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Los Angeles Unified Announces Humanizing Education For Equitable Transformation Community Schools Plan (9-16-19)

The Los Angeles Unified School District today announced the launch of a comprehensive, research-based, equity-focused plan to achieve parity for low-performing schools in Local District West.

The new initiative – known as the Humanizing Education for Equitable Transformation (HEET) Community Schools Plan – sets goals and timelines for increases in proficiency as measured on standardized tests. The first professional learning community under this new plan consists of three high schools – Crenshaw, Dorsey and Washington Preparatory – and the middle and elementary schools that feed into those campuses. These 16 underperforming schools have a large number of African-American students.

“We need to make sure every student has the opportunity to succeed in school and life,” Austin Beutner said. “For too long, an opportunity gap has existed, and it’s time we do something about it.”

The plan calls for specialized training for teachers; instruction that emphasizes improving reading and math skills; and additional student supports, especially for those performing well below grade level. Teams of principals, teachers, parents and community members from these schools participated in the first meeting today. The keynote speaker was Dr. Shaun R. Harper from the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center.

“We cannot give up on our students or accept barely measurable or slow improvements,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said.

At Dr. McKenna’s urging in April, the Board of Education passed a resolution to increase African-American achievement across Los Angeles Unified. The HEET plan was co-authored by Dr. Darnise Williams, a senior director with Los Angeles Unified; Dr. Magan Mitchell, the HEET Equity Director for Local District West; and Dr. KiMi Wilson, an Assistant Professor of Education at California State University Los Angeles.

“Without urgent actions, black students, in general, will continue to languish at the bottom of the academic rankings in Los Angeles Unified,” Dr. McKenna said. “We have committed for years to close these achievement and opportunity gaps. This new initiative may help to close it more quickly.”

"All students can learn and succeed when given the right supports,” said Board Member Kelly Gonez, who co-authored the resolution. “By focusing on this network of schools, we are taking significant steps to ensure our African-American students have the resources they need to excel. I'm proud that we are investing in our schools to ensure every student has the opportunity to achieve their dreams with a Los Angeles Unified education."

“Here at Los Angeles Unified, we fully support bringing services close to the schools and students,” Board Member Mónica García said. “I am grateful to the community of believers who are working hard daily to close the opportunity gaps and support the pathway to graduation, college, career and success.”

“We know that every child has the ability to learn and succeed when they have access to the educational opportunities and support they need,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “I’m glad we are turning years of conversations about closing achievement gaps into a proactive, data-driven plan so we can identify and implement solutions for students.”

“We believe the targeted supports and additional resource allocation will provide our students with a path to accelerate achievement outcomes and lead to increased student success,” Local District West Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Hildreth said.

“I believe in ALL children,” Dr. Harper said. “Until we do right by black children, everything we do will fail.”

“I am excited to be a part of the Humanizing Education for Equitable Transformation Community of Schools initiative as it unapologetically centers the needs of black children by bringing together administrators, teachers, parents and families to work together in advancing academic achievement,” Dr. Wilson said.

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HEET News Release