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Showing posts from December, 2009

A Tale of Two Back to School Nights

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Excitement and enthusiasm were in the air as teachers in my new high school in a middle class neighborhood prepared their classrooms by decorating their bulletin boards, displaying student work, and straightening desks. Welcome messages abounded, Remind.com messages were sent, and we opened our doors to meet the parents.
I have done these events for 24 years, four times a year at my former school in South Central L.A. But this year’s Back to School Night left me reflecting, and perhaps shedding a tear.
First, my new parents were fantastic. They were friendly, enthusiastic, and supportive of the new ideas I bring to the school. I knew in them I would have allies to incorporate my findings from my Fulbright exchange in Finland earlier this year. Parent after parent nodded their heads and strongly affirmed that break time was important to students, teachers, and workers in general. They were excited to hear about the summer travel programs I had prepared.
As I looked at their warm and s…

End of Year Reflection

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As we approach New Year's Day 2010, Los Angeles Academy Middle School has much to be thankful for. Below are some factors that have helped keep our school together, in spite of forces trying to tear us down:

1. Maria A. Borges, Principal

This dynamic principal is tough as nails and has managed to put together an outstanding group of teachers and support staff that has allowed our school to thrive in difficult circumstances. The secret to her success? She doesn't care about winning popularity contests. She will ONLY do what she believes to be in the students' best interest, and doesn't hesitate to overrule something she thinks is misguided. Arne Duncan is running all over the country trying to figure out what works in education but all he needs to do is pick up the phone and call our Principal.



2. The Teachers










Our LAAMS teachers have gone above and beyond the call of duty to plug in the holes caused by the Reduction in Force at LAUSD this year. We lost over 20 te…

RIF'ed Teachers Won't Sit Around and Wait Forever

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LAAMS teacher RIF'ed in March, laid off in June is subbing in her old position...but for how long?

Read article about Kate Conrath's run for the Long Beach School Board here.

The LAAMS community supports and wishes Kate Conrath the best of luck in her race, because we understand that our talented teachers, relegated to sub work, won't sit around and wait forever.

Our loss.

You Won't Read About This in the L.A. Times

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Here's something you won't hear about in the media: a talented Math teacher and a creative English/History teacher go above and beyond the call of duty to produce educational math songs and videos for students at a public middle school in South Central LA, in spite of one of them being laid off in June.

Lamar Queen signing autographs for his fans


















Lamar Queen with AvalonSensei, teacher/blogger















LAAMS teacher Ha Nguyen and Jimmy Pascascio















Former students come out to support Mr. Queen















LAAMS teachers support their talented colleague













Video Director Jimmy Pascascio with My Dear Aunt Sally, former student Whitney Parham



Its not as fun to read about real teachers that reflect the best that LAUSD has to offer: educators with a passion for for their craft, amazing talents, abundant creativity, a commitment to students and their families...

Close to 100 teachers, community members, and fans came out on Saturday, December 12, 2009 in spite of heavy rain, to support the release of Lamar Queen…