South Central development project concerns neighbors


A new South Los Angeles development project drew sharp criticism from neighbors and health advocacy groups at a press conference Monday. A report released by Human Impact Partners found that “The Reef” development, slated to build two multi-use high-rise buildings, will place over half of renters in the site’s surrounding area at high risk for financial strain or displacement.

In September, the City Council released a 3,000 page environmental report on the development. The document has been has been a source of strain on attempting to be involved in the development process.

“In the immediate, we are concerned about the draft [environmental impact review] project that has only given us 47 days to respond to a 3,000 page document,” said Benjamin Torres of CDTech.

Beyond the environmental impact report, the community is concerned that the development will bring new residents into the proposed luxury apartments while pushing out lower-income locals because of rising rent and property value.

Read More: Neighborhood council to take action on Reef Project report

Los Angeles is the least affordable city for renters, and HIP found that the city lost 65 percent of state and federal funding for affordable housing between 2009 and 2014.

The South Los Angeles neighborhood surrounding the development is one of the most crowded areas in the city. In the community where 45 percent of residents fall below the poverty line, a rise in prices leaves many residents forced to compromise.

The Reef development

Residents hold a press conference in front of The Reef, which plans to develop two new skyscrapers in South LA over the next 15 years. | Caitlyn Hynes, Intersections South L.A.

Community members are worried that The Reef development will not include affordable housing, an issue that already exists. At the press conference, residents and community leaders urged developers and the City Council to consider their voices throughout the 15-year building process.  

Benjamin Torres of CDTech said he was concerned that the decisions made about the development would not include the input of the neighbors who currently live there.

“One [concern] is the long-term process and what the role of the community is, and making sure we have equitable community development that benefits the area,” he said.

Neighbors want South L.A. to attract developers. They also want development to reflect the neighborhood’s residents as they are now, not those who will move in to be a part of The Reef’s demographic.

“Let’s imagine for one minute what this project could be. Imagine if this was affordable housing for the residents of affordable housing for South Los Angeles,” said Jim Mangia, President and CEO of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center. “Imagine if that development was serving the people of this community, who have built this community with their blood and their sweat and their tears. Imagine if some of that retail space were community health centers that served this community.”

Read More: Some South LA residents express uncertainty with billion dollar development 

Dr. Holly Avey of HIP said that her organization was concerned about the negative impact that this development could have on the historic South Central L.A. neighborhood. The report found that community residents who are impacted by displacement and financial issues are at a high risk of a variety of health problems, including anxiety, depression, obesity and diabetes.

Beatriz Solis of the California Endowment said that some families are forced to make delicate tradeoffs, like choosing between healthy food or preschool.

Cynthia Bryant, the owner of a local ice cream shop, voiced her concern that when the development does go forward, the businesses in The Reef will push her out of the neighborhood. Bryant worries that the business space in The Reef will drive up rent prices across the neighborhood.

“I don’t want to be the first one to get on the boat if we get pushed out of this community, because they’re pushing us further and further. But where is the boat loading? Should I be the first or should I be the last, should I keep hanging on?” said Bryant.

The rising rents and subsequent displacement of residents worries Solis as well.

“At the community level, when people are forced out, the whole community fabric begins to unravel, and what cohesion and collaborative efficacy, or social and political power did exist begins to evaporate, making it more and more difficult to have a voice in community development,” Solis said.

Neighbors like Erendira Morales, a working mother of four children, say they want to be a part of this process to make sure that their concerns are being heard and addressed.

“We feel that they are playing with the life and the future of the people who live in this community. Our local representatives are not listening to us,” said Morales. “We have our interests, we have our opinions and we feel that they are not paying attention to us. We want to participate, we want to be part of this process.”

$15 minimum wage could help South LA hotel workers

Embassy Suites hotel workers on strike | LA County Federation of Labor

Three Los Angeles City Council members have launched a bid to increase the wages of the city’s hotel workers to $15.37 an hour, a major pay jump for more than 40 percent of the industry’s workers who live below the poverty line.

The raise would affect hotels with more than 100 rooms — 87 of them in L.A. — and an estimated 10,000 employees. Union workers said the increase could lift housekeepers, busboys and maintenance workers out of poverty.

