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As our country continues to search for ways to improve our educational system to make it so that all learners have the opportunity to earn a high-quality education, LMU, through its School of Education and the Family of Schools, is showing that a university-community partnership approach is working well for the students and families in the Westchester/Playa area. I firmly believe it’s through dialogue, collaboration and shared responsibility for our schools that we can better work together to continue to transform our community into a place where equitable and inclusive learning environments are accessible to all children. The diversity of our shared community is essential to our success. It takes a diverse group of leaders from different perspectives to come together to solve issues that too often divide communities and slow down progress toward a better future for our children. Our diversity also underscores the need for differentiation in solving the problems that we face. There is no onesize-fits-all solution; rather, in working together we address the unique needs and context of each situation for the benefit of all students. Yet our differentiated approaches are all grounded in the university’s Jesuit and Marymount traditions that value the education of the whole person and a belief that all students deserve a quality education. In a companion article in this issue, Family of Schools’ Director Darin Earley writes about the value of working together and offers concrete examples of how LMU is


Shane Martin, Ph.D.

leading and contributing to these efforts in our local schools. I want to underscore how the university acts as a hub, as a connector and convener, within our community, and how we have the opportunity to share our approach for the benefit of the greater educational landscape. Sitting at the heart of this community, LMU engages and collaborates with the schools, families and partners in Westchester/Playa on their schools grounds. We know the context and understand what’s needed– recognizing that it is constantly shifting and evolving– and pivot with the tools and the theories to make a difference. Through continued partnership we can make sure that all the children in our community have the opportunity to succeed. By sharing our successes with the wider Los Angeles community and those facing these issues across the country, we can serve as a model universitycommunity partnership with approaches that can truly change our nation’s education system for the better. Shane Martin is the Dean of Education for LMU.

Top photo: Students pose in front of part of Wright STEAM Magnet’s first entry in the community’s Fourth of July Parade. Bottom photos: Students put their STEAM learning to use with a variety of activities that encourage them to be hands-on and creative.

Wright STEAM Magnet starts year with education focused on sciences On the first day of school, Wright Middle School STEAM Magnet opened its doors to nearly 700 students and their families looking to get a quality education focused on the sciences. Last year, Wright launched a full Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) magnet offering students an interdisciplinary project-based curriculum where teachers work together to bring science to life for students through hands-on projects. The transition from community school to a full magnet came as a result of a three-year grant awarded at the beginning of 2013 by the Department of Education’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program to develop a STEAMthemed curriculum. Since then, the school has partnered with various community organizations and local businesses to create new and innovate theme-based instructional opportunities for students. For example, in June, the school held its second “Young Engineer’s Day” with several partners including Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and RocketDyne. The school also offered a summer bridge

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

“engineer academy,” which drew in students from neighboring communities interested in learning about rocket projection and engineering. “The transition for Wright from a community school to a full magnet school created a paradigm shift for our learning community,” said Christina Wantz, principal. “It meant going from an adult-focused campus to a student-centered campus, where students are involved in shaping the projects that they work on in their classrooms. For example, because we have ten-year-olds coming into sixth grade in our program, who are saying, ‘I want to be an engineer, and that’s why I’m coming to this school,’ we create environments where students who show similar interests can talk about these ideas and get excited about them.” But Wright isn’t all STEAM; the arts are a part of science, math, history and English. According to Principal Wantz, through the school’s music program students are often able to make a connection to academics. “Sometimes, we have students who show little academic interest, but when they participate in our music program and have a

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teacher who encourages them, they feel more confident,” said Wantz. “This builds self-esteem that carries over to the rest of the classes.” Today, Wright offers its 700 students in grades 6-8 a small school setting on a beautiful campus that boasts a 900-seat auditorium, dance studio, indoor sports gymnasium, two volleyball courts, eight full court basketball stations, fully equipped fitness gym, a multi-room library, two MAC computer labs and two Engineering PC labs with stateof-the-art Engineering stations, a community garden and much more. “Prior to becoming full magnet, Wright was very academicdriven, whereas now we are a more whole-child driven school focusing on making sure that our students are college and career ready academically, emotionally and mentally,” said Wantz. “It is a shift that we felt needed to happen to help students see the world, explore it, research it and connect to it.” For more information about Wright Middle School STEAM Magnet, visit the school’s website at wrightms.org.

