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Showing posts from September, 2010

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…

When Newspapers Save Parents From Themselves

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photo from msnb.,msn.com. The community of South Central has been struck with another painful blow, in a part of town already plagued by crime, poverty, and violence.  This week, a teacher, a respected and integral part of the Miramonte community took his own life, due to pressure faced about his public job rating, according to family members.
According to parents, students and co-workers, this was the kind of teacher who changed lives and served as a real-life role model for his students and their families.  Making out of the neighborhood is a challenging obstacle for many kids; fewer than 10% actually make it to and graduate from college.  Rigoberto Ruelas defeated those odds, but he did not leave the ‘hood.  He came back, put down roots, and decided to make a life out of helping English learners like himself overcome the obstacles of our stratified society. Former students of Rigoberto Ruela (from left): Karla Gonzalez, Alicia Hernandez, and Perla Cruz photo by Brian Watt/KPCC
Parents …

Test Scores Drop

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Today, the CA Department of Education released the Accountability reports for schools throughout the state.  Although LAAMS had received its raw scores in August, the API score released today is significant because it measures how our school has been performing over time.  After many years of positive growth, this last school year did not produce continued growth.  We went down by 5 points in the API measure.

This score is bittersweet.  We have an organized and efficient campus, one that many families flock to, and one that takes pride in serving the community.  We knew, however, that the loss of 23 teachers due to the 2009 Reduction in Force would have a terrible impact on our school community, and by extension, our test scores.  It did. 

We increased the number of students who sank to the the lowest of levels, Far Below Basic.  This is not an increase that we should have.  Because California gives the most points for moving students out of this level, you also get dinged pretty har…

L.A. Academy Star Releases Second Album

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Lamar Queen continues his mission to educate and empower youth via math raps and songs that appeal to our students.  His sophomore album is called Second Period and features songs about Pre-Algebra.  In addition, the company he founded, Music Notes Online, has also "signed" a second artist, Mr. D, who has released his own album on Geometry.

Many fans search this blog for the lyrics to Mr. Q-U-E's raps, and they are finally available online by clicking here.  Enjoy!

If you are in the Los Angeles area, don't forget to join us at the Back to School Jam at Horace Mann Middle School on September 18th. 

It's going to be another great year in South Central!