Monday, May 30, 2011

Beverly Vista School To Host Open House On June 2

By Dupé Aleru|May 30, 2011|12:00 p.m.

Beverly Vista Elementary school in Beverly Hills, will host its Open House on June 2 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. for grades kindergarten through eighth.  

The day will start with an early dismissal at 1:30 p.m. for all BV students. Classroom visits will be held for grades K-5 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and 7-8 p.m. for grades 6th -8th.

An In-N-Out dinner will be available at 5:30 p.m. and a Silent Auction to proceed after dinner. Silent Auction bids will close at 7 p.m. and auction payment will be due by 8 p.m.

In addition, BV will host its Ceramics Sale during Open House from 6-8 p.m. in the BV Atrium. All proceeds benefit the BV Art Department. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Inaugural Casino Event And Poker Tournament Benefits Shalhevet School Scholarship Fund

By Dupé Aleru|May 29, 2011|11:58 a.m.

Shalhevet School will host its first annual Casino Event and Poker Tournament at Nessah Educational & Cultural Center, 142 S. Rexford Drive, on June 22.

The evening will include cuisine presented by local restaurant, La Gondola, music, and prizes.

Shalhevet School—a private Jewish high school located on Fairfax and Olympic, has successfully implemented a rigorous Judaic and General Studies curriculum where students are empowered to voice thoughtful opinions and develop creative thinking skills. Shalhevet students are active stakeholders, who participate and contribute to the development of school policies and programs. Shalhevet students are also driven to turn thoughts into action. For example, a recent Red Cross blood-drive that was held in the school’s main auditorium was an idea nurtured by Raquel Garshofsky, a senior at Shalhevet.

Event Chair Jeff Fishman believes that Shalhevet’s Casino Event & Poker Tournament is the perfect combination of fun and business. “Our ultimate goal is to raise as much money as possible for the Shalhevet Scholarship Fund,” said Fishman. “Given the economic climate, now more than ever, scholarship money is key to being able to provide an extraordinary educational opportunity to as many students as possible. The students— are the motivation behind this event.”

Player seats and general tickets are still available. Poker Tournament entry is $100 per player in advance and $125 at the door.  Casino/General Event entry is $250 per person in advance and $300 at the door. All tickets include dinner. Proceeds will benefit the Shalhevet School Scholarship Fund.

To register, contact Shalhevet’s Development office at 323-930-9333.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Husky Nation To Host End Of Year Party And Outdoor Movie Night

By Dupé Aleru|May 28, 2011|9:08 a.m.

The Husky Nation will host its end of the year party and outdoor movie night with special guest DJ Eric G on June 10 at 2:30 p.m.

Beverly Hills Officers Association (BHPD) will kick off the end of the year party by selling police merchandise and clothing. Fifty percent of proceeds will be donated to The ONE Campaign.

Jamba Juice will join the fun at 3:15 p.m. The Book Fair will also be open for the last time this school year. Attendees will have access to many favorites and low priced books.

Students may be a part of Horace Mann history by participating in the Tile Wall
Phase 2 Project at 5 p.m. Color Me Mine will be out on the yard to assist in the tile painting. Tiles will cost $60, each additional tile $40.

But that’s not all. An end of the year blowout sale of Horace Mann memorabilia will be available. Low prices on all items such as t-shirts and sweatshirts can be purchased at the event. From 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. the video game truck—three dozen of the latest multiplayer video games such as XBOX360®, Nintendo, Wii and PlayStation 3, will be available for students. Each Video Game Truck has four to five giant flat screen HDTV’s.

Last but not least, the outdoor movie night with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will be the icing on the cake, literally. With the sweet treats and chocolate frenzy scenes, families will enjoy the 1971 film on a 26 foot screen TV with a state of the art surround sound system.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Charlene Liebau Prepares Students For Aggressive College Recruiters

By Charlene Liebau|May 27, 2011|11:13 a.m.
College Admissions Editor

We are now in the waning days of the school year just as the senior class prepares for graduation the current juniors anticipate “what’s next?” What will the next year hold? In what ways will it differ – or will it?

