Monday, January 31, 2011

Teachers Union Withdraws Endorsements Of Two Candidates

By Howard Blume and Jason Song|Los Angeles Times|Teacher Endorsement|January 31, 2011|9:41 a.m.
"United Teachers Los Angeles has abandoned its support of two candidates in the March school board election, throwing the union's political strategy into disarray," said Blume and Song.
"Jesus Escandon has withdrawn from the race and John Fernandez has lost the endorsement of UTLA because of 'serious concerns about Mr. Fernandez's truthfulness in the interview process and his qualifications and integrity to be a member of the school board,' union President A.J. Duffy wrote in a Monday statement that was apparently faxed to union chapter chairs at schools in the L.A. Unified School District."
"Escandon had filed to run in District 7, which covers the harbor area and portions of South Los Angeles, against one-term incumbent Richard Vladovic. Fernandez is running for an open seat in District 5, which covers a diverse area including Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Eagle Rock, East Los Angeles and the southeast L.A. County cities of Huntington Park, South Gate and Bell."

Fairburn Auction Committee Pose For A Great Cause

Auction Committee
Pictured (left to right): Samira Kordestani, Ghazal Valipour, Jo Cherniss, Amy Veltri, Carrie Haber, Kim Wiener, Janel Ablon, Becky McElhenney, Jen Drebin, Tracy Alvy, Amanda Clarke and Lisa Francoeur.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

USC President Urges Students Not To Attend Raves

Fan Tries To Jump Fence At Rave
According to the Los Angeles Times, "the president of USC is warning students not to attend raves, saying use of the illegal drug Ecstasy at the massive dance parties 'can create a ripple effect of dangers that lead to catastrophic consequences.'"
I wish to warn you about a specific danger that has become increasingly prevalent in the city of Los Angeles: raves. Occasionally, these are held close to our campuses, often at the Coliseum or the Shrine, and they present serious risks to all who attend, USC President C.L. Max Nikias wrote in the letter sent by e-mail Wednesday to USC students. The letter was first reported by the Neon Tommy website.
"Nikias said Ecstasy is common at raves and can produce paranoia, panic attacks and hallucinations."
Therefore, with the collective support of the university's senior administration — and as the father of two USC students — I strongly discourage your participation at rave events, he wrote.
For full article, visit,0,1575994.story

Los Angeles Times|By Rong Gong Lin II|January 27, 2011

L.A. Police Officer Lies About Being Shot

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Outrage, Disappointment Over Police Officer Who Allegedly Lied About Being Shot

By Richard Winton, Joel Rubin and Andrew Blankstein|Los Angeles Times|Outrage, Disappointed Over Police Officer|January 28, 2001|7:44 a.m.

According to the Los Angeles Times, school and police officials expressed outrage and disappointment on Friday over allegations that Los Angeles School Police Department Officer Jeff Stenroos lied about being shot by an assailant outside El Camino Real High School last week.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines issued an apology, noting that the shooting case caused thousands of students to be under lockdown for hours.

"On behalf of the thousands of dedicated professionals that comprise the Los Angeles Unified School District, I would like to apologize to the public for the hoax that was perpetrated by a rogue officer of the Los Angeles School Police," Cortines said in a statement. "Thousands of people were inconvenienced by the actions of this one man. I want to again apologize to everyone who was alarmed, who worked long hours and who were adversely affected by his actions."

Cortines said the LAUSD has relieved Stenroos of duty and begun the process of firing him.

"Although Jeff Stenroos was an eight-year veteran of the Los Angeles School Police, his actions in no way reflect the professionalism and integrity of the men and women who protect and serve this District every day," he added.

Paul M. Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said Stenroos was a "disgrace."

"The law enforcement community is disgusted," Weber said in a statement. "While Mr. Stenroos is a disgrace to the badge, his individual and dangerous actions should not reflect on the hard-working men and women in law enforcement."

Police announced Thursday that Stenross' story of being shot was a concocted. Stenroos has been booked on a felony charge of filing a false police report, and was released on $20,000 bail Friday morning.

Police had said Stenroos was shot in the chest Jan. 19 after he confronted a man who was attempting to break into vehicles near the eastern boundary of the El Camino Real High School campus. Stenroos' bulletproof vest absorbed the impact of a single gunshot, which Los Angeles Police Department officials said could easily have killed the officer.

The incident sparked a massive police response that inconvenienced thousands of people for the day as officers blocked roads, locked down schools and refused to let people in or out of a 7-square-mile area.

Authorities arrested Stenroos after he allegedly admitted to fabricating the story, a senior LAPD official close to the investigation told The Times.