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Author and political activist Helen Keller stated, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” This sentiment reflects a core value of the Loyola Marymount University Family of Schools. K-12 schools, from traditional, public charter or parochial, can accomplish so much more when they have supportive partners. Since the inception of the LMU Family of Schools, the aim has been to focus the efforts of the entire university in the direction of working together with our local schools and education partners to improve academic outcomes for the students we serve. Whether through coordinating teacher conferences (on topics such as a school co-location and closing the achievement gap for AfricanAmerican and Latino males), hosting student leadership symposia and award ceremonies, or bringing more than 800 students to campus for college readiness programs, LMU has committed a vast array of resources in support of local education. Working together with different partners, the

LMU Family of Schools has effectively convened dialogues that address some of the most critical challenges faced in education. However, the greatest LMU asset is our human resources. Consequently, it is most rewarding when the Family of Schools team has the opportunity to engage LMU faculty, staff and students in the work being done in our partner schools. The Family of Schools and the School of Education work together with the divisions of Student Affairs and Administration, and the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, College of Communication and Fine Arts, College of Business Administration and Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering to identify and take advantage of numerous opportunities to employ members of the LMU community in fulfilling our mission of promoting student success and educational equity for the schools in the Westchester/Playa community. These collaborative efforts have been focused on building student and faculty capacity in areas such

as financial literacy, technology, college admissions, choice theory, English language arts, physics, athletic training, African-American history and instructional pedagogy. “Crash” won the Academy Award for Best Picture for 2005. The movie opens with the scene of a car accident and the following narrative: “In L.A., nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.” In spite of living in America’s second-largest city, totaling almost 4 million people, too often racial conflict, social inequities, political differences and institutional agendas keep us separated. In the LMU Family of Schools, each day we work hard to change this narrative. We partner with some of the best schools, teachers, administrators and families, and our 13 schools are among the best that Los Angeles has to offer. In the LMU family, working together is a very intentional process. It is a process whereby we seek collaboration in order to

Darin Earley, MS.ed Director, LMU Family of Schools.

meet the needs of the students we are committed to serving. As we begin a new year, we are excited to have you on our TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More)! If you are interested in joining our work, I invite you to connect with us at fos.lmu.edu. Darin Earley, MS.ed is the Director of the LMU Family of Schools.

WNS offers unmatched education Paseo provides academic excellence and cultural diversity

With an outstanding core curriculum and dedicated teachers, Westside Neighborhood School (WNS) continues to offer an unmatched education. This summer, WNS teachers attended numerous professional development opportunities to ensure that WNS provides the most up-to-date, research-based curriculum. With small, flexible groups to match each child’s different learning style, WNS continues to offer the best teaching techniques to meet a range of students’ abilities. WNS strives to teach the whole child, including their socialemotional development. Best practices in social learning are used in each classroom including Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs teaching methods. The faculty and staff are also trained in Social Thinking, the cognitive underpinnings to social learning. Multiple opportunities for leadership are available and projectbased learning is emphasized in the classrooms to help students connect their learning to real-world situations. Here are a few highlights of some of the happenings at WNS: • Intramural Lunch Leagues. The WNS physical education department launched intramural lunch leagues during the last school year, allowing students to participate in fun, active, Page 14 • August 2014

Ace Plus students create a craft project.

Located in Playa del Rey since 1962, Paseo del Rey Natural Science Magnet started as a small, neighborhood school. Over the past 50 years, it has grown into a Natural Science Magnet with a diverse student population from throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Teachers, parents, students and alumni, as well as the local residents and business community, enthusiastically support Paseo. This support has provided the school’s students with opportunities for greater academic excellence and cultural diversity, without losing the personal caring, nurturing, safety and intimacy of a neighborhood school. Some of the school’s highlights include: • Seven of its teachers are proudly part of the Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching Fellowship. The mission of the program is to develop “artful” gifted teachers through mentoring. • It is a Common Core Lab School for LAUSD Educational Service Center West. Other schools come to learn from them! • Paseo is a natural science magnet with a science and computer Lab. • The school has a gifted and talented literature program. • They have a thriving school garden open to the community on designated

team-oriented, and structured activity during the lunch period. • 3D Printer. Our technology lab has acquired its first 3D printer. Middle school students are learning how to create their own designs from start to finish and produce real 3D objects for class projects or electives. • Everyone’s Included Week. WNS hosted its first ever “Everyone’s Included Week” last spring. A student-led initiative, each day of the week had a goal or theme and the activities were tailored to each grade level and modeled by other students. Days included, “Say Hi Day,” “Random Act of Kindness Day,” “Get to Know Someone New Day,” and “Compliment Day.” • Expanded After School Classes. WNS’s after school enrichment program, ACE Plus, continues to grow and this year will feature even more exciting offerings for WNS students. Classes offered this year include Rock Guitar, Robotics, Lacrosse, Math Board Games, Woodworking, and many more! Back to School Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del

Students work in the community garden.

