Pass / Fail | So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Struggling high schoolers take the stage at Costa Mesa's Segerstrom Center

Students rehearse for the Segerstrom Center's 22nd annual Summer at the Center performance.
Courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Alvin Ailey and the San Francisco Ballet have danced at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. It's been the home of productions of the Broadway shows Once, Les Miserable and Chicago.

And on Saturday, the center will dedicate a stage to a group of 40 struggling high school students performing their own musical production.

The students, who attend alternative schools in Orange County, have been attending the Summer at the Center program for two weeks, rehearsing their parts in a 45-minute, Broadway revue-style show that will include a medley of boy bands throughout the decades.

"It's really creative," said 15-year-old Brenton. "I think it's really great because it's just a bunch of kids doing what they love to do." 

The performance will also include pantomimes and re-creations of popular pop songs.


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LAUSD steals well-known New York arts principal to lead Cortines High

A group of LAUSD teachers at an arts training program at Cortines high school in June.
Mary Plummer/KPCC

Kim Bruno, head of New York's famous LaGuardia Arts high school will be the fifth principal in five years to take the helm of Cortines high school, a combined campus that includes a large performing arts program.

"We are very excited to bring in an accomplished arts educator who's been recognized nationally," said Instructional Superintendent Tommy Chang, who oversees the school for the district. Chang praised Bruno for her strength in integrating the arts into successful academic programs in the past.  She'll arrive in Los Angeles next week.

A few dozen candidates applied for the positions, and about ten were interviewed during a two-day process last week, according to Chang. Bruno, who did not respond to requests for comment, was selected as the top choice this week.

"Kim Bruno was the resounding favorite of the committee," Chang said, adding that he's optimistic she'll be at the school for the long haul.


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3 coaches on University of California top-5 paid employee list

Head coach Ben Howland of the UCLA Bruins at the Pac-12 tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in March.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The University of California on Wednesday released its yearly salary list and the top spots went to sports coaches at UCLA and UC Berkeley.

UCLA basketball coach Ben Howland earned $2,234,191 in gross pay last year, UC Berkeley's Jeff Tedford earned $2,146,581 before being fired in December after a 3 win-9 loss season. The university said their salaries come from non-state funds.

Number two on the list - and the top paid UC faculty member - is UCLA’s world renown liver transplant surgeon Ronald Busuttil. He earned $2,232,151 in gross pay last year. A big part of his salary, comes from his clinical practice, according to UC.

The university's highest profile employee, incoming president Janet Napolitano, won't be anywhere near that. She'll probably come in as the 180th highest paid when she starts in the fall, at a salary of $570,000. The university includes multiple search options in its salary database.


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Teach For America gets $20 million boost from Walton Family Foundation

Teach for America has been on an expansion push for several years.
Teach for America

The Walton Family Foundation announced today that it will donate $20 million to the non-profit Teach For America, the celebrated national organization that hires and trains recent college graduates to teach in rural and urban schools for two years. 

The money will pay for nearly 4,000 new teachers across the country over two years. The Los Angeles branch will receive about $3 million of that - enough to cover the costs for about 340 teachers in the first year.

“It’s obviously going to make sure that we have a really strong and sustainable organization here in Los Angeles over the long term," said Lida Jennings, interim executive director of Teach for America - Los Angeles. "It’s going to allow us to bring a lot of really strong, really bright, smart, new teachers into Los Angeles schools."


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Coachella Valley at forefront of iPad wave in Southern California schools

Coachella Valley Unified teachers record as Judith Capper demonstrates a golf swing.
Jed Kim

Temperatures were nearing 100 degrees in Coachella Valley, but dozens of teachers were outside practicing filmmaking. 

They were using iPads to record each other miming golf swings, tennis shots and free throws.

Back in the airconditioned classrooms, they learned to edit the shots into short videos using iMovie. The teachers were taking part in training to learn how to incorporate the tablets into their lessons. 

The Los Angeles Unified School District may have grabbed national headlines last month when it committed to a pilot program putting iPads in the hands of every teacher and student at select schools, but the relatively tiny  Coachella Valley Unified School District in Riverside county is a year ahead.

Coachella finished it's pilot program in June that put 5,600 iPads in teachers' and students' hands. It will roll it out the program to all of the district's 18,000 students in the fall.


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