Saturday, April 30, 2011

Where in the World Are You Heading?

By Nathalie Kunin|Team Tutors|April 30, 2011|9:59 a.m.

The most popular college major today is Undecided. With so much of our youth unsure about where they are headed with their careers, it is hardly a recipe for a thriving workforce. That is why Team Tutors is excited to introduce their newest program, Where in the World Are You Heading, which helps teens and young adults discover who they are and what avenues they might want to pursue for their future.

Targeted to high school students, Where in the World provides its participants with the tools and framework to make clear, thoughtful choices about their future. By starting early, students gain awareness of their own unique strengths, natural abilities, personality type and values. They have a clearer vision when determining best college fit, and a sharpened focus when choosing activities and summer jobs. Our 9th grade participants said the program helped give them a roadmap to navigate their path to college and beyond.

Where In The World is also helpful for college students and young adults grappling with career choices.  Lindsay Wolf, who recently completed the program, says that she used to feel stagnant and a bit lost in knowing her purpose in the world. “This program has given me a new sense of what I want in life. I'm now easily able to connect my daily passions with the search for a way to make a living,” said Wolf.

The program consists of four 90-minute sessions with a trained career advisor, a one-hour follow up session with parents, and a detailed analysis of the student’s personal discoveries.

For more information, contact Team Tutors at or call 323-356-6160.

Friday, April 29, 2011

10 Things I'd Do Differently In High School

By Dupe Aleru|April 29, 2011|8:33 a.m.

Do you ever wonder if you would have done things differently in high school that you'd be in a different place in your life today? I've heard this many times from friends and acquaintances, and this topic started to make me think of my own high school experience. 

As I look back to my high school days, I remember all the fun times, my friends, crushes, my teachers and of course the parties! I can honestly say I wouldn't change ANYTHING, BUT...there's always the WHAT IF? What if I did this differently...would it have changed my outcome in life? 

For me personally, it wouldn't have changed ANYTHING, but it's still entertaining to think if i'd done things differently...then what?


1. First and foremost, I wouldn't be the "slow-witted" senior that actually went to school on SENIOR DITCH DAY (still haunts me to this day)!

2. I wouldn't have partied the night before SAT's (thank goodness I made up for it later in score was dreadful)!

3. I would have tried out for the FOOTBALL TEAM ( I'm only kidding, BUT if it was possible, why not?!) Go Loggers!

4. I would have had a better sense of STYLE! I mean really?! I worked at WET SEAL for crying out loud...plaid, jeans and bright bold colors were NEVER in style! Silly me...I'm glad I made up for lost times! hehe

5. 100m dash...that was MY RACE! I wouldn't have traded it in for the 100m hurdles...never got my stride with the hurdles (literally)...I will always be a 100m sprinter.

6. I would have PASSED my drivers test on the first try (no comment).

7. I would have left my EYEBROWS alone! Looking like fishing hooks...ew gross!

8. I would have MINGLED more with individuals who were not in my immediate circle of friends or "click" (I knew a lot of people, but not on a personal level).

9. I would have come clean to my SECRET CRUSH (blushing...uh-uh, I'm taking this one to the grave haha).

10. I would have studied DANCE...everyone who know me is aware of my intense obsession for dance...I wish I would have taken it more seriously when I was younger.

All in all, high school holds my fondest memories in life and sometimes I wish I can go back to do it all over again, not to change anything, but to relive the best times of my life. I can look back and laugh at all the silly things that I did, while learning from them.

For all you high school students out there, live and have no regrets! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Former Entertainment Tonight Producer To Host Storytime For Children Ages 3-7

By Dupé Aleru|April 28, 2011|8:05 a.m.

Professional storyteller Ellen Switkes is to host an interactive storytelling event at the Children’s Book World tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. for children ages 3-7. She will be reading from fun classic children's books and tales.

Switkes  is known for her stories that are developed from her personal experiences in relation to childbearing, marriage, death and love.

In addition to her storytelling, Switkes is the producer and host for Cornucopia—a storytelling show for adults, and former producer for Entertainment Tonight (ET).

Working in television prior to storytelling, Switkes was also a part of The Late Show, starring Joan Rivers, working as a talent coordinator.

For more information about the Children’s Book World, visit or call 310-559-2665.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

10-Year-Old Triathlete Finishes His First Adult Triathlon

Grenoble and Coach Larlee finish the 300m swim

By Dupe Aleru|April 27, 2011|9:31 a.m.

