Friday, August 31, 2007

Tips for Helping High School Students Prepare for College

A U.S. News & World Report: Nation & World...

What Parents Should Ask High School Counselors
Tips for helping high school students get ready for college

Between baseball practices and play rehearsals, it can be hard to find time to talk to your kids about college much less chat with their high school counselor. But with the number of applications to college setting records every year, it's more important than ever. So we asked a few counselors from different types of schools across the country some of the questions they get asked most often. And because they also are parents of kids that have gone off to college, our three counselors have an extra-sharp focus on what you should be discussing in your next appointment in the guidance office.

Read entire story and more here:

A U.S. News & World Report: Education

America's Best Colleges 2008

National Universities

To rank colleges and universities, U.S. News first assigns schools to a group of their peers, based on the basic categories developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2006. Those in the National Universities group are the 262 American universities (164 public and 98 private) that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master's and doctoral degrees; many strongly emphasize research.

Read entire story here:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Interdependence | Synergy

in·ter·de·pend·ent (adjective) mutually dependent; depending on each other.

(Excerpt from Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.)

Interdependence: Rather than being dependent upon other people, or trying to be totally independent, we learn how to be more effective by effectively working with others.


syn·er·gy (noun) 1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects. 2. Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.

Covey writes: "What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

To be successful you should learn to leverage the strengths of others.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

LA Mayor & LAUSD Announce Historic Partnership: August 29

Mayor Villaraigosa, LAUSD to Announce 'Historic' Partnership

Nation's 2nd Largest School District

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29, 2007 (CNS) - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles Unified School District will announce a "historic" partnership Wednesday that would give him control over two clusters of schools.

The plan, which is subject to approval by the LAUSD Board of Education and the parents and teachers of the selected schools, would allow the mayor oversight of two low-performing high schools and the middle and elementary schools that feed into them.

The two high schools will be among the 20 lowest-performing schools in the city. LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer indicated the high schools will be chosen in the coming months.

"We'll be announcing a historic agreement, creating a partnership for L.A. schools, which we think will change the culture and conditions of our schools, both in the family of schools that we'll be focusing on but also the whole school district," Villaraigosa said on the eve of today's announcement.

"I used the word `family' of schools because essentially what we're creating is a network of community support around schools, much akin to a family."

Since taking office two years ago, Villaraigosa has attempted to take control of the nation's second-largest school district. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation last year that would have shifted some of the decision-making authority from the seven-member school board to the mayor.

The law, however, was unanimously rejected this spring by a state appellate court panel, which questioned its impact on voters' rights.

Three days after the mayor's two chosen candidates won seats on the LAUSD Board of Education, giving his allies a 4-3 majority on the panel, Villaraigosa said he would not appeal the ruling.

Read the entire story here:

Deal would give L.A. mayor say on some schools
A partnership is expected to be announced today. The deal would take effect in 2008...
(Source: LA Times)

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his former adversaries from the Los Angeles Unified School District are expected to announce a partnership today that will provide the mayor with a scaled-back version of the authority he has sought over city schools.

Villaraigosa and his senior education aides will play a major role in overseeing two of the city's lowest-achieving high schools and the middle and elementary schools that feed them under an agreement with the Board of Education and schools Supt. David L. Brewer.

"I think you'll see a change in the culture of our schools almost immediately," the mayor said Tuesday of the partnership that would begin to exert its influence over schools in the fall of 2008.

Read entire story here:,1,5912416.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

Mayor-LAUSD partnership detailed
Villaraigosa has 5 years to get results at troubled schools
(Source: Los Angeles Daily News)

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. Unified will unveil a partnership today that calls for the mayor to oversee two families of schools under a five-year contract that will not be renewed if the schools don't meet goals for test scores and graduation and dropout rates, according to documents obtained by the Daily News.

The partnership - which if successful can be expanded to include more low-performing schools - appears to model charter schools, giving each campus greater control over budget, hiring and curriculum.

