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THE LADDER Parent Involvement

A Magazine for and about Future Teachers

Los Angeles Unified School District Human Resources Division Career Ladder Office

Fall 2009

Learning isn’t always planned. Noah’s teacher couldn’t understand why a boy with such potential was doing so poorly. Then she learned he wasn’t taking his schoolwork home because he didn’t have money for a backpack. Two weeks and $12 later, Noah is 10 points away from an A. That’s the priceless gift of personal attention an educator can give.

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THE LADDER A Publication of the Career Ladder Office Los Angeles Unified School District

How many of us have had that aha moment in adulthood when we realize just how much like our parents we have become?

LAUSD Board of Education Mόnica Garcia, District 2, President Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, District 1

Tamar Galatzan, District 3 Steve Zimmer, District 4 Yolie Flores Aguilar, District 5 Nury Martinez, District 6 Richard Vladovic, District 7 Ramon Cortines Superintendent of Schools James Morris Chief Operating Officer David R. Holmquist General Counsel Vivian Ekchian Chief Human Resources Officer Career Ladder Office 333 South Beaudry Avenue, 15th Floor (213) 241-4571 FAX (213) 241-8465 E-mail: THE LADDER Staff Steven Brandick, Director Shiwonda Sanford, Layout Design Tiffany Thomas, Illustrator

2009-2010 has begun. Just the sound of those years has the ring of science fiction to me. When I was in elementary school, called grammar school back then, teachers talked a lot about the turn of the 21st century and students calculated how old they would be. I learned I would turn fifty in the year 2000. (Not much of a calculation for me considering that I was born in 1950.) It seemed like a million years away, but now it is almost ten years past. In all that time much has changed, but one thing has definitely remained the same. Parents are still the key to their child’s education. They are still the first teacher showing how to live within the family and, by extension, how to be good citizens within the society. This happens whether or not the parents are aware of what is occurring.


he role of the parent goes way beyond provision of a secure place to live and food to eat. Decisions parents make have a strong impact on the life of their child. The friends they make, where they live, the work they do, the education they have, the people they bring into their home, the manner in which they treat other people all have an affect. There is a saying by Robert Fulghum that goes, “Do not worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you.” Kids often tune out what adults say to them, but they are always watching, learning, imitating. It is amazing how much children mirror the adults around them. I have a funny walk. It comes from imitating my father’s walk. He injured his leg when he was a teenager working in a steel mill. I never injured my leg, but I still sway side to side, just like my father. My son has the same walk. Kids imitate mannerisms as well as habits, attitudes, and directions in their life. It even happens with teenagers who are working overtime to rebel against the adults in their world. How many of us have had that aha moment in adulthood when we realize just how much like our parents we have become? I often wonder if adults would be more careful about what they do and what they say if they were more aware of the awesome power that they hold as role model to the young people who are always watching them.

Gwenda Cuesta, Contributing Editor Randy Murphy, Contributing Editor Joseph Ryan, Contributing Editor Lorena Vazquez, Advertising Cover photo by David Blumenkrantz

The publication of this magazine is funded by advertising revenue.

When children go off to school, parents become monitors of the education their child receives. The communication that parents have, or don’t have, with the school is critical. One child runs into difficulties, the parents work with the schools to straighten thing out, and the child goes on to success. Another child runs into the same difficulties, communication between the school and the home is weak, and the situation spirals downward. Schools where parents are involved are invariably stronger than ones where the parents are absent because involvement opens the lines of communications and the needs of children are known and can be met. This issue of THE LADDER is dedicated to parent involvement. We celebrate some of the wonderful programs in LAUSD and some of the wonderful parents who are working to improve the education all children receive. I wish to congratulate all of them. The power of their role cannot be overestimated. As always, I welcome your feedback. The best way to contact me is at

Reproduction of any images without written consent is prohibited.

Steven Brandick, Director

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CONTENTS 14 Pa r en t I n vol v olvve em me en ntt


Effective Ef fffect ecttive O Outreach: uttreach h: Meeting Parents on their Turf

21 Web Resources


Top of the Ladder


Book Review


TEAMS Experience


Career Ladder Policies


CONTRIBUTORS Alvaro Alvarenga

Maria del Rosario Pike


Advisor SRLDP/Parent Ed.

Mr. Alvarenga is a parent community involvement specialist. He provides a wide range of programs and services related to education and parental involvement. Formerly he was an English language development teacher expert with LAUSD’s Language Acquisition Branch.

Ms. Pike is currently heading the Department of Parent Education in the Division of Adult and Career Education. She has 16 years of experience working in parent education through LAUSD. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology.

Lisa Porter-Houston

Martha Suarez

Parent Community Facilitator

Parent Volunteer

Ms. Porter-Houston is one of the central level senior facilitators assigned to work with the DAC (District Advisory Committee). .

