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.
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.
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."
With a string of performances and master classes in everything from ballet to African dance, the annual Pasadena Dance Festival attracts aspiring dancers and teachers from all over the West Coast.
This year it debuted something new: a class in krump dancing. The Compton street dance, with its signature chest pops and stomps, can appear almost violent to a first-time audience.
"We try to spice it up every year with something that makes people kind of raise one eyebrow," said Peggy Burt, a board member of the dance company that puts on the festival, Lineage Dance.
Lineage didn't include the dance solely to expose young dancers to new forms of the art – it was also hoping to attract younger audiences.
"All throughout the country we find that the dance audiences are getting older," Burt said.
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A bill sponsored by L.A. Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer would limit the role of police officers on public school campuses.
A bill to limit the role of campus police in disciplining students passed its first committee hearing in Sacramento Wednesday.
The bill’s L.A. sponsor aims to reduce the number of tickets that campus police issue to students.
As school districts consider adding additional campus security following the Sandy Hook shootings, Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-LA) wants administrators to handle minor discipline issues — and for campus police to only get involved when a student’s behavior is a physical threat.
“Cops should not be giving out truancy tickets,” Jones-Sawyer said. “The only time they should come on campus are those unfortunate times, like Sandy Hook, when they have to, or when a student brings a weapon on campus.”
Los Angeles Unified School District employs more than 350 police on school campuses. The district recently reported that its officers issued 33,000 tickets over a three-year period — for infractions such as vandalism, tardiness, and disturbing the peace.