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Charles H. Kim Elementary

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Dear Members of the LAUSD Board of Education: We have a number of concerns regarding the potential changes proposed for our school. In 2006 Charles H. Kim Elementary School opened with great fanfare. It is the first school, not only in the LA Unified School District, but in the entire United States, named after a Korean-American. We have watched with pride as our students have flourished and excelled under the guidance of our extraordinary teachers. Now, in the midst of LAUSD's budget crisis, the school as we know it may cease to exist. A whopping 64% of our teachers (21 out of 33 total) may be terminated or re-located due to seniority rules. It is very unusual for a school to have such a large percentage of relatively young teachers. But what is even more unusual is that they all, collectively, teach with such passion and commitment. We believe that it will be devastating to the performance and morale of the student body to potentially lose so many dedicated teachers. With all due respect to seniority, you cannot decimate your faculty by 64% and expect any continuity in maintaining high standards and results. We have both a Dual Language Spanish and a Waiver to Basic Korean Program in our school. Both programs have delivered exceptional results due to the performance of our teachers. These programs need certified bilingual Spanish and Korean professionals to teach the students. We are concerned about what kinds of teachers moving "down" from LAUSD's central administrative offices will replace these terminated and displaced teachers. Will they be certificated to teach in the Dual Language Spanish or Waiver to Basic Program Will the Principal be allowed to interview and select teachers that meet the individual needs of the school A parallel problem to that of losing a disproportionate number of qualified teachers is losing a large number of students to the new Bruin Community School and NOW School on the old Ambassador Hotel site. And here the issue of fair play arises. State law requires all year-round schools to become traditional. Charles H. Kim Elementary is already a traditional school. Yet, we are slated to lose 144 students to these two new schools due to re-drawn boundaries. Cahuenga Elementary School, two blocks away, is not required to send any students, even though it is on a year-round schedule and at maximum capacity. How were the new boundary lines determined Was there public input Why is Cahuenga Elementary School not included in the re-drawn boundary Excitement and expectations for Charles H. Kim Elementary School in Koreatown were very high at the outset. In our relatively short existence we have excelled academically. Our school is the only school to have reached an API over 800 in the first year of its existence; it was raised another 35 points in the second year. We have a number of students who have also achieved perfect scores in the CST. Our students have done exceptionally well, as evidenced by our test scores, due to the enthusiasm and dedication of our teachers. We respectfully request that you review all of our circumstances when deciding on termination or displacement of our school's teachers. Our belief is that dedication, commitment and performance are very important to the success of students. We have been very fortunate in having teachers with these values and we wish to continue to have them at our school. We ask that you also review the criteria for determining which students should be re-located to The Bruin Community and NOW Schools. It appears that our enrollment may be unfairly impacted. In sum, we believe that academically successful LAUSD schools such as ours need to be supported and fostered. These are precisely the type of schools that are models for others to emulate. We urge you to keep our staff and our enrollment intact in order to continue on the successful path we have already established. Respectfully, Friends and Supporters of Charles H. Kim Elementary School


Charles H. Kim Education Fund
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