Innovative teachers and programs in Los Angeles schools.

Teachers and Programs of Note

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Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

A lifetime ago, my incoming junior-year class was required to participate in a “leadership day” at a nearby ropes course. It was my every nightmare come true: uncharted physical activities and interacting with high-school peers who had decided long ago I wasn’t up to par. I successfully crossed a tightrope and engaged in a sharing circle without stuttering, but the memory that most stands out was falling off a swing...

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Cal State LA First in the Nation in Upward Mobility

California State University, Los Angeles is ranked number one in the U.S. based on the upward mobility of its students, according to a study published in The New York Times. The study by The Equality of Opportunity Project examines the role of colleges and universities in helping individuals climb the income ladder. Cal State LA has propelled a higher percentage of students from the bottom fifth of income into the...

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New Scholar Dollars Grant Program Will Support Extracurricular Activities

State Treasurer John Chiang this month announced the launch of the Scholar Dollars grant program to address the growing need for funding to support extracurricular and after-school programs at California schools. “A well-rounded education marries reading, writing and arithmetic with coding, athletics and the fine arts,” Chiang said. At a time when California schools are struggling to ensure classrooms have the latest text books and basic school supplies, many extracurricular...

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school news

Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance Makes History in Gardena

Students, parents and teachers at Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance (EPAF), a nonprofit public charter high school in Gardena, have reason to celebrate. As the school prepares to graduate its first class of seniors, it is making history. Not only will the entire senior class graduate, but each student has received early acceptance into a four-year college or university. The school is in its fourth year of operation. "This was the goal we’ve worked towards since...

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los angeles school news

LAUSD and Los Angeles Public Library Launch Library Card Partnership

On Dec. 7, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined the Los Angeles Public Library and Los Angeles Unified School District to launch the historic Student Success Card program. For the first time, the Los Angeles Public Library is partnering with L.A. Unified to issue a Student Success library card to every student. Bringing together the nation’s second-largest school district and the library system that serves the largest, most diverse urban...

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school news

LAUSD Instructor is Among California Teachers of the Year

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson this month selected five outstanding educators as the 2017 California Teachers of the Year. “I am pleased to honor five dedicated and hardworking teachers who use their creativity and talents every day to make a huge difference in their classrooms,” Torlakson said. “These inspiring and innovative teachers enrich the lives of our students while helping them to succeed in 21st century careers and college. These teachers represent the best...

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Very Special Arts Festival Celebrates Children of All Abilities

As I walked into the courtyard of The Music Center this morning I couldn’t help but smile. Children were everywhere — singing, dancing, and making art. More than 5,000 K-12 students of all abilities from all parts of L.A. County came together for the 38th Annual Very Special Arts Festival. More than 130 schools attended this year’s festival, celebrating students’ achievements in visual and performing arts. Eighty school groups participated...

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Inclusive Programs That Teach All Learners

With the right support, students with disabilities can reach their potential  There was a time when not all children were considered capable of learning, when many students with disabilities were kept out of school completely. “They used to use the term ‘educatable.’ I hated that,” says Lila Schob, who has been an educator for 20 years. “Everyone can be educated. Everyone deserves an education.” Today, from large public districts to...

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school news

Woodcrest Expands with Middle School Program

Woodcrest School has expanded its course offerings to include middle school, sixth through eighth grade. On Sept. 13, Woodcrest hosted the Encino Chamber of Commerce, Congressman Brad Sherman’s office, Assemblyman Matt Dabaneh, Councilmember Bob Blumenfeld’s office, local community leaders and parents to celebrate the official opening of the new middle school. Woodcrest Middle School’s Head of School, Rebecca Coen, told local dignitaries that the middle school students would be leading the ribbon...

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school news

Choosing To Fund Teacher Projects

Public school teachers got a huge boost this past August when DonorsChoose.org, a crowd-funding website focused on elementary and high schools, funded all 121 donation requests from L.A.–based teachers. In partnership with Staples, which donated $1 million to the nonprofit as part of its Staples for Students summer campaign, the organization helped citizen donors enliven learning for more than 15,500 L.A. students. Genein Letford, music director at New Academy Elementary...

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school news

Non-Traditional Learning: School’s Out and About!

As the pace of change in the world around us has accelerated in recent years, so have changes in the way children learn about that world. More and more alternatives to the “traditional” classroom are emerging, and more kids are taking advantage of them. As many as 3.4 percent of U.S. children are now homeschooled, according to the most recent data from the Department of Education. And the National Center...

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community news

Fire Service Day Introduces Safety Program for LA Kids

A new educational safety program, designed to teach children five safety steps to follow in an emergency, was unveiled at the Los Angeles Fire Department’s annual Fire Service Day at Fire Station 27 in Hollywood on May 14. The department’s annual open house event drew thousands of Angelenos to their local fire stations to interact with first responders, learn how to stay safe and, at select locations including Fire Station...

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Rolling Robots Develops VEX Robotics Champions

Three teams of kids from the tech workshop Rolling Robots won awards at the 2016 VEX Robotics State Championship, which took place March 12 in Pasadena. Team 7700R won the Tournament Champion and Innovate Award in the high school division, while Team 7700B won the Design Award and were finalists in the middle school division. 7700W, the all-girls team in the elementary school division won the Judges Award. All three...

