Cause for Optimism
Thank you for reading our October newsletter!
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I am committed to hiring the best superintendent for LAUSD. You are an important partner and must voice your expectations about the characteristics we need in the next superintendent. We are working with a search firm to assist us in the process.
The following are the major steps in our search for our superintendent:
The greatest influence you can have as partners in our movement to 100% graduation is to ask all our community to participate in the first step by filling out a survey or attend townhall meetings to help identify the important qualities of our next superintendent.
This survey is open to every stakeholder, from employees to students, parents, and community members, and is available in multiple languages. Help me select our future superintendent by filling out the survey. Once you are done, invite a student, parent, or community member to fill out, too!
The townhall meetings will begin on Monday, October 19th. To find the one closest to you, go to achieve.lausd.net/Page/9699.
I want to hear your thoughts after filling out the survey or attending a townhall. Send me an email with your feedback to email@example.com.
Take a short break from reading our newsletter and fill out the LAUSD superintendent survey here: survey.ecragroup.com/index.php/887999/lang-en#
to Get to 100% Graduation!
Our next Successful School Climate: Progressive Discipline Safety Committee meeting will be on October 20th in the Board of Education Board Room. I invite you to join us!
Chief Zipperman, a member of our committee is excited for another series of thoughtful discussions to increase school safety and improve school climate without criminalizing our youth. He said, “The Los Angeles School Police Department remains a committed partner for the Restorative Justice (RJ) program within the LAUSD.”
“As a police agency that focuses on keeping our schools safe and remain committed to increasing school attendance, graduation rates and preparing our youth for college and career, Restorative Justice focuses on providing an alternative method to punitive sanctions that often fail to identify ‘root causes’ and ‘victim empathy’ on minor ‘social wrongs.’”
He concludes on the benefits he has witnessed with the implementation of Restorative Justice practices, “LAUSD’s RJ program allows for dialogue to occur between affected parties, increases strategic problem-solving, school attendance and student success while minimizing law enforcement involvement of a negative tone.”
I am proud that our committee will explore issues of racial disproportionality, diversion, and the relationship with earning Ds and Fs and issues of discipline. We have partners from a wide spectrum of perspectives, from LAUSD representatives to LA County and community organizers. We look forward to your involvement!
We share the love of possibilities and beliefs with all of our students and families in every neighborhood across Los Angeles. It’s never too early to start talking about a child’s path to college. At the Los Angeles Unified School District our goal is to prepare college and career ready global graduates. Our students are getting ready for a multicultural world where every product and every project has elements from many cultures and countries.
Computers are designed in the United States, produced from parts made around the world, assembled in China, and sold in the United States. Similarly, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Aerospace (NASA) astronaut, amongst other things, must know about space engineering, how to speak the Russian language, how to swim, and how to work well in a team. The goal of every individual’s educational path is to find a good paying job that allows them to give back to society.
Our district provides the foundation for any college major or any career that our students are interested in. And if we don’t have it, contact my office to explore how we can make it a reality.
This month and every month, we celebrate college awareness in Los Angeles. How are you sharing your belief that college is possible with our youth?
National Coming Out Day celebrates the courageous actions of individuals to share who they are, to share their sexual orientation or gender identity openly, and to allow allies to reconfirm their support. Tolerance and equality is a pillar of our Constitution, yet the respect for the LGBTQ community has been a civil rights fight that continues to this day.
My interest in authoring this resolution every year is to protect, respect, and embrace students that identify as LGBTQ and to provide allies the opportunities to demonstrate their respect and support for our youth.
While the experiences by LGBTQ adults are terrible – the realities experienced by our youth are torturous. LGBTQ youth are at an increased risk of being bullied, physically attacked, experiencing homelessness, and dropping out of school.
As a social worker and board member, I know that safe, respectful learning environments are a crucial component for our youth’s personal development and educational achievement.
To find out how you can make a difference go to: www.projectspin.org
The last day to turn in your meal applications to count towards school funding is October 23rd.