“Garden Days.” • They offer elementary art and dance and have a school orchestra. • Paseo offers STAR before and after school programs and a Beyond the Bell afterschool program. STAR enrichment and Mad Science afterschool classes are also offered. • Pre-K and kindergarten are available to residents who live within the school’s boundaries. Looking for a great local elementary school? Paseo del Rey is tried and true. Its caring staff, teachers and active Parent Teacher Organization all work together to support its students and make Paseo del Rey a wonderful place to attend elementary school! Join them for an upcoming tour on September 16, October 14 or November 18! For more information, please visit paseomagnet-lausd-ca.schoolloop.com. Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Cowan Elementary emphasizes global humanities in curriculum

Kentwood celebrates second Distinguished School Award

Cowan is home to a Gifted/High Ability International Global Humanities Magnet Center for grades 1 though 6, while the non-magnet portion of the school serves grades kindergarten through 5. Cowan works to provide its students Fifth graders enjoy the sights while on a trip to Washington D.C. with an education that and projects that require higher-level meets their academic, social and emotional needs. To ensure thought processes and are asked to produce work that displays their that all children reach their maximum knowledge in new and unique ways. potential, Cowan provides an The center recently was awarded the articulated, Common Core standardsprestigious LAUSD Excelling Magnet based core curriculum, including School designation. an emphasis on international global Cowan and Cowan Magnet attribute humanities, which enhances critical their success to a number of curricular and creative thinking in a community programs and strategies including that fosters respect and responsibility. international global humanities Cowan is a shining example of what a instruction, intervention, Arabic school can accomplish when teachers, language and culture classes, teachers’ parents, students and community assistants, SmartBoards, laptops, iPads come together to create something and other advanced technology, an exceptional. interdisciplinary arts program and Cowan Magnet Center was day and overnight field trips. The created to provide an educational administration, faculty and staff hope environment that supports the to continue to be successful in their needs of Gifted and High Ability endeavor to be the best example of students within LAUSD. Its program what a school can accomplish when all is designed to challenge students to stakeholders come together to achieve work beyond the traditional gradea common goal. That goal is an level frameworks articulated by the exceptional education for every child. Common Core standards. Students in the program are engaged in lessons

Kentwood was recently selected as a California Distinguished School by the California Department of Education. This is their second consecutive term receiving this award. In August, Kentwood hosted a Safe Moves event in partnership with Safe Moves and the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division to welcome students back to school by teaching them traffic safety tips to keep them safe for the rest of the Westchester Officer Ruben Garcia helps Kentwood students at the school year. Safe Moves event. Kentwood is excited has a 28-station $100,000 workout to renew its pilot yoga facility, which was awarded after the program sponsored by the Drollinger school won the Governor’s Challenge Foundation of Westchester and this 2 years in a row. year has expanded the program to Its partnership with the LMU include students in the 3rd, 4th and Family of Schools, along with strong 5th grades. arts and afterschool programs Kentwood is a Common Core including fine art, dance, theater, Technology Project School featuring orchestra, GATE, robotics, STAR, integrated iPad technology and educational software in the classroom. College Bound for Kids and a newly developed school garden, Kentwood The school is continuing a successful physical education program to able to give its students an extremely well-rounded education. for all grade levels through a strong For more information, please visit strategic partnership with the kentwoodes.org. Westchester Family YMCA. To help facilitate the program, the school also

At Loyola, the arts are key

Join us in supporting our local schools to create an environment where learning is exciting and fun. Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Loyola Village Elementary School is not your average elementary school...it is a Performing and Fine Arts Magnet School! The students attending the school are receiving not only a quality kindergarten through fifth grade education by highly qualified teachers, but are also receiving an extensive arts education from working professional performing and fine artists as well. The students engage in daily academic work, all while taking classes in all the various art forms. Teachers Nickie Burrell and Lisa Murray provide an extensive art curriculum teaching students how to work with clay, paint with pastels and how to use everyday items like recycled bottles to create works of art. The orchestra with Mr. Greiger provides third through fifth graders opportunities to learn not only how to play the various orchestra instruments, but also the protocols of being a part of an orchestra. Interested in dance? Instructor Michelle O’Quinn teaches modern Jazz and ballet, while Jan Blunt teaches African dance and new teacher Brittany Jones teaches tap and rhythmic step classes. The theater program is led by Anne Flannigan, who teaches students the art of acting, voice and movement for the stage, as

