Dear GALA Parents,
THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION! GALA needs an Assistant Principal now. We need parents to band together to ask for one! It won't take much of your time and our daughters will benefit for years to come.
WHY Now? The recent strike gives us an opportunity to push for what GALA desperately needs: an assistant principal (AP).
WHY WON'T THE DISTRICT PROVIDE AN AP? District guidelines require schools to meet an enrollment threshold before the district will provide an AP. Therefore parents MUST speak out.
WHY AN AP? Our principal, Dr. Hicks, is operating as THE ONLY ADMINISTRATOR ON CAMPUS. She must have help in order for our daughters to get the best experience GALA has to offer.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER NEEDS? Although GALA needs many things our most urgent need is for an assistant pricipal.
WHAT CAN I DO? Please take a few minutes to write a letter. We have provided some talking points below. Select one or two points that resonate with your family and write a letter in your own words. Have your daughter bring your letter to the GALA office and put it in the box labeld "FoGALA for AP" or email it to us: with Letter for Assistant Principal in the subject line.
GALA GRATITUDE: Thank you for taking a few minutes to advocate for your GALA Goddess!
TALKING POINTS REGARDING AN ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL
● FINANCIAL: GALA HAS BROUGHT OVER $2 MILLION DOLLARS INTO LAUSD
Due to many hours, late nights, and weekends spent on recruitment and marketing by the principal, GALA has brought many out-of-district, charter, and private school students into LAUSD who would not normally consider attending an LAUSD school. GALA has generated additional Average Daily Attendance (ADA) revenue of $2,555,880 per year for the district. This is money the district would have lost had GALA not opened and been so successful. In addition, this huge financial return to the district is going to continue to grow over the next several years because GALA is not yet at full capacity.
The cost of an Assistant Principal is a small FRACTION of the millions of dollars GALA has brought back to LAUSD.
● GALA IS THE GEM OF LAUSD AND OUR TEST SCORES ARE RISING
GALA’s CAASPP scores are some of the best in the district. Last year our 6th grade students’ “meets and exceeds” scores in English Language Arts were at 91%. That is unheard of in any school, let alone a brand-new school with a diverse population that includes Title 1 students. GALA is on track to be one of the best schools across the entire district. If we don’t get help (an AP) soon, we can not continue to help our students excel as we grow.
● MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL CONSIDERATION
We are both a middle school and a high school, which should require at least one principal for the middle school and one principal for the high school. The academic and social needs of high school students are very different from those of middle school students. We need a second administrator to help manage the unique needs of these two different populations.
There is no Assistant Principal Secondary Counseling Services (APSCS) at GALA, which means all duties that are specific to this position (related to the master schedule, balancing classes, and the scheduling of teachers and students in appropriate middle school classes and A-G classes) falls on the principal.
Although LAUSD guidelines stipulate that a school must have a ratio of 750 students for every 1 administrator, many smaller schools and SPAN schools with fewer students than GALA have an assistant principal. This is an issue of equity. Our school doesn’t have what many schools already have. It also shows that the district’s requirements are out of touch with the needs of schools at the school level.
● GALA IS GROWING
Our start-up school is growing rapidly. Each year we are hiring new teachers, setting up new programs, and engaging students in a fresh way. We need another administrator to help manage this growth and to complement Dr. Hicks' skill set, as well as to reduce the volume of work and responsibilities sitting on Dr. Hicks’ shoulders.
GALA has a lot of new teachers. They need coaching and guidance from an administrator. Dr. Hicks currently evaluates twelve teachers, but most principals evaluate half this number of teachers or less. Our families chose GALA because we expect the teachers to be effective. We also expect them to be supported so that not one day of learning is wasted. We know it takes many hours to foster talent - too many hours for one person to do effectively - especially when that one and only person is also the principal of the whole school.
