Los Angeles Superintendent John Deasey plans to shut down Crenshaw High School, which has been making rapid strides with its school improvement plan.

The school community is fighting back.

Here is the exciting news: Community organizers from several cities (LA, Philly, New Orleans and others) are joining together to file a Civil Rights complaint against the US Department of Education around school closings.

If you are in LA, join parents and the community on January 14 and 15.

This email came from Alex Caputo Pearl, a teacher at Crenshaw High School

From: Caputoprl@aol.com

Some CRITICAL, NEW updates. First, we hope to see as many of you as possible (and please forward this broadly and bring more!!!) at both Monday’s, Jan 14, 4:00pm parent-led press conference in front of Crenshaw High School (5010 11th Avenue, LA, 90043) and Tuesday’s, Jan 15, 3:30pm action at the LAUSD School Board (333 S. Beaudry, parking in the lot on 4th/Boylston or on 4th Street around Bixel). Parents and organizers will be outside the Board Room on Tuesday as you arrive to describe the tactical plan (which may be shifting, depending on events). These Mon and Tues actions are critical events in support of real, progressive reform and against scorched-earth destabilization of schools that LAUSD is pushing forward, particularly in South LA. We can draw a line in the sand here — parents, students, community, and faculty/staff are doing that and need support.


Deasy’s proposal on the agenda for this Tuesday states that he wants to “magnet convert” Crenshaw and 2 other schools (Wright Middle and CRES 20). As far as Crenshaw, it states “tentative” themes for the magnets, but does not give much more detail — including no detail on how existing student programs or staffing are proposed to be handled. The school community’s demands are below, and now include a demand to postpone any Board vote on Crenshaw until the other 3 demands (Support for Extended Learning Cultural model, No reconstitution, Money for programs) are engaged.

MORE IMPORTANT UPDATES HERE. The organizing around this is hot and potentially ground-breaking. Coming out of the panel yesterday with LA’s Labor/Community Strategy Center and Community Rights Campaign (CRC), and organizers from Chicago, Philly, and New Orleans, the CRC and Crenshaw will collaborate on joining the federal Title VI Civil Rights Act complaint against the U.S. Department of Education on the disproportionate and racist impact of unproven, damaging school restructurings on students of color. CRC and Crenshaw will likely send parents and organizers to a hearing on this complaint with the US DOE and Congressional members in Washington, DC in late January. We’ll announce this Monday and Tuesday.

LAST IMPORTANT UPDATE HERE. And, our coalition is broadening in interesting ways. Our allies at the Sierra Club — which is a part of Crenshaw’s Extended Learning Cultural model, providing students with learning experiences while organizing for environmental justice and recreational space in their community — have launched a national online petition protesting Deasy’s reconstitution and supporting the Crenshaw school community’s demands. There are already hundreds and hundreds of signatures from LA and across the country. Sign it at http://action.sierraclub.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=271865.0

The Crenshaw basic flyer and 2-page fact sheet are below, for your reference, again. Please forward this email broadly, recruit people to Monday and Tuesday, and send your emails and make your calls to the LAUSD Board Members (below as part of flyer). HOPE TO SEE YOU MONDAY AND TUESDAY.

Best, and thank you, Alex Caputo-Pearl, Crenshaw High School

LAUSD Threatens Crenshaw High’s Model That Is Showing Gains
Superintendent Deasy Is Disrespecting Parents and Community By Not Consulting Them; He Is Pushing to Magnet Convert and Reconstitute Crenshaw

Take Action! This is Not a Done Deal! Support the Model That Shows Gains!

Crenshaw has a plan to reach excellence. The Extended Learning Cultural model created test score gains and other improvements in 2011-12, and set a pathway for more success.

Deasy is disrupting the model and hurting students by pushing to magnet convert and reconstitute Crenshaw. Reconstitution means forcing all teachers/staff to re-apply, with very few returning, including most or all who sponsor critical student programs. Educational research does not support reconstitution.