That could be especially significant in South L.A.’s 9th District, an area with the city’s highest poverty rate.

“Income inequality is a persistent issue plaguing our country, our city and especially our under-served South Los Angeles community,” said District 9 councilman Curren Price, who is pushing for the wage increase along with councilmembers Mike Bonin and Nury Martinez representing West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, respectively. [Read more…]

South LA hero encourages civic engagement in the face of adversity

Men of faith: Reverend Mark Whitlock, Dr. Varun Soni and Reverend Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray prepare to speak at the “Twice Tested by Fire” reception at the USC Doheny Memorial Library. Photo: Alec Faulkner

Members of the Los Angeles community gathered at the University of Southern California Doheny Memorial Library on October 2nd to listen to veteran community leader Reverend Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray discuss struggles faced by humanity and the efforts needed to overcome them. USC staff and faculty, congregation members of Dr. Murray’s First African Methodist Episcopal (F.A.M.E.) Church in South LA and other guests listened to the retired pastor and current USC Religion & Civic Culture faculty member reflect on the history of his own life and the United States as a whole while celebrating the publication of his 2012 autobiography “Twice Tested By Fire.”

Faith under fire

Dr. Murray has been known as a hero in the Los Angeles community for decades and has a name that has been attached to many titles and awards, but USC President Dr. Max Nikias stressed that “these titles don’t tell the whole story.” After being introduced by Dr. Nikias and USC Dean of Religious Life Dr. Varun Soni, who pointed out that October 2 was also the birthday of legendary Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Murray deflected the praise and attention he received and pointed out that his struggle is part of a larger human struggle.

“Understanding (that) we are family is the challenge of the 21st century. The pain is not going to go away. The fire is not going to go away. The truth is we are not saved from the fire: we are saved in the midst of the fire,” said Dr. Murray in an analogy to his near-death experience which occurred when his Air Force jet caught on fire in 1957.

Community Catalyst: Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray receives a proclamation in honor of his community service and 83rd birthday from City of Los Angeles Community Services Officer Josefina Salvador on behalf of LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Photo: Alec Faulkner

The next step

Despite being praised by members of the USC community and being recognized with a proclamation from the City of Los Angeles for his efforts thus far, Dr. Murray refused to focus on his awards and instead chose to discuss the dire need for social justice for South Los Angeles and other underserved communities around the world.

“All of us are constantly tested by fire. Half of the people of the world live on less than two dollars a day. We have a long way to go. Seeing that we are family, we will get there. But our chauffeur will be necessity,” said Dr. Murray, who added that all humans are “kin under the skin.”

History lesson

While also focusing on the future, Dr. Murray referenced the 1992 riots that swept across South LA and other underserved communities in Southern California and pointed out the set of root causes first highlighted by Dr. Martin Luther King.


“Poverty, racism and war were the combination that caused not only the 1992 riots, but the 1965 riots in Los Angeles as well. The poverty rate in underserved black communities is double the national rate,” said Dr. Murray, who recently celebrated his 83rd birthday and was inspired by the 1992 riots to create social justice for communities of color.

Civic engagement within South LA, which has been spurred by organizations such as Community Coalition South Los Angeles, was highlighted as a key component of the solution to social ills during the final moments of Dr. Murray’s speech.

“We have enough resources to change our neighborhoods. We have an obligation to rise to the occasion,” said. Dr. Murray.

“If we don’t do it, who will?”

This event was hosted by USC Spectrum.

Elias Kamal Jabbe is the Founding Editor of

Kingdom Day Parade Spotlights King’s Anti-Poverty Efforts

Photos by Walter Melton and Susan Fitzpatrick

Thousands of people lined the streets of South Los Angeles Monday for the 27th annual Kingdom Day Parade, Southern California’s largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance.

The parade began at 11 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Western Avenue and headed west on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Crenshaw Boulevard, then south to Vernon Avenue, concluding at Leimert Park.

The parade featured 30 marching groups, 20 floats, 17 drill teams, 16 marching bands, seven color guard teams and three dance groups.

One of the floats was the “Occupy King’s Dream” float, honoring Martin Luther King’s attempts to end poverty. The Community Coalition was an organizer of that float.