From early observations it appears it will be very much the same in terms of the level of competition and frenzy surrounding the college admission process. Already colleges from near and far have been holding receptions and information programs in local hotels, have begun to visit high schools to meet with juniors, and have sent via email and snail mail more information than the busy student has time to read.
Where will this lead?  What does this mean?

Early indications are, in spite of receiving record numbers of applications last year, active and sometimes aggressive college recruiting will continue in the coming year.

For high school juniors it is important not to jump to conclusions. Receiving enticing brochures or email “updates” from colleges should be viewed as an introduction to do further research–they are not to be considered as indications of likely admission or special interest on the part of the college. In sending out its message colleges explain they are trying to inform as many students as possible about their programs and offerings and what it is that distinguishes them from other like institutions.

Beyond implications for the individual student, what are the results of increased recruiting and ever larger applicant pools? For the college it adds a lot of questions to the process: how do we distinguish one student from another in the applicant pool? What determines an “admit” decision?

What goes into a college being more “popular” than it once was or, more popular than a neighboring institution? To what degree does any of this matter? 

Perhaps my message to current high school juniors is to be aware that active recruiting by colleges will continue for the foreseeable future; that technology has had an influence on the college application process in that it has become “easy” to apply; that the important question to ask continues to be: what is important to me? An answer to that question should help direct the process, not what is viewed as being “popular.”
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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sharpening Skills Over the Summer

By Nathalie Kunin|May 26, 2011|8:38 a.m.

Ask any student what he or she plans to do this summer, and they’re likely to reply with a resounding, “Nothing!” After two semesters of reading, writing and math it’s a natural response.

As parents, our job is to ensure that our child’s academic skills remain sharp over the summer and prevent hard work and progress from slipping away. With parental reinforcement, our children retain more of what they’ve already learned and begin the new school year mentally geared up and ready to build on their mastered skills. 

Here are 7 easy ways to achieve a happy medium between staying sharp and enjoying summer relaxation:

  •         Field trips … to Whole Foods: Rather than slipping into a mindless trance in a cart with a built-in TV, ask your child to help locate items on the list, weigh produce and calculate discounts, sales tax, total cost and change.
  •      A walk in the park: Take excursions to concerts, museums, zoos and aquariums. Or take a weekend trip to a national park, where kids can navigate with trail maps and calculate distances. Read about park features and highlights before leaving the house, and then seek them out when you arrive.
  •        En route: Make travel time in the car or plane educational with counting games (counting animals, colors or out of state license plates), logic games (like Travel Scrabble) and brainteasers. For example, Brain Quest for the Car (ages 7-12) quizzes students on state capitals, famous historical figures and other American trivia.
  •        Categorizing and organizing: Encourage your child to start a collection, whether it’s stickers, stamps, state quarters or seashells. Arrange the items in some categorical way (by name, size, color), keep a detailed list of items, and (if applicable) determine their monetary value on the internet.
  •        Now we’re cooking: Have your child prepare a full meal from start to finish, including selecting the menu, locating recipes online, sticking to a set budget, purchasing the ingredients, and converting between units of measurement. As an added bonus, ask them to calculate calories for the whole meal by counting calories for each individual ingredient.
  •        Enrich: Introduce your child to something completely new like architecture, code-breaking, voice lessons, Mandarin, Latin and many more one-on-one and small group activities.
  •        Curl up in a hammock with a good read: For teens, encourage non-fiction reading to gear up for SAT’s and for younger kids, take trips to the library with a Team Tutors booklist in hand.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sydney Gray Crowned The Division 2 800m Champ In The CIF Finals Meet

Vanessa Torres, Lily Ting, Allison Wolff and Sydney Gray

By Dupé Aleru|May 25, 2011|8:24 a.m.

Senior Sydney Gray of BHHS was crowned the Division 2 800m Champion in last week’s CIF Division 2 Finals meet held at Cerritos College, in Norwalk.

Gray is the first track and field athlete to win CIF Finals since 1998. Overcoming a disappointing cross country season weighed down by injuries, Gray was able to persevere amongst her obstacles, landing the title of Division 2 CIF Girl’s Champion in the 800 m run with a time of 2:13.51. This spectacular time qualifies her for the CIF Masters Meet to be held today at 4 p.m. at Cerritos College.

