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UTLA to ‘pack the board’ meeting, early ed in the spotlight

Craig Clough | May 28, 2015



school report buzzThe LA teachers union, UTLA, has had a busy, visible 2014-15 school year, staging numerous rallies, boycotts and strike threats on the way to securing a new three-year contract and 10.4 percent raise.

But before the school year is out — or technically, just after, as the last day of class for LA Unifed is June 4 — the union is staging one more big event, calling on members to “pack the board” at the June 9 school board meeting.

UTLA is asking members to demand the board rescind it plan to layoff 609 school employees while cutting some programs. The plan was enacted earlier this year in the face of a possible budget deficit, but before Gov. Brown’s revised May budget has pegged an estimated extra $600 million-plus for the district.

UTLA wants as many members as possible to file in to the meeting, asking them to arrive at 7 a.m. to line up outside district headquarters for the 1 p.m. meeting.

Early ed in the spotlight

Speaking of the possible cuts to LA Unified programs, one on the chopping block is the School Readiness Language Development Program. The issue has brought early ed into the spotlight lately around the district as the same time there is new focus on it around the state. Some lawmakers and state leaders are calling the legislature to fund early ed at a much higher level, while Children Now president Ted Lempert recently called Brown’s budget for early education “stunningly minimal.”

Robin McCulloch, who runs the preschool program for San Diego Unified, said the state needs to readjust the income level required to qualify, telling KPBS that many needy families are disqualified from free preschool.

Check out the interview below.

LAUSD names Teachers of the Year

LA Unified has announced that 22 educators will be honored as 2015-16 Teachers of the Year at a luncheon in September.

“I congratulate our 2015-16 Teachers of the Year,” LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines said in a statement. “They are the dedicated and compassionate instructors in the classroom who help our students achieve educational excellence. They awaken, brighten and influence the lives of young people and help shape the minds of the future.”

These are the 18 women and 4 men the district is honoring:

  • Esther Calderón, a dual language kindergarten teacher at Carlos Santana Arts Academy, has been teaching for 18 years.
  • Jennifer Childers, a science and leadership teacher at Sepulveda Middle School & Gifted Magnet has been teaching for 18 years.
  • Melanie Du Bose, an English and filmmaking teacher at East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet, has been teaching for 15 years.
  • Martha Garibay, a first-grade teacher at Fifty-Second Street Elementary School, has been teaching for 14 years.
  • Daniel Jocz, a social studies teacher at Downtown Magnet High School, has been teaching for 11 years.
  • Lisa Kochakji, a first-grade teacher at Stagg Street Elementary School, has been teaching for 17 years.
  • Roxana M. L’Heureux, a third-grade teacher at Carlos Santana Arts Academy, has been teaching for eight years.
  • Alberto Lopez, a sixth-grade teacher at Orchard Academies #2C Global Studies & Technology Academy, has been teaching for 17 years.
  • Altair Maine, an Advanced Placement physics and Advanced Placement science teacher, at North Hollywood High School, has been teaching for 15 years.
  • Tania Martinez, a dual language kindergarten teacher at Carlos Santana Arts Academy, has been teaching for 15 years.
  • Maria Medina-Perez, an algebra teacher at South Gate High School, has been teaching for 14 years.
  • May-Lynn Geronimo Montano, a fourth-grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary, has been teaching for 17 years.
  • Darryl Newhouse teaches Advanced Placement calculus, pre-calculus, Algebra II, robotics and Intro to Engineering Design, at Foshay Learning Center. He has been teaching for 23 years.
  • Claudine Phillips, a second-grade teacher at Roscomare Road Elementary School, has been teaching for 18 years.
  • Ada Marisol Reyes, a fifth-grade teacher at Carlos Santana Arts Academy, has been teaching for 11 years.
  • Maria D. Sanchez, a second/third grade teacher at Western Avenue Elementary School, has been teaching for 12 years.
  • Heather Ashley Sandoval-Feng, a social science teacher at Harris Newmark Continuation High School, has been teaching for nine years.
  • Chandra D. Sheppard, an English Language Arts and math teacher at Budlong Avenue School, has been teaching for 14 years.
  • Carol Sun, an English Language Arts, English Language development and math resource teacher at Harvard Elementary School. She has been teaching for nine years.
  • Chanelle Thomas, a fourth-grade teacher at Denker Avenue Elementary School, has been teaching for 20 years.
  • Michelle Elaine Youngblood Jarman teaches English Language and literature, study techniques and works with the yearbook, at Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School. She has been teaching for 19 years.
  • Christine Zhou teaches secondary mathematics at Social Justice Leadership Academy. She has been teaching for eight years.

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