The Rev. Hae Hak Lee, a South Korean Presbyterian minister, was the parade’s international grand marshal. Second District Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was grand marshal of the parade. Ridley-Thomas of the executive executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles for 10 years. Dr. King was the SCLC first national president.

Organizers said this year’s parade was a bit smaller this year, and some parade-goers say it lacked the spark of previous years.

Creating healthy neighborhoods

imageBy Eddie North-Hager

This is the second part of a series called Healthy ‘Hoods, which examines the notion of environmental injustice in South Los Angeles.

Hiking along some of the seven miles of trails in Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, it’s easy to forget how close you are to the middle of the city. And with four more parks comprising nearly 60 acres right across the street, it’s easy to think that South Los Angeles is filled with parks just like this one.

But this rich concentration of green space in the far northwest corner of South L.A. belies the fact that the rest of this area is so park poor.

How did western L.A. County end up having 59 acres of park space per 1,000 people and South L.A. end up with 1.2 acres per 1,000 people?

According to the report in “Parks and Park Funding in Los Angeles: An Equity Mapping Analysis,” the evidence adds up to a conclusion that environmental injustice was no accident.

Past discrimination in housing, past discrimination in employment, ongoing placement of facilities that pollute, and the inequity in locations for urban services add up to the reality that the poor and communities of color are likely to be relegated to park-poor neighborhoods, reports the study’s author, Jennifer Wolch, Dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley.

“[W]ealthier districts are more likely to boast plentiful parks and greenbelts provided by public funding,” the report finds.

Some of the problems we are facing today have their roots in laws created in 1904, according to the report. It was the first ordinance to regulate where business and residences could locate.

The zoning code “protected the affluent, predominantly Anglo Westside from industrial uses and high density housing,” finds Wolch, who was then the director of the USC Center for Sustainable Cities.

Industry and high-density housing were allowed to locate, instead, right by the city’s eastern and southern areas, where the working class called home. Parks and other urban amenities were located in other parts of town. As parks increase a home’s value, this inequality translates into a larger gap between the rich and poor, the report finds.

Los Angeles wasn’t alone. In 1912, the city of Torrance developed a well-thought-out plan to house the city’s workers, mainly Latinos, downwind of the city’s industrial plants and their pollutants, Wolch reports.

In addition to school segregation through the 1940s and racially restrictive housing covenants through the 1950s, parks were also historically segregated in Los Angeles.

Blacks could only swim in the public pool on International Day, the day before the pool was cleaned and the water drained, according to “Healthy Parks, Schools, and Communities: Mapping Green Access and Equity” by Robert García and Aubrey White of City Project.

Bruce’s Beach in Manhattan Beach was one of the few beaches blacks could enjoy in the 1920s. By the ‘30s, city officials forced them out, leaving only one other place for blacks to enjoy the ocean — the Inkwell at Pico Boulevard — according to the City Project report.

“The struggle to maximize public access to public lands while ensuring the fair treatment of people of all colors, cultures, and incomes can transform the Los Angeles region into a more livable, democratic, and just community, and provides a replicable advocacy model for community redevelopment,” García and Aubrey report.

With such a history, how can a neighborhood — especially one so dense and so park poor as South Los Angeles — become a healthy neighborhood that encourages physical activity?

Build parks near homes. Keep sidewalks safe. Create bike lanes. These attributes lead to “walkable communities” because they encourage people to walk more, according to the study, “Walking and Bicycling: An Evaluation of Environmental Audit Instruments.”

“Applying public health criteria to land-use and urban design decisions could substantially improve the health and quality of life of the American people,” according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walking a little more or having a park nearby could help shed just a few pounds. A few makes an impact — losing seven pounds helps reduce the risk of developing diabetes in high-risk patients by 60 percent, and diabetes is linked to obesity.

“If you make some changes, you can feel safe walking to the corner store or the mall,” says Anthony Crump, a policy analyst with the Community Health Councils in South L.A. “If you have a bike lane and bike parking, kids and adults will be more likely to use them.”

In the same way, shade trees, crosswalks, street furniture and other types of infrastructure can encourage people to walk. People are more likely to ride bicycles when there are bike racks to park their bike and bike lanes that are clearly marked.