Being Beverly’s sole qualifier, Gray will need to run the same time today as she did at CIF Finals in order to qualify for State. The qualifying standard for State is 2:14.09.

Brianna Simmons also ran the 800m race, finishing in seventh place in a time of 2:18.83. Barely missing the qualifying time, Simmons will get another chance next year, as she is a junior at Beverly.

The girls 4x400m Relay of Vanessa Torres, Sydney Gray, Lily Ting and Allison Wolff took eighth place in the CIF Finals in a time of 4:01.61. Gray brought the team 10 points by placing first, Simmons received two points for seventh and the relay received one point for eighth; therefore, the girls’ team tied for 16th place in the CIF Finals with a total of 13 points.

Alex Rohani finished in third place for the boys 400m in a time of 48.94, scoring seven points for the Beverly team. The boys’ 4x400m relay of Joel Steinberg, Cameron Countryman, Chanan Batra and Alex Rohani finished in seventh place in a time of 3:23.06 for two points.  The team’s nine points tied for 25th in the CIF Finals. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

High schools offer grade boosts to students who improve test scores

By Howard Blume|The Los Angeles Times|May 24, 2011|

High schools are offering a new deal at 39 Los Angeles campuses: Students who raise their scores on the state's standardized tests will be rewarded with higher grades in their classes.

If it works, schools also will benefit because low scores can lead to teachers and administrators being fired and schools being closed. A proposed teacher evaluation system relies specifically on these tests for part of an instructor's rating. 

Full article Times

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mayor says teachers should earn tenure in four years -- not two

By Jason Song|The Los Angeles Times|May 19, 2011|4:22 p.m.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, in a speech in Sacramento on Thursday, called for doubling the amount of time it takes for teachers to earn tenure, linking students’  test scores to teachers’ evaluations and ending layoffs based strictly on seniority.
Villaraigosa has made similar remarks, but his speech at a teacher evaluation conference hosted by the Education Trust-West had new details of what he wants to include in teachers’ evaluations and how he wants to change tenure.
View full article Times

Sunday, May 22, 2011

BHHS Track Athlete Is The First To Win CIF Finals In Over A Decade

By Dupe Aleru|May 22, 2011|12:33 p.m.
Photo by Simon Langer
Senior Sydney Gray of Beverly Hills High School is the first track and field athlete to win CIF Division II finals since 1998. The CIF Division meet was held Friday at Cerritos College in Norwalk. Join BHHS track athletes this Thursday at the Bluebird Cafe in Culver City at 6 p.m. in celebration of its award winning season.

Congrats Sydney!

For more information, visit BHHS Track.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Charlene Liebau Talks SAT History

By Charlene Liebau|May 21, 2011|9:15 a.m.
College Admissions Editor

 On the first Saturday in June thousands of high school students will take the SAT. Undoubtedly test takers will be using the next few days in last minute test prep after which they may be interested in learning its history.
When did it begin and why? The modern SAT is commonly viewed as a hurdle to gaining admission to one’s college of choice. Interestingly, it began as a way to evaluate students so they might be recruited to attend the nation’s most highly selective institutions. 
In 1933 the president of Harvard, James Bryant Conant, wanted to develop a scholarship program to recruit talented students from a wider variety and diversity of backgrounds. He directed a Harvard dean, Henry Chauncey, to find a way to discover     and evaluate potential students.
It was a meeting with Carl Brigham that provided the answer and eventual adoption of the SAT as the testing instrument. The first SAT, Scholastic Aptitude Test, had been developed in 1926 by Carl Brigham, a Princeton professor and psychologist.
The SAT grew in acceptance and use in college admission beginning in the late 1930s and through the 1960s.
In 1990 the test was renamed the Scholastic Assessment Test when the College Board acknowledged the test was a measure of learning rather than a true aptitude test.
Then, in 1994 the College Board realized the name “assessment test” was redundant and changed the name to the letters SAT.  They also announced the letters SAT no longer represent words; they are just the three letters.

The SAT Reasoning Test is given nationally seven times during the academic year: typically the first Saturday in October, November, December, January, March, May and June.

