Thursday, January 31, 2008

Presidential Candidates | Scholarship Opportunity

Scholarship Eligibility
Prior to the deadline of June 12, 2008, you must be at least 16 years of age or older.

Scholarship Amount and Awards Available
$4400 - Only One Award Available

Allocation Date
July 4th, 2008

Scholarship Application Process
Submit an essay to answering the following questions:

1. Name the three most important issues that you believe the 44th President of the United States should address.

2. Take one of the issues that you previously mentioned and discuss what should be done to address the issue. (ie: If you picked health care as one of your three issues, then you could mention that America should implement a universal health care plan. However, please be as detailed as possible, as many students may choose the same issue to address.)

3. Lastly, identify which candidate you believe will be the 44th President of the United States and why you believe he/she will be victorious.

Essay Formatting
Make sure your essay is sent in a word document. The document must be double spaced and include a works cited or bibliography page at the end of the essay. In addition, please indicate an email address or home mailing address that you would like us to use if you are chosen as a scholarship recipient. Please note that we will only contact the student that has been selected.
If you are not contacted and are still curious on who has been selected, come visit the website after the allocation date.

Contact/Visit the Parent Center at WHS if you need any resources to assist you in submitting your essay.

HBCU Connect "Black History in Action" Scholarship

HBCU Connect "Black History in Action" Scholarship

Award Amount: $1,000

The HBCU Connect "Black History in Action" Scholarship is available to full-time students at accredited US colleges and universities as well as graduating high school seniors.

To apply for this award you must submit a 1000 to 1500 word essay discussing the following topics: How is African-American history relevant to success in today's world? How are you, individually, committed to making a brighter future for the African-American community? What steps have you taken? What can be done to educate young people that history is still taking place in the African-American community today?

Log on to for more details.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I-Division Upon Us -- Parents | Teachers Vote: YES

Parents, Teachers Taking Over Westchester High
By Paul Clinton

Parents and teachers at Westchester High School have voted to put themselves in charge of academic reforms in an effort to take the low-performing school where Los Angeles Unified couldn't.

Working with Loyola Marymount University under the banner of the district's new Innovation Division, they will try to turn around a school that ranks in the bottom fifth of the state academically.

With the votes, the school is signing up for a five-year partnership with the Catholic university - known as the Family of Schools - to improve achievement and draw local students back to LAUSD classrooms.

"I am very optimistic about what is going to happen here," Superintendent David Brewer told an audience at the school Friday. "I expect a lot of students to go all the way through and become graduates of college, especially LMU."

The division, which was created in mid-2007, now reviews proposals from schools hoping to hook up with universities, governments or other community partners looking to guide schools toward reform.

Crenshaw High also voted to join the Innovation Division this week.

Like many LAUSD high schools, Westchester High graduates a lower percentage of students than schools in many other Southern California districts.

Three out of four students attending the school score below proficiency in basic subjects such as algebra, geometry, English and science.

Discipline and truancy issues also have plagued the school for years. On a typical school day, as many as 10 percent of the students arrive late to class.

Many of the details of the reform plan for the school must still be worked out, but the university will begin placing student tutors in spring mathematics classes. Also, an exploratory committee of parents, teachers, administrators and others will begin formulating goals for improvement.

During voting on Wednesday and Thursday at Westchester High, parents and teachers voted overwhelmingly (89 percent and 75 percent, respectively) to seek greater control to set budgets, hire staff and change curriculum.

The work won't be easy, said board member Marlene Canter, who represents the area.

Read entire story here:

2 high schools join LAUSD reform effort
By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer January 25, 2008

Westchester and Crenshaw parents and teachers vote to take the low-performing schools in a new direction.

Parents and teachers at two venerable but struggling high schools voted this week to put themselves in charge of crucial academic reforms.

Crenshaw High, south of Leimert Park, and Westchester High, on the Westside, will join the Innovation Division, a new reform initiative of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The results of school elections were obtained early Thursday evening by The Times, minutes after the counting was completed. Under the rules, parents had to approve the move in a simple majority. That election was conducted Wednesday.

Teachers also had to approve in separate balloting that took place over two days.

Parents voted in low numbers, but overwhelmingly in favor of the reform plan. At Crenshaw the count was 95 to 6, a turnout of about 5%. At Westchester, the tally was 100-12, a turnout of about 6%. The parent results surprised no one -- most observers assumed that only the motivated parents would vote and they were far more likely to vote yes.

Read entire story here:,1,6271160.story

Westchester High School to Join iDivision
Source: LMU

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25, 2008 — Westchester High School voted yesterday to join the Los Angeles Unified School District’s newly formed Innovation Division, in partnership with Loyola Marymount University Family of Schools. The high school joins Orville Wright Middle School’s community and magnet programs and Kentwood Elementary School, which both joined the LMU iDivision Partnership last December.

With LMU as the Westchester schools’ external network partner, this partnership moves budget authority and decision-making over instructional and staffing choices to each school locally. The LMU Partnership will support teachers, staff, parents and community in decision-making roles.

The Westchester High School community showed their commitment to reform and improve student achievement through overwhelming support from teachers, school staff, parents, community members and local community organizations.

Read entire story here:

Other area musings...

Westchester High School moves into the iDivision
Posted on January 24th, 2008 by westchester dad

I’ve received word that Westchester High Schools parents and teachers voted to remove themselves from the authority of LAUSD District 3 and into the LAUSD’s Innovation (iDivision) Division. The unconfirmed vote were that teachers voted 68-30 to approve and parents voted 106-7 for approval. (Note: L.A.Times reports this morning that the teacher vote was 72-24.)

