The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Loyola Marymount University (LMU) yesterday, which sets the terms for the LMU Family of Schools. The MOU is a one-year initial agreement with LMU to begin working in partnership with school communities on reform efforts.
The initial one-year agreement will focus on planning and transition in the first phase of a multi-phased initiative. During this year, LMU will work with teachers, parents, community members and other stakeholders to transition into local decision-making models and develop the human capital necessary for further phases of the work.
The LMU Family of Schools’ is one of the first partnerships created in the iDesign Division (formerly iDivision) to empower parents, increase community engagement and spur student and graduation achievement. The schools partnering with LMU includes Westchester High School, Orville Wright Middle School’s community and magnet programs and Cowan, Kentwood and Westport Heights Elementary Schools.
“I am delighted that the agreement has been approved by the Board of Education so that we all have a clear agenda for moving forward,” said Board Member Marlene Canter who has worked with the community to create the LMU Family of Schools. “The partnership with LMU will connect our parents and teachers with LMU’s expertise and enable us to accelerate achievement for our students. I want to thank Loyola Marymount University and the community for helping to build a model network of support for the schools in the Westchester area.”
“This agreement between LMU and LAUSD is a first for public education in the Los Angeles region,” said Shane P. Martin, dean of the School of Education at LMU. “It allows for charter-like reform and redesign of public schools from within the district with a unique set of community-based partners. By empowering teachers, parents, business and community leaders to make decisions at the local level, in partnership with the university, this initiative sets a standard for school reform models.”
In 2007, LAUSD established the Innovation Division – now the iDesign Division – to provide school communities with a new opportunity to accelerate learning through the principles of teacher, parent and student empowerment, partnership with strong community organizations and accountability for improved academic achievement. Joining the iDesign Division gives schools increased flexibility and exemption from District policies in exchange for greater accountability.
“The parents and community members of Westchester are thrilled to see this partnership become official,” said Crissina Johnson, president and founder of POWWOW, Parents of Westchester with Orville Wright. “We know the hard work is about to begin, but we’re enthusiastic about improving our schools and increasing student achievement.”
“I am excited to see the LMU Partnership move forward. It is an excellent example and one I want to replicate in communities across this District,” said Superintendent David L. Brewer, III.
The LMU Family of Schools will work through the iDesign Division. Its role is one of support, resource provision and shared accountability. This partnership will assist schools in developing their school plans and vision; provide support and resources for student services, professional development and governance. The LMU and iDesign Division will provide resources through training and support in developing and implementing a model that works for the school site.