The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest school district in the nation. Including Early Childhood and Adult Education, our enrollment is over one million students served in 1,333 schools and centers

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District Overview

The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second largest school district in the nation. Including Early Childhood and Adult Education, our enrollment is over one million students served in 1,333 schools and centers. We employ 68,000 people. The District has a clear focus: provide a top quality education for all students so they may graduate prepared for college admission and entry into the workplace. Over the last four years, performance results have steadily increased with double digit gains in the District’s API scores, improvement in graduation rates and steady increases in both EL and Math CST scores. In 2010-2011 district-wide proficiency in English Language Arts improved from 41% to 43%, and proficiency in Math from 39% to 43%.

As we celebrate this improvement and recognize the hard work of our teachers, administrators, parents and students, we still harbor great concern over the consistent low academic performance at several school sites. Based on 2010 state data, some of the major challenges we face include: 260 of our schools remain underperforming and have been designated in Program Improvement 3+ years and more than a third of our students are classified as English Learners. The current LAUSD graduation rate is only 69.6%, and the 2009-10 dropout rate was calculated to be 24.5%.
For the 2011 School Improvement Grant (SIG), LAUSD had 31 consistently low performing schools deemed eligible for SIG funding. Nine of these schools were awarded funding through SIG, 2010. This year all remaining eligible schools were considered for application, however many of the schools are already involved in other District reform processes. This application is submitted on behalf of a second cohort of twelve schools that serve more than 19,820 students. They have been selected for their need, demonstrated capacity and the expressed commitment to improve and participate in SIG and other aligned District reform processes. Our emphasis on expanding learning opportunities, increasing parent engagement, and improving both teacher and school leadership effectiveness defines the core of this important grant proposal that will provide much-needed fiscal and human resources to improve these struggling schools.

District Reform Efforts

Many District initiatives demonstrating forward thinking and innovation are already in motion and showing measurable improvement results. One notable reform effort is LAUSD’s Public School Choice Initiative, whereby internal and external teams of teachers, district leaders and educational organization compete to lead several of our new campuses and “Focus” (persistently low-performing) schools. The aim of PSC (now in its third year) is to ensure that all students have more choices and access to high quality instructional programs

Another major LAUSD reform milestone for improving teaching and leadership began in Fall 2009 with the establishment of the Teacher Effectiveness Task Force. Labor partners, parents and community representatives, private sector leaders, higher education partners, as well as district leaders, teachers and administrators, worked collectively to propose bold steps related to improving teacher, administrator, and support personnel effectiveness. On April 27, 2010 the Task Force presented its report to the Board of Education with recommendations for: redesigning the teacher and administrator evaluation process; differentiated compensation and career ladders; restructured tenure process; augmentation of teacher support; intervention and professional growth; and legislative action steps needed to implement proposed changes. The District staff developed a three-year implementation plan based on the Task Force’s recommendation towards having an effective teacher in every classroom, and an effective principal leading every school by Fall 2016.

Superintendent John Deasy is committed to further developing and implementing this comprehensive reform and evaluation system. The most recent 2011 developments for this process are that we have pursued and continue to engage in a series of efforts, including deep stakeholder engagement, analysis of existing data and practices, and work to design and build new approaches, roles, systems and tools. This year over 1,000 teachers and administrators volunteered to participate in summer training and are now part of a pilot implementation of the new teacher evaluation process. Several of the components of this strategic plan are embedded in the SIG schools’ implementation plans. Both cohorts of SIG schools will work collaboratively to prototype, initiate, develop, and test the actions proposed in the District’s 3-year strategic plan for supporting all employees.

