The Los Angeles Unified School District is working with a variety of community-based organizations to hold a series of academies designed to ensure that parents, students and other stakeholders understand the Public School Choice program.

Locally, the first session to address Dorsey and Los Angeles high schools, as well as 42nd Street Elementary, was held, but unfortunately only 11 people attended. It was hosted by the Urban Issues Forum.

Public School Choice is one of the district’s efforts to turn around continuously low-performing schools. Under this program, groups submit plans in an effort to win the right to operate a school.

In the previous two rounds of Public School Choice, LAUSD used a stakeholder advisory vote to help decide which group to select, but this turned out to be a controversial process that in some cases became highly politicized.

Consequently, the “academy” process created and consists of learning what a high-quality school and education is; understanding how to evaluate the plans submitted; meeting and questioning the teams submitting plans; and then offering feedback, which will be provided to the board.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, a pitifully small number of parents turned out for last Saturday’s session in Region 6, which prompted prolonged discussions in some sessions about how to bring out more people. Region 6 includes Dorsey, L.A. and 42nd Street. Subsequent sessions will be held on Saturday (Nov. 12), Dec. 10, and Jan. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, at Johnnie Cochran Middle School, 4066 W. 17th St., L.A.

In addition to low-performing campuses, a number of new schools have been included in the Public School Choice process. In Region 8, the African-American Male Achievers Network will lead discussions about a new high school and two new elementary campuses at Muir Middle School, 5929 S. Vermont Ave., L.A. The sessions will continue on Saturday (Nov. 12), Dec. 10 and Jan. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Discussions about the fate of Washington Prep High School, Woodcrest and La Salle elementary schools must be rescheduled. Call the Public School Choice team at (213) 241-2547 for details.

Region 10 will address a new K-8 school and Carson High, and session are being led by the South Bay Center for Community Development at Wilmington Middle School.