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

Social work interns help military family students in 140 schools

Military Kids Feature - 1

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Military children at Santa Margarita Elementary School at Camp Pendleton point out which states they've lived in, before a meeting on Monday, Oct. 22 for newcomers to talk about what it's like to move a lot.

Military Kids Feature - 2

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Principal Pat Kurtz asks newcomers to Santa Margarita Elementary School to raise their hands. Kurtz said the school receives up to six new kids each week.

Military Kids Feature - 3

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Teacher Christina Fossel asks each student to describe in one word what it feels like to move. "Sad," said third grader Gabriel Rethlake.

Military Kids Feature - 4

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Third grader Litzy Vega walks into a classroom with teacher Christine Fossel, before a Newcomer Ambassadors meeting. The meetings help new students connect with "ambassadors," students who have spent a year or more at Santa Margarita.

Military Kids Feature - 5

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Natalia Williams, left, Brynn Weathers, and Kyleigh Fradelis walk to class together. Making friends at a new school as a military child can be difficult, as Principal Pat Kurtz says there is a lot of turnover.

Military Kids Feature - 6

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Students can put up photographs on the Hero Wall, of their parent in the military. Kids say it's comforting to see their parent on the wall while at school everyday.

Military Kids Feature - 7

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

USC teaching intern Christina Fossel hopes to help military kids with the transition into the school, and the difficulties that come with parents' deployments. Fossel's fiancé is currently deployed in Afghanistan.


For three years a professor of social work at USC has helped to educate a small army of counselors who work with kids in military families at schools and other agencies. Educators admit that this segment of the public school population is woefully underserved.

At Santa Margarita Elementary School, about six new kids arrive and six leave every week. All of them come from families in which at least one parent is in the military.

Christina Fossel leads a half-hour workshop for about two-dozen third graders. Some just started at this school. Others have been here  longer.
 
“My name is Maria, first year here and I was in Okinawa, Japan… My name is Gwynn. I used to live in North Carolina…  My name is Amy, and I moved from El Paso, Texas,” the students introduce themselves.

RELATED: USC program trains counselors to help students in military families

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USC program trains counselors to help students in military families

Military Families

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Duane Brown, his wife Marria and Rita Beal talk about their days in the Beal kitchen.

Military Families

Grant Slater/KPCC

Cecilia Beal, 7, plays in the family's backyard. The kids’ schoolwork has suffered after constant moves across the country, Rita Beal says.

Military Families

Grant Slater/KPCC

Corey and Rita Beal have moved more than a dozen times in the last 10 years. Corey served 13 years in the U.S. Army.

Military Families

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Rita and Corey Beal steal a kiss outside their latest home in Westminster, a largely Vietnamese community in north Orange County.

Military Families

Grant Slater/KPCC

Cecilia Beal plays with her newest friend a kitten that joined the family in their new home. Close to 100,000 California public school kids have at least one parent serving in the military

Military Families

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Corey Beal chats with fellow veteran Duane Brown as their children play together in the Beals' backyard.

Military Families

Grant Slater/KPCC

Cecilia Beal eats dinner with her brother and her friend Dimitris before heading out into the streets on Halloween night.

Military Families

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The Beal and Brown kids have their picture taken before heading out to trick or treat in their Westminster neighborhood.

Military Families

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Cecilia Beal practices guitar in her newest home in Westminster. She says she doesn't know how to play, yet.

Military Families

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Marria and Duane Brown dress their son Dimitris as Batman for Halloween trick or treating.

Military Families

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Members of the Beal and Brown families head to a neighbor's house to trick or treat. The neighbors decorated specifically for the Beals because they saw new young children on the block.


By one count, close to 100,000 California public school kids have at least one parent serving in the military. Advocates say educators have done a poor job supporting these kids at school through the stressful times before, during, and after military deployments. That’s changing.

The Beal family of Westminster is ready for the change. Corey and Rita Beal recently moved into their new house in north Orange County. Their three kids are settled into their rooms, the four floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are up in the living room, but their wedding pictures aren’t hung yet.

RELATED: Program helps ease stress of students in military families

Rita Beal says there’s really nothing new about moving into a new house; the family's lived in “over a dozen in the last 10 years,” she said. Husband Corey has served in the U.S. Army for 13 years. In that time the family has lived on and off military bases.

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LAUSD Superintendent to ask board to restore lost week of instruction

School Shooting

Nick Ut/AP

After the passage of Prop. 30, Superintendent John Deasy will ask the L.A. Unified school board Tuesday to restore all furlough days and the week of instruction cut from this school year.

Now that Proposition 30 has passed, Superintendent John Deasy will ask the L.A. Unified school board Tuesday to erase teacher furlough days and restore the week of instruction that had been cut from this school year.

During the summer, the district's unions agreed to take 10 furlough days to save millions in payroll costs and to save jobs. According to the agreement, teachers lost five days of instruction, one of two pupil-free days used for professional development, and four paid non-work days, district officials said.

"With their strong support of Proposition 30, the voters of Los Angeles County made it clear they want the LAUSD to do what's best for our youth. Restoring the full calendar and keeping our employees in the schools is a pivotal step in this effort," Deasy said in a statement released Friday.

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Colleges relying more on mobile tech for visits by potential students

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The UC Irvine Student Union is a regular stop on campus tours. This and other schools want to enhance the experience for prospective students by developing mobile apps to carry along or use from afar.

The season for college scouting visits is upon us. Visit any campus in the next six months and you’ll likely see the college tour guide walking backward, facing high school seniors and their parents, describing an old brick building to the right and another one to the left. The tour’s all about selling the academics, sports, and social life and convincing students to apply.

What seals the deal? Kirk Brennan, USC’s undergraduate admissions director, described it as intangibles that amount to what he called Magic Pixie Dust. He said that’s what fell on his high school-aged daughter during a recent campus visit.

“It was a place she didn’t want to visit," Brennan said. "She didn’t want to stop on our trip and now it’s among her top choices just because of the feeling she got on the campus.” 

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Prop. 30: Fielding questions about income tax

Income Tax Form

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A "Concerned Citizen" wants to know more details on how Prop. 30's retroactive change to income tax affects him. Will he be penalized for inaccurate withholdings?

I've received email from a few people concerned about what Prop. 30 means for them. Here's one that I'll share following Wednesday's post on "Prop. 30 has passed, but how do you pay retroactive taxes?"

Hi Tami,

What about individuals like myself who are high-income W2 wage earners and have their state income taxes withheld via each paycheck? I don’t pay quarterlys! I will have underreported with a possible penalty! Mr. Chamberlain didn’t address that! But my guess is that he will be so gracious and not charge a penalty. What if I don’t have that extra cash sitting around?
 
Concerned Citizen 

***

Jay Chamberlain got in touch with the Franchise Tax Board on this one, to make sure we had the right answer. Indeed, the same waiver without penalty applies to the withholding issue as it does for an estimated payment, Chamberlain said. When there's a law change that affects taxes within the same year, the state can waive the additional money that would go into that estimated payment without a penalty — along with the money that would go toward withholdings, Chamberlain said.

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