Ten-year-old Zane Grenoble from Playa del Rey, CA, was the youngest participant at the Apr. 17 Bonelli Tri Express event. 

The triathlon consisted of a 300m swim, 12k bike and a 5k run. For Grenoble, this was an easy task, as he finished in 17th place, out of 80 athletes. 

Prior to the Bonelli Race, Grenoble had participated in kids triathlons throughout Southern California—being part of the increasing number of kids participating in triathlon's at the youth and junior level.

Training with the Juniors Triathlon Club in West Los Angeles, Grenoble is on his way to being a fierce competitor in the world of Triathlons. 

For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crunch Time As Long Beach State Teams Close In On Postseason

By Dan Barber|Diamond Dust Plus/LB Post|April 26, 2011|1:19 p.m.

The 49ers of softball, women's tennis and men's volleyball position themselves for playoff spots, while the Dirtbags look to play spoiler.

If you number-crunch the schedule of all the sporting outfits in your blueberry, Blackberry, Halle-Berry, or razz-berry you know that statistically when the season ends the best you can hope for is break-even or a bit better. Tennis, softball and volleyball have met that standard but the Dirtbags may have to consider a new nickname: the Spoilers.

View full article LB Post

Monday, April 25, 2011

Teacher Charged With Luring Student Into Sexual Relationship Is Placed On Leave

By Michael Miller|Huntington Beach Independent/Times Community News|Apr. 25|7:53 am
A teacher charged with having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy has been placed on administrative leave as more details emerge in the case.
Mesa View Middle School teacher Gay Davidson-Shepard and her husband, Daniel Alma Shepard, are both charged with multiple felony counts, including oral copulation of a minor, sodomy of a person under 18 and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
View full article here L.A. Times Blog

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Charlene Liebau Discusses ‘Letting Go’ As Students Go Off To College

By Charlene Liebau|April 23, 2011|7:11 a.m.
College Admissions Editor

“Letting go” is the phrase often used to describe the process, with all the attendant emotions, when parents send their offspring to college. And, a process it is—one that begins early in the high school years. 
The activities of visiting colleges, submitting applications, and making the decision about where to enroll define the college search process and are the focus of student/parent conversations in the senior year of high school. But those activities only hint at the larger developmental process taking place. 

It just happens that the activities surrounding the college search process take place at the very same time of great social and psychological development for the student. High school junior and senior students are beginning to exert a push for independence from parents. They are beginning to define who they are; they want to make decisions for themselves, act on their own, to take care of themselves. Often these ambitious activities are greater than the student’s preparation and capacity allow. This is when issues of trust, responsibility, and ability emerge as wedge issues between parent and child. In many ways, the issues surrounding entry into young adulthood become part of, and are confused by, the college search process.
For parents, this stage of development has important and interesting implications, especially if going through it for the first time. As the student begins to exert his/her independence parents, too, are faced with challenges. Among their concerns: confronting the new status of the “empty nest”; and that life on college campuses has changed considerably over the past twenty to thirty years. 
What happens when an offspring is off to college and the ability to be involved (even to know what is happening) is cut off? In response, some colleges and universities are creating new lines of communication to keep parents generally informed of campus programs and events to help reduce the pressure on individual students to “report back.”
In short, the college planning process comes at a distinct and important developmental stage in the life of a student. Sometimes the activity of one muddies the progress in the other. Parents, too, are entering a new stage as “send-off” day approaches.

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.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hawthorne School Raise Over $6,000 For The Leukemia And Lymphoma Society

By Dupé Aleru|April 22, 2011|9:12 a.m.

Hawthorne School exhibited that fundraising for a great cause can pay off in vast rewards for those in need, as they raised over $6,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS)—the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer —mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, while improving the quality of life of its patients and their families.

Hawthorne School held a "Pennies for Patients" fundraiser school wide as all classes, first grade through eighth grade, participated in the Service Learning project to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

After three short weeks, Hawthorne School raised a total of $6,753.69. This money will help LLS with its 2010-2011 goals to: continue to fund blood cancer research projects, give more people with blood cancer access to clinical trials and to give all people with blood cancer at any stage in their journey, access to the information they need to fight their disease while managing their lifestyle.

As the icing on the cake, Ms. Mary Montague’s fifth grade students wrote letters to its honored hero, Eva—a seven-year-old girl who was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of four.

Hawthorne School should be very proud for its efforts and contributions to improve the lives of people who have blood cancer.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tutors For Tots Begins In June

Join me this summer for all you tutoring needs! If you're a tutor, please email me about possible tutoring positions.