We want to recognize our Board District 2 schools. Click here to see the schools that get an A+ for submitting more than 90% of their meal applications, as of September 23:
Click here to see the schools that get a B+ for submitting more than 80% of their meal applications:
This year, the meal application is more than a meal – every application equals dollars for your school.
If your school is not listed, we need your help in turning in more of the meal applications at your school. Contact your schools main office for more information to submit the meal application online or with a paper application. You can also contact the Food Services Division at (213) 241-3185.
CalState LA’s mascot Eddie the Golden Eagle and East LA College’s mascot Husky, the Siberian Husky, have been spotted in East Los Angeles. They are on a mission to energize our youth to get ready for the college and career of their choice.
So far, I have travelled with our GO East LA partners, President William A. Covino and President Marvin Martinez, to Garfield High School and all of the participating middle schools.
We plan to visit all of the participating GO East LA elementary schools throughout the rest of this month in celebration of College Awareness Month.
Send me a message with the college you attended so that we can highlight you in our social media!
Second Street hosted the 7th Annual UCLA Volunteer Day and I was excited to see all the great work! Over 160 students brought their families for a day of learning and inspiration. Volunteers and parent volunteers painted murals to beautify 2nd Street and students engaged in classroom activities such as rocket building and going to college.
The day culminated with an assembly featuring UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, Assistant Vice Chancellor Keith Parker, California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, actor Jonathan Bennet, and finalist from The Voice, India Carney. The honored guests also helped distribute tote bags filled with school supplies to all students donated by K to College, a non-profit organization.
Principal Muñoz shared her impression, “students and families walked away with more than school supplies and the Bruin 8 Clap. They walked away with hope and aspirations.”
120 volunteers came together to paint new murals at Alexandria Elementary School. Some folks painted fruits and vegetables while others painted motivational quotes and sports equipment throughout the open play spaces and walkways at the school.
We appreciate when school leaders work with community partners to provide our students educational opportunities before school, after school, and the weekends, too!
Mendez High School partnered with InnerCity Struggle and other community organizations for a weekend event focused on activism and community engagement through the arts.
We visited Hoover Elementary where Principal Avelar was modeling parent involvement. At her recent meeting with parents, she presented the school’s SBAC results and demonstrated parents how they can interpret the results of their students. They also had a special guest.
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago was an honorary guest to talk with parents about the importance of college and he also presented a $5,000 grant to be used for library computers that will be accessible before and after school.
Finally on the day’s packed agenda, parents voted for their school site council representatives. Strengthening our relationship with parents helps our students thrive. Keep up the great work!
To learn more about parent involvement, you can visit your local school’s main office or go to Parent, Community and Student Services: achieve.lausd.net/Page/303
Academic Achievement through Athletics
One of the longest serving public high schools in California, Lincoln celebrated the 100th anniversary of its entrance to the City League football. I joined more than 1300 supporters – current and former Lincoln students and community – during the annual Kenny Washington Memorial Game.
Mr. Ben Wadworth, a retired LAUSD teacher who taught chemistry for 41 years at Lincoln and former student Activities Coordinator, was honored with a Lincoln jacket and megaphone at the game.
Kenny Washington is a former Lincoln and UCLA football player and the first African-American to sign a contract with the National Football League in 1946.
Honored to share this milestone with our Lincoln Tigers family!
Learn more about Kenny Washington and the Kenny Washington Stadium Foundation's mission here: kwsfoundation.org
for the ‘Leader in Me’
Principal Castañeda-Gutierrez excitedly shared that the Panda Restaurant Company has donated $100,000 towards the implementation of the “Leader in Me” program based on the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
She also mentioned the importance of appropriate conduct by students when using technology and smart phones and applauded the district-wide “Now Matters Later!” campaign (achieve.lausd.net/nowmatterslater).
Our principals lead on the movement towards 100% graduation. Do you know a great principal in our schools that we should celebrate? Send us an email!
As part of the many celebrations in Los Angeles recognizing Latino Heritage Month, I joined students, parents, staff, educators and administrators on a walk down Chavez Avenue to celebrate Mexican Independence in East Los Angeles.