(*Note, this article was taken from the Los Angeles Times Website)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fairburn Elementary School Parents Know How To Put The 'Fun' In Fundraising

By Dupè Aleru

    Fairburn parents are putting the “fun” in fundraising with its online auction to benefit their local elementary school, Fairburn Elementary, due to the decline in state funding for public elementary schools across the state.
    The online auction will run from March 20 to April 3 on
    Items listed for auction will include upscale hotel and spa getaways, meals at some of Los Angeles' most popular restaurants, tickets to various sporting events,  exclusive entertainment experiences, gift certificates for classes and services and much more. 
    All proceeds will assist Fairburn School in paying for  art, music, hands-on science and physical education equipment and activities, nursing, teacher’s aides and campus renovations. 
    “With support and donations from faculty, parents, local businesses and the neighboring community, we will be able to endow hundreds of students with the type of education all children deserve,” said parent Jennifer Drebin, running the auction’s Donations Committee. 
    There is still time. Donations are currently being accepted and online sponsorship opportunities are available. All contributions are tax-deductible and auction volunteers are available to pick up items. 
    To donate, contact Jen Drebin at and to advertise on the auction site, contact Janel Ablon  at 
    For more information or to download donation forms, visit Fairburn Online Auction on Facebook.

Bake Sale Introduced At BHPP

By Dupè Aleru

Beverly Hills Presbyterian Preschool (BHPP) will host its annual bake sale Feb. 10-11  on its campus.
“This is like no other bake sale you have ever been to. Our talented moms and dads donate savory items, such as homemade  lasagna, shepard’s pie and other casserole items,  in addition to typical bake sale fare, so you can purchase your Valentine Weekend dinners  as well as special dessert items,” said Director Sheila Hogan.

Items  will be available for purchase in Buswell Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on Feb. 10 and  11.
For more information, contact Sheila Hogan, director at 310-271-5197 or  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Betty White Thanks Horace Mann School In Beverly Hills

Betty White
By Dupè Aleru
    Horace Mann School sure knows how to say “Happy Birthday”.
    On Betty White’s 89th birthday, the Huskies surprised Ms. White by making her special birthday cards.
    In return, White sent personal thank you notes and a signed photograph with her dog Panda to thank the Husky Nation for making such wonderful cards and thinking of her on her 89th birthday.             In the letter, White indicated that she would do something special for Horace Mann School later this year when her traveling slowed down.
    In regards to the invite to Alumni Night, White appreciated the kind gesture and apologized for missing the event due to her busy schedule.        White has not slowed down yet. After leaving New York last week for her birthday celebration, she is now in Kansas City, MO for the premier of The Last Valentine  which will air on CBS, Jan. 30.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

L.A. Edvancement on Jen's List!

Jen's List is one of Los Angeles' hottest blog sites for families, reaching over 15,000 families in Southern California. The daily newsletter and website is popular and is creating a buzz! My website was posted on it earlier this week!

Check it out!

PTA Relections Art Contest

THE WINNERS ARE...– Hawthorne School presented its PTA Reflections Art Contest Awards at their PTA meeting last Tuesday. Hawthorne school Principal, Toni Staser handed out 32 awards from 100 entries for the contest. Reflections Art winners include: Middle School, back row (left to right): Shyra Costas, Danielle Kohut, Alexandra Weisfeld, Sasha Bakhshayandeh, Bardia Soltani, Ahyra Far, Alexander  Rahban, Julia Shabanian,Celine Rezvani, Amy Okada, Victoria Yu, Nikole Okhman, Eric Brook (not pictured), and Chelsea Woods. Intermediate Level, front row (left to right): Liza Freiberg, Robert Sher, Christopher Rose, Jansen McNally, Rachel Khorshad, Natasha Colins, Robert Rose, Alexa Khorshad, Nicholas Colins, Taylor Samidi, Joshua Saghizadeh, and Julia Mashal (not pictured).
                                                                           Photo by Michele Rose (Hawthorne Reflections Chair) 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Little Owl Preschool Raises The Architectural Bar

By Brian Ulaszewski

Turning onto Linden Avenue north of Wardlow Road, past the Bixby Knolls Car Wash, you might pass right by one of the best new buildings in Long Beach due to its understated confidence. Set back from the street behind a small parking lot, the two-story structure is playfully camouflaged by a living wall of plants covering half its façade. You also might not realize the building’s function until you notice a second, child-scale door in the entry vestibule—or perhaps the subtly-sized, weathered metal sign marking this as the home of Little Owl Preschool. 

Brian Ulaszewski|Long Beach Post|Design In place|1.25.2011|9:05am

For more information and to read the full article, visit


January 25, 2011

Dear Prospect Exhibitors,

The Beverly Hills Courier and the Beverly Hills Education Foundation invite you to take part in its First Annual Westside Regional Summer Opportunities Fair to be held on Saturday, March 12, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Beverly Hills High School.  This regional event will provide a central place for Westside parents, families and students to learn what your summer program has to offer.  The fair is expected to host more than 100 exhibitors to showcase their specific opportunities.

Please register no later than Monday, February 28, 2011 to ensure a booth at the fair.  The registration fee to exhibit in Westside Regional Summer Opportunities Fair is $500.  This first annual event will feature camp booths, various educational enrichment activities and great food for all in attendance.  We expect more than 5,000 parents and children to attend.