The Superintendent has not consulted parents, students, staff, or community about his plans – continuing a history of LAUSD disrespect for our community.

Deasy’s actions go against the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which requires parent involvement. He is putting money from the federal SIG grant and national foundations at risk. Deasy is jeopardizing the school’s positive accreditation review by bringing more instability to Crenshaw.

Crenshaw’s Extended Learning Cultural model is based on supporting all students. Deasy’s plans would likely lead to certain students being excluded and increasing drop-out rates.

The school community demands that LAUSD:
A. Postpone any vote on Crenshaw at the School Board until discussions of these demands are engaged.
B. Support and provide resources for Crenshaw’s Extended Learning Cultural model.
C. Reverse plans to reconstitute. Collaborate with Crenshaw stakeholders on any and all plans. Rather than forcing teachers/staff to re-apply, support the teacher/staff locally-developed commitment letter.
D. Provide money to build on current efforts to provide social services for students, more college counseling, Positive Behavior Support programs, and parent engagement resources.

Come to Crenshaw’s Parent-Led Press Conference on Mon, 1/14, 4:00pm, 5010 11th Avenue

Come to the LAUSD School Board on Tues, 1/15, 3:30pm, 333 S. Beaudry

ASAP Call & Email Deasy and All Board Members to Show Your Support for the School Community Demands Above
Superintendent John Deasy – 213-241-7000 – john.deasy@lausd.net
Board Member Marguerite LaMotte – 213-241-6382 – marguerite.lamotte@lausd.net
Board Member Monica Garcia – 213-241-6180 – monica.garcia@lausd.net
Board Member Tamar Galatzan – 213-241-6386 – tamar.galatzan@lausd.net
Board Member Steve Zimmer – 213-241-6387 – steve.zimmer@lausd.net
Board Member Bennett Kayser – 213-241-5555 – BoardDistrict5@lausd.net
Board Member Nury Martinez – 213-241-6388 – nury.martinez@lausd.net
Board Member Dick Vladovic – 213-241-6385 – richard.vladovic@lausd.net

More information on reverse side of this flyer. To get involved further and to RSVP for 1/14 & 1/15, call 323-907-4681.

LAUSD Threatens Crenshaw High’s Model That Is Showing Gains
Facts Every Stakeholder Should Know

Crenshaw’s Extended Learning Cultural model is based on:
· Personalized and theme-based instruction through small learning communities
· Cultural relevance
· College preparation
· Services and behavior supports for students
· A well-rounded curriculum
· An extended school day
· Learning activities outside of school such as internships and leadership experiences, that help students understand themselves and contribute to their community
· Supporting excellent teaching. Crenshaw was awarded Ford Foundation monies for professional development. The school formed partnerships with USC, the Bradley Foundation, and West Ed for ongoing teacher support.

Crenshaw’s Gains and Improvements — In 2011-12, using the Extended Learning Cultural model, Crenshaw High:
· Improved its API by 15 points and met all California API growth targets except for 1, often far exceeding targets (for example, a 92 point API gain among special education students).
· Improved its API among African-American students to levels higher than 6 of the other 7 major South LA high schools.
· Increased proficiency rates on the CAHSEE math among Limited English Proficient students by 300%.
· Increased the percentage of students who scored Proficient and Advanced on the Algebra 2 CST from 3 percent to 19 percent, an increase of over 600%.
· Increased the percentage of students moving from the Far Below Basic and Below Basic bands into the Basic band on the Geometry CST from 5% to 10%, a doubling in one year.
· Increased the percentage of students moving from the Far Below Basic and Below Basic bands into the Basic band on the World History CST by 10 percentage points, a 50% jump in one year.
· Increased by 7 percentage points the number of students in the Proficient and Advanced bands of the Chemistry CST.
· Increased the number of African-American 10th graders passing the CAHSEE English and Math sections, and increased these students’ math proficiency by 7.7 percentage points.
· Increased scores in CAHSEE Language Arts on all of the content strands except for writing strategies and writing conventions.
· Improved social services, college counseling, and parent engagement, while making plans for Positive Behavior Support and Restorative Justice programs to support students socially and academically.
· More work needs to be done for Crenshaw to reach excellence. However, the gains above are impressive 1-year improvements for a school that LAUSD has constantly destabilized (33 LAUSD administrative changes in the last 7 years) and for a school that fell in some test scores between 2009-11, largely because of a principal who was imposed on the school by LAUSD.