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, May 20, 2011

French Cabaret To Entertain BHHS Students And Community

By Dupé Aleru|May 20, 2011|9:24 a.m.

The Norman’s will be hosting its annual French "Cabaret" soiree—a student event entirely in French, on May 31 to be held on the 3rd floor in the student cafeteria at BHHS.

The eventful night will comprise of skits, poems, songs (both singing and instrumental by French composers), and a dance (to French music), free to the public. 

Participating students come from an array of French classes at the high school, from the first year to AP, including French students from the middle schools. French students are also behind the production of the event, conducting behind the scene roles such as decorator, public relations, and art director. 

The gala will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the 3rd floor patio where food will be available for purchase. Doors to the student cafeteria will open shortly after at 6:45 p.m. Desserts will also be available during intermission.

The second half of the program will be held for the Awards ceremony.  Students will be awarded for outstanding achievement in all of BHHS French classes and its National French Contest winners—the National French Contest ("Le Grand Concours") is the only French competition of its kind given nationally every year. BHHS students have historically done well, and once again, have a number of students who placed in the top 10 rankings both regionally and nationally.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kindergarten Readiness: An Eight Question Guide for Parents

By Dupe Aleru|Long Beach K-12 Examiner|May 19, 2011|7:52 a.m. 

Kindergarten is the onset of a child’s educational journey. A time where parents liberate their once little baby to an estranged place where the child will soon get to know as, kindergarten.

Frantic parents usually get carried away with pre-kindergarten preparation in order to ensure their child shines on the first day of school. Knowing one’s alphabets, numbers and common sight words such as a, the, and I is superb, but kindergarten readiness is more than a child knowing his or her letters and numbers.
The most vital part of kindergarten readiness is the social and emotional ability to transition from the home environment to the school environment without separation anxiety, the ability to work in small groups (sharing is caring), and the ability to listen to authority.

Parents can use as a guide to see if their child is ready for kindergarten. By no means is the quiz a pass or fail test, but instead, a guide for parents to know where they child stands on the emotional and social scale of kindergarten readiness.

  1. Did your child attend preschool or child care (how long?)?
  2. How does your child handle parental separation (yes, no, sometimes)?
  3. Will you child have friends from preschool in his/her classroom (yes, no, I don’t know)?
  4. Do you know the kindergarten teacher? What it the same teacher for your other children?
  5. How would you rate your child’s level of confidence on a scale of 1 to 10?
  6. How well does your child get along with other kids (excellent, good, fair, poor)?
  7. How well does your child communicate (very articulate, somewhat articulate, it matters the occasion or shy)?
  8. Would you call your child a good listener (does he/she follow directions)?
  9. Does your child have siblings? (yes, no) *Related to socializing with peers
  10. Is your child independent or dependent? Can he/she perform tasks with little guidance? (yes, no, very little).
During the first few weeks of school, parents should remember not to provoke their child in being clingy during drop off time. Most schools allow parents to observe and stay in the classroom during the first day, but after that, kiss your precious kinder goodbye and wish him/her a nice day. J

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

KIIS-FM To Join Westwood Families At Annual Neighborhood Carnival

By Dupé Aleru|May18, 2011|9:00 a.m.

How would you like to see “L.A.’s number one hit music station” at your school’s Spring Fling? I’m talking about KIIS-FM with Ryan Seacrest. Fairburn Elementary School must be ecstatic, as its wish is granted.
Groove on down and join Westwood families and friends as they host its street fair to benefit their neighborhood elementary school on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Ohio and Fairburn Avenues in Westwood.

KIIS-FM’s live DJ will kick off the opening hours of the event. No need to hire a babysitter as this free admission family event is designed to please all members of the family.

This year’s Spring Fling will feature various entertainment such as a train, rock climbing wall, mechanical swings, bouncy house and slide in addition to delicious food from community favorites like Fresh Corn Grill, Lucia's, and Which ‘Wich? There will also be an ice cream and a bake sale; and activities like tie-dyeing, “Sandy Candy” edible sand art and other crafts. Attendees will also enjoy a DVD and video game sale, carnival games, prizes and raffles.

