Transforming Policy, Hearts, and Minds: The Story of L.A.’s Student Recovery Day

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Webcast Details

Aired on: February 13th, 2018

3:30–4:30 p.m. (ET)

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Our Guest(s) This Week

Steve Zimmer

Steve Zimmer is a 17-year veteran teacher, counselor, and community activist who began his teaching career in 1992 working as an ESL teacher at Marshall High School in Silver Lake, CA, through Teach for America. At Marshall, he developed innovative programs such as the Comprehensive Student Support Center, which provides free medical services to students and their families. Mr. Zimmer also founded the Elysian Valley United Community Services Center (CSC), a community owned and operated agency that provides a continuation and after school program as well as recreation and enrichment programs for the community. He cofounded the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Student Recovery Day, an initiative first launched in 2009 and now modeled by other districts throughout the State of California. Twice elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District board, Mr. Zimmer also served as board president. The recipient of numerous awards, he continues to play a pivotal role in establishing school-community initiatives to support and stabilize families, as well as serve youth pushed out of the system.

Dr. Emily Hernandez

Emily J. Hernandez, EdD, is a full-time professor with the Charter College of Education at California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Hernandez is the Program Coordinator for the Master’s of Counseling in the School- Based Family Counseling program, a graduate degree training program that integrates the school counseling and child welfare and attendance credentials with the marriage and family therapy training and licensure. She has extensive experience in school counseling, child welfare and attendance, K-12, mental health, and higher education. Areas of expertise include dropout prevention, intervention, and recovery; school attendance; school climate and safety; school bullying; student engagement; and school-based family counseling. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, she works with family systems, victims of trauma, and children with school-related problems in clinical settings and private practice. She serves as a board member for the Institute for School-Based Family Counseling and the Friends of LA County Office of Education.

This Week's Topic

Join Dr. Emily Hernandez and Steve Zimmer as they discuss the history and success of Los Angeles’ Student Recovery Day. The program focuses on recovery and reengagement, identification of and outreach to at-risk students, assessments of their needs, identification of available resources, referrals to identified community partnerships, academic support, and alternative options case management and support and has resulted in a graduation rate increase from 58% in 2009 to over 80% in 2017.

In 2009, more than 20,000 Los Angeles school students were identified as at risk, 14,000 truancy tickets were being issued by LA School Police each year, and 75,000 days were being lost to suspension with over 70% of those days being missed by Black and Latino males. In addition, LA schools were experiencing a rapid enrollment decline and a $300 million budget deficit. During the nine years since, Student Recovery Day has resulted in impressive changes in the LA schools and, more important, in students’ lives.

Dr. Hernandez and Mr. Zimmer attribute the program’s results to multischool, districtwide, multidisciplinary participation; multiagency collaboration and partnerships; and community organization and engagement. These served as catalysts to shift policies away from punitive and toward supportive systems for students and led to recovering and reengaging disconnected students, accelerated gains in graduation rates, and a reduction in dropout/pushout rates.

Webcast participants will learn the specifics of how policy changes, shifting mindsets, and transforming hearts formed the foundation for the continued success of LA’s Student Recovery Day.

Transforming Policy, Hearts, and Mind: The Story of L.A.’s Student Recovery Day Presentation

Transforming Policy, Hearts, and Mind: The Story of L.A.’s Student Recovery Day Presentation Resources

Media Resources

LAUSD Division Dedicated To Bringing Students Back To School

Zero Dropout Summit 2016 Video

LAUSD tackles issue of dropouts with Student Recovery Day

LAUSD Student Recovery Day

LAUSD Student Recovery Day 2011

LAUSD Student Recovery Day 2013

SRD 2015 Announcement

‘Recovery Day’ helps bring LAUSD dropouts back to school

LAUSD Kicks Off Annual ‘Student Recovery Day’

LAUSD Reaches Out to Bring Dropout Students Back to School



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