In addition to a booth at the fair, exhibitors will receive publicity in The Beverly Hills Courier, an e-blast featuring information about your summer offerings to The Courier’s exclusive online database, mailings to both public and private school sectors and an internet link from The Beverly Hills Courier Summer Opportunities Fair webpage to your summer program’s website.

Our Summer Opportunities Fair directors, Dupè Aleru and Peter Kazanjian, will follow up with you over the course of the next two weeks to answer any questions you may have.  Alternatively, please don’t hesitate to call or email our team at 310-278-1322 x107 or  Thank you.


Clifton S. Smith, Jr.

FOR MORE INFO AND/OR REGISTRATION FORM, PLEASE CONTACT ME (Dupe Aleru), Director of Education Services at 310-278-1322 x107.

Monday, January 24, 2011


 By Charlene Liebau
College Admissions Editor  
     Now that PSAT scores have been received by high school juniors thoughts turn to taking the SAT or ACT “for real.”  I discussed the format of the SAT in an article several weeks ago and now focus on the “other” college admission test, the ACT.
    The ACT is a widely used college admission test and accepted by most colleges, including the University of California.  Originally, ACT was the name of a company founded in 1959: American College Testing.    In 1996 the name was changed, and shortened, to ACT and now reflects the name of the company and the test it produces.  With its beginnings in Iowa, the test first became popular among colleges and universities in the Midwest.
    The ACT is an achievement test – that is, it is closely aligned with the typical high school curriculum and measures what a student has learned in English, mathematics, and science.  Contrast that with the SAT - developed as an aptitude test, a measure of one’s abilities.
    The ACT is a test with four distinct sections: English, reading, mathematics, and science.  In addition, there is a separate Writing Test required by most colleges, but not all.
    The ACT contains a total of 215 multiple-choice questions:  the English section has 75 questions measuring a student’s skill level using standard written English; the reading section has 40 questions on reading comprehension in social studies, sciences, arts and literature; the mathematics section contains 60 questions based on a student’s understanding of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry; and the science portion of the test has 40 questions in the natural sciences.  All questions in the test are based on the material covered in a typical high school curriculum.
The ACT Plus Writing test requires the student to write an essay within a 30 minute testing time.  An essay prompt is given defining an issue and describing two different points of view.  The student is asked to take a position, to respond to one of the points of view presented, or to present one’s own view.  The position the student chooses to write about will not affect the score.  Preparation for the writing section is to read and become aware of current issues and to practice writing within time limits.
    Scoring for the ACT is based on the results of each of the four tests (English, math, reading, and science) from a low of 1 to a high of 36.  A multiple-choice test, scores reflect only correct answers – unlike the SAT no points are deducted for incorrect answers.  Sub scores for each of the four tests are also provided.  In addition, a composite score is given and represents the average of the four tests.  Scores are presented as a number, a percentile, and within a band or range of scores.  Studies show that of the students who repeat the test 55% increase their composite score while 22% show no change and 23% actually receive a lower score.
    Time for ACT testing requires 3 hours 30 minutes, including breaks.  If the student elects to take the Writing Test, an additional 30 minutes is added to the testing time.
    Cost for the basic ACT is $33, the ACT plus Writing is an additional $15.  This fee includes sending score reports to four of the student’s college choices.
    The ACT is offered in September, October, December, February, April, and June on both high school and college campuses.
    Charlene Liebau is the former director of admissions for CalTech and Occidental College. She is also a finalist judge of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Trend in Education Layoffs Is Becoming Ridiculous

It's mind boggling how one of the most vital and critical professions in our nation is the first to be cut as far as layoffs, budgets and programs. I start to question our nations priorities. I can't fault others who are in different fields and are lucky to keep their jobs...more power to them, but the fact that teachers are getting laid off left and right is outright ridiculous.

I was one of those teachers last year. Yearning to continue to work, but knowing my dream as an elementary school teacher would soon come to an end. My passion has always been to educate and help young children learn the skills and tools in order to be success in their future endeavors.  Unfortunately, dealing with the politics and betrayal of our educational system, I was forced to look elsewhere-to touch the lives of our youth.

Regardless of the trials and tribulations that I had to endure, I have to say that I am happy with the outcome and I've had the opportunity to touch the lives of young children on a larger scale.

As for our future teachers, I would say hang in there. Your good deed will not be forgotten and will always be greatly appreciated. Regardless of how anyone looks at it, no one would be in the position they are today if it wasn't for "teachers". Period! Why "we" get the short end of the stick is still unknown, but I can say that every journey is worth going through if you learn something from it, so embrace it. You never know what God has in store for you...the road is endless.

Questions and Answers

Should physical education be cut in schools?
What about the arts (music/dance/theater/)?
How about science/technology?
Do you think parents will look away from public education, with a rise in private school enrollment?

Some of this is already happening...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

American Idol Isn't the Only Idol Show In Town...Meet "Jordan Idol"

Welcome to Jordan Idol, a competition based off the number one show in America, American Idol. 