The schools in the partnership will report to a nonprofit created by the mayor - the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools - rather than the local districts, but the LAUSD board and the superintendent will maintain ultimate control.

"Nowhere in the country will we have this kind of partnership," Villaraigosa said Tuesday, adding that he expects to see improvements by the end of the first year. "We're excited about this effort. It's a long time coming.

LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer said the schools he eventually will propose for the partnership will go to the school board for approval in the coming months.
Read the entire story here:

Villaraigosa-LAUSD Partnership
(Source: KNX 1070 News)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles Unified School District are expected to announce today a partnership that will give the mayor control over two clusters of schools.

The mayor would take over two low performing high schools and the grade schools that feed into them. The exact school will be picked over the next few months.

The Board of Education, the parents, and teachers of the selected schools have to approve the plan. The head of the teachers union (Duffy) has expressed hesitation on how the plan will be implemented.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Argonaut: Green Dot Public Charter School Founder...

Green Dot Public Charter School founder to speak at Neighborhood Council about education reform
by Gary Walker

Westchester academic reform advocates will have the opportunity to hear another alternative to improving their schools and increasing local control at 7 p.m Tuesday, August 28th, when Steven Barr, the founder and chief executive officer of Green Dot Public Charter Schools, is scheduled to speak before the Westchester Playa del Rey Neighborhood CouncilEducation Committee.

Green Dot bills itself as "the only organization with a proven track record of successfully serving secondary students, the highest-need student population of Los Angeles."

In May, the charter school company became embroiled in a highly publicized clash with the Los Angeles Unified School District board over its entry into Locke High School in South Los Angeles, which had been underperforming for years. Green Dot hopes to set up ten smaller reform-oriented schools at Locke by next fall.

The move was heralded by many teachers and parents at the high school, who are desperate for a new method that will increase their children's chances of improved graduation rates and improved academic performance.

Locally, parental education advocates, including the Westchester-Playa del Rey Education Foundation, have also been lobbying with community groups to change the way that children are being taught in Westchester schools. While the elementary schools have performed quite well, Orville Wright Middle School and Westchester High in recent years have not.

"It's another option to consider," said Kelly Kane, the education foundation's president, who has been at the forefront of the push for autonomy at Westchester schools. "We're not saying that [Green Dot] is necessarily the kind of reform that we want, but we all recognize that there needs to be a change in the way that the district has been functioning, and [the district] has been very close-minded about changing its ways."

Barr, in a recent interview, stated that the purpose of his discussion at the Westchester council meeting will not be to advocate for his charter school, and he says Green Dot enters schools that are willing to work with them.

"We only go where we're wanted," he said.

He said that both Kane's organization and the Westchester Neighborhood Council invited him to address the education committee. "I think that they are getting restless, and they want to hear another approach," Barr surmised.

On another front, Los Angeles Unified School District teachers have selected a charter-like reform model that they believe will fit their goals of having more localized control while maintaining teacher benefits.

The new model "encompasses the entire [union] contract," said A.J. Duffy, the president of United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA).

While Green Dot teachers are union educators, teachers at Locke, for example, would need to re-apply for their jobs to principals hired by the charter school. The current UTLA contract would become invalid.

Read entire story here:

Monday, August 27, 2007

NCWPDR Education Committee Meeting: Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 28 @ 6.30PM

Location: Community Room, 7166 W. Manchester Ave., Westchester, CA (Lincoln and Manchester)

The public is requested to fill out a 'Speaker Card' to address the Board on any item of the agenda prior to the Board taking action on an item. Comments from the public on Agenda items will be heard only when the respective item is being considered. Comments from the public on other matters not appearing on the Agenda that is within the Board's subject matter jurisdiction will be heard during the Public Comment period. Public comment is limited to 2 minutes per speaker, unless waived by the presiding officer of the Board. As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services and activities. Sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices, or other auxiliary aids and/or services may be provided upon request. To ensure availability of services, please make your request at least 3 business days (72 hours) prior to the meeting you wish to attend by contacting the

Neighborhood Council Project Coordinator (323) 224-2314

Sunday, August 26, 2007



ALL Parents...

