Los Angeles Unified School District is currently enforcing an existing rule that allows seniors to take only one semester of library practice, office technician or service technician. As a result of the enforcement of the ruling, the library lost its student assistants and offices and teachers lost their students assistants this semester.
Counselors are expected to place each student in appropriate academic courses and intervention/support courses that meet the student’s needs, according to the LAUSD Reference Guide.
According to a lawsuit that led to the ruling in 2012, some schools were using service classes in order to fill vacancies in student’s schedules instead of putting them in academic classes. Students complained that they were not getting the classes they needed.
LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortina and school board members are visiting different high schools in the district to make sure that the students meet the criteria before they are offered a service class, according to interim principal Fona Bishop. These actions are taken to make sure every student gets all the academic classes they need in order to be able to get into a four-year college, she said.
Librarian Caroline Gill treated the library practice as an actual class and created her own curriculum by testing the students. Now without library techs, Ms. Gill has to use students that come to the library during a class period and quickly train them to help her check out books. The only students working for her now are library club members during lunch, nutrition, and after school.
“The teachers and other staff members from all around the district will make an appeal towards the end of February,” said Ms. Gill.
World Language Counselor Bonnie Roche-Blair said student office workers learned important skills.
“Service classes forced students to engage in conversations with parents, students, on the phone, and I saw students blossom and learned social skills and how important it is to be bilingual,” explained Ms. Roche-Blair.
Students also had difficulty as their schedules were changed due to the enforcing of this existing rule.
“I think it’s unfortunate that the district decided to implement their policy of only one semester of service tech in the middle of the school year because it disrupted a lot of students’ schedules,” said senior Eri Okita.
Assistant Principal Rene Maza said the reason behind the district’s ruling was that service classes aren’t academically oriented, students who were behind in credits were not being enrolled in those needed classes, and some students had two periods of service classes.
“Some students could have applied to better colleges if they took additional academic classes,” said Mr. Maza.
These visits will occur to make sure that the rule that already existed and is clearly mentioned in the 2012 LAUSD School District’s Reference Guide were followed by schools in the district.