Jordan High School in Long Beach, is looking for the best aspiring singer! Cash prize, $50 cash. Auditions will be held after school in the Gallery on Monday Jan. 24 and Tuesday Jan. 25.

If you have a voice and you believe that you can be the next Jordan Idol, come out and audition. Ten contestants will be chosen for the show, which will be held in the auditorium Thursday Feb. 3 and Friday Feb. 4 from 3-4:30 p.m.

The event is free of charge for all students. Audience members will be voting for the winner and friends and family are welcomed to vote as well.

Don't miss out on this extraordinary event. Come to the Gallery and visit one of the LB WRAP staff for more information. Good luck!

Friday, January 21, 2011

CSULB President Announces Proposed Budget Cuts

According to the Long Beach Post, President F.King Alexander of California State University, Long Beach  issued a message to faculty, staff and students regarding the Governor's proposed budget. Alexander highlights the proposed 18% reduction in funding to the CSU system is the equivalent of a $500 million cut. The letter to the faculty and students states:

Dear CSULB Faculty, Staff and Students:
Earlier this month Governor Brown proposed his 2011-12 annual budget.  While the Governor's proposed budget does not provide many specifics, it does include an 18 percent reduction--a $500 million cut--to the CSU with system enrollment set at about 339,000 resident Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES).  Overall, California public higher education faces a $1.4 billion reduction.  At this point, we do not yet know how the Chancellor’s Office will apportion the $500 million budget reduction or what our new enrollment targets will be. We believe that more information regarding these issues will be made available in the coming weeks.
If the Governor’s budget is implemented and the Chancellor apportions the reduction to CSU campuses pro rata, the net effect for CSULB would result in a budget very similar to the one for which we had planned for the start of Fall 2010. This new budget would also take us back to our 1999-2000 funding levels.  This is a very lean level of funding, but a level for which we have already begun careful planning.
The Governor’s cuts are proposed against the partially “restored” CSU budget that we received last October for 2010-11.  Although restoration was very short-lived, cuts would have been much more painful if levied against our pre-restoration budget.  Furthermore, the proposed budget assumes fee and tuition increases at all three public higher education segments; for the CSU these were enacted by the Board of Trustees last fall for Spring 2011 and Fall 2011.  It is also important to mention that the Governor's proposed budget does include full funding for financial aid programs.
It remains to be seen how the Governor's proposal will fare with the legislature and the public. In past years, the January Governor’s budget was close to the final budget but frequently took months to pass.  Despite the fact that we understand the current fiscal circumstances facing California, we are committed to working hard to mitigate these proposed reductions.
One additional wild card that could even have greater economic impact on our campus is a proposed special election in June to ask voters to approve tax extensions.  These are not new taxes but extensions of three existing taxes.  If these extensions are not approved, and larger cuts are proposed for the CSU, we will have very significant concerns about the impacts on our programs.
The next couple of months will be critical for us as we  plan for the 2011-12 academic year. A great deal hinges on the upcoming legislative debates over the budget, a subsequent May budget revision based on updated revenue projections, and another June election aimed at extending three existing taxes.
We expect more specific information on enrollments and budget allocations in early February from the Chancellor’s Office.  At that time, we will have to make final fall admissions decisions and proceed with planning for next year’s enrollment and budget, despite the substantial uncertainty remaining about next year’s budget.
We will continue to inform you as more information is made available.  Despite this significant setback and the uncertainty that we face, we firmly believe that our university can continue to deliver on its core mission of helping students to succeed.
Thank you and GO BEACH!
F. King Alexander, President

Consuls General Visit At Hillel For Invited Dignitaries

Honored guests and invited dignitaries

By Dupè Aleru
    Last Friday, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy hosted its “Consuls General Visit” during a school-wide assembly  which honored those who responded to the December fires that broke out in Haifa, Northern Israel, claiming 42 lives.
    Hillel Academy was a segment of those who quickly responded to the fires. Its student council immediately organized an assembly the following day, preceding the fires.  The agenda of the assembly was to educate the school staff and students on the Israeli fires as well as come up with a response in lending a hand to the Israel community. Hillel immediately began to include Shacharit davening (morning prayers) into its daily routine in addition to collecting funds that will help purchase blankets and bedding for a dormitory school who was victim to the fires. Hillel’s gratitude was given to those who quickly responded and came to the aid of their brothers and sisters in Israel, by writing letters.
    “It is very important for us to know that while we are doing very difficult work here in Israel–children from Los Angeles are thinking of us and sending us strength. We received all your letters to pass them on to our friends–the firefighters,” said Israeli firefighters David, Eitan and Motti.
    The journey is not over. Hillel’s eighth grade girls went to Israel last week on their student exchange program. They will use the funds raised to purchase and personally hand deliver the blankets and bedding to the school in Northern Israel on Jan. 25.
    From performances by Hillel’s choir and presentation letters read by students to flowers given to invited dignitaries and closing remarks by Rabbi Y. Boruch Sufrin, one can say that the “Consuls General Visit” proved to be a victorious celebration. It showed that an individual or group of young children can make a difference in the world by showing acts of kindness, compassion and strength to one another. Job well done Hillel!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

El Camino Real High Unfazed By Shooting and Lockdown Yesterday

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times
As parents arrived in cars to drop off their children at El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills this morning, one can ask, "What is going on in our schools these days where shootings and lockdowns occur to be "normal"? According to the Los Angeles Times, "students walked to school with the shooting of a police officer near campus fresh on their minds."

