LAUSD’s Black Student Success Plan Helps Students Reach Personal and Academic Goals
“This is the first time, historically, that we have allocated funds in a targeted fashion to support the success of black students in a concentrated manner throughout the district to truly address these historic gaps in a truly concerted effort,” said LAUSD Senior . Director Jared DuPree.
LAUSD cut its police budget by $ 25 million in the summer of 2020 and redirected that money to the $ 36.5 million Black Student Achievement Plan.
Across the district, BSAP, as it’s called, provides educators like Gregory Sims at Dana Middle School. Sims is a school climate advocate who connects with students, helping them inspire them to achieve their academic and personal goals.
“The goal was to kind of make school fun, so they’ll want to come, they’ll want to participate, they’ll want to go to class, they’ll engage in class. I feel like that’s what we do. are actually accomplishing, ”he said.
The Climate Advocate provides socio-emotional support to students, and the advocate’s training in conflict resolution helps stop disagreements early, reducing the frequency of traditional forms of discipline.
“Everyone wants to discipline discipline. Sometimes that can backfire on you because (when) you suspend a student they miss their studies and therefore fall behind in class,” Sims explained, adding that it can make them more frustrated.
In addition to the Student Climate Advocate, the BSAP has hired mental health counselors, psychiatric social workers, and restorative justice teachers for schools in the district.
The ultimate success of the program will be determined by closing the gaps in student test scores, but so far the anecdotal evidence of success is promising.
Dontay Biddle, a student at Dana Middle School, says he loves having Sims there because now there is someone to talk to.
DuPree gains confidence in the program when they hear positive feedback from students who are the first to benefit from the programs.
“They are the motivation we will continue to have BSAP on indefinitely, until all the black students in the district speak to the program and their schools from a point of appreciation like Dontay,” he said.
Year-end markers for success are yet to come, but interim data shows suspension rates have declined as proficiency levels are on the rise in English and math. And there is an increase across the district in the number of students entering college preparatory classes.
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