Thank you :) 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Animals in Action A-Z Was Listed As One Of The Favorite Alphabet Books For Children According To "Not Just Cute" Blog Site

Now I Know My ABCs, Next Time Won’t You READ With Me? (Click here to read article about Animals in Action A-Z)

What an honor! Today, Animals in Action A-Z was listed alongside Dr. Seuss and Alphabet City as one of the favorite alphabet children's books for children learning the alphabet!

Amanda Morgan is the author of "Not Just Cute" blog, a blog for parents and teachers of preschool aged children.

"This blog contains activities and articles created for parents and teachers of preschool children with the development of the whole child in mind. Activities may be "cute", but they also come with specific developmental objectives and other explanations of why they benefit more than just your child's aesthetics," said Morgan.

Visit Not Just Cute.

Today At Long Beach Poly

There's quite a bit going on at Long Beach Poly's campus today. Take a look at today's schedule. Also in the Poly news, Spring Break is scheduled for April 25-29. Enjoy your week off!

Today's Schedule
  • All Day                   Green Day
  • 11:25 a.m.               Club President's Meeting
  • 12:00 p.m.               Secretaries Day Luncheon
  • 2:30 p.m.                 Girls Swim Prelims
  • 3:00 p.m.                 Badminton League Finals
  • 3:00 p.m.                 F/S Baseball vs. Cabrillo
  • 3:00 p.m.                 JV Baseball vs. Cabrillo
  • 3:00 p.m.                 Discus 
  • 7:00 p.m.                 Varsity Baseball vs. Cabrillo

Sex Ed Classes Would Require Parental Permission Under O.C. Lawmaker's Bill

By Imran Vittachi|O.C. Now/Times Community News|7:09 a.m.

Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) has proposed legislation that would require schools to obtain parents' permission before students could take sex ed classes.

Full article, visit L.A. Times Blogs

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sylvan Learning Announces Evie Lemus As Its Student Of The Month For April

Evie Lemus
By Dupé Aleru|April 19, 2011|8:54 a.m.

Sylvan Learning Center is pleased to announce eleventh grade student Evie Lemus as its recipient for the Student of the Month Award of April. Sylvan uses the monthly award to recognize the achievements, perseverance, and passion that some of its finest students exhibit throughout the Sylvan Learning Program.

Lemus signed up for the Sylvan program to help build her reading skills in addition to receiving extra homework support. The program proved to be a success; in just three short months she has gone above and beyond in her reading skills. Lemus’ latest progress assessment made the entire staff of teachers and directors very pleased.

“One of the greatest contributing factors to Evie’s success is her passion for learning. She shows up ready to work, eager to learn and with a smile on her face. She loves getting her homework done here and being able to ask questions if she doesn’t understand,” said Maria Layon, Director of Education. Congratulations Evie for all that you have accomplished.

For more information about the academic opportunities at Beverly Hills Sylvan Learning Center, call Larry Klevit, Center Director, or Maria Layon, Director of Education, at 310-843-0111.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott Contributed To The First Annual Charity Dinner And Golf Tournament

By Dupé Aleru|April 18, 2011|9:51 a.m.

Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott partook in the First Annual Charity Dinner and Golf Tournament, Drive to Survive, held Sunday Apr. 10—charity celebrity dinner and Monday Apr. 11—charity celebrity golf tournament at Castaway restaurant and the Oakmont Country Club.

The Drive to Survive was a two-day fundraiser that is geared to raise money for Eric’s Vision— a nonprofit organization, which was started in memory of Eric Scoggins who passed away from ALS. Scoggins was a professional football player for the San Francisco 49ers and a long-time teammate of Ronnie Lott.

Eric’s Vision not only helps raise support for individuals battling ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), but it also funds ALS cure-driven research, and inspires further research by providing college scholarships to deserving high school students.

Eric’s Vision supports the world’s foremost research institute, ALSTDI, who are working to find a cure for ALS. ALSTDI is a non-profit biotech company developing effective treatments to stop ALS. Their goal is to discover viable treatments for ALS as quickly as possible.

All in all, the event was a great success as the celebrity guest list included: Ronnie Lott (4 time Super Bowl Champion with the 49ers), Eric Wright, Keena Turner, Charles Haley, Fred Belitnikoff, Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, Guy Mcyntire, Dwight Hicks, Michael Cooper, Eric Davis, Junior Bryant, Derrick Deese, Rod Martin, Gary Plummer, Vida Blue, Lloyd Moseby, Eddie Murray, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Ken Norton Sr., Tony “The Tiger” Lopez, and James Denton.