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Partnership Yields Success for L.A. Schools

When Santee Education Complex in South Los Angeles first became part of the Partnership For L.A. Schools in 2008, the campus was covered in graffiti. Fights, gang activity and drug use were common on campus, the teachers were threatening to strike and just 27 percent of students graduated. By the end of the 2014-15 school year, the campus had experienced a total turnaround. The graduation rate, according to Los Angeles...

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LAUSD Teacher Makes National Award Finals

Daniel Jocz, who teaches at Downtown Magnets High School and is a 2016 California Teacher of the Year, has been selected as one of four finalists nationwide for the 2016 National Teacher of the Year award. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the selection this week. “Daniel is a dedicated, passionate, and innovative educator who incorporates popular culture and music in the teaching of history and social studies in...

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Olympians Help Students Go for the Gold

When Mom or Dad suggests setting down the Xbox and getting some exercise or bypassing a soda in favor of water, a child is as likely to roll his eyes or put up a fight as he is to comply. But when the same message comes from an Olympic gold medalist or a Paralympian who has defied the odds, the kid might listen – and even start to change his...

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Why Kids Need Job Skills Now

Except for occasionally being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” most of us didn’t give much thought to our career options until our college years. Maybe. Our focus up to that point was on getting the grades to get into college. These days, programs are popping up that capitalize on our teens’ desire to do things on their own terms, channeling that drive to help...

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Aveson Charter Schools Featured in New Book

In the new book, “Learning Personalized: The Evolution of the Contemporary Classroom,” co-authors and educational consultants Allison Zmuda, Greg Curtis and Diane Ullman feature Aveson Charter Schools, with a home-study option and campus in Altadena, for its curriculum dedicated to personalized learning. Aveson is called “one of the most authentic” personalized learning examples in the country by the Denver educational leaders, who visited the school last year. “There is a...

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Los Angeles Schools: Measuring Progress

If your child attends public schools, you’re likely familiar with the acronym API. The letters stand for “Academic Performance Index,” and the API was created as part of a 1999 law designed to measure the academic performance and growth of California schools. The API is on a two-year cycle, releasing a “base” score for each school and district in the spring (based on students’ scores from state tests taken the...

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Los Angeles Schools In the National Spotlight

Attaining recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School or National PTA School of Excellence is no small feat. It takes teamwork and collaboration among educators, parents, students and the community. Blue Ribbon Schools are recognized based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among students. Nationally, there were 337 schools – 24 in California – that were recognized in 2014. National PTA Schools of Excellence...

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Los Angeles Education: The Archer School for Girls Opens New Media Lab

This month The Archer School for Girls in L.A. opened a new MediaSpace facility designed to encourage its students to pursue careers in media production in film, television and music. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility, funded through donations from the Ahmanson Foundation, Archer parents and supporters Martin Sandberg and Jenny Petersson, and Archer alumnae parents Lauren and Austin Fite, was Jan. 14. The MediaSpace will allow students...

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LA Education

L.A. Teachers Selected for Raytheon-Engineering is Elementary Scholarships

In a boost for LA education in the area of science, technology, engineering and math, five L.A. teachers have been awarded scholarships to attend a workshop at the Museum of Science, Boston. The workshop will help them implement the museum’s Engineering is Elementary STEM curriculum in their classrooms. Winners were selected based on the innovative methods they use to teach engineering concepts and to create enthusiasm among students. Among the...

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Get Lit Brings Poetry to L.A. Schools

On Nov. 23, I had the pleasure of attending “The Poetry of Television” hosted by Get Lit – Words Ignite. The event was held to commend some of television’s best writers and to honor Academy Award-winner Alan Ball (American Beauty) with the annual IGNITE award. The gala was held at The Dodgers Stadium Club and featured insightful performances from the Get Lit Players and speeches from Alan Ball and former...

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D.U.D.E.S. Making a Difference

Scan the crowd of volunteers manning a school event, and chances are you’ll see mostly moms, with a few uncomfortable looking dads. But not in South Pasadena. Thanks to a grassroots organization called D.U.D.E.S. – Dads Uniting Dads in Education & Service – fathers in South Pasadena show up in full force when a cry goes out for parental help. D.U.D.E.S. is the brainchild of Jeff Kirschenbaum, a dad at...

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Old School, New School: Online, At-home and Other Alternatives

With hundreds of public, private and charter schools in Los Angeles, parents have plenty of educational options for their children. Still, some families look for even greater flexibility through nontraditional schooling – from homeschooling to small independent schools to online schools that have no campus. Why choose an option that often requires greater hands-on involvement and financial commitment than what’s available through traditional schools? And how do you know if...

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A School Offering a Whole New World

All your child’s favorite games – from block building to painting, pretend play and beyond – are at the center of the new toddler and preschool curriculum at World City Center, which will kick off its first semester in August. World City Center (3911 W. Adams Blvd., L.A.) is a new stomping ground where toddlers and preschoolers learn using educational play in a dual-language environment. The center’s curriculum is child-centered,...

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WAVE Awards Honor Venice Teachers

By Elena Epstein We all know the tremendous impact a teacher can have on a child’s life. In Venice, a group of parents and community and business leaders has created an annual tradition celebrating the dedication and passion of the educators in their community. The 4th Annual WAVE Awards, held May 8 at the Rose Café and Market, brought together 17 local schools and organization for a fun evening of...

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