Parents and children seemed to not be concerned about returning to school after yesterday's shooting of police officer Jeffrey Stenroos as the gunman remains at large. 

Today, several police cars were quite visible around campus, indicating to the public and community that the law enforcement presence has been implemented.

For more information, visit

Los Angeles Times|January 20, 2011|8:57 a.m.

The World Music Academy Is In Its Sixth Year of Service

Ryan Blakeley Smith
By Dupè Aleru
    The World Music Academy, founded by Ryan Blakeley Smith in 2004, is a full service music education school for students K-12, operating in Beverly Hills.
    For the past six years, WMA continues to grow and expand in both business and most importantly in the growth of the young minds of its students.
    WMA offers in-home private music lessons in all instruments from guitar, piano, and drums to voice, strings and brass.
    “We provide students with the most effective way of learning.  Each lesson is specified to the individual and we nurture the talents of each student.  We utilize many techniques and styles incorporating classical to modern, Mozart to the iPod.” “In home lessons allows parents and students the convenience of hassle-free traveling and instrument transportation, said Smith.
    For more information or to enroll your child visit                            or call 818-434-6435.

Gardena High Suspect In Gun Shooting Stole Gun From His Stepfather, Source Says

Stated from the Los Angeles Times, according to a source, the 17-year-old student from Gardena High who brought a loaded gun to school in his backpack and then ran when it accidentally discharged, reportedly stole the weapon from his stepfather.
Unfortunately, the accident left two students injured: a single round from the 9-mill Beretta tore through a 15-year-old students neck and struck another student in the skull. Both victims, boy and girl were sitting in class when the incident occurred.
The female still remains in critical condition as the male was discharged from the hospital.
Coming from a source familiar with the investigation said that amidst the chaos, the suspect handed his backpack to a girl and another student, a male, provided the suspect with a sweatshirt to change his appearance. Another student have him money for a bus fare to flee the area. 
"The 17-year-old, along with the two students who allegedly helped him, is expected to appear Friday in Juvenile Court. Police said he’s likely to be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. The student, according to the source, is on probation for a misdemeanor battery conviction," according to the Los Angeles Times.

"As students returned to campus Wednesday, they were forced to stand in a slow-moving line that stretched down the sidewalk, while staff members scanned them with metal-detecting wands and searched backpacks and purses for weapons."
"Despite the weapons search, some parents were wary of promises of change and doubted that enforcement would be long-term."
Los Angeles Times|January 19, 2011|7:30pm| By Andrew Blankstein

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Company's Last Performance

The Company

The Company, under the direction of Frances Goritsas, held their final annual performance on Saturday Jan. 15 in K.L. Peter’s Auditorium. The Courier was delighted to attend and was thrilled with the performance. Job well done ladies and gentlemen. 

Eric’s Vision In Memory Of Eric T. Scoggins Sr.

Shonta and Eric Scoggins

By Dupè Aleru
Eric Scoggins Sr. did it all. He earned a football scholarship to USC and soon established a foundation that will later assist him in achieving his goals-playing professional football and excelling in the corporate world.
 All of this came to a screeching halt when Eric was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) in 2007. Although the news was devastating, Eric confirmed he had a strong spirit after learning the news that ALS had no cure.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. This degeneration process of motor neurons eventually die, and the brain loses the ability to initiate and control muscle movement. With voluntary muscle action affected, patients become paralyzed or eventually pass.
To date, the cause is unknown, but with new scientific findings, families are provided with hope for the future. Due to minimal funds for research, there is still no found therapy or drug to slow the progression.
 Frustrated by our nation’s lack of awareness of this debilitating disease, Eric’s close friends Ronnie Lott and Keena Turner along with the San Francisco 49er’s organization hosted a fundraising dinner in January 2008 in hopes of spreading the knowledge of this disease and to raise funds in support of its research. The event raised more than $150,000E—Eric’s Vision was borne.  
“Eric’s Vision is a nonprofit organization that funds ALS cure-driven research, and inspires further research by providing college scholarships to deserving high school students.  Since 2008 when Eric’s Vision was borne we have raised more than $450k to support organizations that are essential to ALS research and patient care,” said Shonta Scoggins, widow of Eric Scoggins.
Remember to come join “Kick for a Cure” to be held tomorrow on the campus of BHHS at 6:30 p.m. to help raise funds for Eric’s Vision.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gun In Backpack At Gardena High School Discharges, Injuring Two Students

(CNS) Posted Tuesday January 18, 2011 – 3:18pm
A Gardena High School student brought a gun to the campus in a backpack today, and the weapon discharged -- apparently accidentally -- wounding two fellow students, one critically.