The Children’s Nature Institute is attempting to deal with South L.A.’s urban legacy by enticing kids to go outside and enjoy the local flora and fauna.

“You have to get a lot out the space you have,” says Michelle Rhone-Collins, executive director of the Children’s Nature Institute in South L.A. “There are barriers that keep people from the pristine spaces. So how do you still continue to experience nature and access those benefits? With us, we are going to walk right outside of the door.”

Institute staff take children on hikes right on the city streets and inspect ant hills, spider webs and bean pods. They take what they can get and use it as a science lesson and a moment of wonder.

It seems intuitive that green space would be a healthful benefit. Still, it’s easy to underestimate how much of a difference it can make on your mind and body.

“There are demonstrable benefits to having open space as well as experiencing different species of birds and animals, even when people are not trained to know what they are looking at,” says Travis Longcore, science director of the Urban Wildands Group and an associate professor at the University of Southern California.

“Every study says yes it matters. People internalize elements of their environment,” Longcore says.

But how much of an effect can it be?

People in an office with plants score better on repetitive task and memory recall, Longcore says.

Physical activity relieves depression and anxiety, which also correlate to high blood pressure and heart attacks.
Outdoor play is critical to a child’s cognitive development
Views of nature are linked to the mitigation of attention deficit disorder.

“Studies show that when going outside for exercise, it is better for your psychological health and well being, as well as helping prevent obesity and diabetes,” Rhone-Collins says.

In the third part of the series, we’ll look at a hiking path and green space in the South L.A. community of Leimert Park that was saved from being developed into apartments and hillside homes.

This story originally appeared on

Eddie North-Hager is the founder and editor of hyper-local social network and news site Leimert Park Beat. This project was made possible through the support of the USC Annenberg Health Journalism Fellowship program, funded by The California Endowment.

Obesity epidemic hits South L.A. harder than most

imageBy Eddie North-Hager

“Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.”

That quote should read like a public health bombshell, yet it’s not even news anymore. It was the opening line of a study published in “Science” magazine back in 1998. The authors, James O. Hill of the University of Colorado and J.C. Peters of Procter and Gamble, Co., were among the first to identify this American public health disaster. But, if anything, the problem has gotten worse.

From 1980 to 2004, the percentage of young people who were obese tripled nationwide, rising to 18 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Here in Los Angeles County, officials report more than half the adult population is now overweight.

And while obesity is a problem for Americans in all walks of life, it’s worse when you don’t live near a park, when access to public transportation is limited, when sidewalks are broken and streetlights are few.

“We have to recognize that where we live affects our health,” says Anthony Crump, a policy analyst for Community Health Council, a group that aims to eliminate health disparities in South Los Angeles.

Crump studies the relationship between the built environment and personal health.

“If you live with limited access to parks and recreation, to high quality food, it is reflected in your health status,” Crump says.

In fact, a National Institutes of Health study found that just living in a socioeconomically deprived area leads to weight gain and a greater risk of dying at an early age.

As a homegrown example, people in Culver City live an average of eight years longer than people in Jefferson Park, according to Crump. Yet these two communities in the middle of Los Angeles are only a couple of miles apart.

“There are a whole lot of reasons why, but the bottom line is that the disparity is huge,” Crump says. “Look at the big picture and it’s a stark reality.”

The neighborhoods of South Los Angeles suffer more than most:

– Thirty-three percent of children there are overweight.
– One in seven residents has diabetes, compared to one in 12 in West L.A.
– Forty-two percent of South L.A. residents live below the federal poverty level, compared to only 12 percent in West L.A., and the numbers correspond with the rate of diabetes in each area.

South Los Angeles — nearly 100 square miles and a million people — also happens to be the most park poor area of Los Angeles, with about 1.2 acres of park space per 1,000 people. The national standard is 6 acres for every 1,000 residents. Western Los Angeles county has 59 acres of parks per 1,000 residents.

But South L.A. is not alone in terms of limited park space. Nearly two-thirds of the children in Los Angeles County — mostly the children of the poor — have no park or playground near their home, according to the City Project, which promotes increased parks and recreation for underserved communities.

“When you have less access to parks and the streets are unfriendly for walking and biking, there is less physical activity among kids and adults alike,” Crump says.