During her 5 years of service, she assumed the position of volunteer parent president and volunteered at both the local and District levels.


Dr. Margaret D. Clark


Antonia Chavez

Martha Cardenas

Parent Community Facilitator

Parent Community Facilitator

Ms. Chavez works with all central level councils. She became involved in the educational system when her older child was in middle school.

Ms. Cardenas is the senior facilitator in charge of the District English Learner Advisory Committee.

Stella Contreras

Ruth Bautista

Parent Community Facilitator

Parent Volunteer

Ms. Contreras is the senior facilitator with the Parent Collaborative, who began her LAUSD career as a paraprofessional in an elementary school.

During Ms. Bautista’s 10 years of service with LAUSD, she assumed the position of volunteer parent president and participated at both the local and District levels.

The Career Ladder wishes to recognize Margaret D. Clark, Ph.D. as its Fall 2009 “Friend of the Ladder”. She has been a faculty member at California State University Los Angeles for 9 years. Dr. Clark is a pivotal Career Ladder Office supporter and assists with the recruitment and implementation of the Career Ladder’s Los Angles Apprentice Teacher Program (LAATP). She has taught and mentored many students over the years who became LAUSD special education teachers and administrators. For her services, the Career Ladder Office and district are most appreciative.


The Serendipitous


Career Path of Carlos Garcia-Lara by Joseph Ryan



ften, newly credentialed teachers are overwhelmed when they first become classroom teachers. They are more dependent than ever on themselves for managing and academically engaging students. Carlos Garcia-Lara is one those newly credentialed teachers and recalls his experience as a new teacher. An alumnus of Jefferson Senior High School, Carlos enlisted in the U.S. Navy upon graduation. Trained on the job as an electrician, he was stationed at the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia for 4 years. Assigned to a “ship-oiler” vessel, affectionately referred to by naval personnel as a “Walmart on the Water”, Carlos was part of a crew deployed to refuel naval ships at sea. Discharged and returning to Los Angeles, Carlos’ family members encouraged him to drop by Virgil Middle School and check in with his former teacher, then vice-principal Robert Martinez. Mr. Martinez enthusiastically welcomed the visit, challenged him about his future plans, and offered him the option of becoming a campus aide at Virgil Middle School.


Soon, reality set in. Carlos accepted the job offer and remained a campus aide for six months, all the while setting his sights on additional job options at Virgil Middle School. Enrolled at LACC, Carlos qualified and applied for a Teacher Assistant position for a school year. Observing special education trainees in action, and learning about the increased pay and a benefits package, he transitioned to serve Virgil’s students with disabilities. It was while he was a trainee that Carlos found his perfect career path match. As a paraeducator, he came to learn, appreciate, and empathize with the academic challenges and frustrations of these students. Graduating as an English major from CSULA, Carlos researched the Los Angeles basin’s educational job market. He identified high need areas for a future teaching job – math, science and special education, and enrolled as a graduate student to complete a bilingual/special education credential at CSULA. There, he received additional assistance and supportive ideas for students’ needs that he had observed daily in his classroom.


CSULA’s credential program assisted him in exploring ways to address Virgil’s student population of foster children, especially those who came from non-supportive and abusive environments. Becoming a university intern of West Adams Prep Senior High campus, Carlos “scaffolded” individual lesson plans that addressed obstacles preventing them from learning. Along his serendipitous career path, Carlos found the Career Ladder Office (C/L) - its financial aid and academic advisement services. He joined the Career Ladder Scholarship Program for two years and received financial assistance, staff support and encouragement. The C/L’s Performance Assessments were challenging and intimidating, but they expanded his professional horizon. He found himself more confident as he completed each of the four assessments.


Upon reflection, Carlos marvels at where he started, and where his career path has led him, and he especially appreciates the Career Ladder Office. The C/L office was there for him – its financial support and academic services, its friendly faces and assistance.

“Honestly, I felt I could teach the classes...”

Adult Schools Support Parent Involvement by Rosie Pike Pike, Advisor SRLDP/Parent Education