Let’s donate our time, money and talent to make our local schools strong, innovative and vibrant. Let’s help this next generation THRIVE! A sculpture made of recycled bottles is displayed at Loyola Village Elementary.

well as the production side of theater. In order to showcase the students’ artistic talents, the community will be invited to various upcoming art performances throughout the year through the school’s free “Saturday Arts” monthly showcases. The Saturday Arts showcases will incorporate both student and community performers. Fall school tours will take place on Tuesday, October 7 at 9 a.m. and November 5 at 9 a.m. To learn more about the school and to view its enrollment process, please visit loyolavillageschool.com or call (310) 670-0480.

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– Karen Dial, President

310.417.8048 www.drollingerproperties.com

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8929 S. Sepulveda Boulevard, #130 Westchester, CA 90045

PMS 581C

September 2014 • Page 15

St. Jerome celebrates success of its students

The 2013-2014 school year was a great one for Westchester’s St. Jerome. Its student were accepted to some of the top high schools in Los Angeles including: • Archer School for Girls • Bishop Montgomery High School • Cathedral Chapel High School • Immaculate Heart High School • Juniper Serra High School • Loyola High School • Notre Dame Academy • Notre Dame High School • Saint Bernard High School • Saint John Bosco High School • Saint Monica High School The K-8 campus has started its 2014 school year with new principal, Mrs. Priscilla Doorbar.

Page 16 • August 2014

Joy creates the essential ingredient at WLCS What is the essential ingredient in a Westchester Lutheran Church and School (WLCS) education? Is it a curriculum that blends classic and contemporary learning with cuttingedge technology? An administration that believes in the importance of the arts in addition to core subjects? A faculty dedicated to building character while opening minds? While according to Head of School Sandra Masted, WLCS provides all of these things, what sets it apart is joy. The joy of students discovering their strengths and talents in a setting where they are nurtured and celebrated. The joy of teachers sharing their passion for learning. The joy of parents working together to encourage and support their children as they grow and learn. WLCS educates children from preschool (beginning at age 2.5) through eighth grade. Throughout their journey, its students delve into an academically rigorous program with great results; on average, they score two and a half years above grade level on standardized testing. Over ninety percent of WLCS’ middle school graduates are accepted by their firstchoice high school. Every year, its students receive marvelous opportunities to explore beyond core studies, with docent-led enrichment programs to supplement art and science classes, multiple

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Westchester Lutheran School’s motto is “Believing and Achieving” and the school’s goal is to help all students achieve their full potential.

performing arts and public speaking programs during the year and field trips to a wide variety of cultural centers and historic sites. Its extracurricular activities also encourage exploration and selfexpression, from its nationally-ranked cheerleading squad to its awardwinning middle school sports teams to its choirs, bands and musicals. The school is invested in the community as well. Its middle school students devote hundreds of hours in community service each year. They sponsor troops for Boy and Girl Scouts and offer meeting space to a variety of other groups, such as AYSO. During

the Sepulveda Beautification Program, WLCS replaced the city sidewalk in front of its property and replanted the trees at its own expense. While the school is a mission of Westchester Lutheran Church, it welcomes students of all faiths. WLCS’ motto is “Believing and Achieving.” Its desire is that all students will be inspired and equipped to believe in themselves and to achieve their full potential. Visit them and learn more about the joy your child will find at Westchester Lutheran School. School tours are available by calling (310) 670-5422 or by visiting wlcs.org.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Westchester Secondary Charter starts second year of classes The first day back to school for Westchester Secondary Charter School (WSCS) was Monday, August 25, and this year the two-year-old school enrolled students in grades 6-10, with waiting lists for grades 7 and 8. The school also added 7 new faculty and staff, as well as 120 new students. The school celebrated its “Back to School Night” on August 26 and has several more events planned for this fall for current and prospective students and families, including its annual

middle school fall play, taking place December 6. The schools had amazing successes in the last year including: • For its second year, WSCS had a 92% retention rate for its student body. • WSCS’ Middle School boys basketball team won the Charter School District Championship in March of 2014 in the inaugural year of the program. • WSCS’ drama students attended the Drama Teacher’s Association of Southern California’s region-wide

