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

Math by way of art: For Pasadena school, arts plus math is really adding up

Math Arts

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Third grade student Eder counts the amount he'll need to purchase art supplies to create a sculpture. The project is part of a grant funded endeavor that places teaching artists from the Pasadena Armory Center for the Arts with classroom teachers to help them teach integrated arts lessons.

Math Arts

Mary Plummer/KPCC

Kourtney (left) and Gina (right) work on sketching ideas for their sculptures in Ms. Grotts third grade class in Pasadena.

Math Arts

Mary Plummer/KPCC

Diego and a classmate share crayons as they work on their art sketches at Jefferson Elementary School in Pasadena.

Math Arts

Mary Plummer/KPCC

Teaching artist Melanie Moore Bermudez explains to a third grade class how to budget for their art project.

Math Arts

Mary Plummer/KPCC

Teacher Beverly Grotts helps third grader Uriah practice addition at Jefferson Elementary School in Pasadena.

Administrators and teachers are grappling with how to boost math scores to prepare students for an increasingly technology based work force.

Jefferson Elementary in Pasadena may hold some of the answers. The school's been using art to teach its students math.

On a recent visit, students were working on an elaborate art project. They were asked to sketch two ideas that would later become a 3D sculpture. The catch – the students were given a budget and a price list and could only use the art supplies they could afford.

Along with budgeting, the school's students have worked on art projects that helped them learn place value and the concepts of area and perimeter. But unlike dry textbook problems, the projects brought lessons to life.

"Even my more challenged students -- and I have about five of them -- the engagement is like 180 degrees. It’s like a different child," said third-grade teacher Beverly Grotts.


College enrollment rate for Latinos inches past whites for first time

Brock Cohen; Humanitas teacher

Jesse Diamond

A Grant High School class. Rates of college enrollment for Latinos is growing.

A  study by the Pew Research Center released Thursday shows that for the first time, Hispanics are enrolling in college at a higher rate than whites.

Researchers said that seven out of ten Latinos in the class of 2012 enrolled in college right after graduating high school. Rates of Latino enrollment surpassed that of white high school graduates by two percentage points.

That's a dramatic turnaround from 13 years ago, when only half of Latino high school graduates went on to college.

The study's authors said the numbers are a milestone, likely driven by a tight job market.

But all's not rosy.

The study also found Latinos are more likely than whites to be enrolling in community college, rather than four-year universities -- and more likely to study part-time. Latinos are also less likely than whites to finish their studies and earn that college degree.


Thousands of students show off their skills during talent show at Paramount Studios

Thousands of Los Angeles students are going to dance, sing, play instruments and show off other talents this weekend in the Big Apple -- or a replica of it anyway.

One of the country's largest talent shows will be held at Paramount Studios' "New York City" backlot in Hollywood on Saturday.  The competitors include more than 2,500 students from dozens of L. A. Unified  high schools and middle schools.

Rapper and Actor Nick Cannon will host the event and the performers will be judged by a guest panel, which includes Dancing with the Stars' Sharna Burgess.

Student winners will receive a share of more than $30,000 in scholarship funds. 

The invitation-only event is in its fifth year. It's sponsored by the district's after school branch, Beyond the Bell and is part of the district's Take Action Leadership Campaign,  a year long series of projects around the city aimed at helping develop student leaders.


Jury's still out on educational value of iPad apps

Two children focused on an iPad

dickdotcom/Flickr/Creative Commons

Two children focused on an iPad

With the proliferation of smart phones and tablet devices, the technology is fast trickling down to the youngest members of the family. It seems like a new, so-called ‘educational’ app comes on the market every day.

But no agency is making sure that an application labeled as "educational" really is -- or that it's appropriate for the age group it targets. That leaves many parents of preschoolers are in a quandary: to iPad or not to iPad? And what age is appropriate for a child to start swiping and tapping?

Marlene Acheson, director of the Pacific Beach Presbyterian preschool in San Diego, is in the "not to iPad" camp. She doesn't have computers, lap-tops or tablets in her classrooms because she believes they stop children from communicating with each other, and in some cases, their own language development slows. You don't need to talk when staring at a screen, she points out.


Intrigued by immersion schools? Cal State Fullerton event looks at bilingual K-12 students

bilingual education

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Los Angeles County leads the state in the number of schools that offer bilingual education starting in kindergarten.

California State University Fullerton education researchers are looking at how K-12 schools can better teach bilingual children. About a quarter of public school students statewide live in bilingual households, according to California Department of Education statistics.

"One of the biggest barriers is access to translated school material," CSU Fullerton Professor Sharon Chappell said. “Curriculum can be very monocultural.”

She said the university organizes “Bilingual Family Night” on campus Tuesday night to allow parents and educators to share their efforts to create a welcoming environment at schools for students who speak a second language.

At tonight's event, Chappell will talk about her research into how schools create an inclusive environment for bilingual students, a Mexican folkloric dance troupe will perform, and Chappell will screen a film based on her research,  "Con Mucho Orgullo:  Oral Histories of Bilingual Families in California Schools."