There have been some positive changes, though. Dania Bautista is trying to shed a few pounds, and the city has made it a little bit easier for her. The 29-year-old works up a sweat at Van Ness Park in South L.A. on the outdoor elliptical machine, one of several pieces of workout equipment installed throughout the park.

She comes to the park to watch her friends play soccer. Instead of being just a spectator, she takes the opportunity to get in a workout.

“I do this for my health — I’m fat and I need to lose weight and it’s not pretty,” said Bautista, who operates a tamale cart. “Before, I didn’t work out at all.”

Even modest weight loss (only 7 pounds) has been shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes by nearly 60 percent. That’s 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. It’s going to the park or riding your bike to the market.

Ultimately, the health of a neighborhood can be measured by the levels of obesity and chronic disease, cardiovascular health, and exposure to pollution and cancer causing agents.

The stakes are high and involve more than just individual health. Obesity greatly increases the risk of developing many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, lung disease, asthma, cancer and depression.

Medical care associated with such illnesses costs California tens of billions of dollars — care for diabetes alone cost Los Angeles County $5.6 billion in 2005.

As Hill and Peters wrote in 1998, “To stop and ultimately reverse the obesity epidemic, we must ‘cure’ this environment.”

So how do you cure the environment? How do you create healthier neighborhoods? In the second part of this series, “Healthy ‘Hoods,” we’ll look at the ingredients needed.

This story originally appeared on

Eddie North-Hager is the founder and editor of hyper-local social network and news site Leimert Park Beat. This project was made possible through the support of the USC Annenberg Health Journalism Fellowship program, funded by The California Endowment.

WIC fears budget cuts will take a bite out of food programs

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

WIC’s initials stand for “Women, Infants and Children,” and in Los Angeles, it serves 300,000 of them with healthy foods each month. Unlike food stamps, the program is limited to pregnant women and children under five, and provides vouchers for specific items.

One recipient is Alejandra Delfin, a mother of three, who says WIC provides a majority of her children’s food.

“They like the cereals, they like the fruits, they like nectarines,” she said. “They like peanut butter, the bread they give too, milk, eggs…they like everything WIC gives.”

Beyond the groceries, Delfin says, WIC is part of her community. She has been coming to the office on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Vermont Avenue for ten years, since she was pregnant with her oldest son. Her workplace is only doors away.

Inside the bland strip mall storefront, she sees familiar faces – Celia, Sandra, Alba – who have walked her through everything from how to breastfeed to the best afternoon snacks. Her son does well in school, she says, because she learned how to feed him a healthy diet.

Kiran Saluja, the deputy director of WIC in Los Angeles, says that is the kind of support the program aims to give.

“We are the extended family,” she says. “People don’t have those any more. We are the tios, and the tias, and the aunts.”

But, Saluja says, federal spending cuts could put tens of thousands of the people using WIC on a waiting list for aid. Pregnant women, the main focus of the program, would be given priority.

“If these cuts go through that would be the cruelest cut of them all, because we’d be telling a mother who’s pregnant, and maybe has a three-year-old, ‘We can serve you, but we can’t serve your three-year-old,'” Saluja says. “And no mother can do that.”

The cuts could also have a broader economic impact on the community, affecting stores like Mother’s Nutritional Center, a chain that sells only WIC foods.

“You can send a child into our store with five dollars, and they won’t be able to buy anything except nutritious products,” boasts manager Nancy Knauer. “They won’t be able to buy candy, liquor, cigarettes, snacks, everything is healthy.”

But Knauer worries that cuts to the program would lead the store to lay off some of its employees, 80 percent of whom are also WIC recipients.

“If we have to lay off people, then it really affects the community also,” she says. “The spending power – last year, more than 4.6 billion dollars nationwide was spent on WIC. So if that money is taken away, it affects every local community that we operate out of.”

That community includes people like Francy Anino, the mother of three-year-old twin boys. As she watches them playing with a puzzle in the WIC office, she admits that she doesn’t know what she would do without the aid.

“Spend a lot of money that I don’t have?” she says with a laugh. “Borrow money from people? I don’t know. I only have a part time job. It’s insane how much it’s helped.”