All WHS returning students (10th -12th graders) are REQUIRED to read (using criteria below) and submit a book report on the 1ST DAY OF SCHOOL, 9/5/2007.

This assignment was previously emailed to parents several weeks ago.

This homework assignment is critical, and given the new 4x4 schedule – where the school year is broken into four quarters rather than two semesters – it is IMPERATIVE that your student-child gets off to the right start on DAY ONE!

If your student hasn’t started this report, he/she has a little better than one week to read, comprehend and synthesize the data for his/her report as outlined below! GET THEM MOVING IMMEDIATELY! PASS ON TO ANOTHER PARENT!

View information on WHS' website at:

Summer Reading Assignment 2007 (6/1)
“The more that you read, the more you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”—Dr. Seuss

Since research shows that those who read more, know more and read and write better, Westchester High School encourages students with its annual summer reading assignment. All students must select one book from the list below for their incoming grade and class and then complete one of the attached assignments; those in an Honors class must select any two books for their grade and complete one assignment for one book and the other assignment for the other book, and those in an Advanced Placement class must select both books and contact their teacher at for their assignments. Books may be borrowed or purchased; assignments must be typed and are due on the first day of school, September 5, 2007, in English class—work that is late or plagiarized or without a name will receive a Fail. All students should expect a quiz or test on this assignment. For examples of student work or more information, visit

Assignment #1: Readers/Writers Notebook

A Readers/Writers Notebook is a personalized journal of a student’s own comments, opinions, or questions about a work that helps him or her to remember, think about, and understand the text. Entries are frequent—every chapter or section—and at least one 5-7 sentence long paragraph with meaningful and relevant notes. The assignment is neatly typed and double-spaced in 12 point Times New Roman font in black ink with 1 inch margins on clean printer paper; no coversheet or folder is required. The assignment is due on the first day of school, September 5, 2007, in English class.—work without a name or that is late or plagiarized will receive a Fail. For examples of student work or more information, visit

Assignment #2: Literary Notebook

A literary notebook is a study guide that summarizes and analyzes a work’s various elements and helps review that work in preparation for any assignments, quizzes, or tests. Each element consists of at least one 5-7 sentence long paragraph with a detailed and thorough explanation of that element. The assignment is neatly typed and double-spaced in 12 point Times New Roman font in black ink with 1 inch margins on clean printer paper; no coversheet or folder is required. The assignment is due on the first day of school, September 5, 2007, in English class.—work without a name or that is late or plagiarized will receive a Fail. For examples of student work or more information, visit

1. Title: What is the title of the book? How and why do you think it received its title?

2. Author: Who is the author? Describe his/her persona. What was his/her purpose or reason for writing this book? Who do you think is his/ her audience?

3. Summary: What is the book about? Briefly summarize the content or main plot and identify its exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

4. Setting: When and where does the book take place? Describe the setting in terms of the time period, and emotional, mental, and/or physical environment.

5. Motif/Symbol/Theme: What is an important motif, symbol, or theme in this book? Explain its significance with relevant concrete details or examples from the book.

6. Protagonist: Who is the main character? Describe his/her emotional, mental, and/or physical persona. What is his/her conflict or relationship to the antagonist? Explain with relevant concrete details or examples from the book.

7. Antagonist: Who is the individual in opposition to the main character? Describe his/her emotional, mental, and/or physical persona. What is his/her conflict or relationship to the protagonist? Explain with relevant concrete details or examples from the book.

8. Other: Select another character. Describe his/her emotional, mental, and/or physical persona. What is his/her function or place? Explain with relevant concrete details or examples from the book.

9. Style: What is your opinion of the author’s writing style? Analyze his/her words, sentences, and other details. Explain with relevant concrete details or examples from the book.