For more information about Eric’s Vision, visit .

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thank You

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My Illustrator Joins Me At My Book Signing Release Party

By Dupe Aleru|April 17, 2011|4:26 p.m.

Animals in Action CD Now Available

Animals in Action CD is now released! Available by clicking on the PayPal button on Ed Enterprise. 

Retail Price $4.99

I will personally autograph and ship the CD to you! Limited copies available! 

Purchase your's today! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The National Society Of Collegiate Scholars Welcomed Gitla Shooster As A New Member

By Dupé Aleru|April 16, 2011|10:12 a.m.

Gitla Shooster, alumna of BHHS and a Beverly Hills resident, recently accepted membership into The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS)—an honor society inviting high-achieving first-and-second-year college students.

Shooster will be honored ruing an Induction Convocation this fall on the campus of University of California, Riverside.

Membership with NSCS allows students to access to a number of amazing benefits such as career and networking resources, scholarships, travel, and service projects.

“NSCS is more than just a symbol of academic achievement. Membership gives students access to a number of amazing benefits including career and networking resources, scholarships, travel, and service projects both on campus and in the community,” said Stephan E. Loflin, NSCS CEO and Founder.
To be honored for NSCS is a tremendous accomplishment, as membership is by invitation only, based on grade point average and class-standing. NSCS has more than 750,000 lifetime members and 270 chapters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

For more information about NSCS, call 202-265-9000 or visit

Friday, April 15, 2011

Join Me Tomorrow At My Book Signing Party: April 16

Hello Friends,

Join me tomorrow, April 16 for my book signing release party at Gatsby Books, 5535 E. Spring Street, Long Beach from 2-3 p.m. A family event for the whole family, filled with story time, games & prizes, book signing, musical performance and much more! FREE GIFTS, A RAFFLE AND YUMMY FOOD!

Gatsby books is in the East section of Long Beach by the intersection of Spring and Bellflower. Please arrive 10-15 min early.

Animals in Action is available at: CreateSpace eStore,,
Barnes &, CM School Supply, Gatsby Books, Kindle eBook and the iPhone/iPad "Stanza Application" eBook!

Join the fun! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Special Guest Read ‘The Tale of Edgar Trunk’ At TEADS Annual Book Fair

By Dupé Aleru|April 14, 2011|10:53 a.m. 

Temple Emanuel Academy Day School (TEADS) sponsored its Annual Science and Art Fair to showcase the creative works of its children in addition to its Scholastic Book Fair.

As a special extravagance, the students at TEADS had the opportunity to meet and listen to two authors. The authors read from their books, signed books for the students and discussed the process of becoming an author.

Author Jason O. Silva read from his book, The Tale of Edgar Trunk, a first in a series of tales about a little boy named Edgar who has lived most of his orphaned life under the tutelage of his wicked Uncle Warnock in a sludge factory. The children were enthralled to hear the tale and to understand how the author came up with his story.

TEAD students also had the great privilege of listening to author Rhonda Hayter, who is the author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams. Hayter generously spent her afternoon greeting the children and answering questions about the writing process, how to publish works and signed copies of her book.

For questions about Temple Emanuel Academy Day School, contact Tanya Stawski at 310-288-3737 ext. 246 or email

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BHAAA Donates Over $35,000 To The Athletic Department At BHHS

XCountry athletes pose with their new high jump pit and xbar

By Dupé Aleru|April 13, 2011|8:30 a.m. 

Through the continued support of alumni and community members, the Beverly Hills Athletic Alumni Association (BHAAA) has donated over $35,000 this school year to the Athletic Department at BHHS. 

Funds have been used to purchase cheerleading mats; canopies for football and cross country; soccer uniforms for the girls frosh/soph team and the boys frosh/soph and JV teams; varsity softball uniforms; a high jump pit and crossbars; lane lines for the swim gym pool; girls volleyball uniforms; lacrosse sticks for the girls varsity team; golf uniforms and bags for the boys and girls golf teams; a new baseball pitching machine for all levels  and baseball netting and fencing for Nickoll Field.

These new renovations and additions to the high school campus will now allow more varsity games to be held at BHHS. 

 “BHAAA continues to make significant contributions to benefit the high school athletic department, and our involvement is critical during this challenging economic time. In addition to purchasing a wide array of equipment, we have purchased new uniforms for every team in the program and have established three scholarship awards to reward graduating student athletes annually. We must continue to raise funds in order to assist the athletic department with its needs, and we continue to look to our alumni and the community for their support,” said David Corwin, President of BHAAA.

