As this unprecedented semester draws to a close in our Los Angeles Unified schools, I want to wish all of the families and school communities a joyful holiday season and a happy, healthy new year. Thank you for your continued partnership and support of local public schools. This year’s return to school would not have been possible without the communitywide efforts we’ve seen.
This week, the board voted unanimously to finalize the selection of Alberto Carvalho as LAUSD’s next superintendent. With a long-tenured track record of success in Miami, deep knowledge of teaching and learning, and unique ability to act as both an agent of change and a unifying force, he is the right person to lead LAUSD students out of this pandemic into a better future.
Carvalho comes to Los Angeles with more than an illustrious resume – his personal journey as an immigrant and English learner who overcame homelessness has undoubtedly ingrained in him the transformative power of a great education. We have no doubt that he will continue to lead with empathy, and work alongside parents, students, teachers and the broader community to realize a vision of opportunity and success for all our kids.
While we await our new superintendent’s arrival early in the new year, our work continues to navigate the path to recovery in our school communities. We are hiring additional school staff and working with partners to get more caring adults on campuses so we can help our kids heal and learn after the crisis they’ve endured.
To help ensure that our students, families and school communities have the best possible learning environments, we are continuing to plan and approve new campus upgrades and projects across the district. These plans include a major modernization project for the Fairfax High campus, an exciting opportunity to preserve the historic nature of the campus while creating a 21st century learning space for the current generation of students.
This semester, and the year that preceded it, demonstrated firsthand how valuable in-person learning truly is for our families. As I spent time visiting classrooms over the past few months, I’ve been reminded of the innovative lessons, engaging activities and individual connections that help our kids learn and grow.
Our efforts also include safety measures to make sure that schools remain open for in-person learning. As we continue to offer and encourage vaccines for all those eligible, nearly 90% of our eligible students ages 12 and up have received their vaccination shot. At the same time, we also want to ensure that as many students as possible can continue to learn and grow in a safe in-person learning environment, particularly students hardest hit by this pandemic. This includes delaying the transfer of students not in compliance with the vaccine requirement to the online program until fall of 2022.
To help reassure families and keep school communities as safe as possible in the new year, the district will also conduct baseline testing when students and staff return from winter break in January. Assuming health conditions remain steady, we will begin easing certain safety restrictions in accordance with county public health guidelines in February.
I will continue to push for LAUSD to follow public health guidance as conditions evolve and we get closer to a sense of normalcy for our students. And, as always, I will continue pushing for students and families to be at the center of our decisions to meet their needs and get through the pandemic together.
-LAUSD Board Vice President Nick Melvoin
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