The Division of Adult and Career Education (DACE) encourages parent involvement by offering parenting classes. In a more expanded definition of parent involvement, the DACE encourages parents to further their own education by offering ESL and GED classes, to take advantage of District career training classes or enroll at local community colleges. DACE programs are often an alternate gateway for parents to access resources that can directly impact student success. The story of one of our own parent educators, Maria, is an example of how parent education can be the impetus for expanding environmental support at home (parent involvement). Maria immigrated to the United States from Mexico, with her family when she was 8 years old and settled in South Gate, California. Like many students that are English language learners, she was not a fluent English speaker until her teen years which made her academic progress challenging. Another barrier was her parents’ difficulty to support her academic achievement due to her father’s disability and her mother needing to work long hours to support the family. Despite these challenges, she graduated with high

school academic honors. She started taking college classes but quit to start her own family. When Maria’s first daughter enrolled in prekindergarten, Maria enrolled in parenting classes offered by the School Readiness and Language Development Program (SRLDP), a 10 week parent education class. She enjoyed the classes and being the only bilingual parent, occasionally helped translate for the parent educator. Maria’s parent educator encouraged her to consider applying for the position of bilingual interpreter. When her second child enrolled in SRLDP Pre-K, Maria applied as an interpreter. She was hired and worked for about 5 years as a bilingual aide.

W ith the encouragement of several parent educators, Maria realized that she could potentially do more. She says, “Honestly, I felt that I could teach the classes…”. Maria decided to go back to school to get her bachelor’s degree and Adult Education credential. Today, Maria is teaching SRLDP parenting

classes. In Maria’s words, “Education definitely changed my life.” In addition to enjoying her career, Maria is proud to say that she is involved in her children’s education and all four of her children are doing very well in school. Her eldest is now a sophomore in high school with a 4.1 GPA. Parent education became Maria’s door to pursuing a career which in turn increased her parent involvement and resulted in her children’s positive academic progress. While the majority of DACE parent educators have pursued the field of parent education through studies in child development, some first experienced the parenting classes and then, like Maria, decided to follow their passion for teaching parents. The DACE Parenting Department has recently celebrated over 80 years of service to parents and continues today helping parents become more involved and more knowledgeable about how to help their children succeed in school. To find out more about parent involvement and parenting classes, contact a local adult school or call the Department of Parent Education (213) 241- 3168.


My Experience with TEAMS/AmeriCorps by David Louie


y initial motivation and decision to apply for the TEAMS/Americorps Program was based on the $4,725 education service award. It is given to participants who have attended seven professional development workshops and completed a community service project. The education service award is presented in the form of a voucher that Fellows can apply to future, existing or past education debt/loans from the federal government.

Going through the process of applying to the TEAMS program was a little intimidating for me as I had to submit a short essay about myself and my thoughts about urban education. I soon found the application process was enjoyable because it enabled me to reflect and express my own childhood experiences growing up in an urban school setting. My initial commitment to TEAMS/Americorps service was nine months (September – June). The commitment consisted of mandatory pedagogical meetings once a month on Saturdays and completing a community service project. The LAUSD cohort meetings were held at National University in El Segundo just a couple miles from the LAX Airport. Meetings were 6 hours in length, facilitated by wonderful staff and regional/national educational guest speakers, and followed by activities that allowed for group and peer interaction. Lunch was also provided. A service learning community project was required of Fellows in order to receive their education award. This project could be either a one-time or ongoing activity that my classroom students would complete. The key component of the service learning project was to link it to curriculum standards and provide a


service to the school or local community. My students and I chose a topic for our service project. I was instructed on how to utilize service learning as an educational tool and was guided step-bystep to ensure that I would be successful. The service learning project was an anti-smoking campaign called, “Getting the Message Out,” involving lessons, poster designs, and student-created PSA’s (public service announcements). My experiences from this project taught me about service, collaboration, and the supportive community within education. Although the TEAMS/Americorps program was physically and mentally draining for me, I would not change anything. In hindsight, I was enriched by working with great mentors and genuinely passionate and compassionate people who have shared their knowledge and experiences with me. This has enabled me to provide more expansive lessons when teaching my students in the classroom. Considering becoming a TEAMS Fellow? I highly recommend you do.You won’t

regret it because you will be working with and learning from an amazing staff, experienced educators, and wonderful guest speakers. You may even have the opportunity to listen to and analyze music from an urban viewpoint. I would like to express my sincerest thanks to the TEAMS/Americorps organization for the outstanding work that they do, my mentor teacher Marilyn Stein and everyone at Paul Revere Middle School. Last but not least, my sincerest thanks to the LAUSD Career Ladder for making it possible for me to do what I love doing. Thank you for being such amazing examples of successful partnerships in education. I would also like to give a shout out to my fellow Urban Learning cohorts at Cal State L.A. – Go Cohort U!!! For further information on TEAMS/Americorps, log on to .

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Books for Just a School Project by Mercer Mayer

Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adoff A story about a mix-race family.

Mom and Dad help with a science project.

Mama, I’ll Give you the World by Roni Schotter A story about a daughter and a mom who works too much

Athletic Shorts ● Six Short Stories by Chris Crutcher A collection of short stories including a variety of family situations.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech A young girl goes in search of her mother. Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez A complicated story about a young girl and her family in a country embarking on a revolution.

