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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Matthew Oberlander, LA Unified SD - Division of Adult & Career Ed.

LA Unified School District's Family Success Initiative

The Challenge

For decades, adult education has played a significant role in helping parents who are English learners build capacity to support the success of their children in school. In recent years, shifting budget priorities at the state and local level have decreased access to adult education programs designed to empower parents as partners in their children's education. The loss of these programs has impacted district parent engagement efforts and, in relation to parents who are English learners, has created an equity gap in terms of parent access to district information and parent capacity to navigate the educational system.

The Solution

In an effort to increase parent engagement and in alignment with the California Adult Education Program (CAEP) focus on training parents to assist school children to “succeed academically,” LA Unified School District's Division of Adult and Career Education (DACE) collaborated with its district Office of Parent and Community Services to pilot the Family Success Initiative (FSI). An innovative approach to providing English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to parents of LAUSD students, FSI classes blend DACE ESL curriculum with district-specific parent education modules and family-related EL Civics COAAPs. Offered at K-12 school sites, the FSI program leverages adult education services to support equity in parent engagement.


The vision of the FSI program is to empower emergent bilingual families to support student success and strengthen school communities. The pilot year (2017-18) goals were to establish at least one FSI class in each LAUSD Local District (for a total of six classes). To date, FSI classes have been established in over 20 schools across Los Angeles. Parents have expressed appreciation for the program, school principals have noted an increase in English learner parent involvement in school activities and on school site councils, and LAUSD board members have advocated for the expansion of the program. In addition, training has been provided to consortium partner districts to support regional implementation.

The Data

The Family Success Initiative has produced the following results:
- 20+ FSI classes have been established in the region.
- 350+ parents have enrolled in the FSI program.
- 451 El Civics tasks have been completed with a 90% pass rate.
- 100% of parents surveyed agreed: I would recommend to a family member/friend.
- 98% of parents surveyed agreed: FSI helped me understand the LAUSD school system.
- 87% of parents surveyed agreed: FSI helped me support my child with school work.
- Principals have reported an increase in English learner parent volunteerism.
- Principals have reported an increase in English learner parent participation in site-based governance.

Supporting Information

Family Success Initiative Background - https://drive.google.com/a/mymail.lausd.net/file/d/1xuntQRZb49xpYw1gcBFt7WModfH90wlV/view?usp=sharing

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