10. Quote: Select a brief passage that means something to you, and then comment on or discuss its importance. What does it say? What does it mean? Why does it matter?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Parent/Teacher Workshop: Saturday, 8/25 @ OWM School

We strongly encourage all Administrators, Teachers, Parents, Community and other Stakeholders to attend the informative workshop below this Saturday, 8/25.
Eliminating The Excellence Gap Parent/Teacher Workshop

Americans are among some the lowest achievers world wide. Why is this? Why do some students excel while others do not?

Come out and learn how YOU can become part of the solution!

Saturday August 25th

Orville Wright Middle School -- Auditorium
6550 W. 80th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90045

You can win a $100.00 Gasoline Gift Card!

As our high school implements two very significant reforms (4X4 and Small Learning Communities), come out and learn how administrators, teachers and parents can work together to eliminate excellence gaps.

Meet us in the auditorium of Orville Wright Middle School on Saturday for a power packed workshop exploring this subject!

Let us work together in improving our schools and increasing student proficiency.

4X4 Information Meeting: Thursday, 8/23 @ 6pm

Come out and receive information on WHS's new 4X4 schedule.

Meeting is being held in the WHS Social Hall (Cafeteria).

See you there!

Summer of Fun Event: Sunday, August 26th @ 10am

You are invited to celebrate with us Sunday, August 26th at Mother's Beach (located next door to the Marina Del Rey Cheesecake Factory).

We will be celebrating a full and productive summer with our parents.

If you are a Teacher, coach, school site group leader, stakeholder, administrator, POWWOW parent or the student of a POWWOW parent...YOU ARE INVITED!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

ASKED & ANSWERED: DAVID L. BREWER III: ‘First, we want to empower parents’

Source: Los Angeles Wave
By Marisela Santana, Staff Writer 16.AUG.07

Nearly one year after being named superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, David L. Brewer III is certain of at least one thing: the more politics are set aside, the better LAUSD can perform in the business of education. In a wide-ranging interview that took place as he traveled to San Diego last week for a conference, the retired U.S. Navy vice admiral spoke candidly about matters including his goals for the massive 900-school district, his relationship with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and how he is addressing the issue of African-American student achievement.

You are a strong advocate of parental involvement, citing it as the leading factor in student achievement. How will you help boost parents’ role in their children’s education?

It goes with my guiding principles. … First, we want to empower parents. We’re using an airline analogy: If you are on an airplane, the flight attendant says if we lose oxygen pressure, and the oxygen masks come down, and you’re sitting next to your child, who do you put the oxygen mask on first? You put it on yourself and then you put it on your child. Empower yourself, empower your child. And so what we’re saying is that if parents don’t have an education, then they should get one. And then the second component is that we want you to know how to engage the schools in terms of educating your children. The research shows that at the elementary school level parents tend to be fairly engaged. But as they enter higher grades, parents tend to stop being as engaged. Parent advocacy then needs to turn into parents asking themselves, “What do I need to do in my home to make sure that my child is learning calculus? I don’t have to know calculus to make sure that my child learns calculus, but I do have to understand what I need to be doing to create a homework environment at home, making sure that that television is off, and making sure that the child is getting the research that he or she needs to learn that particular complex subject.”

LAUSD board member Margaurite LaMotte has consistently raised the issue of African-American student achievement. Is this a particular concern for you? If so, are there any special initiatives under way or in the works?

When we look at the research and the data, unfortunately, African-American students are still the lowest performing in our school system. While they only comprise [12] percent, now with over 75 percent being Latino, and of the lowest performers, African-American males are still the lowest performing. As a result we have to focus on that, but obviously you can’t just focus on one race. So when we aggregated all of the data, and we looked at it, it’s basically the lowest performance of boys, both African-American and Latino boys. And so what that is forcing us to do, is to create new paradigms within the context of guiding principle No. 3, have to have innovative approaches to go after this problem. Two of our principals have done this already. I’ve advocated for boys academies. We have to create boys academies in order to go after this problem. Now, I can’t create enough all-boys academies across the system to cover this problem, so what we’re looking at now, is boys academies within the middle schools and high schools. Two schools have already done it. Jordan High School and King-Drew Magnet High School. … I have this philosophy: Think big, start small, scale fast. Thought big: boys academies. We started small, a few pilots. Once we validate and refine, then we’re going to scale fast, and we’re going to see if this paradigm works, then you’re going to see these types of models at other schools. … But keep in mind, that it still boils down to high-quality instruction.