``The person that's responsible for this particular shooting came into a classroom, it appears set a backpack down on a desk and a gun that was inside that backpack discharged,' Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon said.

``The round from that gun hit both of the students,' Gannon said. ``The student then that was responsible for bringing the backpack into the classroom fled from that particular classroom and went to another. We have subsequently taken him into custody.'

The 15-year-old suspect was taken to a police station for processing.

His name was not released.

Gannon said a 15-year-old girl suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where she underwent emergency surgery.

She was in critical condition. A 15-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the neck, and he was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

A doctor at the hospital said the boy was apparently shot first, with the bullet passing through his neck and then striking the girl.

The parents of the injured children had been notified and they were at the hospital, Gannon said. About 2,000 children were at the campus, and they were held on lockdown until early afternoon, when parents were advised to go to the gate at Normandie Avenue and 178th Street to pick up their children.

The parents were notified through an automatic phone message system.

Los Angeles Unified School District police Chief Steve Zipperman said students and teachers were interviewed, and grief counselors were sent to the campus.

``As you can imagine, this is still very preliminary as far as the investigation,' Zipperman said. ``We believe that the weapon was inside of a backback, and again, as indicated by Chief Gannon, it appears to be a possible accidental discharge as opposed to intentional, and it appears that perhaps one round was actually fired from that weapon, we don't know how it happened.'

It was unclear how the student got the backpack onto the campus, where metal detectors are manned by school staff, not police.

There was an armed school police officer on campus when the shooting occurred, Zipperman said.

The shooting occurred at 10:41 a.m. at the school at 1301 W. 182nd St.

The school was locked down as police swarmed across the campus in search of the student. Police said the weapon was recovered, and the student was arrested shortly before noon in a classroom that was filled with students and one teacher.

Gardena police Lt. Steve Prendergast said a teacher called 911 to report the shooting.

Gardena High School senior Miguel Lopez, 17, told the Los Angeles Times he was in the health class when the gun went off as a male classmate was reaching into his backpack. He said the student, who he did not know, was not pointing the gun at anyone.

Lopez said two students sitting next to him near the back of the classroom were shot.

A girl was shot in the temple, he said.

``She kind of was crying,' he told The Times. ``She fell back into her chair and fell on the floor.'

The student with the gun ran out of the classroom, and the teacher began screaming, Lopez told the paper.

LAUSD spokesman Robert Alaniz said grief counselors would remain at the campus, and there would be an increased police presence at the campus Wednesday.

By Brenton Garen, Reporter for The Beverly Hills Courier
For story, visit

Monday, January 17, 2011

Keeping Dr. Martin Luther Kings Vision Alive

By Dupè Aleru
In honor of Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, middle school students at Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy studied the famous quote from Dr. King’s speech to the NAACP. The quote centered on Dr. King’s belief that all Americans had a “moral obligation to press on (with the fight for equality)…because of our love for America and…the democratic way of life.”  The students of Ilana Zadok, middle school teacher at Hillel, designed footprints symbolizing the need to “keep moving” forward with Dr. King’s vision. Each footprint holds a pledge on how each student will individually work on continuing to keep Dr. King’s vision alive.

Photo courtesy of Alexis Newman, Sixth Grade Teacher at Hillel.

In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a dream"

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., let us all remember his purpose and what he sacrificed. Remember his words that assisted in the change of our nation and our nations schools. Embrace how far we as a society have come and yet, still to go. -Dupe Aleru

 "this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' " -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Culver City Middle School's Panther Partner's Fundraiser

The Panther's, a Culver City middle school, will host its Panther Partner's Fundraiser with the support of Panda Express, a Chinese Food chain. The fundraiser dates are:Thursday, January 20, Tuesday, January 25 and Thursday, January 27 from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Twenty percent of the proceeds will help benefit the Panther's Winter Sports Program.

To participate in this great cause, stop by Panda Express on the dates listed above. Be sure to bring the fundraiser flyer with you, which can be downloaded by visiting the website below.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Staff Members At Jordan High Must Reapply For Their Jobs

According to Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times, teachers are in utter disbelief and outraged when they learned on Wednesday that they will have to re-interview for their jobs.

Jordan High-the low-performing school in Watts, will restructured leaving all employees to reapply, announced Wednesday by L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines.

"I'm really devastated," said one teacher at the Watts school, who asked not to be named because she could lose her job. "The only reason that I hang in there is that I love the kids so much, even when they don't love me."

Although this might be devastating to most, employees will be eligible for jobs elsewhere in the nation's second-largest school system-Los Angeles.

