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Morning Brief: LAUSD’s New ‘Climate Coaches’ Are Part Of Education’s Restorative Practices Movement

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Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 19.

L.A. is making waves across the country, thanks to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board’s decision to eliminate police on campuses, and replace them with so-called “climate coaches.”

The resolution, adopted at a special board meeting earlier this week, also included a vote in favor of funding the Black Student Achievement Plan, which reinvests the $25 million saved by taking officers off campuses into programs aimed at supporting Black students.

The decisions aim to make schools safer, make students feel more at ease, and reduce disparities in discipline between Black and Latina/o students and other racial groups. But what, exactly, are “climate coaches”?

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According to the board’s agenda, people holding the position will be hired “from the communities they serve with extensive knowledge and familiarity to strengthen student connection.”

In other words, it will be someone the kids know and respect. As Joseph Williams, the director of operations and campaigns for Students Deserve, told my colleague Caroline Champlin, "It's like a parent or a trusted adult or elder in the community ... you're not going to swing on your uncle."

Climate coaches, once hired, will be trained in building positive relationships with students, effective de-escalation strategies, and emphasizing social-emotional learning. The district plans to hire 43 full-time positions.

The creation of this job at LAUSD stems from the idea of restorative practices, a school of thought and action that aims to encourage kids to resolve conflict through kindness and social-emotional skills. Rather than enforce punitive consequences, schools committed to restorative practices work with students to talk through problems.

Baltimore City Public Schools have implemented a similar program, calling it their Blueprint for Success. And Jurupa Unified School District, located just west of Riverside, has one as well.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • The Disneyland vaccination super-site will close until Monday, because bad weather across the country delayed the delivery of doses.
  • The U.S. Immigration Act of 2021, unveiled by the Biden administration yesterday, would provide an eight-year path to U.S. citizenship for immigrants living in the country without legal status.
  • At least 3,122 licensed child care centers in California have closed since the start of the pandemic.
  • People who get vaccinated can help the CDC track the shot's safety with a new online tool.
  • Officials installed a new nylon mesh mat across the sand in a portion of Manhattan Beach to improve accessibility.
  • NASA's Perseverance rover landed on Mars yesterday.
  • Long Beach Unified has pushed the return date for students in K-5 back to March 29.
  • Get a courtesy carwash from FX's Snowfall. Celebrate Donnie Darko's 20th anniversary. Attend a cinema panel on Black identity. Peep an Asian American virtual film fest. Learn about herbs for nerves. And more.

Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

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The 13-mile hiking and biking Park to Playa trail, connecting the Crenshaw District to the ocean at Playa del Rey, is finally open. (LAist)

After Compton Mayor Aja Brown made the surprise announcement that she wouldn’t be running for re-election, another woman has thrown her hat in the ring. (L.A. Watts Times) COuncilwoman Emma Sharif

Isabel and Leonard Ruiz, now in their mid-80s, first met in 1957 at a dance in North Hollywood. Their love has endured. (San Fernando Valley Sun)

Britney Spears’ most recent conservatorship hearing went down on Feb. 11. If you have no idea what we mean by "conservatorship," you're not alone. (LAist)

California’s cannabis regulatory agency suddenly revoked the permits of 300 state licensees, then almost immediately reinstated them. (Marijuana Business Daily)

Cocktails to-go could be one of the pandemic’s lasting legacies in California. (Eater L.A.)

Mama's Lu Dumpling House, a popular San Gabriel Valley restaurant known for its xiao long bao (soup dumplings), is under scrutiny from the state. (LAist)

In 2020, we saw more home cooks, restaurant veterans and food vendors begin selling their goods via social media. After the pandemic recedes, the trend may reshape the way Angelenos eat. (LAist)

Before You Go … This L.A. Trans Woman Almost Revolutionized The Car Industry In The 1970s

Elizabeth Carmichael with her family. (Courtesy HBO)

HBO's new documentary series, The Lady and the Dale, explores the life of Elizabeth Carmichael, a trans woman who could have changed the auto industry for good … if only her criminal history hadn’t kept creeping into her business approach.

Co-directed by Nick Cammilleri and Zackary Drucker, the series looks at Carmichael’s captivating story, including her company, Twentieth Century Motor Car Corporation, and its eco-friendly Dale car.

Cammilleri learned about Carmichael in 2011, through a 1989 Unsolved Mysteries episode, and became committed to unearthing it all. "It took me years,” he said. “I wanted to know everything."

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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