Our Families as Experts by Cynthia McDermott, Ed.D. Since the beginning of time, the family has been the center of learning. Before schools were created, children learned from parents, siblings, grandparents and extended family members. Today our children still learn their values, cultural practices and other skills important to their family at home. As Bhola (1996) suggests, the family exists in a network of the community where ideas and attitudes are exchanged, enriching the experiences of all of the members. This social aspect provides rich opportunities to build upon this cultural and knowledge capital by providing programs and processes that respect the strength and individuality of the family. Family literacy programs that acknowledge the wealth and expertise of literacy skills that exist within families have been quite successful in engaging the community with the schools. One of many family literacy programs that has been successful was created in 1986. Alma Flor Ada gathered groups of Spanishspeaking parents and their children to meet and discuss children’s literature, and to read the stories and poems written by the children and their parents. Sponsored by the bilingual program of the Pajaro Valley School District, the program grew out of the knowledge of the importance of parents’ involvement in their children’s education. The program aimed to foster parents’ awareness of the significance of their role and their opportunities and responsibilities for their children’s future (Caspe, 2003). The program encouraged parents and

Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper Retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending. Wings of a Bee by Julie Roorda A story about two sisters (one with a disability) and their relationship. p The Book Thief by Markus Zusak An amazing tale told during WWII about a family who protects a Jewish man. What They Found: Love on 145th Street by Walter Dean Myers A collection of short stories about families in their neighborhood.


Yo u r R e v i e w The True Story of a Half Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Family Book by Todd Parr

The tale of the life of an Indian boy with a strong family who engages in the life off the reservation

A general view of all kinds of families.

Bud not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis school-aged children to spend time together every evening with a book, and offered guidance to improve children’s reasoning and clarity of expression. There are many such programs in the US that have been quite successful in the partnership between schools, adults and their children. Every parent is part of a unique family structure and there are so many interesting books that highlight this diversity. After all, authors often write from their own experience and they represent a very broad spectrum of views as well. One way to start is to work with our students to communicate with them that all families are unique and to celebrate each and every kind of family. Respecting this diversity extends from the individual to the family, to the community and beyond. This is the power of respecting our families no matter what they look like . There are many, many wonderful stories involving diverse family configurations and it was difficult to limit the list of suggestions. In order to include a wide range of books, I have written very short reviews. Check with your librarian and independent book stores for additional ideas, but do pick up a few books, share them with your students and perhaps even plan on some family literacy activities that can enhance the involvement of many more parents. Enjoy reading! Bhola, H.S. (1996) Family literacy development and culture interconnections and reconstructions. Convergence 29, no 1; 34-45. Caspe, M. (2003) Family Literacy: A Review of Programs and Critical Perspectives. Harvard Family Literacy Project

A young boy goes in search of his father

Za Zazoo by Richard Mosher A war orphan is adopted by an older soldier who raises her. he

Like Jake and Me by Mavis Jukes A yo young boy tries to get along with his step father. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick A yo young boy loses his father and keeps going without him. The Arabollies of Liberty Street by Sam Swope A ve very different family moves into a neighborhood and creates a lot of cchange. Abuelos by Pat Mora A fo folktale and an extended family.


The Relatives C Came by Cynthia Rylant An extended family descends on the narrator’s home for a rollicking time. In our Mother’s House by Patricia Polacco A story about two moms and their adopted children. My Father’s Shop by Ichikawa Satomi A son works with his father in his store.


Effective Parent Outreach Wilmington MS Mr. G. reporting on outcomes for six students whose homes he visited. “Two students will be attending Port of LA HS, a student has cut his hair and wants to learn, a student has been reclassified and is no longer an English Learner; a student is so excited about going to college; and a student is no longer withdrawn and seeks math tutoring every morning.” Ms. S. reporting on the value of investing her time in home visits. “This experience was very helpful in better understanding the needs of my students and their parents. I have seen in my students better study habits, more class work and homework and a better sense of pride in their whole attitude with school.Their parents were not afraid to visit or call with concerns and seemed to participate more in school functions. I hope that more teachers participate and gain a true satisfaction as I have in making this school a great one!”


Overview of Strategy Meeting Parents on Their by Juanita Coleman-Merritt, Ed. D.

