Students, Parents: Rate LAUSD Schools

March 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Parents, students and school staff will be rating the Los Angeles Unified School District through a new a new poll that will help evaluate the quality of their school. 

The survey asks whether the school offers opportunities for students to become leaders, how welcoming and collaborative is the environment and how clean and safe is the campus.

Students will take home a survey for parents that can be filled out on the form or online at www.reportcard.lausd.net. Students and staff will take the survey at school. The deadline to respond is April 10.

For more information, contact school or call (213) 241-5600.

Más de 600 Educadores de LAUSD Podrían Ser Despedidos Por Falta de Presupuesto

March 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

La junta del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles (LAUSD) estudió en su reunión del miércoles una propuesta para notificar la finalización de contrato a más de 600 profesores, consejeros y trabajadores sociales del distrito escolar como parte de las soluciones para enfrentar un déficit de cerca de $160 millones.

Además, el órgano de gobierno consideró revisar la renovación de contratos a personal administrativo certificado, supervisores y otros funcionarios especializados.
La lista incluye a más de 260 educadores de adultos, 59 consejeros, 63 trabajadores sociales psiquiátricos y varias docenas de profesores de idiomas extranjeros.

Incluyendo estas notificaciones que no son usuales, el LAUSD podrá enviar en total cerca de 2.500 notas de finalización de contrato a su personal.
Según un reporte del LAUSD, el segundo distrito escolar más grande del país, éste enfrenta un déficit de $158,3 millones que buscará solucionar para comenzar el año 2015-2016 el 1 de julio.

El envío de las notificaciones es una medida preventiva exigida por la ley, aunque no necesariamente significa que todas las personas que reciban el aviso perderán su empleo. Cada año el LAUSD envía más de 1.800 notificaciones de finalización de contrato.

La decisión del miércoles, por otra parte, puede afectar las negociaciones entre los directivos del LAUSD y el sindicato Maestros Unidos de Los Ángeles que se encuentran estancadas, al no llegar a un acuerdo sobre el porcentaje de aumento de salario para el próximo año escolar.

Mientras el sindicato solicita un incremento de 8,5%, el distrito ha ofrecido un 5%.
Por eso, representantes del sindicato calificaron la decisión del miércoles de la junta como una maniobra de presión en la negociación sobre salarios.

Sin embargo, el superintendente del LAUSD, el hispano Ramón Cortines, defendió las medidas argumentando que es urgente balancear el presupuesto.

L.A. City Council Incumbents Make Strong Showing

March 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

City Councilman Jose Huizar fended off a spirited challenge from former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina to retain his 14th District seat, headlining a winning night for council incumbents.

“We did it!” Huizar shouted at his election-night party Tuesday night at Salesian High School, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Huizar’s battle with Molina – billed a heavyweight bout between two Eastside political veterans – turned out to be a largely one-sided affair. Huizar grabbed a commanding lead when vote-by-mail ballots were tallied, and he never looked back.

As a former county supervisor, city councilwoman and assemblywoman, Molina was the best known of the four challengers attempting to unseat Huizar, who will return for his third and final term representing the district that stretches from downtown Los Angeles to Eagle Rock.

Huizar — whose most recent term was marred by sexual harassment allegations — insisted the 14th District has seen improvements thanks to his efforts to secure funding for graffiti removal, repair work on a City Hall building in Eagle Rock, initiatives to help the homeless and other programs to address local needs.

“Last night’s results are a testament to the great work that we have accomplished together over the last 9 years,” Huizar said in a statement posted Wednesday on his campaign’s facebook page.

“We move forward with a commitment to prioritize basic services in the city budget and improve their systematic and procedural delivery,” his post said.

He went on to say that more needs to be done to “ensure that working and middle-income families have housing options” and the city implements new affordable-housing policies and deals with its  “disgraceful lack of an approach to homelessness.”

In the eastern San Fernando Valley’s 6th District, incumbent Nury Martinez emerged victorious in a rematch with former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez.

Montanez was the top vote-getter in the 2013 primary election to complete Tony Cardenas’ unexpired term, but she lost to Martinez in an upset in the runoff election. Martinez said during her more than 18 months on the job, she has fought prostitution and human trafficking crimes, brought in economic opportunities and jobs, and worked to clear up blight.

Herb Wesson, who represents the 10th Council District, cruised to victory over Koreatown activist Grace Yoo, who last clashed with the powerful council president during contentious proceedings to redraw district lines in the Koreatown area.