“Traditionally, the Spring Fling has been more of a community-building event than a fundraiser,” says Katie Greco, Committee Chair and local elementary school parent. The minimal funds raised help fund school arts and physical education programs, classroom aides and campus improvements at the neighborhood school. “However, the financial situation at our children’s school has changed drastically. We now face the possibility of seriously overcrowded classrooms due to major staff cuts. While basic public education is free, the exceptional education we feel our children deserve can no longer exist without financial support from parents, local businesses and the neighboring community.”  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ballots To Be Cast In Two Education Races

By Jason Song|The Los Angeles Times|May 17, 2011|6:00 a.m.
Voters will cast ballots for candidates vying for seats on the city's elementary and community college boards Tuesday.
The runoff for the Los Angeles Board of Education seat is between Bennett Kayser, a retired teacher backed by both the teachers and the administrators unions, and Luis Sanchez, the current chief of staff to the board president.  Sanchez is supported by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and several other labor groups and elected officials.
View full article L.A. Times

Monday, May 16, 2011

Music Fun and CD Release Party with Alina Celeste

Photo by
By Dupe Aleru|May 16, 2011|11:04 a.m. 

Come join Alina Celeste to celebrate the release of her new CD, If I Were a Little Bird! this Saturday, May 21 at the Children's Book World, 10580 1/2 West Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles. 

The event will include an interactive musical for children ages 3-10. Children will enjoy an array of activities with hands-on play using musical instruments. There will also be dancing, singing and merriment for all.

For more information about Alina Celeste, singer, songwriter, teacher extraordinaire, visit Alina Celeste

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gag Order Issued In Trial Of UC Students Accused of Disrupting Speech By Israeli Ambassador

Photo Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

By Lauren Williams in Orange County|May 13, 2011|9:04 p.m.
An Orange County judge Friday issued a gag order in the misdemeanor criminal trial of 11 college students accused of disrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States.
Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson said he did not want potential jurors to have preconceived ideas about the case involving the so-called Irvine 11. His gag order applies to both the prosecution and the defense.
Read full article L.A. Times

Saturday, May 14, 2011

College Zoom’s Enrichment Program Empowers BHHS Students

By Dupé Aleru|May 14, 2011|9:33 p.m. 

 As we look back at the school year and applaud the many successes of Beverly Hills enrichment programs, we cannot forget about the award-winning college admissions counseling business, College Zoom—directed by BHHS alumnus David Reynaldo.

Reynaldo was the master-mind behind the writing enrichment program at Beverly Hills High School for Dr. Raquel Ramey’s Critical Reading and Writing classes. The innovated program spanned over two weeks wherein College Zoom writing tutors helped students develop autobiographical essays, learn about persuasive writing strategies, and prepare for their final written exam.

 “The program’s goal is to elevate the way Dr. Ramsey’s students think and reason. We are even challenging them to utilize the same sophisticated storytelling and persuasive writing strategies that College Zoom used to help college applicants reverse UCLA and USC rejection letters,” said College Zoom Director David Reynaldo.

During the sessions, the tutors worked with students one-on-one and in small groups.  According to Reynaldo, in one instance of the persuasive essay assignment, one class unanimously chose to address an essay topic that was perceived to be the “easiest” to answer; however, many students changed topics once their arguments were challenged by the tutors. “Before, my way of reasoning was totally wrong.  I used to think that it was better to agree with majority opinions. Now, I know how to support my own opinion and intelligently think for myself,” said Senior Ali Ukra.

On the last day of the program, students reported that their writing ability not only improved but their confidence increased as well. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Local BH Students Celebrate Israel’s Independence Day, Ha’atzmaut

By Dupé Aleru|May 13, 2011|1:52 p.m. 

Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy students’ observed Israel's Independence Day—known as Yom Ha'atzmaut, on Tuesday. The celebration took place at the school’s campus located at 9120 W. Olympic Blvd. 

“Israel is such an integral part of our lives at Hillel and our Jewish religion, these celebrations help bring this theme to life in the minds of our children." The day’s events include: real life reenactments of Israeli cultural experiences such as a shouk, in addition to the usual celebratory prayers; as well as opportunities to express solidarity with the State of Israelm,” said School President Michael Fallas.

