children. To achieve its goals, the Education Committee works with elected officials, school representatives in the public and private sector, local residents and others in the community. The types of activities the committee engages in varies, but include: • Serving as a forum for local residents to express community concerns related to schools. The committee attempts to facilitate productive school and community relations and problem-solving partnerships. • Serving as a resource for local schools to engage community, city and county support. • Recognition of outstanding local education successes. • Collaborations with other local education groups including the LMU Family of Schools, LAX Coastal Chamber Education Committee and the Westchester/Playa Education Foundation. One of these collaborations yielded a document to help address questions about the accessibility, function and options available to families with school-aged children. As a coordinated effort with the LMU Family of Schools, the NCWP Education Committee developed a FAQ to “demystify” the local school options for our community’s residents. This FAQ for neighborhood stakeholders is available for download at ncwpdr. org/westchesterplayaschools-faqs-neighborhoodstakeholders. (continued on page 14)
PHOTOS COURTESY WSCS.
The Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles were established to promote more citizen participation in government and make government more responsive to local needs. The communities of Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista have their own Neighborhood Council and among its committees is one solely focused on education chaired by Dr. Michele Cooley-Strickland and co-chaired by Grace Yao. The Committee meets the fourth Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Westchester Municipal Building Community Room. These meetings are open to the public. The NCWP Education Committee’s primary goal is to engage the Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista community in support of advancing the success of the local elementary, middle and high schools, as well as that of the local colleges and universities. We work to do this by enhancing school resources and students’ educational experiences; encouraging parental involvement and through community partnerships. The committee believes that it is in the best interest of all of the stakeholders and residents of Westchester/ Playa, whether or not they have school-aged children, to support the success and improve the quality, access and structure of our local schools. It enhances property values and, importantly, contributes to the health and well-being of our most valuable citizens: our
Top photo: Sixth grade students enjoy an interactive exhibit on a field trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Bottom photos (left to right): Middle school students practice the triangle pose in yoga class. Students compete in Get Lit’s citywide spoken word competition.
WSCS starts semester at new location, raising funds for programs Westchester Secondary Charter School (WSCS) is thrilled to have a space for the next couple of years at the First Baptist Church of Westchester, located at 8540 La Tijera Blvd., where we hope to build a longterm home. In our third year, we will serve more than 300 students in grades 6-11 and are boasting a student faculty ratio of 14:1. We’re offering not only several AP courses to our current sophomores and juniors, but also continue to provide a thriving elective program that includes yoga, guitar, theatre and art. All of these curricular offerings fulfill our vision of
creating a comprehensive liberal arts program that is rigorous, personal and communityfocused. Last year, over 90% of our 10th grade students passed the CAHSEE (high school exit exam) at their first sitting. We had over 60% of our drama students place in the Regional DTASC Shakespeare Competition and had two middle school students place (second and third) in the nationwide Selma Reflections writing contest sponsored by Charity Jordan, one of the stars of the movie. Additionally, five of our students were selected to sit on the prestigious Mayor’s
Youth Council where they work regularly with Mayor Garcetti and advise him on issues related to young people in Los Angeles. WSCS is currently in the middle of our Dream Fundraising Campaign; our goal is to raise $20,000 for the school in less than 60 days through direct donations from the school community, local foundations and businesses and individuals who support public education and the school. Now firmly rooted in Westchester, its time for the school to thrive and this campaign supports a firm foundation in the community. To donate, visit westchestercharter.org.
A Message from the HomeTown News It’s Back to School season and we are proud to present the Third Annual “Celebrating our Local Schools” section in the pages of the HomeTown News! For this special section, we invited our local Westchester/Playa schools to share information with us that
they would like the community to know about their campuses, so we could share that information with our readers. There are great things going on at each of our local public, private and charter schools that the community can be proud of! The information provided in these
pages is proof that the local schools are working hard to provide their students with innovative programs, engaged teachers and robust arts, sports and science programs. The HomeTown News is a proud supporter of our local schools. We support education through
Westchester • Playa del Rey • Marina del Rey • Playa Vista HomeTown News
Back to School
our sponsorship of events like the Race for Success and the Teacher Eddy Awards; by donating to silent auctions; and of course, by inviting all of our schools to contact us with their achievements so we can share them with you, our readers! Here’s to a great school year! September 2015 • Page 13
Celebrating our local schools 2015-2016