Between 2007-2009, five District 8 schools implemented the Nell Soto Program. The program is a grant-funded effort that provides resources and encouragement for teachers who truly believe in parent partnership as a strategy for raising student achievement. The D8 Parent Involvement Office was instrumental in promoting grant-writing and implementation of the grant, having recognized the value of this powerful outreach strategy. Mr. G., a middle school teacher who participated in the program, made this observation. He was one of 45 teachers who completed a total of 422 visits to the homes of 211 students at Wilmington MS, a feeder for Banning HS. In addition to Wilmington MS,Washington Prep HS and three elementary schools: 135th Street ES, Century Park ES, and Manhattan Place ES implemented Nell Soto Grants. Thus far, all teachers and parents interviewed praise the Home Visit Program and are excited about sharing the striking results they have experienced in educational outcomes for students. In order for a school to receive funding for the Nell Soto program, a member of the school-community must write a grant proposal. The Request for Proposal requires documentation that at least 50% of the teaching staff and 50% of the parents

Century Park ES Ms. D. (5th Grade teacher who has made visits for three years) is an advocate for home visits. She reported that she has seen improved reading skills and increased test scores across her classroom since she has been visiting her students’ homes.

of enrolled children support the program. Therefore all schools that submitted proposals had the buy-in of approximately 50% of the adult members of the school-community. The five schools mentioned above won grants of $30,000 - $35,000. Funds were chiefly used to pay teachers for hours spent visiting the homes of enrolled students. Funds could also be used for instructional and informational materials and to bring parents, students and teachers together for educational activities at schools or other neighborhood locations. The main focus of the program was educational engagement and motivation. The D8 Parent Involvement Office assisted with the training of program participants and provided teachers with resources to share with families. In preparing teachers to participate, the emphasis was on strategies for building relationships between teachers and parents, fostering student awareness of the supportive network developing between the adults in their lives, and motivating parents to engage in their children’s education with greater regularity and confidence. From every indication, these outcomes were realized at participating schools.

“The missing link in my efforts to close the achievement gap has been parent engagement. Parents have been amazed by the home visits.They know I care about the children as people. My focus this year has been the transition to middle school and building college dreams for our families. During home visits, I would work with the child and parent to design a plan for the future – it worked very well. I also invited parents and grandparents to come to school for a heritage night. When we go to the families, parents are more willing to come to us.The results for me have been minimal behavior issues, greater trust, developing teamwork with the child and parent, students who have a greater sense of self-worth, and parents who maintain a focus on education at home.The visits have shaped the way I view my students and my classroom.”

Nell Soto Grants have been discontinued due to the state budget crisis. However, schools may want to seek other funding sources to encourage teachers who wish to explore home visits as an effective strategy for raising student achievement.


Student and Teacher = Academic Achievement

The Effort, Dedication and Tenacity of a Parent Involved in the Education of Her Children

Parents gain much from learning about the education of their child

. And kids are proud when parents participate in this educational journey. I have been involved in my children’s education since they started kindergarten and continue to be involved. When my children attended Burton Elementary, I became the school’s parent representative and later the English Learners Advisory Council chairperson. My passion was to support English Learners and advocate on behalf of my children as well as those children whose parents were not involved. In addition to the English Learners Advisory Council, I also became actively involved as a member of the Compensatory Education Advisory Committee. This committee represents Title I children and the School Site Council and is mandated by law. Parents provide input and make decisions 14

My Parent Involvement Journey by Ruth Bautista

Parent Involvement = Successful Student

regarding the school’s categorical budgets. My involvement with this committee inspired me to become a passionate advocate for the rights of students and led me to encourage other parents to become strong advocates for their children’s educational rights. Eventually, I served as the Local District 1 chairperson for four years and was District English Learners Advisory Council Secretary before being elected as chairperson. I organized educational conferences and training sessions for parents and am pleased with the support we got from parents when representing English Learners and their parents. Upon reflection, I am proud to know that my two middle school children have successfully progressed throughout their LAUSD education. I will continue my engagement and advocate on behalf of their education until they graduate from college. I encourage all parents who can, to get involved in their children’s education. Begin with volunteering in the classroom, communicating regularly with their child’s teachers, assisting with homework at home, or becoming a member of a parent committee. Be a part of the educational decision-making that affects the future of children.


parents can have a powerful influence in educational decisions that impact “Parent Involvement = students.”

by Martha Suarez

Students depend on school and community support, but more importantly, with parental support they thrive. Often times, I hear parents complain about how the schools are failing their children. My question to these parents is, “What is your involvement at the school site in helping students be successful?” For five years, I have participated as a parent volunteer at my childrens’ schools, at the local district and central district levels and have learned much about the educational system. Surprisingly, parents can have a powerful influence in educational decisions that impact students. Unfortunately, few parents are actively involved, share their experiences, contribute their knowledge, or know their rights as parents, in order to be strong advocates for their children. Parent voices are essential for successfully educating children. For example, parents can provide recommendations in allocating District funds for Local Districts and the Central office in supporting student instruction.


