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After successfully executing the parent trigger option at Desert Trails Elementary school in Adelanto, California, and the protracted legal battle which followed, parents have selected a charter school to take over the failing public school. "I'm excited and happy that we're finally able to move forward and provide a better education for students," said Doreen Diaz, a parent who led the pro-charter campaign.
Parents chose to transform Desert Trails Elementary into a LaVerne Elementary Preparatory Academy, which operates a charter school in Hesperia over the other option, the Lewis Center for Educational Research in Apple Valley. LaVerne founder Debra Tarver said "Well, we're ecstatic about this,". "My team and I, we've all spoken quite intensely about this and we're ready to go in there and bring that community and school together, roll up our sleeves and get those kids where they need to be."
The Adelanto Teachers’ Union, as expected, is not happy about the changes taking place at the school. 180 parents signed the parent trigger petition last year, meaning that those 180 parents were eligible to vote. LaVerne won by garnering 53 votes. "Fifty-three votes cast the direction of the school," said LaNita M. Dominique, president of the Adelanto teachers' union. "That's a little disheartening." Adelanto school board president Carlos Mendoza, believes this is indicative of low support for the trigger option. He also stated, however, that the school board would comply with the law.
Parents disagree. "I'm doing it for our kids," said Kathy Duncan, the mother of two students at the school. "It's a long time coming. They have sabotaged our kids." That sentiment is understandable, as 75% of the 670 students at Desert Trails are unable to read and write. Doreen Diaz, the parent who led the campaign for reform, accused Principal David Mobley of discouraging parents from voting. He chose to hold a school board election skating party at the same time as the charter school selection vote.
This was a true test of the mettle of empowered parents. They fought for better education of their children, and got it. By the time the new school year begins in August, the charter school will have taken over and, hopefully, students will be on the road to success.