During the festivity, children demonstrated their solidarity by participating in a parade around the school, an Israeli dance and a visit to a local camp site to engage in a Kumzitz (a sing-along). The Kumzitz was accompanied by music and dancing around a camp fire into the evening hours.

 "Celebrating Israel's birthday is a culmination of many educational programs we run throughout the year," said Head of School Rabbi Boruch Sufrin.  “The students engage throughout the year in learning about Israel, its politics, its role in Jewish life, their roles as US citizens who cherish Israel, the geography and what the state contributes to the world at large.”

 “I think Tuesday was really awesome because we get to show that we care about Israel and how special it is to us, like how much we love the Kotel (the Western Wall) and how our prayers are important,” said fourth grade student Daniel Suriel.

For additional information contact Lisa Arnold at 310-276-8524l ext. 11.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nearly 4,000 Books Donated To 107th Street School In Los Angeles

By Dupé Aleru|May 12, 2011|10:05 a.m.

Fourth grade students’ at Hawthorne School is proud to be a part of the “kids helping kids for literacy” as they collected 3,664 gently used children's books to be delivered to 107th Street School in Los Angeles.

The donation was administered through the Book-Ends organization—a nonprofit organization based in Southern California and whose slogan is “kids helping kids”. Book-Ends’ recycles children’s books through the use of student-run book drives and delivers the gently used books to schools and youth organizations who are in need of books.

During the one-week service learning project, Hawthorne students were deeply involved in the step-by-step process. Students created posters and fliers to inform people and the community about the book drive. 

After the collection of books, the books were counted and sorted into grade level boxes. Upon the arrival to 107th Street School, Hawthorne students had the opportunity to read some of the donated books to both first and second grade students at 107th Street School. 

In the end, Hawthorne students reflected on the project by writing a paragraph describing the process and how they were honored to contribute books to a school that is in need.
For more information on Book-Ends, visit

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Normans Go All Out As They Prepare For Saturday’s CIF Division II Prelims

Rohani and Batra hand-off in th 4x400m relay

By Dupé Aleru|May 11, 2011|8:52 a.m.

As the last few months of track season come to an end, BHHS can be proud of an electrifying season of record breaking phenomena’s and statistics that will leave any athlete honored to be a part of a hard working and effortless team.

The dynamic of the team, under the direction of Head Coach Jeff Fisher and assisted by assistant coaches Myra Hasson, Fedley Bonneau, Howard Edelman, Steve Geanakos, John Johnson and Alex Falcoln are the backbones and drivers to making the Norman’s top contenders in the upcoming meets such as Saturday's CIF Division II Prelims.

Looking back at the Ocean League Prelims and Finals, one can notion that athletes like sophomore runner Alex Rohani, has a tremendous road ahead of him in the area of track and field. Taking first place in the Boys’ Varsity 400m with a time in 48.11 is a great start and groundwork for CIF.

Additional star-breaking news includes the Boys' Varsity who has ten CIF qualifiers and eight league champions. The Girls’ Varsity follows the boys’, with eleven CIF qualifiers and match the boys' with eight league champions.

In the CIF meet, prepare yourself and look out for the Boys' Varsity such as Alex Rohani who took first in the 400m and 200m in the Ocean League meet; Chanan Batra who took first in the 800m; Josh Galen who placed first in the 1600m and 3200m; Julian Jackson who won the shot put; and Garrett Kaplan who placed second in the pole vault.

Girls Varsity Ocean League astounding performances include Vanessa Torres who took first place in the 400m; Sydney Gray who placed first in the 800m; Brianna Simmons who stole the 1600m in a time of 5:18.24 followed by Sydney Gray’s time of 5:19.11; Liza Raffi in the 100H who placed first; Chelsea Austin in the long jump and triple jump, placing first in both events and second in the high jump; Melina Nasab in the pole vault who placed second and last but not least the dynamic foursome of Simmons, Torres, Ting and Gray in the girls 4x400m relay, who placed first.

As one can see, BHHS track and field team is a talented bunch of awe-inspiring runners. Keep up the good work and end the season with a bang! CIF it is.

For additional highlights, visit

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Courier Recognizes Pressman Academy For Its National Blue Ribbon Award

By Dupé Aleru|May 10, 2011|10:55 a.m.