A 2005 UCLA-Harvard study estimated LAUSD’s dropout rate at 45 percent. Is that accurate? What kind of progress is being made in terms of cutting that rate?

I doubt if that’s accurate. No one has really been able to document that properly. We think it’s about 27 percent. If anything, this is a classic example: I was at an elementary school recently where there were 20 students in a class in the first semester. After Christmas, there were 17 students in the class. So everyone scrambled to find out what happened to these three kids. The school went into the neighborhoods to find out what happened and they found out that the three families all went back to their home countries. You don’t know if a student has moved, or a family has left, or if a family just moved to a neighboring school district. So you don’t know. So it is extremely difficult sometimes to figure out who is a dropout or who has just transitioned out of the area.

Now that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s allies are a majority on the school board, has that necessitated a closer working relationship with him?

The mayor and I had been collaborating long before. People have to understand that. The mayor and I collaborated very quickly to get the crosswalk from two blocks away from Santee High to right in front of Santee because of a safety issue. And so we collaborated very quickly in response to a request from students at Santee. We were collaborating already. … By creating the Innovative Division, take for instance Loyola Marymount is working with Westchester, to create a family of school concept we’re going to partner with them on. UCLA is going to do something very similar. So within that concept, the mayor will become a part of that overall collaboration and partnership initiative that we have. In a week or two, we’re going to announce a statement of intent with the mayor to form a partnership. … We’re leaning forward on the collaboration side and the mayor will certainly be part of the overall partnership concept.

Have you found that you like your new job, and that you won’t abandon ship considering the massive amount of work that needs to be done to keep the district and its students moving forward?

I have to put it out there that I love my job. I have learned that in L.A., politics is a contact sport. … If we set aside politics, then I think you can find that I’ll be around for quite a while. But the bottom line, we have to get politics out of education. In other words, we need to focus on children, not adults. We need children issues, not adult issues. … So we just have to get the politics out of that. Once we get the politics out of it and we can get down to the business of educating our children, then I think we’ll get by.

Growing up and given your military experience, did you ever dream of being captain of a ship this big?

No, I never envisioned myself as being the superintendent. Initially, as I’ve said previously, over time I would say back in the ’90s, it became quite evident that school districts were looking toward military officers to find superintendents of schools. I had one personal friend, as well as one who became a superintendent, that was John H. Stanford up in Seattle. That was back in the ’90s when I became an admiral, and then there was [Lt. Gen.] Julius W. Becton Jr. who became superintendent of schools in Washington, D.C. Of course, that was a very highly publicized situation. … But clearly, having been focused on education most of my life, it was not necessarily beyond the realm of possibility that I could have become a superintendent. That has always been an option, but not something I had seriously considered.

You are big on creating leaders for our children in our parents, in our teachers and school administrators. Who were your biggest influences as a child?

First my parents. David and Mildred Brewer had the biggest impact on me, education wise, because both of them were educators. Education was a daily routine in my household. When you have parents like that, it has to be. My father was very good in math and science, even though he was in the culinary arts, he had to take chemistry and all of that and so that kind of engendered my interest in math and science. And my mother was an elementary school teacher, she kept me on task. She had a strong interest in music and so I took music through the 12th grade, as well as did very well in math and science in terms of my academic performance. That leaves me to the best teacher I had, that was Mrs. Lessie Brayboy Weaver, who was my music teacher. She not only taught us music, she taught us about life, she taught us about current events. I remember she sat in front of the class one day and finished a New York Times crossword puzzle in less than an hour. She actually sat there and did it. It was her way of telling us that we had to exercise our minds. It was amazing. That is a defining moment from my school years. That’s not to say I didn’t have other great teachers, there were others. There was Mrs. Audrey Williams and there was Mrs. Butts, I don’t remember her first name.