I. Needs Analysis
Under the direction of Dr. Donna Muncey, Chief of Intensive Support and Intervention, staff from Superintendent’s Leadership Team and the Local Districts, evaluated this year’s list of 22 eligible SIG applicants. The intent of this process was to go beyond a cursory data analysis and conduct a deeper needs and capacity analysis to measure each school’s readiness and suitability for the SIG intervention model requirements. Some of the eligible schools, notably Audubon Middle School and International Studies Learning Center, while still underperforming, had shown significant improvement. SIG was deemed to potentially be too intrusive to these schools that were already moving in the right direction. Several schools, including Carson and Los Angeles High Schools, had been engaged in preparing Public School Choice plans and wished to complete those proposals rather than write to a different set of requirements.
After a careful evaluation of multiple screening variables, LAUSD is submitting this SIG application on behalf of twelve applicant schools, targeting those sites with the highest potential for success. By focusing on only twelve schools, the District will be able to maximize the integration of District and school resources to accelerate achievement while simultaneously commanding a high level of accountability for measurable results.

SIG Application Process

On October 17th and 24th, 2011 meetings were held for the leadership teams from the eligible SIG schools. At these meetings the terms of the grant were presented along with the criteria for each intervention model. In order to be included in the SIG application, the schools had to hold a Public Meeting for their stakeholders to discuss the grant implications and any potential modifications it might pose to their existing Single Plans. Based on input from these meetings, each school then met with their Instructional Leadership teams and councils to decide if they would pursue the grant.

Fourteen eligible schools submitted letters of intent to participate in the SIG application process. To better measure their needs and capacity for meeting the criteria of the SIG, each school completed a narrative-form assessment survey designed to provide far more detail than the District could get from the typical APS or DAS tools.

The assessment survey questions guided their needs analysis. Information from their Single Plans and SARCs also considered with each application included:

  • CST, CELDT, CAHSEE, AP and local assessment scores

  • Course pass/failure rates

  • Attendance, graduation and dropout rates

  • Disciplinary actions

  • Staff experience levels and school-union relationships

  • Professional development plans and schedules; Teacher support systems

  • Parent engagement in school governance and activities

  • Community support and partnerships

  • Effectiveness of in-place intervention systems

  • After school programs and summer programs – extra learning time

  • Previous reform experiences in CSRD, II/USP, HPSG, etc.

  • Financial resources, grants, other support to supplement the SIG

Each school described their strengths and weaknesses, and provided an overview of their community. Additionally, the schools candidly described their previous attempts at school reform, and the challenges that still impede their ability to improve achievement. The schools examined the criteria for each SIG reform model and determined which one would best align with their improvement needs and goal. Each school also described how SIG funds could be targeted to improve their programs. All of this information was then submitted to the District as their school’s SIG application.

District Analysis of School Findings
In the second SIG selection phase, District level instructional and administrative staff used a lens of five more questions to focus on the capacity of each grant applicant:
1. What was the school currently doing to enable students to make progress?

Each school’s Single School Plan and high school WASC accreditation reports were reviewed for a description of interventions and other operating programs.

2. What had been the school’s previous experience with other reform programs including CSRD, II/USP, HPSG and QEIA?

The District ascertained the site’s participation in each program and examined if the resources had generated any notable progress or changes in the school.

3. What was the school’s recent success or failure level in meeting measurable outcomes and goals established by the District’s Accountability Matrix?

Using School Accountability Report Cards (SARC) and other district data, we analyzed 3-year trends in: state testing results (CST, CELDT, CAHSEE), proficiency rates in core subjects for all students and subgroups, performance on local periodic assessments, course enrollments (A-G, AP/Honors), course pass-rates, EL reclassification rates, teacher and student attendance, graduation/dropout rates, and disciplinary actions.

4. Why had the school’s overall performance improved or remained the same?

Information about the staff composition, stability, leadership effectiveness, professional development, alignment of fiscal resources, information from staff, parent and student surveys, and input from Local District superintendents and school directors familiar with the sites were all considered to measure the culture and historic issues.

5. What SIG requirements would best assure the likelihood of school improvement?

The strategies required for each SIG intervention model were compared with the level of present interventions and reforms at each school. Consideration was then given to which SIG model would best accelerate reforms at each site.