Reconstitution (forcing all faculty and staff to re-apply):
· Led to the majority of staff not getting accepted back at Manual Arts and Fremont. Many staff who were forced out at those schools were African-American. Many had been running important student programs, teaching Advanced Placement, and coaching sports. Most replacement teachers were not connected to the community and were not teachers of color. Some only had commitments to teaching through the time period it would take to pay off their student loans.
· Would end the Extended Learning Cultural model. The model has been built by the current staff, in collaboration with others, including prominent African-American educational researchers. Forcing staff to re-apply, and then not accepting them back, would end the Extended Learning Cultural model.
· Is not supported by educational research. Dr. Tina Trujillo from UC Berkeley writes that reconstitution “destabilizes schools organizationally . . . undermines the climate for students and teachers . . . increases racial and socioeconomic segregation . . . does not improve the quality of new hires . . . and it actually breeds more problems with turnover.”

Superintendent Deasy’s plans disrespect parents and community by not consulting them, and also break the law:
· Federal ESEA section 1116(b) states that when a District decides to restructure a school, it must provide “prompt notice to teachers and parents” and that this must be “in a language the parents can understand.” Many Crenshaw parents never received notice of Deasy’s plans. The letter that was sent out by LAUSD to some Crenshaw parents – not received by many – was not in Spanish (over 30% of Crenshaw’s student population come from homes in which Spanish is the primary language).
· Federal ESEA section 1116(b) states that when a District restructures a school, it must “provide teachers and parents with an adequate opportunity to participate in developing any plan.” This has not happened. Deasy says his office is writing a plan.
· Any change to the SIG grant plan or spending – Deasy’s plan would change both — must go through the Crenshaw School Site Council and the California Department of Education in Sacramento. Deasy’s plan has not been discussed with either. The SIG plan was written collaboratively at the Crenshaw school site – the grant was given to very few schools across the State of California.

Deasy’s plans put Crenshaw’s national foundation monies and WASC’s positive accreditation review at risk:
· The Ford Foundation wrote in November 2012 that the Extended Learning Cultural model “holds promise as an approach to deepen and expand the opportunities available to students.” Over 2011-12, Ford invested $225,000 in Crenshaw – Crenshaw was one of very few schools picked nationally for this grant. Ford was poised to invest more money into Crenshaw – and could have helped leverage more funding from other foundations — but Ford suspended those discussions on additional monies when Deasy announced his plans to undermine the Extended Learning Cultural model.
· In March 2012, WASC wrote that “the entire school is now working together as a team.” The WASC Committee recommended the school be given a chance to further stabilize. The Committee also recommended that Dr. Sylvia Rousseau from USC “continue as a coach or counselor for the next site principal.” LAUSD has not included Dr. Rousseau in Crenshaw High for months now. And, Deasy’s plan threatens to dramatically de-stabilize the school – against WASC’s recommendations.

The Crenshaw school community is not against magnet schools, but any new magnets must include all students and be created collaboratively:
· When Westchester was converted to magnets, many struggling students left the school or were pushed out. Magnet conversion is being used at other schools in LAUSD right now to separate students along academic performance lines, which is unjust and will raise drop-out rates.
· Crenshaw, with new magnets or not, must remain a school for the entire community – providing all necessary supports for all students.