The reconstruction will divide the Jordan High campus into three small schools that will be run by outside entities. In an after-school meeting Wednesday, Jordan's principal announced to staff members that two of the three groups were nonprofit charters: The Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools and Green Dot Public Schools. The third being a Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, a nonprofit that manages 15 schools on behalf of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

For more information, visit
Posted Jan 13, 2011|8:23 a.m. by Howard Blume

Redondo Union High School Will Host Its Campus Tours

Principal Mary Little  of Redondo Union High School will be offering its campus tours for potential students and families. The tours do not required RSVP; therefore, simply come to the administration building on any of the following Fridays at 9 a.m.
The dates are as follows:

February 4, 2011

February 11, 2011

March 11, 2011

March 25, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

West Torrance High's Warrior of The Week Pick

West Torrance High announces Laura Grass as its "Warrior of the Week". "Mrs. Grass works to challenge her students every day through activities that are meaningful and encourages participation from everyone.  She is a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for all students and, most recently, she has volunteered to work with students during SSR in order to help them improve their study habits," said Linda Luhmann.

The Board Of Trustees Announces The Selection Of Lieberman

The Board of Trustees of The University of La Verne was proud to announce the selection of Devorah A. Lieberman as its 18th President of The University of La Verne. "Here is an institution that speaks to my heart, that values what I value-diversity, and quality of life for students, faculty, staff and administration; an institution that seeks to contribute to its community, one where every student that graduates can make an impact at the global, national or local level," said Lieberman.

Visit for additional information about the university.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

LBUSD Will Host Its Education Celebration on Jan. 22

Long Beach Unified School District is proud to announce its annual Education Celebration to be held Saturday, January 22 on the campus of Cabrillo High School in Long Beach. This extravaganza event allows thousands of students, parents and educators to gather in a central environment in order to learn more about local schools and what they have to offer for its students. Schools who have great presentation booths are acknowledged.

For additional information, visit

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Westside Regional Summer Opportunities Fair

The Beverly Hills Courier, sponsored by the Beverly Hills Education Foundation, is proud to announce its first annual Westside Regional Summer Opportunities Fair. The fair is to be held on Saturday, March 12 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m on the campus of Beverly Hills High School. All summer camps, programs, schools and the Westside community are welcomed. To be an exhibitor at the fair, booth purchases cost $500. Exhibitors will also receive an ad about their program in The Courier, and more! Don't miss out on this spectacular event. Space is limited.

For additional information such as registration form, map and info sheet, please contact The Courier's Director of Education Services, Dupe Aleru, at or 310-277-1322 x107.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beverly Hills Triathlon Club Is Now The Juniors Triathlon Club

The juniors triathlon club, formerly known as the Beverly Hills Triathlon Club, is kicking off the 2011 season with a series of informational meetings. The first meeting is taking place at the Pacific Palisades YMCA on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. The second meeting will be held on Jan. 20 in Beverly Hills at 217 So. Willaman Dr. There will be a third meeting held in Santa Monica on Jan. 31. The location will be determined shortly. The first race for the Club will be the UCLA IronBruin. This race is a beginner friendly race and supported well by the UCLA Triathlon Team. 

Todd Larlee is now the new Director of the club. Susan Kolko and Lynn Fiedler, Beverly Hills residents, started the Beverly Hills Club and will continue to provide triathlon coaching and support to families with children interested in participation. 

If you are between the ages of seven to nineteen and are interested in participating in a triathlon or learning more about the sport, please come to one of the meetings, or contact the club at 310-383-1932 or email Within the next week the website will be up and providing information for training and other opportunities to participate in 2011.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Current Events: Beverly Hills Community News for Jan. 11

The Beverly Hills Unified School District will host its Board of Education meeting on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. in Salter Family Theatre at Beverly Hills High School.


Beverly Vista School, located at 200 S. Elm Dr., Beverly Hills, will be holding their BV PTA meeting on Jan. 11 at 9 a.m. in the school cafeteria.


Horace Man School will have a Citizenship and Immigration Presentation for its eighth grade students on Jan 11 at 9 a.m. In addition, the H.M. Restaurant Night fundraiser #3 will also take place that day at 5 p.m. Location still to be determined.

Current Events: San Marino Unified School District

San Marino Unified School District, 1665 West Dr., San Marino CA, will be holding its Board of Education Meeting on Jan. 11 from 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.  The meeting will be held at SMUSD's Administrative Offices-Board Room.

For more information, call the district office at 626-299-7000.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Minority Families At LA Private Elementary Schools: Progress, But Enough?

Minority Families At LA Private Elementary Schools: Progress, But Enough?

Los Angeles School Board To Vote On New Superintendent

According to Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Board of Education will vote on Tuesday January 11 to appoint the new superintendent of Los Angeles School District, John Deasy.

Taking over for the nation's second largest school district, Deasy will replace 78 year-old Ramon C. Cortines, who announced his retirement as of last year. 

Cortines, who brought Deasy in as his deputy in August, will leave knowing that the district is in good hands. 

 Los Angeles Times|January 6, 2011|7:08 p.m.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Do You Have The Best H.S. Dance Team In SoCal? Show Us Your Video!