After completing this multi-tiered screening process, only twelve schools were deemed qualified and these were invited to submit plans for the SIG application. All of the schools were selected based upon a balance of needs with a high level of readiness to move forward with the reform strategies required of each SIG reform model.
Initial Plans

The third phase of the LAUSD’s application process required each school to complete a draft of an implementation chart. Using their Single Plans for Student Achievement, each school’s Instructional Leadership team decided which strategies they would implement to meet the required and optional criteria for their selected reform model and then present to their schools decisions that required modification of their existing Single School Plans. The implementation charts were accompanied by three-year budgets and budget narratives defining how SIG funds would be used to implement the plans.

On November 4th these implementation proposals were submitted to the District for review. District staff from the SIG Turnaround Support Center analyzed the proposed implementation plans for: alignment to the SIG models, feasibility, allocation of other school resources, staff and community buy-in, use of research-based strategies, and the appropriateness of the plan to meet the needs of the school. School administrators met with their site leadership councils to prepare budgets and budget narratives. These budgets were submitted to a SIG Fiscal Specialist for review and revision. Once these documents were approved, letters of commitment from the principals and councils to participate in the SIG application were submitted to the District (See Appendix).
All of our twelve cohort 2 applicants, particularly those sites located in very high crime, high poverty communities, have hundreds of students experiencing dire circumstances that severely impact their daily lives and ability to attend school and learn. The dedicated staff members of these selected schools are sensitive to these conditions and challenges, but at the same time earnestly strive to create programs, interventions and support structures that can ensure all of their students a quality education.
SIG resources would supplement their current efforts and make rapid improvements in instruction and teacher effectiveness possible. Many community partnerships have been formed in several of these school communities and letters of support have been gathered to demonstrate a commitment to these SIG implementation plans.
SIG Applicants Data Summary






ELA (2011)

% Below Basic/

Far Below Basic

Math (2011)

% Below Basic/

Far Below Basic

Belmont HS





Clay MS





Clinton MS





Crenshaw HS





Drew MS





East Valley HS





Gage MS





Manual Arts HS





Muir MS





South East HS





Washington Prep HS





Woodcrest ES





Individual School Profiles
Henry Clay Middle School – SIG model: Restart

2011 Enrollment: 984 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 18% Math: 10%

Henry Clay Middle School is located in the West Athens neighborhood of South Los Angeles. The community is almost wholly minority: 53% are African American and 43% are Latino. 40% of households earn less than $30,000; 29% of parents did not graduate high school. The student body is: 56% Latino and 44% African American. 20% of students are English Language Learners and 18% are in Special Education. 90% of students were truant for more than three days during the year. Over 85% of students qualify for the free/reduced meal program. A number of students live with extended family (e.g. grandparents) or in foster care; many of these students have severe emotional problems. The student transience rate averages 40% preventing a real continuity of instruction. After years of failed reform attempts and changes in administration, on July 1, 2011 the School Board, under PSC, turned over the operation of Clay to Green Dot Charter schools. They have both foundation support to bring additional resources and a high level of successful school management expertise to raise this school from the depths of long-term institutional failure and a culture of low expectations. Improving instruction, engaging parents, creating a safe environment, and building trust in this community are some of the major challenges for this restart school.

William Jefferson Clinton Middle School – SIG model: Turnaround

2011 Enrollment: 1,031 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 24% Math: 20%

Clinton MS is located in a primarily industrial area and the majority of parents and guardians are non-high school graduates. 100% of the students receive free/reduced meals. The student transiency level is very high at 17.6%. Clinton MS students live in a very high crime area where the rate is twice the national average for violent crimes; gang activity has a tremendous negative impact on the school and community. The attendance rate is currently 97%, but the habitual truancy rate is 28.4%. 37% of students are English Learners, and 12% are students with disabilities. After several school reform efforts and years of low academic performance, in 2011 the District decided the best way to change the culture of the school was to replace the administrators, support staff, and a majority of the teachers. Since the opening of the school year many changes have been implemented to improve the school culture by establishing Adaptive School Norms of Collaboration, developing grade level teams, providing more academic and behavioral supports for students, and inclusion of parents and other stakeholders in the Clinton reform process. Clinton has had the support of Diplomas Now for coaching and student mentors.

