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

Pediatricians urged to screen infants and toddlers for signs of 'toxic stress'

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Physician's assistant Erin Frazier checks a young boy at a community health center for low-income patients in Lakewood, Colorado. The American Academy of Pediatrics will soon announce recommendations for pediatricians and their staffs on spotting signs of "toxic stress" in infants and toddlers. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

An infant’s early visits to the pediatrician now might consist of screening for “toxic stress” symptoms, according to recommendations being created by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

With growing awareness in the field of infant mental health, based on the deepening body of scientific evidence, experts agree that monitoring babies for healthy brain development will lead to better longer-term outcomes.

AAP's recommendations are similar to previous warnings to shield children from second hand cigarette smoke or too much video screen time. This time, AAP is looking at how stress can impact a baby’s development.

How babies get stressed out

According to University of Southern California neuroscientist Pat Levitt, "toxic stress" comes from “adverse childhood experiences”—which he calls “toxic stress events.”


PBS releases another Mister Rogers remix on YouTube. Watch it here!

Mister Rogers Remixed (B-Side) | Sing Together | PBS Digital Studios

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PBS' Mister Rogers remix by Symphony of Science's John D. Boswell for PBS DS.

PBS Digital Studios has released a new remix of Mister Rogers on YouTube. The cheery, thoughtful song is called "Sing Together" and features a mashup of some of Fred Rogers' best advice from his PBS show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

"I've been thinking about music," Rogers begins in the video. "I guess you know that I really love music. It's been very, very important to me since I was very little."

In the YouTube video, Rogers tells viewers: "There's so much in this world we can learn no matter how young or how old we are," and "The truth is inside of us and it's wonderful when we have the courage to tell it."

Fred Rogers died in Pittsburgh at the age of 74 in 2003. He produced and hosted "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" from 1968-2001. Many PBS stations still air re-runs.

This is one in a series of remix videos that PBS Digital Studios has published in the last year, the series is called "Icons Remixed." PBS's first remix of Mister Rogers was published last year and has drawn more than 8.5 million views.


The joy of a new school - LACHSA students celebrate a $31 million home of their own


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Students Nathan Kirchoff and Kay Dee Beaumont during class at the L.A. County High School for the Arts' new three-level facility. New classrooms, like this one, also double as dance studios.


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From left to right, L.A. County High School for the Arts students Martin Shung, Isaac Esquivel-Vilchez and Malinda Yuhas enjoy their new school building during a Mandarin class. Students helped the school make the move in late March.


Courtesy of CSULA Public Affairs

The crowd during the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts grand opening May 18, 2013.


Courtesy of CSULA Public Affairs

Officials cut the ribbon during the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts grand opening May 18, 2013. From left to right: Arts High Foundation President Laifun Chung, LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, LACOE Superintendent Arturo Delgado, former LACOE Superintendent Stuart Gothold, CSULA President James Rosser, Arts High Foundation Executive Director John Jackson, LACHSA Principal George Simpson, LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina, Arts High Foundation Board member Vivian Rescalvo and LACHSA Parent Council President Michele Russo.

The Los Angeles County High School for the Arts is well-known as one of the top public arts high schools in the area, but one thing it hasn't had is a home of its own.

For 28 years the county school has shared classroom space with Cal State L.A. During that time, the school has produced well known alumni such as singer Josh Groban and actress Jenna Elfman. 

In late March, the staff and students of LACHSA, as it is more commonly known, finally solved that problem and made the move into a brand new, $31 million, three-level facility. 

"It's beautiful, I love it," said student Daniel Moore, a senior. "It’s just a really gorgeous place."

Until now, students and staff had to juggle their school days among five different buildings on the Cal State L.A.'s sprawling campus. Now everything is in one building (the school negotiated a 40-year lease to use the land).


Pasadena Unified wraps up school year, launches summer meal program

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Kids pass food around the table for lunch.

Food service workers at the Pasadena Unified School District are getting ready to launch their 33rd annual summer meal program next week.

The federally sponsored effort aims to help feed some of the district's students during the summer months. Out of about 18,000 students districtwide, 11,000 receive free or reduced lunch during the school year, according to Wesley Howard, administrator of child nutrition for the district. 

"The need is still there during the summer time," he said. "We offer a great service." 

Pasadena Unified students will wrap up their final day of classes for this school year Thursday.

In addition to free breakfasts and lunches that the district will begin serving at some sites on Monday, more than half of the free meal sites will include activities ranging from arts and crafts to athletics, according to Howard. Among the sites offering activities are the Boys & Girls Club and the Pasadena City Parks. (You can view the full list below.)


US graduation gain for students with learning disabilities, but challenges remain

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High school graduation rates for learning disabled students improved in the last decade, but a new study says they still graduate at lower rates than their peers.

U.S. high school students with learning disabilities graduate at much lower rates than other students, and California’s graduation rate for these students is less than the national average, according to a recent report. There is also progress: the graduation rate for students with disabilities has improved in the last decade, reflecting stronger efforts by states.

The findings  by the National Center for Learning Disabilities in New York confirm what parents of students with learning disabilities have long known: their children have more difficulty graduating with their peers, if they graduate at all.

The report, “Diplomas at Risk: A Critical Look at Graduate Rates of Students with Learning Disabilities,” also documents an uneven track record by states in graduating these students.