In order for parents to be well informed and effective advocates for students, I recommend getting involved at the school site, local district or central office level. At the school site level, begin by requesting that the principal provide opportunities for training to best understand and support

= Successful Students” the needs of students. Become familiar with and get involved with school committees where parents can play an active role. At the local district and central office levels, learn about the Master Plan, and the federal and state funded mandates that require schools to write an education plan. The plan outlines a school’s strategies to ensure that students reach the district’s goals of advancing one level per year. At all levels, education is a triple strand process that requires collaboration among the administration, parents and students. Teamwork and a focus on strategies ensures students graduate from high school and have the skills to be successful in college. From personal experience, when my child, Jennifer, was reclassified English proficient, I recognized that my time and involvement in supporting her educational program was worthwhile; an opportunity for my child to attend and be successful at college was no longer a dream, but a reality. Change started with me as a parent. I share this experience now to motivate other parents to become involved in their children’s education. Despite some challenges, my experiences as an involved parent helped me grow and gain a new perspective in order to better support student instruction.


The Parent Community Services Branch (PCSB) Major Divisions by Alvaro Alvarenga

LAUSD’s Parent Community Services Branch is committed to promoting and increasing student academic achievement by: 1) building the capacities of local schools and communities; and 2) training, educating, and supporting parents as partners in their children’s education.

Martha Cardenas, an immigrant from Mexico, is the Senior Facilitator in charge of the District English Learner Advisory Committee. She began her involvement in the schools as a concerned parent of her daughter Griselda who was not fluent in English. Her concern for her child translated into a deep commitment to English learners.

Within the branch are three committees that work diligently to encourage parent involvement and education.

Stella Contreras is the Senior Facilitator in charge of the Parent Collaborative and began her LAUSD career as a Paraprofessional in an elementary school. Her concern about poor attendance at parent meetings sparked her interest in making a difference. In 1990, she accepted a position in a Parent Involvement Unit. With Stella’s leadership and guidance, the Parent Collaborative has always been able to empower parents and effect positive change in LAUSD.

District Advisory Committee (DAC) The DAC provides the coordination, technical assistance, and other support necessary to assist participating schools in the planning and implementation of effective parent involvement. District English Learner Advisory Committee This committee assists and advises in the development and implementation of the District Master Plan for the Education of English Learners (ELs). The committee assists in obtaining the cooperation and coordination of all available resources in the community and the District, in order to implement an effective and viable District Master Plan Program. Parent Collaborative The Parent Collaborative brings together parent representatives from the local districts and organizations that show a common purpose and commitment to public education and the health and welfare of all children in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The above three committees are managed by parent community facilitators who are an essential group of district employees who support the mission of the Parent Community Services Branch (PCSB). Let’s meet these facilitators.


Lisa Porter-Houston is one of the central level senior facilitators and is assigned to work with the DAC (District Advisory Committee). Once she enrolled her children in a public school, she became more involved in the education system, parent involvement, and Title I councils. She was eventually employed in the District Parent Involvement Unit, which started her career as a student and parent advocate. Antonia Chavez is a Facilitator who works with all central level councils. An immigrant from Mexico, she became involved in the educational system when her older child was in middle school. Eventually, she became the school’s community representative, which started her career as a parent advocate and leader. She is an expert on parent involvement policy and procedures and one of her major responsibilities is data analysis for our branch. Involving parents in the life of the school is a highly rewarding career. All four of the facilitators represented are special individuals whose diverse backgrounds and passion for parent involvement have helped to place LAUSD in the forefront of the nations parental involvement movement. Just as these individuals joined forces with the District to make a difference, they invite others to get involved as well. There is much to be done and volunteers are always needed. Sign up today!

TEACHING OUR CHILDREN: A Task for Parents by Catalina Urrutia

Parents play a critical role in supporting their children in achieving academic excellence, grade promotion, and social equity. I know this from my twenty years teaching experience in El Salvador and observing the importance and positive impact schools have when they include parents in a student’s education. The Office of Parent Community Services Branch provides parents the support and training for their children to become academically successful in LAUSD schools. Its mandate is to empower parents in assuming a key role in supporting their children’s education. My great desire is that parents embrace and foster opportunities that support their children in order to be academically successful, contribute to the community with enthusiasm, and have a spirit of fairness and justice. REMEMBER: “Behind a successful son or daughter is a responsible parent.”

The following are some suggested ways parents can support their children’s academic success at school: 1. Reinforce how important they are in the family. 2. Converse regularly about their dreams and goals. 3. Be a part of their achievements and goals. 4. Listen to them. 5. Provide confidence and security. 6. Know and reinforce each child’s unique skills and abilities. 7. Recognize the areas of need and strategize how to best address these. 8. Recognize every academic achievement no matter how small. 9. Be patient. 10. Communicate family values.