Councilman Paul Krekorian also held onto his early lead in his bid for a second term representing the 2nd District — which includes North Hollywood, Studio City, Valley Village and Van Nuys, against challenger Eric Preven, a television writer who is a regular gadfly at City Council and County Board of Supervisor meetings.

Councilman Mitch Englander ran unopposed in the 12th District, which includes Reseda, North Hills, Northridge, Chatsworth and Porter Ranch.

In the 8th District, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a former executive director of a nonprofit founded by Rep. Karen Bass to improve economic conditions in South Los Angeles communities, defeated three other candidates to replace termed-out Councilman Bernard Parks.

The race to replace termed-out Tom LaBonge in the 4th District will move to a May 19 runoff election, with 14 candidates splitting the vote and preventing any candidate from earning the more than 50 percent needed to win the seat outright.

The council members elected today will serve 5 1/2-year terms. The passage of Charter Amendment 1 will mean a one-time lengthening of the terms of city and school board officials elected in the 2015 and 2017 elections, with future elections being held in even-numbered years.

School Board Candidates Debate in Eagle Rock

February 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Three candidates running for a spot on the board of the second largest school district of the country were at Eagle Rock High School Monday evening, taking part in forum where they told voters why they should represent District 5 on the L.A. Unified School District Board of Education.

The school’s auditorium was nearly packed, with many of those in attendance there to support their preferred candidate, incumbent Bennett Kayser, or one of his two challengers, professor Andrew Thomas and charter school executive Ref Rodriguez.

District 5 covers a large and diverse area that includes schools in the southeast communities of South Gate, Cudahy, Maywood and Huntington Park, as well as east and northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods like Highland Park, Cypress Park, El Sereno, East L.A., Mt. Washington, Lincoln Heights and Eagle Rock among others.

(Left to right): Ref Rodriguez, Andrew Thomas and incumbent Bennet Kayser speak to a large audience about their future plans for the District 5. (EGP Photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

(Left to right): Ref Rodriguez, Andrew Thomas and incumbent Bennet Kayser speak to a large audience about their future plans for the District 5. (EGP Photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

The seven-member school board oversees LAUSD’s $7 billion budget and sets policy for District’s 1,000 schools; 650,000 students; and more than 45,000 employees.

It was the first debate with all three candidates in attendance: Kayser and Thomas opted to not take part in a debate sponsored by the United Way of Greater L.A. and a diverse group of community partners Jan. 28 at the Goodwill Community Center in Lincoln Heights, leaving Rodriguez as the only participant.

Kayser’s absence in particular raised the ire of several community groups, who in a news release said his “refusal to participate” deprived the community of “an opportunity to meet all candidates, learn their values, strategies and ideas for the Board and the District,” which is key to voters deciding which “best meets the needs of their children and local schools.”

Kayser responded to the criticism Monday, distributing a written statement explaining he had participated in multiple other election-related forums, interviews and Q and A’s and that “Debating debates is pointless.” The concerns facing District 5 “are too large for us to waste another moment on this contrived issue.”

At Monday’s forum, moderated by education journalist Annie Gilbertson, Kayser said his time as a board member has benefitted LAUSD students. He said he voted to add $34 million for early childhood education and adult education as well as sponsoring hundreds of fieldtrips. He is a big supporter of providing better programs for students with special needs, he said.

Thomas said his two children attend LAUSD schools and the experience has left him unsatisfied with the quality of schools throughout the district. “Three out of ten LAUSD school students are not graduating,” he said. The next school board needs to fix the District’s budget and implement Common Core –that sets high academic standards in math and English language arts/literacy, he said.

In 1999, Rodriguez co-founded “Partnerships to Uplift Communities,” a network of highly respected charter schools. He said the achievement and excellence gap could be closed by providing better education to LAUSD students. Communication between parents and teachers and the board willing to collaborate is the key to success, he said.

While all three candidates seemed to find common ground on issues such as Common Core and the restoration of arts and music programs, Thomas and Keyser expressed disapproval with the growing number of charter schools in the District.

Thomas said 18% of LAUSD students now attend a charter school and that takes money away from other public schools. “Every time a charter school opens they take away money from LAUSD,” he said, adding that 20% of charters are performing below the standard.

Rodriguez defended charter schools noting that many perform exceptionally well, but added that those programs that fail to provide a high quality education should be closed. While most parents move their child to a charter in search of higher quality education, much of the exodus from traditional LAUSD schools is due to parents leaving because they cannot afford to stay in the city.