Shakespeare competition in April of 2014. These students, having never competed before, placed first through fifth in 4 categories and racked up honorable mentions in several more. Several of WSCS students were asked to perform their Shakespeare scenes at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro in late April. • The Friends of WSCS hosted an incredible spring festival, the WSCS Fun Fest, in May of last year. Student leadership hosted carnival games. while parents served food and participated in a

Friends of WSCS and students have fun at the school’s spring carnival last year.

silent auction to raise money for the school. For more information on WSCS, including upcoming tours, please visit westchestercharter.org.

Local groups are looking for engaged community members who are interested in helping strengthen local schools: • The NCWP’s Education Committee meets the Fourth Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Westchester Community Room, located at 7166 Manchester Ave. More info can be found at ncwpdr. org. • The Westchester/Playa Education Foundation (WPEF) meets monthly and information can be found at facebook.com/ groups/wpef2014.

At Visitation Catholic School, patriotism and prayer are in the forefront Patriotism and community prayer have always been staples at Visitation Parish School in Westchester. Its history is filled with time honored community traditions that are both patriotic and prayer-based, as they celebrate our country and freedom as “One Nation, Under God.” Its Catholic faith has always been woven into all classes taught at Visitation School. Principal Christopher Watson ensures that the school offers a faith-based curriculum, that instills good citizenship, patriotism and a prayer-filled life. As they start this school year, Visitation is excited to announce the introduction of its “Chromebook Pilot Program” beginning with Visitation’s

5th grade. All of its 5th grade students will be provided Chromebooks to utilize in all classes. With a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Visitation is also very pleased to introduce its afterschool “Robotics Program” for grades 1-5. Visitation also takes great pride in sharing its Catholic and Christian identity with the local community. For the past four years, at its award-winning Food Truck Friday Nights, Visitation has conducted military recognition and prayer rallies for both world peace, and more close to home, prayers for the healing of the sick or injured. They are delighted that the entire community responds to the

invitation to participate, and comes together in support at these events. In the past fifty years, Visitation School has received countless awards for supporting our troops and other causes, including the 2002 Red Cross Recognition Award for generosity and support and the 2005 US Navy plaque and flag for Visitation’s support of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Visitation also supports all of its Visitation Parish WWII Veterans on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day and in its Fourth of July Parade entry. At its all-school masses, at its Sunday Masses and at its community events, all of Visitation’s pastors, including new pastor Msgr. James


A collage of Visitation events. PHOTOS BY ANNA CODY.

Forsen, continue the tradition of leading the Visitation faithful, and its community, in prayer for those who serve and for our country. For more information please visit, visitationschool.org.




Vistamar School’s globally influenced curriculum and diverse learning community foster intellectual engagement and a mature understanding of the world.

Get to know us at an Open House: 9:00 am on 10/25, 11/15, 12/13, or 1/24 R.S.V.P. 310.643.7377


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September 2014 • Page 17

WISH’s supportive community helps school thrive It’s been a fabulous year for WISH Charter, which is now entering its fifth year as a standout school, not only in our community, but in the nation. As WISH begins the 2014-2015 academic year, they are excited to officially launch WISH Middle School on the same campus as WISH Elementary. The middle school continues the WISH mission and vision, adhering to a whole scholar approach to education. Students are thrilled to have engineering and design as part of their core subjects using the Project Lead the Way curriculum. In addition, all students receive high quality technology instruction that includes computer science and coding. Horticulture, culinary arts and broadcast journalism are some of the students’ favorite

electives. Last year, Always key WISH was to the WISH named a community is the SWIFT involvement of Knowledge families, who Development came together Site by the to beautify the University campus for the of Kansas— launch of the one of only school year. Once 6 schools in again, the parents the nation surprised the selected for teachers with Students run on the school’s yard with kites they made. this auspicious their annual designation. tradition of filling the refrigerator and SWIFT, an acronym for Schoolsnack cabinet for the first week of wide Integrated Framework for school to show their appreciation and Transformation, identified WISH as love for the teachers’ service to children a knowledge development site for its and families of Westchester. exemplary parent partnerships, multi-