As the 2010-2011 school year come to an end, one can appreciate the many successes of its students, teachers, administration and school. The Beverly Hills community is proud of its many schools—Pressman Academy, being one of them.

In the beginning of the school year, Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am Day School was recognized as a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School, by the U.S. Department of Education.
The announcement was made by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in Washington, D.C. Pressman Academy was recognized in the high performing school category.

One might ask, how does a school get chosen for such a prestigious award? For starters, the Secretary of Education invites each Chief State School Officer (CSSO), the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) from each state to nominate those schools who meet the criteria to submit to the Secretary.

Pressman Academy Day School was nominated for the Blue Ribbon by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE). Proceeding the nomination, the US Department of Education verified Pressman as one on the nation’s highest performing schools measured in both reading (English language arts) and mathematics on standard achievement tests.

“Our nation has a responsibility to help all children realize their full potential, schools honored with the Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to achievement and to ensuring that students learn and succeed. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and must receive a quality education,” said
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the announcement ceremony.

“We are particularly proud of this accomplishment because it affirms that our Day School’s commitment to a balanced curriculum of rigorous academics balanced with social, emotional, and spiritual learning enhances our students ability to be successful at the highest levels in general studies. This commitment, along with our emphasis on Hebrew and Judaic studies, makes Pressman Academy unique both in Los Angeles and across the United States,” said Head of School Rabbi Mitchel Malkus.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What Enrichment Activities Do You Have Planned For Your Child During The Summer Months?

By Dupe Aleru|May 9, 2011|9:25 a.m. 

As schools are wrapping it up for the year and summer seems to be luring closer, parents should be asking themselves, "What do I have planned for my child during the three months of summer?"

Sure a family vacation is nice, but what will your child be doing day in and day out for 3 whole months? Children who are in transition from kindergarten to first grade or from first to second and so on (primary grades), need summer enrichment in order to hang on to the skills taught during the year in order to make a smoother transition in the grade ahead.

Parents should seek alternative programs during the summer such as: summer day camps, summer enrichment programs, tutoring, sports, extracurricular activities and so on. Interaction with peers is also important, so joining a football team will be great for a child to continue to exemplify sportsmanship, sharing, caring and friendship. Local pee wee baseball teams and AYSO are also a great way to meet new friends while sharing play dates. 

Sure, most camps cost quite a bit of money, but there are also programs that are low cost or free. Parents can check in their cities directories for events during the summer months. One can visit museums and aquariums (look for discounts), and even a trip to the farmers market can be a great lesson in disguised! Festivals, art shows, fairs and such may also be free to the public! Parks and recs may also host arts and crafts and other fun enrichment activities in addition to libraries hosting author readings and book signings.

In addition, parents can do a lot of enrichment at home by reading or having their child read to them, administering a math facts test, practicing writing (short stories, daily journal etc.) and sight word practice (a word a day). There are tons of fun ways to include enrichment in the daily routine...get creative and have fun!

The fact of the matter is, children need to get out, enjoy the fresh air, meet new friends, continue their enrichment and be confident in their abilities to pick up where they left off the year before when the new school year begins. Enrolling their child in a summer program can allow parents the comfort of knowing they are assisting and encouraging their child to utilize the skills and tools taught during the school year so they can link those skills and prior knowledge to the new skills that will be taught in the grade ahead. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Times Updates And Expands Value-Added Ratings For Los Angeles Elementary School Teachers

By Jason Song & Jason Felch|Los Angeles Times|May 7, 2011|11:29 p.m.

Today the Los Angeles Times is releasing a major update to its elementary school teacher ratings, underscoring the large disparities throughout the nation's second-largest school district in instructors' abilities to raise student test scores.

The posting — the only publication of such teacher performance data in the nation — contains value-added ratings for about 11,500 third- through fifth-grade teachers, nearly double the number released last August. It also reflects changes in the way the scores were calculated and displayed.