For additional information, please email BHAAA at or visit

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beverly High’s Record Breaking Streak At One Of The Most Prestigious Track And Field Events

By Dupé Aleru|April 12, 2001|10:44 a.m.

The Arcadia Invite—one of the most prestigious high school Track & Field events in the country, attracts top runners from California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and countless others.  

Beverly Hills High was one of the top schools to compete at last weekend’s event. Brianna Simmons took fourth place—eighth overall, in the girls’ varsity open mile, with a time of 5:03.65. The 1600m race places Simmons in the number three all time spot at Beverly, closing in on the school record of 4:57.30 that is currently held by the Zucker twins Judi and Shari, set in 1978. 

Additional highlights include the girls Distance Medley Relay (DMR) that consist of team members Ashley Bootesaz (1200 in 4:03.42), Sydney Gray (400m in 62.06), Lily Ting (800m in 2:26.21) and Brianna Simmons (1600m in 5:13.25) who took a respectable 10th place overall. The girls competed against 21 of the top teams in the country, and completed the event with a time of 12:44.95, placing them at Beverly’s number two all time record, barely missing the number one spot by less than three seconds.

Further highlights include the boys Distance Medley Relay team of Chanan Batra (1200m in 3:13.52), Mario Conti (400m in 51.15), Alex Rohani (800m in 2:00.32) and Josh Galen (1600m in 4:31.43), who took a strong sixth place out of 30 teams. The boys’ time was 12:35.83, placing them at the number three spot at Beverly. Batra’s 1200m time of 3:14.62 breaks the old school record of 3:15.00 set by Mark Luevano in 1971.  

Last, but not least the boys 4x400m team of Mario Conti, Joel Steinberg, Cameron Countryman and Alex Rohani took fifth place in a time of 3:23.79, as top teams of Vista Murrietta and Dorsey took first and second, leaving Beverly’s league rival Culver City, to finish behind them in sixth place. 

For additional highlights and times, visit

Monday, April 11, 2011

Charlene Liebau Talks, ‘College Admissions Decisions Are Out’

 By Charlene Liebau|April 11, 2011|8:07 a.m.
College Admissions Editor

College admission decisions are out. Given the reports of the record breaking number of applications received by colleges this year, the admission decisions cannot be all that good for many, many well-qualified students. Consider Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford reporting admit-rates in the single digits: 6.2%, 7.4%, 8.4%, and 7.1% respectively. True, not all colleges are reporting such statistics but enough are which only serves to underscore the ever increasing anxiety surrounding the college admission process.

What to do? Let’s begin with current seniors. What does one do if “deny” is the word from first choice college? To share the news that this year, for a variety of reasons, was the most competitive ever is of little comfort. The numbers are staggering: UCLA received 61,000 applications for a freshman class of 5,250; Stanford received 34,348 applications for an incoming class of 1,725; and Harvard received 34,950 for a class of 2,158. Columbia University announced it received 32% more applications this year than it did last year. Colleges and universities across the country, public and private, are reporting increases in application numbers–all of which adds to the competitive, anxiety producing nature of the admission process.
For the high school senior who did not receive a “fat envelope” from first choice college there are several things to do. First, recognize what really matters, is what you do–wherever you go.  Keeping that thought in mind, what are your options? You applied to several other colleges and you applied to them for a reason.
If, however, you find you are on the Wait List of a favored college–now is the time to be proactive. Inform that college you not only choose to accept a position on the Wait List but also make a full-court press: bring the admission office up to date on your achievements and activities since you submitted your application.

Now, my message for high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and their families: All the reports on admission rates and the increasing competitive nature of the process serve as a call to do your homework. The college planning process first requires thoughtful consideration in determining one’s priorities in a college–what are you “looking for”?

My advice as you begin the college planning process: broaden your horizons as you develop your college list. Come to think of it, broadening one’s horizons is what a college education is all about. 

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, April 10, 2011

Animals In Action A-Z Now Available On Barnes &

Dear Animals In Action A-Z Readers,

Animals in Action is now available on Barnes & Noble (online) by visiting Barnes &  It is available in the paperback and the Nook Book eBook format. 

Paper back list price is $8.99 and eBook $2.99.

For more information, please contact me at

Hope you enjoy! 

