24TH STREET ELEMENTARY PARENTS UNION
Parents at 24th Street Elementary, a K-5 school where less than 30% of students were able to read or do math at grade level, were sick and tired of watching their school fail their children. The parents had tried for years to organize for changes. Even though they often worked in partnership with the school’s teachers, the parents were consistently ignored. While schools across the state with similar demographics managed to improve, 24th Street Elementary was stagnated in failure.
The parents formed an autonomous, parent-led organization, the 24th Street Parents Union, and began organizing their community around the vision of a radical transformation at the local elementary school. Using the Parent Trigger law, parent leaders gathered signatures from 69% of parents at the school. Under the law, this broad majority gave the Parents Union the right to administer an official process to solicit and select the best proposal to run the school. Applicants included District and nonprofit charter organizations , who all competed to win the right to transform and run the school. Rather than simply selecting one of the proposals, the Parents Union successfully negotiated a partnership proposal between their two favorite applicants - LAUSD and Crown Preparatory Academy, a strong, locally based, nonprofit charter school already co-located on campus and familiar with the community. The district also responded to early learning needs for the community, adding into the joint proposal universal pre-school for every student in the community.
In the end, the district maintained control of the bulk of the school (grades K-4) and is running the brand new universal pre-K program. The new elementary school would operate under a new, more autonomous school model and a completely reconstituted campus with all staff reapplying for their jobs. Crown Prep will now oversee the new 5th-8th grade middle school provider for every student in the neighborhood. The district and the charter created a strong culture of collaboration in which they began work to align their curricula and cultures and to share best practices across campuses. This type of district and charter collaboration was unprecedented within LAUSD, the nation’s second largest school district, and was brokered by a group of well-organized and dedicated parents through the power vested in them by the Parent Trigger law. Additionally, parents were on the hiring committee for the new principal of the K-4 site, as well as every teacher hired at the school. The 24th Street Parents Union continues to meet regularly, and the parents are dedicated to working with both the district and Crown Prep to ensure the success of the transformation.
2012 Base API: 665
- 80% Hispanic
- 18% African American
- 89% Low-Income
- 68% NOT at grade level ELA
- 65% NOT at grade level in Math