Take a look at our picture slideshow from the parade on my website here: achieve.lausd.net/garcia
Even after graduation, I am proud that LAUSD alumni currently in college continue to advocate for the improvement of our schools so that more students can reach college.
I had the opportunity to meet with local representatives from Students for Education Reform (SFER) from California State University, Dominguez Hills, Whittier College, and University of California, Riverside.
Watch a short clip about what we discussed here: https://www.facebook.com/iamwithmonicagarcia/videos/682101985258586
L.A.’s newest contemporary art museum is now open in Downtown for the enjoyment of everyone in our community. The Broad has programming for adults, families, and students.
The student programs are currently under development with our fantastic arts community partners, 826LA (826la.org) and Inner-City Arts (inner-cityarts.org), and will be available to students from grades 3 through 12 beginning January 2016.
The Broad will also host school visits in the hours before the museum opens to the public between January and May. Scholarships for free buses will be available.
All of these activities and materials will be available in English and Spanish and will offer schoolchildren and their teachers the opportunity to explore the Broad collection while developing critical and visual thinking skills through narrative, opinion and informational writing prompts.
Applications for this program will be available for teachers of grades 3–8 on Nov. 30, 2015 (application deadline is Dec. 4, 2015) for visits beginning in mid-January.
For teachers of grades 9–12, applications for school visits to The Broad will be available Jan. 18, 2016 (application deadline is Jan. 22, 2016) for visits beginning in March 2016.
We love the arts and our community partners that keep the arts alive in our community and in our classrooms!
Lear more at thebroad.org/schoolvisits.
October 4 through 10 marked Mental Health Awareness Week. Reducing the stigma regarding mental health issues is critical in order for those impacted to reach out for help. Short term and long term mental health problems can affect any one of any age.
A significant number of children and adults in our communities experience or are exposed to traumatic life events.
Calling 911 is always the primary number for immediate emergencies where an individual is trying to hurt themselves or others.
For non-immediate concerns, if you know a student in need, parents or guardians can contact the school directly or reach out to LAUSD’s School Mental Health (SMH) at (213) 241-3841. SMH is composed of several programs and offers services that emphasize student support, advocacy, and resiliency building. SMH partners with other offices and programs which directly and indirectly support staff, students and families.
Similarly, if you know an adult experiencing a mental health concern, they may contact the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health ACCESS Center 24/7 Helpline at any time of day for free, confidential mental health information, referrals to service providers, and crisis counseling.
Asking for help is not a problem. Asking for help is the solution.
With its beginnings rooted in the summer of 2003, LA’s Promise is a network partner that manages three LAUSD schools, 2 high schools and 1 middle school, and transforms these sites into community hubs for action and advocacy.
I joined students, parents, administrators, and community supporters at LA’s Promise 2015 gala. We continue the celebration by recognizing their contributions to LA’s youth. Congratulations LA’s Promise!
Norchelle Brown grew up in Watts and is the first of her mother’s five daughters to graduate from college.
Transferring from East Los Angeles College in 2011, where she received an Associate degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences, she attended the University of California, Riverside. There she received a Dual Bachelors in Sociology and African American Studies in 2013.
Norchelle is currently in her final year as an MSW student at the University of Southern California, and plans to continue her education with a focus on education policy.
Thank you for your partnership on our movement to 100% graduation Norchelle!
Our parent volunteers and parent/community representatives are key participants in our schools' success.
Huntington Drive Elementary is proud to have Ms. Zenaida Romero as their committed parent representative! Adelante!
Mrs. Moreno is a dedicated teacher who has been teaching at Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet for 11 years.
Principal Gutierrez-Castañeda says that "her energy is radiant and reflected on her students." Mrs. Moreno is focused on making sure her English Language Learners make progress towards reclassification!
She also collaborates with teachers to ensure that her 1st graders have a smooth transition into her class, as well as, into 2nd grade. Mrs. Moreno is boldly leading the way!
Thank you for reading our October newsletter!
Send your comments, suggestions, and feedback to