Legal And Parenting Expert Robin Sax To Speak At Team Tutor Workshop

By Dupé Aleru|April 10, 2011|8:36 a.m.

Legal and parenting expert Robin Sax will host, From the Online World to the Real World: Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe and Parents Sane, on Apr. 14 at 7 p.m. to be held at Team Tutors, 806 North Camden.

Robin is a former felony prosecutor for the County of Los Angeles. She is a lecturer at
UCLA’s Paralegal Program, and an adjunct professor at Cal State, Los Angeles. Robin frequently appears as a legal commentator on Larry King Live, Nancy Grace, The Today Show, Dr. Phil, Fox News and many others.

Through her Kid Scene Investigation programs, Robin teaches parents how to get tech savvy, recognize the symptoms of Internet danger, identify cyber crimes and cyber bullying, and develop a personalized internet protocol for their family. Robin Sax will answer all questions about online safety for families.

To RSVP, email or call 323-356-6160. To learn more about Robin Sax, visit

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ed Enterprise Reaches 3,000 Views

In just a few short weeks from our 2,000 hits, Ed Enterprises now reaches 3,000 views! It gives me great pleasure to know that educators, teachers, administrators, families and students enjoy reading about the on-going student success and school success in the West Los Angeles and South Bay areas.

If you have a story or a hot topic you would like for me to discuss, feel free to email me at or post a comment.

Thanks for your supportw

Beverly Hills Third Grader Wins State Gymnastic Titles

Isaiah Drake

By Dupé Aleru|Appril 8, 2011|Beverly Hills Courier|11:44 a.m.

Isaiah Drake, also known as “Lord of the Rings” due to his talent in the Still-Rings category, is a third grade student at Good Shepherd School who will continue on to the Regional 1 Competition in Northern California due his state championship win in March.
Drake was named Still-Rings State Champion in the Level 5, age 7-8 years category at the Southern California State Gymnastics Championship on March 26 in Aliso Viejo.

This completion is under the aegis of USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for the sport of gymnastics in the United States as designated by the U.S. Olympic Committee.  Drake also placed third on Parallel Bars and third in the All-Around Competition.

Drake, who has been a gymnastic student for three years, is being coached and trained by Henry Vanetsyan at Broadway Gymnastics School in Los Angeles, near Playa Vista. Vanetsyan is a former Olympic coach who trained the Soviet Union Men’s Gymnastics team for fifteen years.

Isaiah will represent Southern California at the Region 1 Championships in Oakland on April 10, competing against gymnasts from Northern California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.

For further information contact Annie Goepel at 323-463-9700.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shalhevet School’s Theater Department Presents A Student Directed Play, ‘Lost And Found’

By Dupé Aleru|April 8, 2011|Beverly Hills Courier|4:26 pm

Shalhevet Schools Theater Department started the showing of its original one-act plays, Lost and Found that was written and directed by its students, yesterday.   
Under the guidance of Shalhevet’s drama teacher, Emily Chase and award-winning playwright, Laurel Ollstein, this year’s spring production will explore the meaning of life, space pirates and everything in between.

The show opens with Hold Your Horses by senior Rebecca Asch. The play is about a high-powered business woman who gets stranded on a ranch, coaxed onto a horse…and goes on the ride of her life. 
The second play, Divine Case, written by tenth grader Rose Bern, is about a lawyer who sues God for allowing humans to suffer—but is he actually prepared for God to show up in court? 

The third play written by junior Leona Fallas is called The Tale Of The Magical Wallet. The story depicts a girl who writes a storybook romance in which the prince and princess come to life and the fairy tale is turned upside down.

Jenny Newman wrote the fourth play, Blindness: What do a teenager with his head in a book and a cell-phone addicted CFO have in common? They have to figure it out when they’re plunged into the fourth dimension.

The fifth and final one-act is called Tomorrows Opportunity. Written by senior Rachel Lesel, this play takes place 50 years in the future, where a space pirate’s son tries to live an honest life and find true love, but he can only evade the pirate life for so long.

Future performances are Apr. 1l and Apr. 13 at 7:00 p.m., Apr. 10 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for students, $15 for adults and $25 for Patron Front Row Seats. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Emily Chase at funds raised will benefit Shalhevet’s Drama Department.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

From Abercrombie To School Uniforms…What’s Your School Policy?

By Dupé Aleru|April 7, 2011|8:12 a.m.

School uniforms seem to continue to be one of the “hot topics” in today’s schools. Of course, there are always two sides to every story. Some seem to be pro uniform, while others can state his/her reasons to oppose such a rule for any given school, respectively so.