“It’s not about charters taking away kids, it’s about parents [leaving],” he said.

All three candidates agreed that teachers are vital to providing high quality education and they need an environment that allows them to do their best.

Keyser said teachers need more flexibility in their lessons. Rodriguez said teachers should to be paid better. Thomas said that the biggest priority is to reduce teacher-student ratio.

In regards to the Local Control Funding Formula, a new funding mechanism that allocates more money to schools with large numbers of special need students, English Learners (EL), and students in foster care, Rodriguez said the funds should support high quality proficiency programs. “Schools need peer coaching, peer training, especially for foster kids and low-income kids.”

During the forum, Thomas called for greater transparency at the District. “Schools have decided for the second year in a row not to publish results” on the Common Core standards and that’s not acceptable, he said.

Kayser said programs and services for children with special needs should be required at schools with low-income families.

“I have a son who goes to King Middle School and it is a good opportunity to see where each candidate stands,” Norma Lopez told EGP following the forum.

“It’s good to see diversity among the candidates,” added Gabriel Sandoval.

Nominations Sought for Preschool Teacher of the Year Awards

February 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

 LAUP is accepting nominations for the best pre-school teacher in Los Angeles County.

The nomination deadline is Feb. 20.

Nominees should be teachers who have gone above and beyond their duties to prepare students for elementary school and life.

Five teachers, from each L.A. County Supervisorial district will be awarded $2,000 in cash and $500 in classroom supplies if selected as a  “Los Angeles County Preschool Teacher of the Year Award.”

The awards are sponsored by Los Angeles Universal Preschool or LAUP.

Candidates may nominate themselves or be nominated by parents, co-workers or administrators. Nominations are open to all county preschool teachers.  Applications must be received by Feb. 20.

For more information about the application process, call (213) 416-1877 or email bbove@laup.net

 

Community Calendar: Feb. 5, 2015 – Feb. 11, 2015

February 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, Feb. 5

7-8:30pm—LA Unified District 5 Candidate Debate at Eagle Rock High School. Meet the Candidates before you vote! Confirmed participants: Bennett Kayser, Ref Rodriguez & Andrew Thomas. Eagle Rock High Auditorium: 1750 Yosemite Dr. LA  90041.

 

Friday Feb. 6

8pm— Comedy “Clean Start” at Casa 0101. When Beverly Hills socialite, Parker Reed, loses her fortune, she is forced to move in with the only person who will take her – her loyal Latina maid, Rosario Rodriguez.  Adjusting from Beverly Hills to Boyle Heights is a messy transition for Parker, and making it all the messier is Rosario’s superstitious mother and immature sister, who both want her out.  It’s Beverly Hills vs. Boyle Heights as worlds collide in this raucous comedy. Playing until Feb. 15. Location: 2102 E. 1st St. 90033 Phone: (323) 263-7684 www.casa0101.org

 

Saturday Feb. 7

9am-3pm—Too Toxic to Trash: Free LA County Hazardous & E-Waste Roundup at Lugo Park in Cudahy. Safely discard household hazardous waste: antifreeze, unused medications, car batteries, used motor oil, paint, pesticides, hypodermic, pen & intravenous needles, syringes, lancets, household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, and e-waste such as TVs, monitors, computers, VCRs, stereos, and cell phones. Park is located at 7810 Otis St., Cudahy.For more information, call County of LA Dept. of Public Works at 1(888) CLEAN LA or go to www.888CleanLA.com, contact LA County Sanitation Districts at 1 (800) 238-0172 or www.lacsd.org.

10am-12pm—CD-14 Candidates Debate at Boyle Heights City Hall. Boyle Heights residents will have the opportunity to hear about the candidates’ plans if they get elected in the upcoming election in March 3rd. Hosted by the Boyle Heights Beat. Candidates confirmed; Nadine Diaz, Gloria Molina, Mario Chavez, Jose Huizar. Location: 2130 E. First Street 90033.

10am-9pm—Monterey Park Lunar Year Festival Feb. 7-8. Celebrate the year of the goat during the annual street festival. More than 250 participating merchants, organizations & food vendors will take over East Garvey Avenue. Enjoy live performances, amusement rides & fireworks. Admission is free. Time: 10am-9pm Saturday and 10am-7pm Sunday. For info, visit, www.montereypark.ca.gov.

 

Tuesday, Feb.10

6pm—LAUSD District 5 Candidates Forum at the Old Timers Foundation in Huntington Park. Candidates Ben Kayser, Ref Rodriguez & Andrew Thomas. Location: 3355 E. Gage Ave., Huntington Park 90255.