A message from WESM’s new principal, Debra Bryant My name is Debra Bryant and I am excited to serve as the new principal of Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets (WESM). I am fortunate to have inherited three magnet programs that provide students with individualized learning opportunities and allow them to create projects and conduct experiments with real world applications. Our students engage in hands-on learning as they experience instruction aligned to the themes of our three magnets: Aerospace and Aviation; Environmental and Natural Science and Health and Sports Medicine. In our Aviation and Aerospace Magnet, students have the opportunity to participate in flight simulation. They also take a shop class where they learn applied physics by working on the engine of a real Cessna airplane, which is located on campus. In our Environmental and Natural Science Magnet, students monitor renewable electricity generated by our oncampus photovoltaic facility. They also take courses focused on urban ecology and green construction. In our Health

tiered systems of support, academic achievement, strong teacher support systems and inclusionary practices. WISH Charter is grateful for being voted “Best Public School,” “Best Charter School,” and “Best Place to Volunteer” in the Westchester, Playa and Marina area by the readers of the Hometown News. The school owes this recognition to the commitment of WISH board members, families, faculty, staff and the Westchester community who unfailingly support the school’s efforts. WISH will be hosting four open house sessions for prospective families during the school year, beginning in December. To learn more about the school and consider becoming part of the WISH community, please visit wishcharter.org.

Open Magnet builds learning community

and Sports Medicine Magnet, students take athletic training classes using our state-of-the-art athletic training room. They also study nutrition in our culinary arts kitchen. Our teachers, counselors, administrators and support personnel are dedicated to academic excellence and take pride in providing students with a well-rounded and rigorous academic program that is designed to produce students that are college and career ready. I believe that educating youth is a communal effort and it involves all stakeholder groups to come together. Through collaboration, open lines of communication and working together, we can achieve a successful school year for our students. This year we will continue with our Linked Learning program, implementation of the Common Core Standards, and we will continue to makes strides with the implementation of Restorative Justice practices. For more info, please visit westchesterhs-lausd-ca.schoolloop. com.

Playa Vista Elementary creates vibrant learning environment Playa Vista Elementary School (PVES) is a growing, vibrant, learning community. The public neighborhood school serves TK through 5th grade students and through its strong partnership with LMU and the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, its vision is to have its students’ learning grounded in integrated STEM units bell to bell, according to new principal Rebecca Johnson. The school utilizes the Discovery Park, located next door to the school, as an outdoor classroom for its TK through second grade students. The school plans to extend this learning to the freshwater marsh for its 3rd grade students and to the wetlands for its 4th and 5th grade students. The parents of Playa Vista are committed to creating a dynamic

learning experience for all students. Through the donation of their time, talent and resources, PVES’ students enjoy an enriched educational experience. PVES is a true partnership school, not only with LMU and the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, but also with its parent community and local businesses. Principal Johnson boasts that the school’s stellar teaching and support staff have helped make the vision for the school a reality. Principal Johnson invites the community to “Come and learn with us, create with us and be part of making the dream of a stellar public education for the children of Playa Vista and beyond a reality!” For more information, please visit playavistaschool.com.

Page 18 • August 2014

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Open Magnet Charter is an affiliated-charter and magnet elementary school (K-5) located in Westchester. Like an oasis away from the busy city, Open students, parents and staff come together to build a true learning community where students learn through meaningful experiences. Teams of two teachers sharing the same “cluster” of multi-age students design the instructional program to create a thematic project-based curriculum. Enrichment programs covering visual arts, vocal arts, orchestra, physical

education and gardening are also integrated. With its constructivist approach to teaching and a dedicated and diverse school community, Open is one of the most unique schools in the district and is a California Distinguished School (awarded 3 times) and a National Magnet School of Merit. Upcoming events include: • A Fall Family Festival on October 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. • School tours on October 28 and November 4 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. For more info, please visit opencharter.org.

St. Bernard High School continues to grow enrollment St. Bernard High School opened its 2014-2015 school year to students on Wednesday, August 13. This year they welcomed 90 new students; 62 freshmen and 28 transfer students, including 3 international students and 18 students from the Westchester, Culver City or South Bay area. The transfer students have come from out of state and from all over Southern California from private, Catholic, charter and public schools. This summer the campus was buzzing with construction workers and painters. Thirteen classrooms were renovated complete with new lights, new paint, new shades, new bulletin boards, new white boards and a ceiling mounted projector. Teachers received new Chrome Books and with the WiFi installed last year, they

are all now “chromecasting” in the classroom. The ability to walk around the room while teaching at the board allows teachers to be more hands-on with students. Speaking of the classroom, St. Bernard launched its single-gender math and science program this fall. Freshmen are now enrolled in gender specific Algebra I and Biology. Math and science teachers spent the summer researching and preparing lesson plans geared towards boys and girls. St. Bernard invites the community to attend one of its seven home football games during the season, including homecoming on Friday, October 3, where they play Mary Star of the Sea. For more info, please visit stbernardhs.org.