The proposed cuts to WIC are part of a bill that would reduce federal spending by $40 billion. Lawmakers who support it say that it is necessary to address the country’s growing budget deficit. Congress is expected to vote on the measure later this fall.

Census numbers show California hardest hit by poverty

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

imagePoverty numbers are high across the country but in California, they’re even higher. The 2010 poverty rate was 1.2 percentage points above the national rate.

Jessica Bartholow, a legislative advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty says the numbers are to be expected.

“The Californians can’t be surprised by the newest poverty data released by the census. We’ve been seeing high unemployment and unemployment is a major contributor to poverty.”

Bartholow also expressed her fears for what this might forecast for California:

“In California what we’re most concerned about with increasing numbers of poverty are more families out on the street without housing and more people experiencing hunger.”

Politicians from both parties agree creating more jobs is the key to reducing poverty. Bartholow says the new numbers should give lawmakers even more incentive to find a solution.

“We think that the census data that’s come out today will be really good evidence to the Governor Jerry Brown and to President Obama and to congress that we need some changes in how we are offering jobs for low income individuals but also how we’re relieving poverty.”

As long as unemployment stays high and relief is minimal, California will continue to battle high poverty.

OPINION: Making high poverty schools high priority

By Katje Lehrman

This post originally appeared on Lehrman’s blog, “From the Robes of the KinderQueen.” Follow Katjewave on Twitter.

It takes a village to raise a child.

It’s a very simple idea, but it really needs to become the central theme of education reform. For education reform to be effective, all stakeholders; teachers, administrators, students, and parents must work collaboratively.

We need to begin with the belief that all children can learn and want to learn. This does not mean that all children can accomplish all things equally, but it does mean that we have to hold high expectations for every child and that all stakeholders must have these expectations. I would like to say that I have never heard a parent or a teacher tell a child that they are not smart enough, but that should be the goal. The worst four letter word I’ve ever heard a child say is CAN’T.

After we’ve agreed that all children can learn, we need to examine and fix the causes for children not learning.

Poverty is probably the greatest cause of children not learning. Poor children are not inherently unable to learn, but a child who comes to school hungry or sick cannot learn. It is hard to hear the sounds of the letters when your stomach is rumbling or your head is throbbing. If we re-envision schools in high poverty areas as community learning centers and provide for the basic needs of the children (and hopefully provide access to services for families) we immediately make education more accessible. Fixing poverty is not going to be easy, but even in the current economy we are a rich nation and children living in poverty must become a national priority.

We then need to move beyond the racism of low expectations. Having different pigmentation or home language does not render a child unable to learn, but restricting their curriculum to ‘basics’ does impair their ability. Having spent two decades teaching minority students I am personally offended by educators saying that “our students can’t do what their students can”. I love words and my kindergarten ELL students frequently use vocabulary that many non-ELL elementary school students can’t use. “Ellos no pueden” (they can’t) is more despicable than “I can’t.”

Next, we need to provide all children with comfortable, safe, healthy learning environments. I recently noticed that not all my students can sit correctly at their tables because some of the old wooden chairs are too tall. There are several that wobble because they have lost the ‘glide’ from one or more legs. These aren’t enormous problems, but they create unnecessary distractions. Some schools have falling tiles, mold, insect infestations, and some schools lack heat, air conditioning, working bathrooms, etc. It would be wonderful if all students could attend beautiful, well maintained, ergonomically designed schools, but all students deserve to at least be safe, comfortable, and healthy at school.

Now we can finally look at curriculum. Curriculum must always consider the developmental stage of the learner. I had noticed that many of my students have difficulty making slanted lines unless I provide dots for beginning and ending the lines. I just read that 5-year-old children may not even be able to recognize slanted lines. No wonder Ashley’s ‘A’ looks like an upside down ‘U’! Perhaps it is time to rethink the time honored tradition of grouping children by age and move to groupings of academic and/or perhaps social maturity.

Finally, we need to always remember that education is about the students. Earlier today I read a tweet that if you are struggling to keep children on task, perhaps it is time to rethink the task. If we can engage students, they can achieve incredible things. Let’s encourage them to think, to explore, to read, to create, to grow, and to embrace their possibilities.