Scholarship Talk Joe Ryan is the Career Ladder Specialist who oversees the Career Ladder Scholarship (formerly known as the CSPTTP Scholarship). He also advises participants about teacher credentialing options and informs individuals about additional financial aid options.

What are employment prospects for future teachers? 2009 is a difficult year for K-12 future educators. Severe budget cuts have forced districts to layoff valued staff. However, there continues to be a high need for math, science, and special education teachers. Obtaining a foundational level credential (K-8) to teach math or science is also an option. Whatever the current teacher needs are, if you have a passion for teaching, stay with your plan, take education courses, and take advantage of the Career Ladder Office’s programs and services. What are some current financial incentives for future teachers? Both the state and federal governments continue to offer financial support to students who aspire to become teachers in either designated subject areas or serve students in low-income, low-performing public schools. Check the following financial incentives for high need future teachers: APLE (up to $19K in loan forgiveness); TEAMS/Americorps (up to $10K in grant vouchers); Career Ladder Scholarship (up to $3K per year); TEACH grant (up to $4K per year for participants with a 3.25 GPA or higher). How have current State budget cuts impacted the Career Ladder Scholarship? The scholarship funder (Commission on Teacher Credentialing) slashed the program budget 24%. The net effect is that the program now offers fewer scholarships, competition is more keen, and an applicant’s GPA becomes a more important criteria in applying for a credential program or scholarship. To be assured of acceptance into a credential program at a public university and the scholarship, passage of CBEST and a 3.0 GPA or higher is recommended. Is there any Career Ladder Scholarship policy change for the new academic year? The most impactful change re: the Career Ladder Scholarship, is passing the CBEST as a pre-requisite for scholarship eligibility. This requires an individual to schedule, take, and pass the CBEST prior to applying for the scholarship. Remember too, that the Career Ladder Office reimburses its members the CBEST test fees up to two times, if they have completed Performance Assessment I prior to taking the test. Do you have any reminders for current participants? Indeed, the Career Ladder Office closely monitors scholarship participants completing Performance Assessments (PAs). Failure to complete PAs will delay a scholarship reimbursement payment for participants. Joe Ryan, Specialist


@ LAUSD website for the students of o the district. ct. Offers he help with research papers and help with homework. mework. m It also o offers access to LAUSD’s extensive digital library ry and a sectio section dedicated to educational fun for kids. An extensive and popular site containing ttaining over 700 links to t sites that will help you with your homework. kk. The most important site for students entss planning planni on attending college. A must for high school students. egge.html Website with information concerning nningg scholarships ps and testingg information.

http://www.askfo http:/ Ask for Kids K (fo (formerly ormerly known as Ask Jeeves for Kids) is a fast, easy and kid-frien kid-friendly way for kids to search online. Designed to be a fun destination on sit site focused on learning and “edu-tainment.” http://www.mad The MAD Scien Scientist cientist Network has close to 400 volunteer scientists who answer que questions. estions. Create your ow own wn story using various parts of speech. http://www.cells /www. Really ne neat imag images ges of cells.

Los Angeles Cou County unty Museum of Art (LACMA) Los Angeles Junior Arts Program weblinks.htm A resource site for students, teachers, hers, and parents to help them become more aware of needed information formation and services in the Division of Special Education.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles Getty Museum






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Special Education Nominees S No Norvelle Bennett M Martha Espinosa Joy Fine Delia Medina Cindy Rueda Jeannie Varnuska

Dodson MS Dodson MS Germain Elementary Los Angeles Elementary San Jose Street Elementary Andasol Elementary

Paraeducator Nominees Erika Hernandez Lisandro Gomez Monica Flores Lili Ramirez Mario Ruiz

Allesandro Elementary Norwood Elementary Pueblo de Los Angeles HS Rosa Parks Learning Center Allesandro Elementary


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Career Ladder Member From: Sent: To: Subject:

Career Ladder Office September 2009 Career Ladder Member Career Ladder is Going Green!

Dear Career Ladder Member In order to increase productivity, reduce storage space, and enhance our service to Career Ladder participants, the office is in the process of going paperless. It will be necessary for you to use your LAUSD single sign on, for all future Career Ladder updates, vital information, policy changes, etc. Instructions for Acquiring a Single Sign On (SSO) Single Sign-On (SSO) is a web-based application accessible through the District’s Intranet (internal web site) that allows new and existing LAUSD employees to: • Activate their LAUSD email accounts (new users only) • Reset a forgotten or expired password • Review and update LAUSD work location information, change an existing password, set or change Password Hint Question and Answer. Employees WITH an active email account need to: 1. Set their LAUSD account Password Hint Question and Answer. 2. Update their LAUSD work location information. Employees WITHOUT an active email account need to: 1. Self-activate an LAUSD account. A. The Password Hint Question and Answer will set during self activation. 2. Update their LAUSD work location information. Tip: If you have forgotten your password and have not set your “Password Hint Question and Answer,” please contact the ITD Service Desk at 213-241-LA00 (5200) for assistance or connect to for other contact options.

