California Arts Council
Rock Band Workshop, an after school program at LeConte Middle School in Hollywood, is funded by the California Arts Council.
The California Arts Council is funding new public school, youth, and community-building arts programs with an unexpected $2 million donated by State Assembly Speaker John Perez from a pot of state funds under his control.
After debate at its meeting last week, the council decided to spend the bulk of the new cash to fund non-profits trying to build a sense of community through festivals and urban arts efforts, through a program called "Creative California Communities: Transforming Communities Through the Arts."
But a big chunk – about $600,000 - will go to classrooms. Half will fund a collaboration with the California Department of Education to improve arts education in elementary and middle schools through a program called: "The Arts in Turnaround Schools in California: Creating Successful Schools through Arts Education."
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
A real human brain being displayed as part of an exhibition in Bristol, England in 2011.
As poverty continues to grow in the United States, a recent study finds a new casualty: the developing brain of young children.
Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine found that children exposed to poverty from an early age had smaller “brain volumes” in the regions of the brain that process emotions and memory.
Published last month in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, the study looked at existing data of 145 children in St. Louis from age 6-12. They were first screened in preschool and then the group of children was followed annually.
The children underwent yearly magnetic resonance imaging of their brains to calculate the volumes of white matter, cortical gray matter, hippocampus and amygdala. Those last two are the areas that contribute towards the processing of emotions and memory - and that's where the research found a link.
Courtesy Kent Twitchell
"Free Assembly," a mural by L.A. artist Kent Twitchell that was dedicated on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, shows Joseph Gatto sitting, center, in a leather jacket and peering over his left shoulder. Twitchell, a friend of Gatto's, wanted to use real military veterans. Gatto was found murdered in his home just days after the dedication.
Joseph Gatto made his students feel like there was nothing they couldn't do.
"He just had a way of being able to open these doors for us, to be able to kind of explore, and find our own voice," said artist Robert Vargas, who was a student of Gatto's at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in the early 1990s.
Gatto, who was shot to death Nov. 13 at his home in Silver Lake, will be buried Monday. Police have not arrested any suspects in the crime.
The unexpected loss of Gatto, whose son is Mike Gatto, of the California assembly has hit the arts community hard.
"It's shocking. It's shocking," said former student Rachel Bitan, fighting off tears."It's just horrible. He spent his whole life helping people. And doing what he loved."
Bitan said she'd just seen Gatto a few weeks ago and recently commissioned a bracelet from him. Gatto was well known for his unique jewelry pieces.
Long Beach fifth grade teacher Gina Bonetati holds her old report card, left, and the new transitional report card issued by her district.
School districts across California are rewriting elementary school report cards to reflect new learning standards known as the Common Core.
Because the change is not dictated by the state, it's unclear how many schools are switching. But several superintendents in Southern California said they were in the process.
“These are local decisions, that obviously districts should think about as they think about Common Core and new assessments,” said Deborah Sigman, with the California Department of Education.
Long Beach Unified is farther ahead than many others.
The district has for years used a numbered system of 1-4 that represents student's performance from “not proficient” to “advanced proficient.” Those numbers will remain, but the “proficient” language will be replaced with “areas on target” “areas of strength” and “areas of weakness.”
Kids in many school districts are off all Thanksgiving week. What's a working parent to do?
About a million public school students in Southern California are out of school all of next week to celebrate Thanksgiving. Schools in Riverside, San Bernardino, Corona-Norco and Garden Grove will be student free - as will the state’s largest district, Los Angeles Unified.
While teachers and students welcome the holiday, it can be a headache for working parents.
Karla Rodriguez, whose kids attend Dalia Heights Elementary in Eagle Rock, is lucky.
“I have my mother-in-law who is going to take care of them," Rodriguez said, as she boarded a bus to work.
Ivan Law, who makes a living selling electronics, said he'll bring his kids to work. They attend schools in the Las Virgenes District.
“I think it is good for the kids to be a part of that structure and learn what it takes to bring food in the house and get the bills paid," he said.