I’m sort of surprised by the extremely low parent turnout but that may be because there are so few neighborhood families with students attending there and parents in the lower grades who might have a stake in the school in the future weren’t allowed to vote. A news conference is planned for tomorrow.

Joining the iDivision is good news.. however the devil is in the details since everyone was really voting for a concept. The details of the relationship and governance between the neighborhood, LMU and the LAUSD have yet to be hammered out.

Community support will depend on how much control or oversight the community is given in the Loyola Marymont/Westchester Family of Schools (LMU/Westchester FoS) operations. So far the iDivision is a very abstract concept.

The only given is that the schools will:

  • Retain 80% of their average daily attendance money compared to the 50% they get now. Not nearly as good as charters, but better that regular LAUSD schools which are on the poverty scale because of district overhead.
  • Teachers are still represented by the UTLA and the district will continue to negotiate their contracts.
  • Schools may contract out for facility services if they choose and/or they may choose from a menu of district services. (This is a good development)
  • The availability of school resources including enrollment and facilities are still available to those outside of the local enrollment area and managed by the district. (this could very well be a deal breaker if the schools has to continue to allow high levels of open enrollment, opportunity transfers and program improvement transfers).
  • There is some kind of undefined partnership between the schools and LMU. Not even LMU knows what it is.

On the discouraging side, Superintendent Brewer’s comments at WHS a month ago downplayed how much influence the neighborhood would have. He said that the community would have only 1 vote among many which could be something like 1:4 or 1:8 or 1:10. It all depends on how many stakeholders they want to see at the table.

Drew Furedi noted that the LMU/Westchester FoS will still have to conform to LAUSD enrollment policies.

What this all boils down to is that the district will continue to have a pretty firm grip on many critical aspects of the LMU/Westchester FoS operations. Will it follow previous unsuccessful attempts at reform such a School Based Management (SBM) and LEARN?

On the flip side will the LMU/Westchester FoS mean more electives for our kids? Will there be more academic and sports opportunities for Westchester’s families and their kids? Will it result in higher academic performance? Will the school once again have a band?
We’ll just have to see. The devil is in the details and so is its success.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Get Out The Vote Support Rally: Tuesday, January 22nd!

Parents of Westchester With Orville Wright (POWWOW) and the Crenshaw Cougars Coalition (CCC) has organized a "Get Out The Vote Support Rally" on Tuesday January 22, 2008 from 7pm to 8pm.

Please join us at...

Windsor Hills Magnet School
5215 Overdale Drirve
Los Angeles, CA 90043
(Near the intersection of Overhill and Northridge)

REMINDER: The VOTE is WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23RD from 7am-8pm at Westchester High School and Crenshaw High School. (See you there!)

January 21, 2008: National Holiday Commemorating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Birthday MLK (January 15th)!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

$10k Scholarship Award: Attention Music Students and Teachers (Deadline January 31st!)


$10,000 Scholarship Award

The MusicLink Foundation seeks talented music students ages 8-18 for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.

The MusicLink Foundation, working as a pipeline organization for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, is seeking talented music students in financial need who may qualify for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. The goal of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is to identify and nurture talented young musicians whose lack of financial resources might otherwise hinder their progress. Approximately twenty-five student musicians will be selected annually to receive Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Awards. Each of these students will:

1. Receive $10,000 to support his/her education and artistic development (including tuition, training, or equipment);

2. Perform on a live taping of From the Top's National Public Radio show; and

3. Participate in a Cultural Leadership workshop in order to create and implement his/her own performance outreach activity.

Eligibility is limited to pre-college classical musicians (ages 8-18). Student applicants must be interested in appearing on From the Top's popular National Public Radio show, and demonstrate:

1. Exceptional musical talent;

2. Unmet financial need; and

3. Strong academic achievement.

FINAL DEADLINE: January 31, 2008

Application Process:

Students interested in this Award should fill out both the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award application and the From the Top Soloist application. Both applications can be found on From the Top's website - Just click on the "Young Artist Award" link at the bottom of the page. You can also find additional information about the scholarship on this website including answers to frequently asked questions.

If you know of a student who may apply for this award or a teacher who may be working with talented students in financial need, please forward this on. Please also send their names and email addresses to Jennifer Kitchin at

Please indicate on the application that you heard about the award through the MusicLink Foundation (Student Application, Part IV, Question 5 – check the box for "MusicLink Foundation.")

For more information, please contact: Jennifer Kitchin

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Monday, January 14, 2008

Wednesday, January 16th: Parent-Teacher-Student Autonomy Workshop

POWWOW and LMU are facilitating a Parent-Teacher-Student Workshop on the subject of AUTONOMY...

Westchester High School – Social Hall
Wednesday, January 16th

Here's an opportunity to speak out, hear and work together through the details surrounding AUTONOMY! Come prepared to contribute your thoughts and visions for the future of WHS!!!! (And - Bring A Dish, please.)

Your voice is PRICELESS!

We encourage all students to participate along with their parents/guardians!


Sunday, January 13, 2008





Deadline: January 18th: Tom Joyner Foundation Full Ride Scholarship

The Tom Joyner Foundation Full Ride Scholarship is this organization's most prestigious scholarship award to date. One scholarship will be awarded to a freshman entering a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the United States in the fall of 2008. The scholarship recognizes academic distinction as well as strong character and personal qualities.

The recipient of the Full Ride Scholarship will receive full tuition waivers and stipends to cover room and board (on campus only) and books. The scholarship recipient will have to maintain a required 3.0 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) and 15 credit hours per semester -the scholarship award will be renewed each semester up to ten (10) semesters.

Students will be selected as finalists based on their academic accomplishments, intellectual and creative distinctions, extracurricular activities, letters of reference, and original essays.