Muir Middle School – SIG model: Transformation

2011 Enrollment: 1,365 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 23% Math: 18%

In the Muir MS enrollment zone more than 34% of families have an annual income of less than $15,000. This is a community with the highest poverty and highest rate of violent crimes in all of Los Angeles. Additionally, more than 46% of the area‘s adults never earned a high school diploma. A consistently struggling school, for the last eight years Muir has been a part of almost every district and state reform process. The current Single Plan emphasizes a diligent effort to meet the needs of students struggling to attain grade-level proficiency. As part of 2010-2011 Public School Choice, Muir was recommended for reconstitution and the School Board established LA’s Promise (EMO) to operate this school. SIG funds will make it possible to provide professional development for the new staff and create a paradigm shift in the school culture to move from complacency with low student performance results to a new place where teachers and administrators are committed to raising expectations and performance.

Charles Drew Middle School – SIG model: Transformation

2011 Enrollment: 1,280 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 20% Math: 20%

Drew MS is located in the South Central/Watts area. The student population is: 83% Hispanic, 16% Black and 1% other. Drew has a transiency rate of approximately 35% and is a 100% Title I school. Surrounded by the largest concentration of Housing Projects in the nation, the community is often affected by high incidents of violence, which affect parent contact, parent communication, and parent participation in their children’s education. Drew has a very high transiency rate and many challenges with disruptive student behavior and a lack of student motivation. Over the last three years Drew has focused on improving administrative monitoring in the classrooms, implemented block scheduling, increased interventions and after school programs. Professional development is needed to develop the skills of many young teachers who are not equipped to deal with the challenges of high-risk students. Finding ways to engage the parents and community is another major challenge for Drew. SIG funds would allow this school to expand interventions and extra learning time during and after school for the students, and also extra time for teacher planning and collaboration.

Woodcrest Elementary School – SIG model: Transformation

2011 Enrollment: 942 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 21% Math: 25%

Woodcrest is located in a very densely populated area of Los Angeles. Median family income is 52% lower than the national average. The student transiency rate is extremely high at 34.5% which poses a major challenge for improving results. The community surrounding the school has a 250% higher rate of homicide than any other area in L.A. County. The student body is 40% African American and 59% Latino and others. 45% of the students are English Learners; 12% are students with disabilities, and 100% of the students are classified as socioeconomically disadvantaged. In recent years QEIA has provided additional funding for class size reduction, support personnel, interventions and more teacher professional development. Woodcrest needs additional support to decrease behavioral disruptions and conflicts and interventions to increase motivation and attendance. Additional instructional time would be a great benefit to the at-risk students. With many newer teachers there is a need for more collaboration and professional development time and programs that better align school data to the strategies being used in the classrooms.

George Washington Prep High School – SIG model: Restart

2011 Enrollment: 1,957 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 20% Math: 4%

Washington Prep High School is located in South Los Angeles. The residents in the neighboring area are approximately 55% African American and 45% Latino. 87% of the students are eligible for Title I services. Washington has a significant number of homeless students as well as students who live in foster care. A high transiency rate (33%) fluctuates month to month which results in a great challenge to improve student learning growth rates. Washington Prep also has many different gangs and has been exposed to and impacted by a number of violent incidents that have taken place at the site and in this community. Beginning next year the Prep will become a seven-year school, grades 6-12. Over the last three years the Prep has increased its API score by 59 points. Attendance has improved by 3%, and the CAHSEE proficiency rate increased by 5% which is 2% over the district average. Last year Algebra proficiency increased from 1% to 12%. There are many new intervention and instructional programs in place that are showing positive results and SIG funds would enhance the efforts in interventions, data analysis, professional development, and programs to engage the parents and community. In spite of steep challenges, the Prep is moving forward. As a restart school, with the added support of the EMO, the Los Angeles Education Partnership, the quality of instruction, collaboration, and school management could improve allowing this school to continue its path of reform and progress for all students.

