A: Community School Parks (CSPs) are school playgrounds that serve as public park space through a shared use service agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Schools are ideal community recreation sites: while the city is limited in real estate, there are public schools within walking distance of most residents.
All CSPs feature enrichment programming from LAUSD staff, who focus on outdoor activities including organized games and craft projects. PFP also works to foster a strong sense of community at each CSP through in-depth community organizing and parent empowerment trainings. These equip CSP neighbors with tools and skills to take ownership over CSPs, helping to organize activities for visitors of all ages and transforming CSPs into true neighborhood hubs. Using the formerly closed school sites as space for physical activity has led to healthier living, better nutrition and family and community strengthening.
All Community School Parks feature enrichment programming carried out by LAUSD staff, who focus on outdoor activities including organized games, fitness and arts & crafts projects. PFP builds upon this programming by helping to foster a strong sense of community at each CSP through in-depth community organizing and parent trainings. These equip CSP neighbors with tools and skills to take ownership over CSPs, helping to organize activities for visitors of all ages and transforming CSPs into true neighborhood hubs. Using the formerly closed school sites as space for physical activity has led to healthier living, better nutrition and family and community strengthening.
Do the City of Los Angeles and L.A. Unified School District officially support Community School Parks?
Yes! The L.A. City Council and School District unanimously approved motions in 2008 and 2009 to create a Community School Parks Working Group with People for Parks. The District chose four elementary schools and contributed $500,000 per school to build green turf multi-purpose fields, with running tracks around them, trees, and other park amenities. These included our two flagship sites at Trinity and Vine Elementary Schools. People for Parks ensures that supervision and recreation programs are in place at all Community School Parks through grants and foundation support. PFP will continue to work with the City and the LAUSD to open new Community School Parks as funds become available.
People for Parks believes that a combination of religious and nonprofit organizations, recreation and education professionals, and law enforcement is the best assurance of a safe Community School Park. People for Parks collaborates with the L.A. Unified School District to identify the best group to manage and supervise each Community School Park during non-school hours. No Community School Park will be open to the public without the District’s approval of a nonprofit or public agency that can provide that service. People for Parks is also working with parents and neighbors through our COMPAS program to train young adults who live in the neighborhoods around CSPs on how to help lead recreation programming and contribute to park upkeep, safety and vibrancy.
Start by organizing like-minded neighbors, then visit Community School Parks, and begin discussions with teachers and administrators through your school site council. Flower and vegetable gardens, planters, trees, playground equipment and grass ball fields are all components of a Community School Park and can be introduced bit by bit. Hopefully, the school can be opened to neighborhood residents during non-school hours, weekends and school holidays. See the District’s ombudsman page for information about how to create a small garden or plant trees on your campus.