Have you visited all 900 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District?

No, if I visited a school a week, it would take me almost three years to see all of them. Just to put that in perspective, you’re talking about, essentially 920 schools. I will get to as many as I possibly can. But that’s not even the point. It’s my job to empower our local district superintendents. That’s their job, and I will get to as many of our schools as I can. But it’s them, who we’ve pulled more resources for and given them more responsibilities to them. … And even then, the local supes will be challenged. … But rest assured I will be very much involved with student achievement and in the schools, depends on how long I’m here, I should get to all of them over time.

Was there an increase in LAUSD’s graduating classes last year?

Yes, but we will know for sure when we get the results of the California High School Exit Exam later this year. My biggest concern, right now, is that we have 68,000 ninth graders and I graduated about 28,000 seniors. A lot of that is driven by economic migration out of L.A. and some of it is driven by dropouts. But I believe we’re going to have to come up with x-goal. We’re going to start with an x-number of ninth graders, then we want to see a y-number of graduates. And so we know that 28,000 is low. I don’t know if the right number should be 40,000 or 45,000. I’m not sure. We still have to figure that out. But I can tell you that we do not graduate more seniors than we have ninth graders. We usually graduate less. We’re going to change that.

What is the No. 1 hindrance to students’ success in the LAUSD, in your opinion, the lack of quality teachers, gang influence, lack of parental involvement?

The number one priority is to make sure that we have quality instruction taking place in the classrooms. In the final analysis, along with everything else that we do, if we don’t have high-quality instruction in these classrooms, and we are not facilitating learning in these classrooms, nothing else happens. The number one priority is always going to be high quality instruction. Teaching and learning. They are what we call eternal principles. They are principles that span the generations and when it comes to education, there’s two principles that are eternal. That is teaching and learning. Socrates, centuries ago said it, that as long as there is a teacher with something to teach, and a child with the will to learn, education will occur. That is the bottom line. That relationship between the teacher and the student, that’s what’s going to drive education. The parent’s job is to motivate that child to learn. You have to have a child that is motivated to learn and a teacher who wants to teach. When you have that combination, you have learning. Parents, and community, have to create a learning environment in the home for the children. I say community, too, because the community plays a major role as well. Children are tangible. You can stand up all you want and talk about being a successful doctor, or person, but a child is not going to believe you until he or she sees it. I just had four students shadow me for a day. I wanted them to see what … I’m not trying to brag here, but to see what a successful person does on a daily basis. They had to get up with me at 6 a.m. and go work out with me. I explained to them why I do this everyday. I said, if you are not physically fit, then you are not going to be mentally fit. You’re not going to be able to deal with the stress of a job. … I wanted to get kids to ask themselves “can this be my reality, I don’t see this in my environment, but can this be my reality?” My point is I want to encourage the community to engage our children at that level, let them shadow you. But more importantly, let them see, not only what you do at your job, but who you are and what you did to be who you are.

Students told me, and the others who were there, that they really didn’t think that adults cared about them until that day. What they saw that day, showed them that [adults] really cared about them. “We are so inspired by what we saw,” they said. It wasn’t a show or anything like that. It was just interaction. We showed them how hard we worked for them. We went with Supervisor Yvonne Burke to a children planning council meeting and we were talking about disadvantaged youth and foster care kids. [School Board member] Yolie Flores Aguilar was there, too. And so I went to that meeting, to talk to them about some of things we’re doing for those kids. The kids shadowing me, got to see what we as adults were thinking about, and how much passion we had for this and how we were struggling with the tougher issues and how we were forthright and determined to find solutions. So they saw that. In fact, one of them got up at the end and told us, that she didn’t know how much “you all cared about us” until she sat through that meeting.

What are your thoughts on the explosion of charter schools in and around the LAUSD?