To view full article, visit L. A. Times

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Young Philanthropist Benji Stawski Raises Money For JBBBS

By Dupé Aleru|May 7, 2011|11:03 a.m.
Seventh grader Benji Stawski is already preparing for his Bar Mitzvaha Bar Mitzvah is the religious initiation ceremony of a Jewish boy who has reached the age of 13 and is regarded to his community as being ready to observe religious precepts in addition to being eligible to take part in public worship.

Stawski is not just any ordinary boy. With the help of the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS) he takes part as a “little brother” in addition to having a “big brother” named Aaron. Benji and Aaron have been together for five years.

JBBBS is a nonprofit organization which is part of the Jewish Federation—they do not charge for services, but invest to ensure every child has a “big brother” or “big sister” he or she deserves.

In addition, JBBBS have Camp Max Strauss, an annual golf tournament and many exciting events such as, bowling parties for the children. JBBBS rely mostly on donations; therefore, donations do not cover all expenses.

Benji’s main goal is to get more people to make generous donations to JBBBS. How will he do this? Stawski plans on putting together a community service project through his Bar Mitzvah Project website. Individuals who donate will not just have the pride of helping and changing someone’s life, but they will also be eligible to receive a gift, such as a wristband or scented candle.  Proceeds will be donated to JBBBS.

For more information on Benji’s Mitzvah Project, visit

Friday, May 6, 2011

Charlene Liebau Talks Term Papers, Finals And Class Celebrations: The End Of The School Year

By Charlene Liebau|May 6, 2011|7:30 a.m.
College Admissions Editor

Term papers, finals, and class celebrations signal the end of the school year. Then what? In earlier articles I’ve touched on possible summer activities: travel, volunteer and paid jobs, and summer school.  In this article I want to go beyond listing things to do— to suggesting things to think about between now and when school begins again.
For freshman: Begin to think about your final high school transcript—map out the courses required each year in high school and the options for electives. What interests have you discovered during your first year in high school? How many years do you intend to study a foreign language? How many different sciences do you want to take and at what level? In addition to history courses, what social science subjects hold special interest? As you map out the next three years of high school you will want to meet graduation requirements and demonstrate breadth and depth in the electives you choose. Summer is a good time to read books on a wide range of subjects—which ones appeal? Reading the biographies of leaders in different disciplines might help in decision making when time comes to choose between a course in advanced chemistry or economics, a third language or psychology. In short, selecting your academic program should be made from a thoughtful, overall perspective and plan—not year to year.
Summer is a good time to take inventory of your extracurricular interests.
At this stage, exploration is the objective. And, keep exploring until you feel ready to focus on two or three activities. To focus on an activity means you are ready to take an active role, to make a contribution, accept responsibility and perhaps a position of leadership. Keep that definition in mind as you explore and evaluate your interests and begin to narrow the list.
For sophomores: Summer provides a good time to think about areas of academic interest, strength, and weakness. Have you taken the time to evaluate your progress, to know your interests, strengths, and weaknesses? What can you do to advance your studies in areas of particular interest? Would summer visits to local historical, art, science and technology museums be helpful? What can, and should, you do to bolster areas of weakness? Reading can help improve comprehension levels, listening to foreign language radio or television stations can strengthen fluency, as will reviewing the math text book shed light on difficult concepts. Whatever the subject area there are creative and interesting ways to spend a few hours each week to turn a weak academic area into a strong one.
Summer is a good time to evaluate your involvement in activities. In what ways have you been spending your out of class time? Do these activities represent your interests?  As a result of participation, what lessons have you learned? In what ways do you want to be more involved in the next two years? Perhaps you have lost interest in an activity or found a new one to pursue—how can you effectively address these changes?  
For juniors: The junior year can be many things. It is a time of comfort knowing the requirements, routine, and rigors of high school. It is a time of budding confidence as you define your interests and abilities and vigorously pursue them in both academic and extracurricular activities. It is also a time of anticipation as the college planning process begins. Summer is a good time to develop time management skills so that juggling school work, activities, and submitting college applications will not cause havoc with having a productive, healthy, and happy senior year. Give thought on how you intend to spend your senior year—on academics, activities, family, friends, and quiet contemplation. The senior year in high school requires making decisions about your future. Summer is a good time to prepare by thinking ahead to what is important to you, what you want to accomplish. 

For questions, emails

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.