One year ago, I was sworn in as the LA Unified Board of Education representative for the dynamic and diverse communities of Board District 4, following an election that arose from the simple, yet radical belief that the only way to improve our public school system is to put kids first.
As I knew when I entered this job, LA Unified is facing some tough challenges. This year was no exception, from putting out literal wildfires, filling an unexpected Superintendent vacancy, and experiencing the gut-wrenching reality of America’s school shooting epidemic in our own backyard.
But with a steadfast focus on doing right by our kids, we ensured that LA Unified’s School Meals program would continue during the fires. We hired a bold new Superintendent to tackle the old, intractable challenges using new, creative solutions. And we began proactively updating District safety policies to ensure that our school communities are safe places for students to learn and thrive.
And that’s not all we’ve accomplished this year – we hosted several community forums to solicit your vision for your school community, pioneered a new LAUSD App for parents (launching in the fall), an Open Data transparency portal, Harassment Prevention Initiative, a new system of School Report Cards for the 19-20 school year, free SATs for all high school juniors starting next year, a city partnership to create college savings accounts for every first grader starting in 2019, and more.
The work has only just begun, but if you spend as much time in classrooms as I have this year, you can’t help but have hope that our future is bright. But don’t take my word for it: read on to see what we, together, have accomplished this year.