Well, it goes back to a theory in physics. If you create a vacuum, something is going to fill it. And so, the bottom line is that the vacuum is some of our lowest performing secondary schools and so if you have a significant number of low performing secondary schools, in essence, someone is going to come around and fill it. It goes back to 2001, when it was said that if the district wasn’t going to change, then the district would be surrounded with charter schools. And so, at that time, we had a lot of low performing schools. We have much fewer low performing schools now because we’ve had this tremendous increase in performance at the elementary school level. Our elementary schools are doing extremely well. They’re not quite up to state average, but their progress has been significant. But we’re still having problems at the secondary level, the middle schools and the high schools and that’s where you see the explosion of charter schools. My job is to see that the charter schools are here. What we need to do is partner with them. But let me clarify, that the best schools in the school district are not charter schools. The best schools in the district are still some of our traditional schools. … The problems is that we have 65 secondary schools which are not doing well. So we are going to focus on those 65 schools and create what we call, an Innovation Division, to try new paradigms and models of school governance structure as well as instructional practices inside of those schools. More importantly, we’re going to take all 65 of those schools and put them into a Transformation Zone and basically restructure them. Part of that is going to require us to partner with some charter. We’re already talking to [Green Dot founder] Steve Barr. You’ve heard about the Locke controversy. The Locke controversy was not so much of a controversy, because I’m the one who basically introduced the idea to Steve. Why not come in and partner with us, instead of sitting outside, why not come inside so we can basically benchmark and replicate what you do across the system. That is the problem in education. We have some of the best students in the nation here in L.A. Unified. It’s been well documented. … We’ve won National Academic Decathlon 10 times out of the last 19 years. You don’t do that unless you have some of the best students in the nation. So how do you benchmark this across the system. This is the challenge, this is why we’ve created the Innovation Division, so we can start looking at some of these paradigms and models. … If it works there, why can’t it work here. Absolutely.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve encountered so far?

It’s been something that wasn’t anticipated. But the biggest challenge has been changing the culture to a culture of performance and results. More importantly, changing the culture to teach the culture how to change. In my previous [career] in the Navy, we found ourselves in a crisis, in terms of retaining sailors. That’s when we realized that we hadn’t changed our culture. … Once we learned how to change, then you go on to do those things that will help you to change to a much higher performing organization.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Book Distribution Preparation -- This Week

The actual distribution will occur next week. Stay tuned for more details on when and what time...

Additionally, POWWOW Parents will be on the campuses of OWM and WHS August 20, 21, 22, 25 and 24th from 8:30 am to 12 noon - to assist our schools with registration and to register parents for POWWOW!!

We Need 30 Parents to assist the week of the 20th - even if it is for just 1 hour. Call or email today to let us know what date and time you will be able to assist.

Thank you!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Westchester/Del Rey Little League Jr. team advances to WORLD SERIES!

We are pleased to report that the Westchester/Del Rey Little League Junior All Star softball team worked hard to represent their hometown, and Southern California, at the Western Regional Tournament this past week in Tucson, Arizona.

The team of 13-14 year old girls battled Alaska 12-2, Arizona 5-3, Idaho 13-3, and Oregon 7-0 to earn a place in the Western Regional Little League finals. They then had to win 2 out of 3 games against Arizona. They beat Arizona in the first game 13-1, then lost 7-8, then came back in the final game to win 9-4.

The players on the team are:
  1. Sandy Aguila
  2. Megan Baquet
  3. Nia Bolton
  4. Monica Cartwright
  5. Gilly Childs
  6. Danielle Cullen
  7. Brittany Evans
  8. Kamyle Glover
  9. Sammy Jo LaPlante
  10. Rachael Lee
  11. Haleigh Pellecer
  12. Sabrina Stewart
  13. Halie Times
  14. Jessica Times

The team is managed by Darryl Stewart and coaches are Darryl Lee and Brent Times.