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

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September 2014 • Page 19

. Saint Anastasia adds new enrichment classes to curriculum After school enrichment programs have been expanding at Saint Anastasia Catholic School, and this year several new opportunities will be unveiled. From science and math to the arts and athletics, students at Saint Anastasia will have a wide range of choices to extend their learning beyond the traditional school day. Last year, the school began a band program including brass, percussion and woodwind instruments. Under the direction of Paul “the trombonist” Nowell, the class met once per week, highlighted by a concert for the entire student body at the school’s annual Performance Showcase. The Junior High AV

club filmed the show. Athletics have long been an integral part of life at Saint A’s, with students participating in afterschool sports programs from third through the eighth grade, but options were very limited for its youngest students. Coach Derek changed all that last spring when he initiated sports clinics for students from junior kindergarten through the second grade. Students learned about sportsmanship and fair play, while learning the fundamental of baseball, softball and football. Last year also featured the debut of the Saint Anastasia Panthers’ Archery team. Students from the junior high

Archery is a new offering at St. A’s.

competed with both public and private schools from around Los Angeles in the FIYA league. Coach Nick Galvan was highly impressed by the focus and

concentration that archery promoted in his team and the etiquette that surrounded the sport. Nearly thirty fifth graders participated in a class to write computer code and learn the basics of programming this past spring. Under the guidance of a school parent and professional computer programmer, the students used the site code.org and explored the virtual world of code writing and created their own pages from the ground up. Enthusiasm for science and technology has blossomed and this year students will have the opportunity to participate in Lego-robotics and Lego

Mindstorm classes in a new program afterschool. To supplement current arts offerings like children’s choir and the musical, the school will be offering afterschool art classes taught by local artist Jake Tedesco. Jake has been affiliated with Gateway to Art for a number of years as a contributing artist. Gateway to Art is a parentdocent art curriculum used by many elementary schools in the Westchester area. Jake focuses on teaching children to draw by breaking images down to simple shapes and putting them back together again to create art. For more info about St. Anastasia, visit school.st-anastasia.org.

Kumon encourages students to excel in STEM majors National data suggests that females are significantly underrepresented within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) college majors, as well as in STEM careers. Westchester Kumon’s Director, David Samuel, hopes to change this trend by building his students’ confidence and proficiency with mathematics. “While many girls are initially intimidated by advanced math, once they gain a strong mastery of the fundamental skills, the more complex work becomes much easier,” said David. This philosophy is exemplified by Westchester Kumon student Anna O’ Connor, who completed the entire Kumon math program earlier this year. Anna began Kumon as a first grader

David congratulates Anna at a recent awards ceremony.

with weak math skills and completed the final Kumon math level (advanced calculus) during tenth grade. Within the program’s 23 year history, Anna is the only math student who has achieved this feat. Said Anna, “While Kumon has certainly advanced my math skills, I think that the program has most importantly taught me the benefits of persevering, working hard, and learning new things.” Anna begins 11th grade this school year and will concurrently take classes at a local community college, including multi-variable calculus. Anna’s goals for the future include attending Harvard University, where she plans to study biochemistry and one day become a doctor.

For more information about Westchester Kumon’s math and reading programs, visit kumon.com/westchester or call (424)226-6284.

The Loyola Marymount University Family of Schools would like to welcome our partner schools and stakeholders to the 2014-2015 school year. • Cowan Avenue Elementary School • Kentwood Elementary School • Loyola Village Elementary School • Wright STEAM Magnet Middle School • Paseo Del Rey Natural Science Magnet • Playa Vista Elementary School • St. Anastasia Catholic School • St. Bernard High School • St. Jerome School • Visitation Catholic Elementary School • Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets • Westport Heights Elementary School • WISH Charter Elementary and Middle School

Page 20 • August 2014

Back to School

Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News

Profile for Westchester/Playa del Rey HomeTown News


Celebrating our Local Schools 2014


Celebrating our Local Schools 2014


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