Change: Where Innovation Begins
UTLA has always been in the forefront of school improvement based on empowering teachers, parents, and other stakeholders. More than ever, collaborative reform is an urgent necessity, especially now that the LAUSD school board has opened up the running of new and PI 3+ schools to outside operators. While many LAUSD schools have shown growth, others have not and need assistance. For some schools, this may involve revising the Single Plan for Student Achievement to better address student and school needs. Other schools may want to look into the various alternative school reform models that have been initiated by UTLA in which teachers, parents, administrators and students can all become true partners in school change.
Pilot schools are given charter-like freedoms and are expected to be models of educational innovation. They are also expected to serve as research and development sites for effective urban public schools. Pilot schools enjoy maximum control over:
- Staff selection
- Budget control
- Autonomy from central office curriculum requirements:teachers choose content, have flexibility over teachin and assessment practices, promotion and graduation requirements
- Professional Development
- Autonomy to set the length of the school day and year for both students and faculty
In addition, Pilot School teachers hire and evaluate the school’s principal each year, and may transfer out at the end of the year if they so desire.
Current PILOT SCHOOLS Success Stories:
- LA High School of the Arts on the Belmont Campus
- Civitas School of Leadership on the Roybal Learning Complex campus
Affiliated charter schools have the same educational freedoms as independent charters, but they enjoy all of the benefits and protections afforded to UTLA members. They go through the same extensive approval procedures as all other independent charters. As with independent charters, Affiliated Charters also have complete freedom over curriculum, professional development, budget and all other educational concerns. They may even have “private partners” such as universities and businesses.
The significant difference, however, is that teachers at Affiliated Charters remain LAUSD employees and members of UTLA. Thus, unlike teachers in independent charters, they retain all salary, health and retirement benefits as any other LAUSD certificated employee.
Current AFFILIATED CHARTER Success Stories:
- Westwood Elementary School, Paul Revere Charter
- Middle School, Open Charter Magnet
ESBMM, or Expanded School-Based Management Model, is probably the easiest way for a school to gain control over its educational program. ESBMM seeks to facilitate improved staffing practices, budget management, parent involvement, and scheduling of time.
The goals of an ESBMM school are:
- Increased funding to the local school site based on the State ADA and categorical funding framework
- Absolute control over its financial resources
- Absolute control over the hiring of administrative, certificated, and classified employees, with no must-place placements
- Absolute control over curriculum
- Absolute control over professional development
- Absolute control over bell schedules
Current ESBMM Success Story:
iDesign schools are given maximum freedom and autonomy, with accountability, to improve student achievement. iDesign schools are given local control over budget, curriculum, hiring, assessment, scheduling and other aspects of the educational program. Most of the iDesign schools operate through a three year agreement (a memo of understanding) between a network partner and LAUSD, via the iDesign Division. iDesign schools are not administered by local districts, but can contract with the local district for services.
Current I-DESIGN Success Stories:
- Manual Arts High School
- Crenshaw High School