They will now fly to the Junior Softball Little League WORLD SERIES, to be held in Kirkland Washington, Sunday August 12- Saturday August 18, 2007.
The team will be issued purple uniforms and now be referred to as “WEST”, for they will represent the 11 western United States (AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, and WY) in this international tournament.

To follow the team’s progress, go to the Junior Softball Little League World Series website:

ESPNU will televise the final game between the top U.S. team and the top international teams live at 4pm on Saturday August 18, 2007.

Westchester Del Rey Little League is accepting tax deductible donations to off set the great costs of expenses incurred during their two weeks on the road. This can be sent to:

PO BOX 881419
Los Angeles, CA 90009


Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Please DO NOT miss out on the FINAL LMU FoS MEETING ON AUTONOMY on...

Saturday, August 11th

University Hall -- ECC 1862 (1st floor)
1 LMU Drive
Los Angeles, CA90045-2659

For directions to University Hall, please visit

The details on autonomy schemes vary quite significantly. These meetings were designed to determine what scheme fits the needs of students, parents and other stakeholders in the Westchester area.

Do you have an innovative idea? Do you want to learn more? Be sure to join us on Saturday.


Drew Furedi's email dated August 7th...

Hi Everyone:

This is a quick reminder about our third working group meeting set for this Saturday (8/11) from 9 to 11 am. The meeting will be held in ECC 1862, which is on the first floor of University Hall here at LMU (that's the same building as the previous meetings). For directions to University Hall, please visit University Hall is the first building on LMU Drive, when entering campus from Lincoln.

Coming off the elevators, you will be headed to the right, and there will be signs directing you to the meeting location.

In terms of an agenda for the morning, we will be hearing short reports from each Research Team, we'll look at some of the data collected together, and we'll spend time discussing the "Definitions of Excellence" worksheet. We will also have a discussion about next steps.

I have received some, but not all, of the worksheets from working group members. Thank you to those who have sent them back in. If you have not yet returned your definitions of excellence worksheet, please email it as soon as possible so we capture your thoughts now -- and that way have a better foundation to start our discussion about this at the meeting. I have attached a copy of the template for those who might need it.

Thank you again for your commitment to the ongoing conversation and all your work this summer so far!



WHS Cheer Squad Car Wash

After attending the LMU meeting, please support the Westchester Cheer Squad Car Wash on Saturday, August 11th.

The car wash begins at the same time our Working Group session at LMU convenes, but it doesn't end until 2pm. So go out and support the Cheer Squad by swinging by after the LMU meeting adjourns at 11!

Westchester High School
Cheer Squad Car Wash
Saturday, August 11, 2007
9am -- 2pm

Westchester High School Student Parking Lot
7400 W. Manchester Avenue (enter on Park Hill Drive)

Cars $6 * SUV’s & Trucks $8

Sure hope you're hungry...there will be finger-lickin' BBQ, Sno Cones and Drinks available for purchase while you wait.

All proceeds benefit the WHS Cheer Squad.

Definition of Excellence Worksheet -- Complete and return!

Here is the Definition of Excellence Worksheet...i.e, Performance Indicator Survey the working group has come up with to "Define Educational Excellence."

Recall, this worksheet was discussed during last evening's meeting.

Please print this form and return your reply (by email) to Drew Furedi, LMU, Executive Director of FoS (Family of Schools) @ The due date on the form has passed, but Drew has agreed to continue to accept your replies. But only for a limited time so hurry, hurry, hurry!

Problems???? Contact us at

Thanks and be sure to get your survey in asap!

Monday, August 6, 2007

POWWOW Meeting: Tuesday, August 7th @ 6.30pm

Orville Wright Middle School -- Library
6550 W. 80th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Calling All Parents...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Don't miss the POWWOW Parent Meeting today at 6pm -- Westchester High School Library!

Wednesday (TODAY), August 1, 2007 at 6:00 pm
WHS Library

Topics to be discussed will include:

Book distribution
4X4 schedule
Small Learning Communities (SLC's)
Adult School moving onto WHS campus
Parent Center
Campus Safety and Campus Supervision