6pm—DAPA/DACA Forum at CARECEN. For those interested in knowing about the implementation of the executive action by president Obama and how to apply, CARECEN will be offering an informative forum. Location: 2845 West 7th Street Los Angeles, CA 90005. For info. call: 213.385.7800 or email info@carecen-la.org

 

Wednesday, Feb. 11

6-9pm—LAUSD District 5 Candidates Forum at El Sereno Senior Center. Candidates confirmed Ben Kayser and Ref Rodriguez. Hosted by LA-32. Location: 4818 Klamath Place 90032.

 6-7:30pm—Community Meeting on the City of Los Angeles Consolidated Plan at the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center:1600 E. 4th St., LA 90033.

 

Upcoming

14th Council District Town Hall and Debate Thursday, Feb. 12 at Luther Burbank Middle School in Highland Park. Invited: Nadine Momoyo Diaz, Jose Huizar, John O’neill, Mario Chavez and Gloria Molina. Hosted by The Historic Highland Park NC, Highland Park Heritage Trust, Garvanza Improvement Assoc. & Eagle Rock NC. Meet & Greet at 6pm; Debate 7pm. School: 6460 N. Figueroa St. LA 90042. For more information, email info@ernc.la

13-Year Old Charged With Murder in Middle School Stabbing

January 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A 13-year-old boy accused of fatally stabbing a 14-year-old high school student outside Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles was charged Tuesday with murder.

The boy, whose name was not released because he was charged as a juvenile, is expected to appear in court tomorrow at the Eastlake Juvenile Courthouse.

He is accused of stabbing Steven Cruz, a student at Garfield High School, shortly after 3 p.m. Friday in front of the nearby middle school.

Friends said Cruz was walking home when he stopped by the middle school to see friends. The suspect, a reputed gang member, asked Cruz where he was from, a common tactic by gang members to determine gang affiliation, then stabbed him in the torso, officials said.

14-Year-Old Stabbed to Death at East Los Angeles Middle School

January 24, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

A 14-year-old high school student was fatally stabbed outside Griffith Middle School in East Los Angeles Friday.

A 13-year-old was arrested at his home in Los Angeles Saturday afternoon. He was taken to the East Los Angeles sheriff’s station and booked for suspicion of murder, sheriff’s officials said.

The identity of the suspect was not immediately released, but officials said he is possibly a gang member.

Firefighters responded at 3:08 p.m. Friday to a report of a stabbing victim on the school steps and took the youth to County-USC Medical Center, a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau has identified the victim as 14-year-old Steven Cruz.

Los Angeles Unified School District spokeswoman Monica Carazo said the victim was stabbed by another boy as he stood on the perimeter of school grounds immediately after classes let out for the day.

Daryl Strickland, another LAUSD representative, said the victim was a student at Garfield High School.

“Early reports said the victim was stabbed with scissors, but that has been changed to a sharp object,” Strickland said.

The identity of the suspect is not known, but was described by Lt. Holly Francisco of the Sheriff’s Dept. as a male Hispanic juvenile. It was unclear if or where he attended school.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives were dispatched to investigate the killing.

Cruz was walking home when he stopped by the middle school to see friends, the East Los Angeles Sheriff’s station reported.

The suspect, a gang member, asked Cruz where he was from, a common tactic by gang members to determine gang affiliation, then stabbed him in the torso, according to KCAL.

Cruz was described as a good student who enjoyed skateboarding.

Griffith Middle School parents were notified of the death by a recorded audio message, Carazo said.

The school, just starting its after school program, was locked down after the stabbing “to ensure the students’ safety by making sure the grounds were safe and to give authorities a chance to see if anyone witnessed the fatality,” Strickland said.

Parents, hearing news of the stabbing rushed to the school but were not immediately allowed to speak with their student.

“Parents and students were brought to the auditorium so they could hear more about why it was important to keep students later than usual,” he said, adding that students were to be released one at a time to ensure that they were going home with a family member. Parents were not allowed to speak with their children during the lockdown.

Crisis counselors will be available to students at Griffith Middle School and Garfield High School on Monday, LAUSD officials said.

Update Sat., Jan. 24, 9:30pm. Story updated with information of arrest made in the murder.

Correction Mon., Jan. 26, 10 a.m. An earlier version of the story incorrectly referred to the stabbing as a shooting.

