- California real estate investors Richard and Melanie Lundquist, who launched the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools 10 years ago with a $50 million donation, are making another gift of $35 million to the network of 18 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools.
- Serving high-needs students, the partnership focuses on improving school culture by emphasizing school leadership, effective teachers, and parent and community engagement. Leaders would like to expand the model to other parts of the country.
- A recent Public Impact report on the initiative’s 10-year progress shows improvements such as increasing graduation rates that exceed the LAUSD average and rising math and English language arts scores.
When outcomes for students living in low-income, urban neighborhoods begin to improve — especially when those students go the school in the nation’s second largest school district — education leaders, policymakers and researchers take notice. While the strategies that worked in one school and district can’t always be replicated elsewhere, the authors of the Public Impact report provide some lessons that can translate more broadly.
They call teachers, school leaders, parents and community partners “the most important influences on student outcomes,” and add that other interventions won’t be effective without focusing on these “critical levers.” They also advise against a “one-size-fits-all approach” that fails to take into account the assets or challenges within specific schools. And they note that a key part of the program’s success has been its “true collaborative partnership” with LAUSD.
They also advise scaling up such efforts gradually, and working with community partners in a strategic way, with “a focus on goals and results over time.” The report reinforces the idea that there are no quick fixes in turning around low-performing schools.