Parents of students at Miramonte Elementary School escort children out of school on Feb. 6, 2012.
Tuesday is the first day of school for more than 670,000 students enrolled in Los Angeles Unified, and the district is celebrating the grand opening of 20 brand new schools.
In honor of that, Superintendent John Deasy, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other “special guests” will hold a 10 a.m. news conference at the Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy.
The superintendent and other board members are also planning visits to at least 12 other new and existing schools throughout the day.
A district official said Deasy will likely make a stop at Miramonte Elementary School where two teachers were arrested in separate cases over claims of lewd conduct back in February.
Miramonte’s newly appointed school principal, Marta Contreras, said it’s likely to be an emotional morning at the South L.A. school with 45 of 76 of its previous teachers back in the classrooms.
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
UC Berkeley researchers have found after a four year study that elementary school students benefitted the most from the new school construction.
Four years ago, LAUSD officials asked researchers to find out how much L.A. Unified’s $19.5 billion school construction effort improved learning.
The results are in and UC Berkeley researchers have determined that elementary school students benefitted the most from the new school construction.
The improved student achievement, they said, was like adding 65 days of instruction to their learning year.
"It’s not [just] the shininess, the fresh paint, the cleaner hallways," said study co-author Bruce Fuller. "It’s also that these new schools are smaller communities at the elementary level attracted the younger, better trained teaching staff.”
Researchers also found improvement was more or less the same regardless of a new school’s price tag.
Learning achievement was weaker for high school students who moved from a crowded school to a new facility.
Courtesy UC Irvine
UC Irvine scholar Robert Duncan Luce broke ground in the field of mathematical psychology.
Robert Duncan Luce, an influential mathematical psychologist at UC Irvine, died Saturday. In a career that spanned more than half a century, Luce applied the power of mathematics to describe human behavior.
"We’re talking about an intellectual giant," said UC Irvine economist Don Saari, a colleague of Luce.
Before Luce’s research, mathematics mostly described the physical world, calculating the speed of light or the freezing point of sugar water.
"But when we’re talking in terms of pain, or when we’re talking in terms of hunger, or we’re talking in terms of a lot of the issues that crop up in behavior ... These issues were not carefully defined until Luce and his co-authors tackled [them],” Saari said.
Luce’s research also led to a better understanding of the reasons consumers pick one brand over another and whether many options affect the choice. It does not, he wrote in 1959, when he presented "Luce’s Choice Axiom."
Retail shelves are starting to look bare as parents grab last-minute school supplies for their soon-to-be students, many of whom are starting school three weeks sooner than the traditional September start date.
“It hasn’t changed,” laughed Gina Ginyard, "I’ve been doing it for sixteen years."
Her son (who is 16) starts his junior year of high school tomorrow. Standing in a store aisle, she holds two packs of loose-leaf paper, a couple of folders, some spiral-bound notebooks and a bundle of black ballpoint pens.
“The older they get, the less supplies cost,” she said.
Other parents roaming the store aisles aren't so lucky. Pamela Briggs' shopping basket is filled to the brim with school supplies. She estimates they'll run her about $80 at the cash register. In her hand, she has a list of supplies her daughter will need — at school and at home.
Miramonte Elementary School was the center of a scandal wherein two teachers were accused of engaging in lewd acts with students, and were later dismissed.
It’s crunch time for parents of school-age children as many districts gear up for their first day this week, but some families say they’re less worried about finding the right supplies and more worried about finding the right school amid confusing attendance boundaries.
When Liliana Guillen learned her two boys would be transferring from Lillian Street Elementary in South L.A. to the newly-constructed Lawrence Moore just a few blocks away, Guillen was thrilled.
“I went and registered them right away,” she says, in Spanish.
Guillen says she could picture her boys in first and fourth grades, happy in the classrooms and on the playground.
But, during the summer, the family moved five short blocks south — and that was enough of a jump that LAUSD re-assigned her two boys to Miramonte Elementary, the school which dismissed two teachers suspected of child sexual abuse last school year. Neither Guillen nor her husband, Candido Fabian, are happy about that.
LAUSD maintains an open enrollment policy that allows parents to send their children anywhere in the district. A school representative says that when a new school is built, parents learn in the spring where their children may transfer in the next academic year. There’s also a website they can use to check whether the boundaries for their school’s feeder area have changed.
"The most important thing," Fabian said, "is their safety. And making sure they’re being looked after."
Fabian has already grilled Miramonte's security guard about his schedule, and seemed relieved to know all visitors are required to sign in and show a picture ID before being admitted into the brightly painted two-story school.
Still, the father of two says, if they’d known about the district’s boundary line for the new school, they wouldn’t have moved.