LAUSD fails arts education test + Safe Halloween activities in South LA

LAUSD has cut arts programs dramatically and is now looking to reinstate programs. Above, Crenshaw High School.

LAUSD has cut arts programs dramatically and is now looking to reinstate programs. Above, Crenshaw High School.

Only 35 L.A. public schools get an A in supporting the arts: Budget cuts in LAUSD have diminished arts programs for students, but now the district is looking for new ways to reincorporate the arts into schools. (LA Times)

Families provided with safe Halloween across South LA communities: 25 intersections across South LA offered families the chance to enjoy a safe Halloween night in communities better known for violence. (ABC7)

Students at South LA’s Manual Arts High react to superintendent’s resignation

John Deasy speaks at a City Year event in 2013. | City Year

John Deasy speaks at a City Year event in 2013. | City Year

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy resigned on Thursday, ending a controversial, much-discussed tenure. The word about his resignation spread quickly through South L.A., which is home to some of the lowest performing schools in California with some of the nation’s lowest graduation rates.

Students at South L.A.’s Manual Arts High School, which in 2012 had a graduation rate of about 65 percent and a dropout rate of about 26 percent, are hopeful that a future superintendent can be a model leader, and bring resources to their school.  [Read more…]

LA School Board unanimously passes teen dating violence resolution

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News

imageThe LA Unified School District Board unanimously passed a resolution to prevent dating violence today.

Just two weeks after the murder of a young girl by her boyfriend, the school board’s vote took on added poignancy.

Board Member Steve Zimmer, who sponsored the resolution, isn’t sure the resolution would have prevented Cindi Santana’s death. She was killed September 30 at South East High School. Her ex-boyfriend, Abraham Lopez, is in custody for allegedly stabbing her.

“Policy is not consolation, and policy can’t reverse the tragedy,” Zimmer said at a press conference before the school board meeting. “But what we’re trying to do today is make sure that anywhere in this district, when someone comes forward, or a family comes over, that school will have the resources to make sure this never happens again.”

The resolution will expand the programs of Peace Over Violence, a non-profit organization that run violence prevention programs in a number of schools. Each school will have a violence prevention coordinator, and students will learn about health relationships.

“Trauma interferes with learning,” Patti Giggans, the group’s executive director, says. “Children do not invent violence they learn it from living in the adult that we have created for them. If violence is learned, it can be unlearned.”

The board passed the resolution unanimously on consent, but the funding has yet to be secured. The program will cost $2 million dollars a year, Zimmer says.

“We’re funding teacher evaluation reform; we’re funding contract reform; and we’re funding all types of reform. You can’t reform anything if kids aren’t safe,” Zimmer says. “This is not words on a piece of paper, this is about changing things on the ground at school.”

Peace Over Violence will continue to work with Zimmer’s office to resolve funding.