Manual Arts High School – SIG model: Turnaround

2011 Enrollment: 3,460 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 18% Math: 6%

In the Manual Arts (MA) enrollment zone (same as Muir MS) more than 34% of families have an annual income of less than $15,000. This community has the highest poverty and the highest rate of violent crimes in all of Los Angeles; 55% of the area‘s adults never earned a high school diploma. For years MA had been one of the lowest performing schools in the state. In 2008 the school and community opted to partner with L.A.s Promise, an EMO, to operate their school. The hope was that with additional resources and responsive management they could reverse the trend of chronic failure and a dysfunctional school culture. Over the past three years, MA has seen modest gains including a 33 point API gain in 2010-2011 and a 7% decrease in the number of 9th graders who were Far Below Basic or Below Basic. However, as a legacy school, MA suffers from the worst kind of inertia. Teachers and staff face incredible odds, and as a result many of the staff members have given up and lowered their expectations for students. The instructional program is in constant turmoil and this year, prematurely, the school converted from year-round operation to traditional creating intense over-crowding. Next year, MA will lose half of their students to a new high school. The Turnaround model will permit the replacement of many teachers and staff members with the expectation that they can begin a new with a culture dedicated to improving achievement and increasing teacher/administrator effectiveness in the school.
Crenshaw High School – SIG model: Transformation

2011 Enrollment: 1,676 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 18% Math: 2%

Crenshaw (CHS) is situated in the heart of central Los Angeles. The demographics at CHS have remained stable over the past three years, with African-Americans being our largest subgroup at 68%, and Hispanics, our second largest, at 32% of our total population. In 2010 CHS had 16% English Learners; 82% of CHS is currently participating in the free and reduced lunches program. Only 23% of adults in the community possess a high school diploma. In 2008 CHS selected to partner with the Great Crenshaw Educational Partnership (EMO) that includes the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles Urban League, and Bradley Foundation to take over management of the school. This partnership provides coaches, some funding and support for parents through a Ford Foundation Grant. Positive gains were made from 2008-2010, with a 44 point API gain, increases in ELA proficiency, higher student pass rates and an increase in the graduation rate. However, a reversal trend began in 2010-2011 due to a lack of school-wide implementation of reforms, ineffective pedagogy and a decrease in parental involvement. Many higher performing students left for surrounding area charter schools and magnet programs. CHS also lost QEIA funding which will result next year in larger class size, less intervention money and fewer funds for professional development. CHS has a new principal this year that is reverting back to the successful reforms that improved the school. SIG funds would allow for increased professional development, extended learning time, intervention programs, time for teacher collaboration and a system for effective evaluation of staff performance. These are elements that the school believes will revitalize CHS and get it back on a track of success.

Gage Middle School – SIG model: Transformation

2011 Enrollment: 2,686 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 30% Math: 29%

Gage MS is located in Huntington Park where the per capita income is $9,340. Only one-third of the city’s population is employed and these are in the service sector. About one-third of the community has less than 9th grade schooling. 91% of the city’s population is Hispanic. 89% of Gage students are economically disadvantaged and 25% of the school population enters or leaves the school within each school year. Over one third of Gage students are classified as English learners. Gage MS is a three-track, year-round school but is scheduled to become a traditional calendar beginning in 2012-2013. Since 2009 Gage has increased its API score by 59 points. They have implemented many new instructional programs and interventions, created a Professional Teacher and Learning Cycle, implemented SDAIE strategies and added student support services. To continue their progress Gage would use SIG fund to provide extended learning time in core and for enrichment, add 40 minutes to each day for afterschool academic programs, create more common planning time and add instructional support coaches and an intervention coordinator. These benefits would enhance the work they have started and assure continued success for their school.

