Morning Read: El Camino given one month to address alleged problems

El Camino charter has one month to address alleged shortcomings
A casual observer could be excused for thinking there must be two El Camino high schools in Los Angeles. One, a well-managed, long-running success story that delivers solid and sometimes spectacular academic results. The other, in need of appropriate oversight, with a free-spending principal and loose financial controls. Last week, the L.A. Board of Education focused on the problems portion of the alleged split personality, unanimously approving a “notice of violations” that cites inappropriate spending, poor accounting and violations of public meeting rules. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: Numbers cruncher shows Los Angeles charter schools outperform traditional schools in latest test scores

Los Angeles charter schools are outperforming traditional schools in math and English
A math teacher at LA Unified’s Luther Burbank Middle School takes the latest CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance) scores and finds charter schools outperformed traditional schools in both math and English. He also lists three schools that serve diverse and poor students that stand out with exceptional scores — two magnets and a charter. By Benjamin Feinberg, Education Post

Morning Read: LAUSD officials point to Vena Avenue Elementary as success story in state testing results

Why this small Pacoima school saw big gains in state testing

The percentage of third- through fifth-graders who met or exceeded the Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts at Vena Avenue Elementary & Gifted Magnet increased from 44 percent in 2014-15 to 66 percent in 2015-16. Meanwhile, 52 percent of third- to fifth- graders met or exceeded the standards in math last year, up from 43 percent the prior year. Los Angeles Unified School District officials are pointing to this small San Fernando Valley school — in which more than 20 percent of its population are English learners and about 80 percent are low-income — as a success story with its own lessons to share. By Brenda Gazzar, LA Daily News

Morning Read: LAUSD will have to aim higher after reaching goals on statewide exams

More L.A. Unified students reach goals on statewide exams, district says

More students in the Los Angeles Unified School District met statewide goals on standardized tests in 2016 than they did last year, district officials said at a meeting Tuesday. Scores on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress increased in both English and math, they reported. In English, 39 percent of students reached statewide goals, compared with 33 percent in 2015. In math, the district said, 29 percent of students reached those goals, compared to 25 percent last year. By Howard Blume, Joy Resmovits and Sonali Kohli, Los Angeles Times

Astronaut Ellen Ochoa pays return visit to namesake school


Dr. Ellen Ochoa is greeted by Local District East Superintendent Jose Huerta at her namesake school in Cudahy. (Courtesy: LAUSD)

By Samuel Gilstrap

Visiting her namesake school never gets old for Dr. Ellen Ochoa.

The former shuttle astronaut, who now heads NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, recently paid a visit to the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center in Cudahy, the fourth time she has returned since the 800-student school was named in her honor a decade ago.

“It’s fun to come back, and see what’s going on,” said Ochoa, the first Latina to be chosen as an astronaut. “There is a great staff, and I’m always impressed with their dedication. More importantly, it’s great talking to students.”

Ochoa spoke to students during two assemblies, sharing a video about her work as a mission specialist and flight engineer during four trips aboard the Discovery and Atlantic shuttles. She said her favorite part of being an astronaut were the spectacular views of Earth from the International Space Station. She also talked about her present-day duties overseeing the operation of the Space Station, a football-field size satellite that weighs nearly 1 million pounds and orbits 250 miles above the Earth.

Click here for the full story from LAUSD Daily.

Morning Read: LAUSD tried to discredit student sex assault victim, attorneys say

Attorneys say LAUSD tried to discredit girl after sexual assault claim
Attorneys for a former Los Angeles Unified School District student on Monday expressed outrage over the LAUSD’s alleged attempts to discredit the girl, who said she was sexually assaulted in a bathroom at her elementary school. In April 2012, the then-12-year-old girl said the assault occurred at 95th Street Elementary School in South L.A. No one was ever arrested in the alleged attack, and the girl’s family filed a lawsuit against the school district. By Chelsea Edwards, ABC7