Superintendente de LAUSD se Enfoca en Arreglar el Sistema MiSiS

October 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

El Superintendente del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles, Ramón Cortines, aseguró el lunes a padres que el distrito esta trabajando para resolver los problemas con su sistema computarizado de información de estudiantes, y dijo que los equipos de tecnología están trabajando para asegurarse que los estudiantes obtengan sus boletas de calificaciones exactas.

“Como superintendente, asumo toda la responsabilidad de asegurarme que nuestros sistemas estén funcionando correctamente a favor de los estudiantes”, escribió Cortines en una carta enviada a los padres. “Estamos trabajando para resolver los problemas que han sido identificados”, agregó.

Cortines, quien asumió el cargo de superintendente la semana pasada a raíz de la renuncia de John Deasy, dijo a la junta escolar que le proveería actualizaciones semanales al distrito sobre los esfuerzos para resolver los problemas con el confuso Mi Sistema de Información de Estudiante Integrado (MiSiS por sus siglas en inglés).

Los problemas con el sistema han estado plagando al distrito desde el inicio del año escolar, lo que resulta que algunos estudiantes no puedan conseguir sus clases requeridas y otros están repitiendo la misma clase. Hay hasta quienes están en su último año de preparatoria, comenzando la solicitud de inscripción en universidades, y no pueden obtener sus certificados de estudios.

Cortines aseguró a los padres en su carta que el distrito cuenta con expertos en tecnología que trabajan con las escuelas para garantizar la exactitud de las transcripciones de los estudiantes.

El distrito también ha reclutado consejeros jubilados, directores y asistentes de directores para trabajar con las escuelas secundarias para revisar y certificar las transcripciones.

LAUSD está alertando a los sistemas universitarios públicos de California y otros colegios sobre los problemas con el sistema informático y los posibles fallos de transcripción. Empleados adicionales del distrito también están trabajando para revisar transcripciones y se han establecido líneas directas en los cuatro Centros de Servicio de Educación para abordar cualquier preocupación y seguimiento de los problemas reportados.

“Aprecio su ayuda y orientación a medida que avanzamos en el mejor interés de nuestros estudiantes”, escribió Cortines. “Van a haber errores, pero estamos comprometidos a arreglarlos. Sus hijos son la razón por la que estamos aquí y les debemos el proporcionar absolutamente todo lo que necesitan para lograr sus metas”, finalizó.

LAUSD Busca Disminuir Policía Escolar y Ofrecer Más Ayuda de Consejería

August 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

El Distrito Escolar Educativo de Los Ángeles (LAUSD), cuyo alumnado es mayoritariamente hispano, pretende disminuir el papel de la Policía Escolar dentro de las escuelas y ofrecer alternativas de consejería al sistema judicial juvenil.

Tras la aprobación de estas medidas algunas faltas que anteriormente eran remitidas al sistema judicial ahora serán tratadas directamente por la misma escuela a través de un funcionario o un consejero.

Alumnos con problemas de comportamiento como peleas o consumo de alcohol o posesión de marihuana dentro de la escuela, o el pintar graffiti en las paredes, ya no serán transferidos a la Policía Escolar, sino que tratarán este tema con la administración del plantel educativo.

“Hemos visto de primera mano cómo un número incontable de jóvenes, especialmente negros, latinos y otros estudiantes de color, han sido criminalizados innecesariamente”, dijo a Efe Manuel Criollo, director de Organización de la Campaña de Derechos Comunitarios del Centro de Estrategia Trabajo/Comunidad de Los Ángeles.

Un informe presentado en marzo por esta organización junto con el Proyecto Black Organizing de Oakland destacó que desde 1980 el gasto estatal en Educación Superior en California ha disminuido un 13%, mientras el de Prisiones y Correccionales ha crecido en un 436%.

El informe aseguró que “las escuelas con fuerte presencia policial, que se encuentran invariablemente en comunidades de bajos ingresos y de color, tienden a crear climas hostiles y poco acogedores que alienan a los estudiantes y alimentan los indicadores habituales de fracaso escolar”.

Según destacó el martes el Superintendente del LAUSD, John Deasy, la nueva política no significa que las acciones incorrectas no tengan consecuencias: “no aceptamos el mal comportamiento, pero nuestra respuesta no es criminalizarlo inmediatamente”.

“Hemos estado disminuyendo nuestros índices de suspensión de manera espectacular y queremos seguir haciendo lo mismo con las tasas de citación (judicial)”, agregó el líder del segundo distrito más grande del país, con más de 640.000 estudiantes, de los cuales el 73% son hispanos, y con cerca de 1.100 escuelas.

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