East Valley High School – SIG model: Transformation

2011 Enrollment: 1,100 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 29% Math: 8%

East Valley High School (EVHS), located in North Hollywood, serves nearly 1,000 students in grades 9-12. According to the 2000 National Census, 50% of the adults in North Hollywood have a high school diploma, and 5% have a bachelors or masters degree. One-fifth of all households in the city live below the poverty line, and the average annual family household income is less than $25,000. Eighty-one percent of EVHS students are eligible to participate in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. The student body is 87% Latino and 4% African American and others. 30% of the students are classified as English Learners and 17% are students with disabilities. From 2006-2009 EVHS had the support of the Talent Development Program through John Hopkins University. In 2010 the school reorganized the SLCs to create academies which showed positive increases from 61% to 73% on the CAHSEE pass rate. In order to continue to improve EVHS stakeholders agree they need more time to collaborate and discuss ways to build teams both vertically and across the curriculum. Extended learning time would allow for credit recovery and enrichment classes; SIG funds would also provide students supports systems and intervention opportunities that are needed by the at-risk students. Funds would be used to create parent education and engagement activities and more professional development time that is needed for inexperienced teachers.

Belmont High School –SIG model: Transformation

2011 Enrollment: 1,249 2011 Student proficient in ELA: 25% Math: 13%

The Belmont HS neighborhood has the highest concentration of immigrants, low-income families, households with second languages, single parents, and residents without a high school diploma in Los Angeles County. Eighty-five percent of the students qualify for the federal free lunch program. As a port of entry for documented and undocumented immigrants, the neighborhood’s residents are in transition, reflected by Belmont’s 38% transiency rate. A low rate of educational achievement (only 12% of the population has a college degree) is exacerbated by intergenerational participation in street gangs and a very high crime rate. QEIA funds have reduced class size, reduced the counselor-to-student ratio and funded some professional development. In 2007-08 the LAUSD Superintended targeted Belmont for reform prescribing a plan that addressed seven strategic areas for improvement. We have made great progress since that time with the development SLCs, grade-level teams and industry sector pathways for the students. For 2011 Belmont has been restructured into three small schools with their own principals, budgets and staffs, but the three together comprise Belmont High School. Major challenges include: poor parental involvement and limited area partnerships to support the SLCs. Although the staff is making changes in pedagogy a great deal of work is still needed including methods of collaboration, constructivist teaching, and strategies to address the needs of English Learners. Many of the students are below proficiency in reading and math and require extended learning time and interventions of all types. The dropout rate is significant, and Belmont must adapt the curriculum and instruction to retain more students and improve the low graduation rate of only 44%. SIG funds would allow Belmont to target the areas where help is needed the most and then be able to experience great progress in improving achievement for all students.

South East High School – SIG model: Transformation

2011 Enrollment: 3,053 2011 Students proficient in ELA: 33% Math: 7%

South East High School (SEHS) is located in the city of South Gate which has a population of 98,000. The median household income is $35,695 with 19.2% of the population living in poverty. Since over half the units in South Gate are renter occupied, one of the challenges SEHS faces is a large transience among our students. The student body is 99% Latino and 1% African American. 26% of the students are English Learners and 85% are classified as socioeconomically disadvantaged. Three years ago SEHS implemented Professional Learning Communities to increase collaboration among our teachers. Common planning time was used for data analysis and discussion around new strategies to reach the English Learners and at-risk students. SEHS has experienced a 55 point gain in the API score over the last two years, but many students are still far below grade level proficiency in ELA and Math. SIG funds would be used to establish a bell schedule that increases learning time and incorporates interventions during the school day to support more students. Funding would provide more time for professional development needed to help teachers develop pedagogy suitable for the local population and to learn how to analyze data to promote better instructional decision making. This year SEHS lost 29 teachers and it must now develop new teams and re-establish the professional culture of the school.

The individual implementation charts for these twelve schools clearly delineate the research-based strategies and types of interventions they will implement as required or suggested in three SIG reform models. With strong district and community support, these schools will evolve by improving their curriculum and methods of instruction, using data and evaluation to drive their decision making, extending learning time for all students, and developing the talents and skills of their teachers, leaders, and parents. To varying extents, the three SIG models give the schools flexibility in scheduling, methods of governance, and decision making around allocation of their resources. However, the District will not compromise on allowing autonomy that is not balanced with responsibility, responsiveness, and consistent accountability.

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