Morning Read: LAUSD public schools look to marketing to help enrollment

As enrollment declines, L.A. public schools borrow a tactic from the charters: marketing
As enrollment in traditional public schools around the city has declined and charter schools have mushroomed, principals are having to compete for students or risk school closure. To do this, they are turning to marketing tactics long employed by charter schools: handing out glossy fliers and creating Facebook pages to promote their after-school activities. By Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: Well-known charter high school faces revocation by LAUSD board

LA charter school faces possible closure over ‘fiscal mismanagement’

Alleging fiscal mismanagement and “fatal flaws in judgment,” Los Angeles Unified staff will ask the district’s Board of Education on Tuesday to issue a “notice of violations” to El Camino Real Charter High School — the first step to revoking its charter, according to the district. The west San Fernando Valley school, which converted to an independent charter in 2011, would have until Sept. 23 to remedy all the alleged violations if the notice is issued. If the school fails to make the corrections, the board could issue a “notice of intent to revoke” the school’s charter and then hold another public hearing. The public hearing is Tuesday at 1 p.m. By Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News

Morning Read: Could school start after Labor Day next year?

Three LA board members will push for school to start after Labor Day

Three Los Angeles school board members will begin a push next week to start the following school year after Labor Day. The traditional academic year began Tuesday, a full three weeks before Labor Day, which falls on the first Monday in September. The resolution, to be introduced at next Tuesday’s meeting, is sponsored by George McKenna, Scott Schmerelson and Richard Vladovic. By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times

Morning Read: New law allows high school students to take community college classes at their school

More high school students starting the year as…community college students

Pasadena Unified is one of the first Southern California school districts that have taken advantage of a new law that allows high school students to take community college classes on a high school campus during the school day. “When students earn college credit when in high school, over 90 percent of them [not only] go to college, but complete it,” said Pasadena Unified Assistant Superintendent Marisa Sarian. By Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC

Watch live: LA Unified’s back-to-school news conference

LAUSD livestreamIt’s back to school today, and the LA Unified press conference at John C. Fremont High School is about to begin. Watch live here.

Attending are: School Board President Steve Zimmer, School Board Vice President Dr. George J. McKenna, III, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education James Cole Jr., Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Superintendent Michelle King, School Police Chief Steven K. Zipperman and Local District South Superintendent Christopher Downing.


Morning Read: LAUSD students head back to school today

Half-million Los Angeles Unified School District students return to school
Many of them might prefer to be visiting the beach Tuesday, but more than a half-million students instead will be heading back to class as the 2016-17 school year begins for the nation’s second-largest school district. Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King, members of the district’s board, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education James Cole Jr. are among the dignitaries who will be fanning out across a variety of campuses to welcome the more than 640,000 students back to class. City News Service

New program at Nightingale Middle School for college-bound students


Principal Rafael Gaeta (Courtesy: LAUSD)

An announcement from LA Unified. For more see

At Nightingale Middle School, a college degree is within grasp, thanks to a new program there requiring students and their parents to attend Saturday classes. The Neighborhood Academic Initiative has a new home at Nightingale in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles. Directed by the University of Southern California, the initiative is a rigorous seven-year enrichment program designed to help students become college graduates.

“Nightingale Middle has a special place in my heart because it is part of the Cypress Park community that I grew up in, so I am always excited to see our students participate in unique programs like this,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez. “Because of Principal Rafael Gaeta’s leadership and USC’s investment in our young people, Nightingale continues to expand opportunities for our students by putting them on a solid and affordable path to college.”

To qualify, only 34 sixth-grade students will be selected to participate. The applicant must be a first-generation college-bound student, and will attend the Saturday Academy, held at the USC campus in East Los Angeles. The Saturday Academy is a 10-week per semester program that offers students support in math, English, science and other core subjects.

Low-income students, who complete the program (grades six-12) and choose to attend USC, will be rewarded with a full, 4.5-year financial package, minus loans.

