ADELANTO (CBSLA.com) — Students returned to classes Monday at the first school in California to invoke the parent trigger law.
Parents say Desert Trails Preparatory Academy has been transformed by the 2010 law, which allows a majority of parents at a chronically under-performing school to force major changes, including replacing staff or opting to turn the institution into a charter school. California is one of seven states with such laws.
“At the end of the school year, I come to find out several teachers had quit,” parent Karen Frisco said of the school in the past. “He basically was in a classroom without homework, and no computers, because there was no teacher to teach them.”
Desert Trails is the first school in the state to actually pull the parent trigger. The change came after protests and petitions by parents and members of Parent Revolution, an L.A. non-profit formed to promote California’s Parent Empowerment Act.
“Right now I’m loving it,” said parent Gregg Grant. “This school that’s taken over the system here has been proven to be really outstanding.”
Parents are the helm of the campaign to transform the school, with guidance and financial backing from Parent Revolution.
At Desert Trails, parent Cynthia Ramirez led the fight.
“It’s been a tough two years,” Ramirez said. “Just seeing all we fought for…it’s so amazing.”
Returning students are getting used to new uniforms, new teachers and new curriculum.
“They’re serious here,” said Faith Stewart, an 11-year-old student at Desert Trails. “Our teachers are more like, ‘you have to be more proper now.’”
Desert Trails is one of three schools in Southern California are slated to begin the school year under new management.