● PRINCIPAL HICKS – SOLE ADMINISTRATOR
Since GALA has a high school, LAUSD requires administrative supervision for all athletic and extra-curricular events. GALA’s principal already works 12-hour days for which she is probably not compensated. This is untenable. We are deeply concerned that it’s just a matter of time before the workload will take its toll on Dr. Hicks. We are burning her out.
GALA is a brand new model for the district and the state of California. This is one reason why we have enrolled our daughters in GALA. We expect our principal (and her staff) to be well versed in the latest educational curriculum. We also expect them to be aware of current data and research inside GALA and LAUSD, while also engaging with experts outside the district and across the country. Because Dr. Hicks has no assistant principal to support her, she has not been able to attend conferences or professional development events that could help GALA garner resources, support, and cutting edge information.
For reasons that are unclear, Dr. Hicks is the ONLY adult on campus with an administrative credential. When she needs to be off campus, there is no administrator available to handle the myriad jobs that only an administrator can do. Thus anytime Dr. Hicks must attend a mandatory principal meeting for the district, leaves school to attend an off-site athletic event, or is out sick, there is no one to oversee the running of GALA.
If Dr. Hicks were to be absent from GALA for any length of time, there would be no administrative leader to step in with a personal understanding of the school, its students, its culture, or its staff and parents.
● GALA POSITIVE PRESS INCREASES THE VALUE OF LAUSD
GALA has received a tremendous amount of positive press. This not only helps GALA, but also sheds a positive light on LAUSD. Yet it takes time and a great deal of effort to generate positive press. For example, Dr. Hicks answers press calls, hosts press visits, and takes interviews with the press. In contrast, many schools rely on LAUSD’s central communications department to do this work. Dr. Hicks shoulders the volume of this work with some guidance from LAUSD.
● GALA HAS STATE AND LOCAL SUPPORTERS
GALA has established many partnerships with political leaders (including Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles district attorney Mike Feuer, and California state senator Holly Mitchell), colleges (like Harvey Mudd, Mount St. Mary’s University, and USC) and corporations (such as the Aerospace Corporation, Google, the Institute of Architecture, WiSTEM, and SpaceX). What is more, GALA parents regularly reach out to corporate and foundation donors to help bridge the school’s financial gap. It takes work to foster and maintain these positive relationships, and to take advantage of new opportunities that come knocking at GALA’s door. High-level leaders expect to engage with GALA’s leader, Dr. Hicks. These partnerships also create good relationships for LAUSD. How can one person be expected to do this in addition to all of her other duties? A second or third administrator will provide additional support and an additional public face for GALA.
● HELP PARENTS AND EDUCATORS HELP OUR GIRLS SUCCEED
As parents invested in our daughters’ education and their futures, we understand that GALA is a unique school. We do not understand why LAUSD is not fully invested in GALA’s success.
● SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY!
Not having an assistant principal is a safety issue. Should a safety incident occur at school when Dr. Hicks is off campus (to attend a mandatory principal meeting for the district, for example, or to attend an off-site athletic event as required by the district), there will be no authorized individual present at GALA to deal with the situation.
● GALA POPULATION IS LIMITED BY SPACE
Due to the physical space limitations of our host school (Los Angeles High School,) GALA can accommodate a maximum of 700 students. This makes it impossible for GALA to meet the enrollment threshold of 750 students, which LAUSD requires before it will provide GALA with a second administrator. It is impractical to hold us to this enrollment standard.
● GALA CURRICULUM SUFFERS WITHOUT AN AP
Having experiences out in the real world, such as interacting with STEM professionals, has a positive impact on students. This is why GALA’s curriculum includes several field trips for each grade level every year. We need an assistant principal to manage these trips and to make the process more efficient and effective.
● GALA RECRUITMENT
GALA has students from more than 80 zip codes across Los Angeles County. This takes a lot of work! To encourage county-wide interest in the school, GALA’s recruitment process includes on-site school tours as well as off-site visits to more than 25 school fairs and the Local District West fair. We need an assistant principal to manage this process and to make it more efficient and effective.