“We are very excited to partner with USC to offer this opportunity to our Nightingale students,” said Gaeta, principal of Nightingale Middle School. “Our students are more than ready to meet the challenge to become college and career ready and attend USC in the future.”

A sixth-grade orientation was recently offered to families. Additionally a session will be held for parents and students to meet USC representatives and answer their questions about the program.

Gaeta said that once students graduate from Nightingale, they will attend either Wilson or Lincoln high schools where the initiative is also offered.

Since 1997, students participating in the program have graduated high school with a 99 percent college-going rate.

Morning Read: LAUSD adds new classes in an effort to halt enrollment decline

LAUSD expands class offerings to slow declining enrollment
With most Los Angeles Unified students returning to classes Tuesday after summer break, the nation’s second-largest school district is expected to see its 14th consecutive year of declining enrollment. As of last year, LAUSD schools have lost more than 86,400 students — 15 percent of its population — since 2009-10. The district is projected to lose another 13,500 students this school year and another 13,200 next year, according to budget documents. By Brenda Gazzar, Los Angeles Daily News

Morning Read: New MiSiS tool tracks English Learners to help with reclassification

How LA Unified plans to help schools track English Learners to proficiency

A new tool handled by LA Unified’s MiSiS computer system will help give principals monthly reports on the more than 140,000 English Learner students. Research shows that students who are not reclassified as English proficient by middle school are at a higher risk of not graduating. The new reports will allow them to track individual students and their progress. By Kyle StokesKPCC

Morning Read: LAUSD parents and teachers want later school start date

LAUSD students go back to school Aug. 16, but parents and teachers say that’s too soon

On Aug. 16, most students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will return to the classroom. But according to a survey of LAUSD parents and employees, summer fun doesn’t last long enough. The district conducted a phone survey in September 2015 to gauge what its employees and parents of students want future school calendars to look like. A majority of both parents and district employees were in favor of pushing the school year start date back into September — sometime after Labor Day. By Ryan FonsecaLA Daily News

Morning Read: LAUSD will add 9 more dual language immersion programs

Dual language programs could get boost with initiative on November ballot

With a growing number of parents embracing the value of their children learning a second language, nine more dual immersion programs are coming to L.A. Unified when schools open next week. Among the additions are one in Armenian and another in Arabic, giving the district 65 such programs, a 25 percent increase over the last three years. By Michael Janofsky, EdSource

Morning Read: New vaccination law should cause disease rates to drop, experts say

Disease rates likely to fall as new vaccination law takes effect
Mississippi hasn’t had a case of measles since 1992. West Virginia last saw measles – a highly contagious virus that kills an estimated 314 people worldwide every day – in 2009. Now, with California’s new vaccination law rolling out shot by shot, the state joins Mississippi and West Virginia to become the third in the nation to adopt stringent vaccination school entrance requirements. And medical experts say disease rates are likely to fall in California as they have in those states. By Jane Meredith Adams, EdSource

Scott Folsom, longtime watchdog of LA Unified, dies at 69

ScottFolsom 2015-09-15 at 5.13.45 PMBy Howard Blume

Scott Folsom, a freelance Hollywood producer who never made a big splash in show business, found his true calling in another role, that of official and unofficial watchdog over the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Folsom, 69, died Thursday after a two-year battle with cancer that almost never kept him from school board meetings or disabled his mildly acerbic, perceptive and long-running blog: 4LAKids.

For many in L.A., Folsom was the face of the Parent Teacher Student Assn., better known as the PTSA or PTA. His involvement began more than two decades ago, not long after his daughter Alana enrolled in Mt. Washington Elementary. He served in just about every capacity possible in the state and local PTSA.

As a parent representative, he also held many district positions. Starting in 2001, the Board of Education appointed him to the Bond Oversight Committee, which oversaw the nation’s largest school-construction program. He served on that committee longer than any other individual, asking probing questions that made projects better or more efficient.

Click here to read the full Los Angeles Times story.