How LA’s teachers are making good on their promise to support community schools

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“‘We should have been miserable,’ said Emily Grijalva, recalling the first days of the 2019 strike by Los Angeles teachers. Grijalva, who is currently the community school and restorative justice coordinator at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School, joined her colleagues on the picket line in 2019 despite the biting cold and an unusual, prolonged rainstorm that flooded city streets and sidewalks and drenched picketers. Many of them did not wear, much less own, suitable rain gear for their normally sunny, mild Southern California climate.

‘But even through the rain and cold, we felt togetherness and support from the community. Families dropped off food for the teachers, students and parents joined us on the front lines, and people opened their homes to let us dry off or use the bathroom,’ she said.

Grijalva’s experience in 2019 might get a replay in 2023 as, once again, teachers in Los Angeles joined in a three-day strike in support of the 30,000 school service workers who are leading the labor action. One factor that may figure prominently in the teachers’ corner is their success in 2019 at convincing the district to provide funding for converting 30 campuses to what’s become known as community schools.

The community schools approach seeks to strengthen the relationships between public schools and their surrounding communities by addressing the broader needs and interests of children and families and giving students, parents, and community members more of a voice in guiding school policies and programs.”


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