So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

New CalArts residency transforms artists into teachers

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Teaching artist in training Anthony "Chuck" Gloria, left, works with animation co-directors Ruah Edelstein and Masha Vasilkovsky on a performance blending music and animated pieces.

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High schoolers take part in a dance class at Cortines High School on Wednesday, July 9 during the Community Arts Partnership (CAP) put on by California Institute of the Arts every summer. This year CalArts students training to be teaching artists helped lead instruction.

Teaching Artist

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Connie Covert explains how teaching artists should interact with principals. The lesson is part of the CalArts Residency for Teaching Artists, a new program that launched in May.

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Zelia Corbia, 18, of Hollywood paints a photograph taken during a body modification portrait assignment at CalArt's Community Arts Partnership. The program is free to kids ages six through 18.

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Sixteen-year-old Karissa Melara of Southgate builds sculptures around which she will do a performance piece. The sculptures came from a sketch Melara drew inspired by the Mike Kelley show at MOCA.

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Samantha Hare, 14, of Chatsworth paints letters that she will attach to a mirror. Hare hopes to address women's body image through the piece. Visual arts is one of seven different art forms taught every summer during CalArts' CAP.

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CalArts' Community Arts Partnership is a three-week intensive arts program. Each student has a focus in either music, animation, creative writing, dance, photography, theater or visual arts.

Teaching Artist

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Diego Robles looks on during a lesson at Cortines high school. Robles is one of 12 students participating in a new teaching artist training program through CalArts.

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Dance instructor Francesca Penzani leads a rehearsal on Wednesday, July 9 during CalArts' CAP program. The class prepares for a final performance on Saturday, July 12.

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Each class is led by CalArts faculty and CalArts student instructors that are training to be teaching artists.

A new program at the California Institute of the Arts is taking some of the school's arts students and preparing them for careers in the classroom. 

The well-known university in Valencia has long been a hub for top arts students from around the country — and for decades, officials there have sought to formalize a process for helping arts students make their way in the world of teaching. In January, a $55,000 donation from two CalArts board of trustee members made it possible. The program, known as the CalArts Residency for Teaching Artists, launched in May and officials hope it will continue again next summer.

"We always knew that students needed a little more training in teaching," said Glenna Avila, who designed the program. "But we never had the resources per se to deepen that."


Magnolia charter network pleads for judge to reopen schools

Music class room

Stock photo from uncle-leo/flickr Creative Commons

Music classroom (stock).

Magnolia Public Schools asked an LA Superior Court judge Thursday to reopen two charter schools. The Los Angeles Unified school district closed the schools after an audit found missing and misused funds. 

RELATED: Charter schools: Audit finds missing, misused funds at LA network

Judge Luis Lavin tentatively ruled the schools should be reopened until the next hearing, which Lavin said won't be until 2015. The final ruling is scheduled for release Friday.

“The burden is in favor of the petitioners who have children that need to go to school," Lavin told the courtroom. 

Lavin did not speak to the audit (the district is calling it a "draft forensic review") or its findings and instead focused on whether the L.A. Unified school board followed lawful procedure in closing the schools.


LA schools shaving mental health for special ed students

Special Ed Testing

Lynne Sladky/AP

In this April 3, 2012, file photo, teacher Bev Campbell holds up images of animals and insects for identification by students in her special education class at Amelia Earhart Elementary School in Hialeah, Fla. The Los Angeles Unified School District has been praised for boosting counselors for students in foster care, but a closer look at the budget shows many counselors may be transitioning from special education.

Next school year, the Los Angeles Unified School District is cutting the budget for psychiatric social workers for special education students by 15 percent, raising fears among the special ed social workers that their numbers will be reduced.

The district denies that it will reduce the overall number of psychiatric social workers, but a spokeswoman would not say how many social workers will be dedicated to special education next year.  

"We are not cutting PSWs," said district spokeswoman Monica Carazo in an email. "In essence, we’re reshuffling the PSWs to other departments and the funding will come from different sources," she said, adding, "we are not taking away services from special ed students."

Carazo did not identify the departments to which some psychiatric social worker positions would be moved, but the district is establishing 60 new social workers slots to care for L.A. Unified's more than 8,000 students in foster care.


Can a 4-year-old learn from online preschool?

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Three-year-old Reagan Hurtado watches a preschool course with her mother on a laptop in their Monrovia home on Friday, July 18.

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Before starting the courses, mother Monique Hurtado thought her daughter wouldn't sit and pay attention to watching them. But three-year-old Reagan focuses and sings along with the educational videos.

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Monique Hurtado, who is also caring for Reagan's baby brother, wanted a preschool option in which Reagan could stay home with her.

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Monique Hurtado sits with her three-year-old daughter, Reagan, while listening to a song about the months in the year.

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Online preschool companies ABC Mouse and CHALK preschool online both say their numbers for online courses are in the tens of thousands and are growing daily.

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Each daily online course has a crafts portion. Each day, three-year-old Reagan learns a new letter and paints it.

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Three-year-old Reagan spends one to two hours each day doing the online preschool courses, which include print-outs for painting activities.

Monrovia mother of three Monique Hurtado doesn’t send her 3-year-old to preschool. Hurtado has her own bookkeeping business and her husband works full-time as a laser supply stock clerk.

“Financially we couldn’t afford it,” Hurtado said of the nearby preschool options.

And there was another reason: “I just feel she should stay home with me."

So she set up a preschool learning center. The big kitchen table is neatly divided into stations with paints, crayons and other art supplies. There are blocks and play dough in tubs.

And there’s a laptop computer.

Monique Hurtado found a preschool course for her child on the Internet. For years, websites have offered free preschool handouts or activity guides. Now, parents can get an entire preschool curriculum from a computer.

Two new companies for online preschool are ABC Mouse and CHALK preschool online. Neither company was willing to share exact metrics on home-use of its online products, but both said their numbers are in the tens of thousands - and growing daily.


Q&A: UC Berkeley prof on teacher collaboration and the future of LA schools

Teachers in charter and pilot Los Angeles public schools collaborate with and trust each other significantly more than teachers in L.A. Unified's traditional large public high schools, according to a new report from University of California researchers.

"There was so much trust and acceptance that teachers eagerly observed each other and gave coaching hints and came up with new ideas and units for kids," said Berkeley professor Bruce Fuller, who leads the L.A. Teacher Ties Project, a joint venture between scholars at Berkeley and UCLA to study teacher stability and motivation in Los Angeles schools. "That’s kind of interesting because there’s lots of controversy over teacher evaluation."

Released last month, the report notes significantly higher feelings of collective responsibility toward students and their school among teachers in charter and pilot schools than teachers in traditional Los Anglees Unified public schools. Charter schools and pilot schools are both managed on site, operating with more independence from central administration.