View Alhambra High's video below

alhambra high school dance team pom routine 2010

Kick For A Cure With BHHS And Milken High

By Dupè Aleru

Beverly High and Milken Community Jewish School are inviting the public to “come taste and kick for a cure” on Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. This event will be the inaugural “Taste of BHHS”!
Besides the food, the two schools will also battle it out on the soccer field for a great cause–to help raise awareness and funds for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and MS (Multiple Sclerosis). This soccer game BHHS versus Milken, will start at 7 p.m.
Behind the event is Shonta Scoggins, widow of Eric Scoggins–former USC standout football player who died as a result of ALS. She is the director of this Eric's Vision charitable fundraiser. 
Her daughter, Tylor Fields, is a star forward for BHHS’s girls soccer team.
This family event will offer an evening full of fun and food, plus the soccer match to benefit Eric’s Vision, in raising funds to help find a cure for ALS.
“Some of Beverly Hills finest restaurants and chefs will show off their culinary magic by preparing a variety of exciting items from gourmet cuisines to ‘feel good’ foods. 

“These are guaranteed to satisfy every palate,” said Coach Ryan Franks.
For more information, visit

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Kelter Center's New Partners Will Mangage Center's Growth

 By Dupe Aleru

The Kelter Center, located at 11340 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 140, is a private clinic and non-public agency that specializes in Educational Therapy. Founded by Sasha Borenstein, M.Ed in 1977, the center has helped hundreds of children and adults become self-directed learners.

Barry Perlstein and Paul Falzone have a taken an interest in The Kelter Center and look forward to working with the Kelter's founder, Sasha Borenstein, to help bring the incredible benefits of the Center's teaching to a larger group of students.
Since leaving SDI Media, a global subtitling company, Paul Falzone and Barry Perlstein looked for potential businesses, to embark on a new journey that will be self fulfilling.  That day came when the two met Sasha Borenstein and saw her marvelous work at the Kelter Center.
Perlstein and Falzone will be actively managing the growth of The Kelter Center in hoping to open additional locations state-wide and will be developing a franchise model for further expansion throughout the country.
While classroom teaching has evolved, Perlstein and Falzon think the pace of change is slow. With the rapid increase in research in understanding how the brain learns, there is also an increase in the development of new ways to deliver learning digitally. This presents a great opportunity to improve the efficiency of learning by targeting techniques and individualizing  instruction to meet the needs of the individual student.
By utilizing the Kelter Center methods, students exhibit amazing improvement with an increased in confidence while being prepared as a life-long learner.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Beverly Hills High School's JV Basketball Wins El Segundo Tournament

BHHS Boy's JV Basketball Team scored a victory at the El Segundo Tournament championship game against West Torrance. 

Help English Language Learners

How can one help immigrant students succeed in America’s competitive school system? With a growing number of English Language Learners (ELL) in American schools, teachers have struggled to help immigrant students achieve to  their full potential.
In fact, according to the U.S. Education Department Office of Civil Rights, only three percent of English Language Learners in the L.A  public school system achieves a “proficient” score in English or Math.
To find out what it takes for immigrant students to succeed in competitive schools, come join educators at the upcoming free seminar “Immigration and Student Success,” to be held this Sunday, Jan. 9  at 4:30 p.m., at Pacific Hills School in West Hollywood.
This informational and engaging event will begin with a poetry reading by poet and teacher Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, who will read from her debut collection, Paper Pavilion, (White Pine Press, 2007).
Dobbs was born in Won Ju Si, South Korea, and is currently a professor of creative writing at St. Olaf College in Minneapolis. Dobbs is also the founder of a community outreach program for low income students in Los Angeles–which continues to make a difference in the lives of many students today. Due to her tremendous work and success for students, her work has appeared widely in anthologies, film, journals and radio.
Dobbs will lead a panel discussion starting at 6 p.m., discussing  how one can help immigrant students succeed in school. She will be joined on the panel by Pacific Hills Head of School, Peter Temes, and Pacific Hills faculty member, Ivan Barahona.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Word From 'The Dancers' of The Company

TAYLOR DORDICK–”I’ve been a part of The Company for the past three years, since my sophomore year in high school. Its so nice to hang out with people who share the same passion as I do. I’ve been dancing since I was three and I trained in everything since I danced for a competition team. My older sister Michelle Laksman was in The Company all four years in high school. I was able to share the experience with her for a year and it was fun. My younger sister Waverley Laksman, is in Company with me this year. I plan on dancing throughout college as well.”

JENNA HUGHES–”My mom was in Company when she was in high school and I’ve always wanted to be in it ever since. I’ve been dancing since I was three and been with The Company since my freshman year. My first audition was in eighth grade and it was very intimidating walking into a room with girls I looked up to. The audition was very strenuous because it was a four-day audition process. The first day we learn a ballet combo. The second day we learn a modern dance combo. The third day we perform both combos as well as a solo, and the fourth day are call backs. I can’t wait to perform with The Company for the very last time this year. It will be bitter sweet.”