Let’s take a look at the pros. Those who are in favor of school uniforms seem to think that such a consistent force of “equality” amongst students will solve most discipline problems in a school environment. Of course “we” know that this is not true, but perhaps it does have a tiny bit of influence in some discipline areas such as gang attire, social class discrimination and the like.

Some might feel that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Here, one can argue that school uniforms are: high in cost, students lose their freedom of expression and no studies show the decrease in bullying due to school uniforms (students will find other means to antagonize).

But the truth of the matter lies ahead…

What comes to one’s mind when one hears the words Prada, Gap, Abercrombie, True Religion or H & M? We live in a society where BRAND is everything, especially to children in their teen age years. Every young girl wants to have the latest fashion and every young boy wants the latest gadget.

In our “Forever 21 and iPhone” era, it’s hard to tell a high school student that they must put away their fashionable clothes for the weekend and dress like everyone else during the week. Where’s the freedom of expression, some might ask? Teenagers love to feel unique, special and popular in his/her individual way.

Wilson High School in Long Beach, CA is one of the few high schools in the United States that require school uniforms. I live down the street from Wilson and let me tell you, students that age will find creative ways in make a “once school uniform” into his or her own style—short shorts, mini-skirts, spaghetti straps and sagging pants still exist amongst school uniforms.

The fact of the matter is school uniforms will continue to make headlines across the nation as more public schools adopt the policy. What is your take on school uniforms? I’m curious…

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cafeteria Food…Healthy or Unhealthy?

By Dupé Aleru|April 6, 2011|8:41 a.m.

Most of us cringe at the thought of our students and/or children eating the cafeteria food in today’s schools. We all remember the miniature juice boxes, milk and those darn tater-tots! I mean really?! I remember kids use to fight over those “fake” french fries I like to call them.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the coleslaw…YUCK! I mean, who invented that? Seriously, it’s like rabbit food mixed in thick muddy dressing.

Well, we all have our memories and opinions about cafeteria food, but are they really as unhealthy as they seem? Well let’s take a look.

To some, school meals are healthy well-balanced meals that meet the science-based federal nutrition standards.

Now here is where you ask, how? Let’s find out how.
  • No more than 30%  of calories come from fat, less than 10% from saturated fat
  • Meals provide 1/3 of the Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, Vitamin A & C, iron and calcium
  • Food is served with appropriate portion size (according to age)
For most, this is not enough to be considered “healthy”, but one can argue that in this new era of healthy eating—Americans taking on the Vegetarian, Vegan and healthy choices lifestyle— there will be a turnaround soon.

According to Tray Talk, “the federal nutrition standards for school meals are currently being updated. In January 2011, the US Department of Agriculture released proposed nutrition standards including new calorie and sodium limits, larger fruit and vegetable serving sizes and requirements to expand the variety of vegetables served in schools each week. The standards will be finalized in 2012.

With Michele Obama’s Let’s Move program, more than 53,000 school nutrition professionals are partnering to improve our school nutrition program. All in all, school nutrition will make a turn…hopefully for the better.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Title I vs. Title II Funding

By Dupé Aleru|April 5, 2011|8:36 a.m.

Some of you might be wondering, “What’s the difference between Title I funding and Title II? Well that’s a good question for those who work in the suburbs somewhere off in “Pleasantville”…rightfully so one might not know the difference unless they work in a school district and/or school in which the student population comes from low-income families.

This is where Title I comes into play. Title I refers to a program Act that was initiated by the United States Department of Education in order to distribute funding to schools and districts that have a high percentage of students who come from low-income families.

In order for a school to qualify for Title I, one must have about 40% or more of its students that come from low-income. Note that this “low-income” definition MUST meet the U.S. Census definition of “low-income”.

All in all, Title I funds are usually distributed to students in grades pre-k through high school, but most funds being distributed in grades first through sixth.

Keep in mind both acts (Title I & Title II) fall under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which brings me to Title II funding. Title II funding is a bit different in the sense that the focus is not directly geared towards the students, but rather the teachers and staff. The funding contains funds to train and recruit teachers and principals in the local and/or state level. This funding is geared towards “high needs” school districts that have been identified as “a need improvement” district. This “need improvement” points to the “teachers” lack of ability to teach with high standards and ability; therefore, teachers get labeled and districts are seen to have the lowest proportion of highly qualified teachers, with the highest class size under the Title I.