BECOME A MEMBER GPA REQUIREMENTS Career Ladder participants need to be aware that there is a grade point average (GPA) requirement for entrance into teacher education programs at all universities. Anyone with a GPA below 2.75 requesting tuition reimbursement will be required to see a Career Ladder On-Campus Advisor about their options before tuition reimbursement is approved.

WANT TO BECOME A TEACHER LEADER? Earn your Master’s Degree or a Certificate in Instructional Leadership at Mount St. Mar y’s College! COURSES INCLUDE:

• • • • •

Effective Coaching and Mentoring Advanced Curriculum Design and Evaluation Teacher Leadership in Professional Development Grant Writing for Classroom Resources Creating Inclusive and Motivating Student Environments

APPLICATION To become a member, please visit JOIN NOW on our website at:

30-unit Masters Program:

Can be completed in two years, or at your own pace. 15-unit Certificate Program:

Can be completed in one year, or at your own pace.

Career Ladder participants are LAUSD employees in Bargaining Units B or F with one of the following educational goals: • completion of 60 units; • an Associate of Arts degree; • a degree that will lead to a job in teaching, counseling, or school psychology, or • a teaching credential.

For More Information:

visit or call 213.477.2800


FOREIGN EVALUATIONS OF TRANSCRIPTS Career Ladder participants who have completed the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree or higher are charged $25 to have their foreign transcript evaluated. For an application or for more information, call the Career Ladder Office.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTS Performance Assessments (PAs) are used to verify proficiency in performance areas related to teaching. Completion of PAs is a requirement for movement from one Ladder Level to the next. Completed PAs, along with the number of units completed at a college or university, determine Ladder Level and the amount of Tuition Reimbursement awarded. Please remember the following: * PAs are only accepted one at a time and in order; * PAs are required to receive Career Ladder support for test-preparation reimbursement, scholarship awards, and hiring assistance; * PAs must be submitted and approved 2 weeks prior to the tuition reimbursement deadline to apply for the ladder level; * Performance Assessments can be obtained online at: DownloadForms/tabid/86/Default.aspx.




The amount of tuition reimbursement is determined by both the Ladder Level of the participants and the number of units successfully completed in a particular semester or quarter. NOTE: Any Level 3, 4, or 5 participant who takes a community college course will be reimbursed at Level 2 amounts. In order to receive a prompt tuition reimbursement, the following must be submitted and approved prior to the deadlines: * Tuition Reimbursement Request Form (complete); * Current unofficial transcripts signed by a campus advisor OR official transcripts; * Completed Advisement Form (if necessary); The reimbursement rates and deadlines for tuition reimbursement are listed. CBEST REIMBURSEMENT The Career Ladder offers reimbursement for current CBEST registration fee, up to two times, to participants at Ladder Level 2 or above. CBEST Test Reimbursement forms are available online: TuitionReimbursement/tabid/68/Default.aspx.




December 31, 2009

FALL 2009

March 31, 2010


May 31, 2010





- Completed B.A. or B.S. Completed Performance Assessment #4 - Delivery of a lesson plan prepared by teacher - Enrollment in a Teacher Education Program and participant

Completed Performance Assessment #3 - Introduction to Lesson Planning - Instructional Assistance


- 90 semester or 135 quarter units completed


- 60 semester or 90 quarter units completed Completed Performance Assessment #2 - University enrollment - Behavior Management - Declaration of credential to be pursued - Student Supervision


Completed Performance Assessment #1 - Knowledge of Programs and Policies - 12 semester or 18 quarter units completed - Communication Skills - Basic Classroom Organization


- High School Diploma

All forms are available for download from the Career Ladder website:




7 or more


9 or more


$30.00 per unit

$60.00 per unit

$20.00 per unit

$40.00 per unit


$25.00 per unit

$50.00 per unit

$17.00 per unit

$33.00 per unit


$20.00 per unit

$40.00 per unit

$13.50 per unit

$26.50 per unit


$8.00 per unit

$10.00 per unit

$5.50 per unit

$7.00 per unit


$5.00 per unit

$7.00 per unit

$3.50 per unit

$4.75 per unit



TUITION REIMBURSEMENT Tuition reimbursement is given to Career Ladder participants for courses leading to a degree or credential for which a grade of C or better is received.

333 South Beaudry Ave., 15th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90017


THE LADDER FALL 2009 Issue  

information on parent involvement with students and school sites

THE LADDER FALL 2009 Issue  

information on parent involvement with students and school sites