 (2019-20) to undergo a community school designation process
    • $150,000 per school for up to 10 additional schools (total of 30) to participate in Cohort 2 of the Community Schools pilot
    • $250,000 per school for Year 2 of selected Cohort 1 (2020-21) & Cohort 2 schools (2021-22)

    Additionally, the agreement outlined each organization’s ability to nominate 8 members to the initiative’s agreed upon steering committee and to jointly designate 2 co-chairs. LAUSD and UNITE-LA were identified as co-conveners of the CSSC. 

    With a planning grant ($10k) from the Stuart Foundation, the CSSC organized convenings, which grounded school teams in the history, principles, and successes of the community school model. The sessions also provided a framework for developing a strong needs and assets assessment with extensive community input. A key outcome from these convenings was the creation of a clear list of benchmarks, developed by the CSSC to guide school teams through the Community Schools designation process.
    A key lesson learned from these large convenings was that schools needed more regular and very targeted assistance to advance their efforts once they understood the basics of the Community School model. As a result, in Nov. 2019 the CSSC developed a new structure that included the establishment of subcommittees to help hone in the work and advance the initiatives efforts. The committees developed are:

    Community School Professional Learning Community (CSPLC): Led by one staff from LAUSD and one staff from UTLA, the CSPLC aims to support Community School Coordinators (CSC) and other stakeholders to successfully achieve the Community School designation benchmarks. L.A. Unified and UTLA convene the CSCs bi-monthly through centralized and regional workshops, assisting these leaders with information on general job duties, crisis response, trauma informed practices, and meeting community school benchmarks. Additionally, through one-on-one meetings the CSCs receive support in developing a more personalized school-based plan to ensure deep engagement of a broad base of stakeholders in the leadership team, comprehensive mapping, and preparation of the needs and assets assessment.

    The CSPLC leaders are also tasked with synthesizing and sharing the professional learning needs identified across the pilot schools with another advisory group, the Community School Assistance and Action Team (CSAAT).

    Community School Assistance and Action Team (CSAAT): Composed of CSSC members and other stakeholders with professional expertise in community schools, the CSAAT reviews learning needs that emerge through the CSPLC and helps address broader professional development needs that cannot be solved immediately by the CSPLC. The CSAAT assists in the development of training curriculum on identified needs that emerge from the CSPLC as well as mobilizing leadership to address administrative barriers or needs within the district. Examples could include partnership agreements with external organizations, budgeting and classification issues with the community schools coordinators, and ensuring cohesion between the Community School pilot and other district initiatives and priorities.