All in all, Title II funds provide school districts with money to improve the quality of teaching and leadership through the use of recruitment, teacher training and professional development.

Tomorrow I will discuss school nutrition

Monday, April 4, 2011

Join Me On Saturday, April 16 At My Book Signing Party

Hello Friends,

On Saturday, April 16 from 2-3 p.m., I will be hosting my book signing party for Animals in Action A-Z at Gatsby Books in Long Beach.

Click here to view invitation Gatsby Books.

For additional information, please use the link on the home page that reads "Book Signing Party: Animals In Action A-Z".

Thank you and I hope to see you there! :)

St. Timothy Teacher Nicole Adkins Wins A National Playwriting Workshop Award

Nicole Adkins

By Dupé Aleru|April 4, 2011|7:58 a.m. 

St. Timothy Catholic School was pleased to learn of its very own librarian, Nicole Adkins, to be one of four winners of the 2011 National Waldo M. and Grace C. Bonderman Playwriting Workshop Award.

Adkins play, The Lost Princess will be featured in a rehearsed reading at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis. The play is geared towards students in grades fifth through eighth.

The Lost Princess a story taking place in Vienna, Austria in 1888, tells a story of an orphan, who after being sent to live at the Schoenbrunn Palace with her aunt and her uncle—a Royal Guard, finds herself entangled in palace politics.

The story is loosely based on the true story of Adkins great-great-grandmother.  Adkins was flown to Indianapolis last Friday to embark in a week’s worth of development, with a team of a director, dramaturg, graduate assistant, and student respondents— the age of her target audience.

At the end of her six days of concentrated work and rehearsal, there will be a public reading at the 4-day bi-annual Bonderman Symposium, which many children's theatre professionals from around the country attended.

For additional information about this prestigious award, visit

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Singled-Out L.A. Unified Teacher Shares Skills With Colleagues

By Jason Felch|Los Angeles Times|April 3, 2011

Miguel Aguilar was cited as among L.A. Unified's most effective in an L.A. Times article on the 'value-added' evaluation method. Since then, many at his Pacoima school have adopted his methods. But budget cuts threaten his job.

In February, fifth-grade teacher Miguel Aguilar stood in the front of a class, nervous and sweating.

The subject — reading and comprehension — was nothing new. But on this day, his students weren't 11-year-olds in sneakers and sweatshirts: They were 30 of his fellow teachers.

It was the first time anyone at Broadous Elementary School in Pacoima could remember a teacher there being singled out for his skill and called upon to share his secrets school-wide.

"A teacher coming forward … that hadn't happened before," said Janelle Sawelenko, another fifth-grade teacher.

Months before, Aguilar had been featured in a Times article as one of the most effective teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District at raising student scores on standardized tests. Many of his students, the article noted, had vaulted from the bottom 30% in the district to well above average.

The article contrasted Aguilar's performance with that of the teacher next door, John Smith, who ranked among the district's least effective teachers. Pupils in both classes faced similar challenges in the poor, predominantly Latino community.

When the article appeared — followed soon after by a database ranking about 6,000 Los Angeles elementary school teachers — it ignited debate nationwide. Educators, teachers unions and experts warned that publicly rating teachers would pit one against the other.

Seven months later, Broadous teachers and the principal say the opposite has occurred. They've noticed a new openness to talking about what works, an urgent desire to improve. "It's encouraged them to collaborate," said Eidy Hemmati, the school's intervention coordinator.

Indeed, Broadous teachers — including Smith — have repeatedly sought out Aguilar's help this school year, despite the potential for hard feelings.

The new experiment, however, may be short-lived.

After a particularly long day of teaching several weeks ago, Aguilar found a pink slip in his mailbox. He was one of about 5,000 district teachers notified that they might lose their jobs this summer, depending on the troubled budget.

Smith didn't get a pink slip. In California and most other states, seniority, not performance, is the sole consideration when layoffs come.

Smith has been with the district 15 years, Aguilar eight.

'A lot of jealousy'

In the initial weeks after the article came out, Aguilar said he "went through hell."

"There's a lot of jealousy and hate out there.... People said things like, 'There's this guy who thinks he's all good just because he's Latino and he's friends with the kids. How do you know he's not cheating?'"

Many educators, including many at Broadous, were skeptical of The Times' statistical approach, known as "value-added analysis." In essence, it estimates a teacher's effectiveness by measuring each student's performance on standardized tests compared to previous years. Because it measures students against their own track records, it largely controls for socioeconomic differences.

Read full article Los Angeles Times