Sunday, April 10, 2016

Thank you, L.A. Times

4LAKids: Sunday 10•April•2016
In This Issue:
 •  HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources
 •  EVENTS: Coming up next week...
 •  What can YOU do?

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 •  4LAKids Anthology: All the Past Issues, solved, resolved and unsolved!
 •  4LAKidsNews: a compendium of recent items of interest - news stories, scurrilous rumors, links, academic papers, rants and amusing anecdotes, etc.
It’s easy (+fun!) to be critical of the Los Angeles Times.

She (What did we do that was wrong?)
Is having (We didn't know it was wrong)
Fun (Fun is the one thing that money can't buy)
Something inside that was always denied
For so many years (Bye bye)
- Lennon+McCartney

The Times has all the promise+potential of a first-rate great major metropolitan daily: A huge media market, reporting on one of the great cosmopolitan cities of the world ...certainly the preeminent American metropolis of the 21st century. Gosh knows L.A. offers great newspaper material: Scandal+Intrigue+Controversy; Scullduggery+Hubris; populated with Fascinating Characters …some seemingly unburdened with character itself.

Here are settings+stories+dramatis personae worthy of Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky and Stephen Sondheim. L.A. City Hall. The Board of Education. One could set the entirety of the Bard of Avon’s Histories in the County Hall of Administration. Add to this the Southeast Cities and all that-ever-was-and-will-be Compton. Teapot Dome is in Wyoming, but the oil-soaked scandal was homegrown in corporate boardrooms in L.A. And Orange County percolates to the South.

Howard Hughes. Hollywood. The names of the streets offer a roadmap: Chandler. Doheny. Mulholland. There is the continuous ongoing horror that is the County Department of Children and Family Services. The Gas Company leak in Porter Ranch. The Exide Battery Plant debacle. And then there’s whatever John Deasy, Apple+Pearson did (or attempted to do) with the iPads and the bond money.

Stay tuned.

(In fairness, The Times is also burdened with all the challenges of all modern newspapers: Declining readership+advertising, the internet+cable+other news sources – challenges they have handled spectacularly poorly!)

The History of L.A. is the history as presented, spun+framed by The Times – the blunt instrument of the Babbitt-at-the-Booster-Club city fathers. Sure there was the Herald-Examiner and the Mirror News and the L.A. Daily News. But who are we kidding?

As much of the movie “CHINATOWN” as is true – The Water Wars, The Land Grabs, the shenanigans at the Los Angeles Bureau of Water Works and Supply – the Personalities of Power+Megalomania+Greed – was first covered, covered-up, packaged or sold by The Los Angeles Times.

Have you ever heard of the San Francisquito Dam Disaster? []
See what I mean?

And when the legend doesn’t fit with the facts, all journalists go with the legend. Me too: It sells papers+advertising+eyeballs-on-the-blog-page+housing tracts in the San Fernando Valley.

…and tickets to the cinema.

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."

On ‎October 1, 1910 at 1:07 AM the McNamara Brothers, outside agitators, union organizers and bomb-throwing-anarchists brought journalistic criticism to a new height by blowing the L.A. Times building up.

In the years since The Times has been about as anti-union as ever it could be, whether in its own publishing business or in editorial policy.

There’s a McNamara behind every labor grievance+work action.

4LAKids wishes The Times was more aggressive in its coverage of public education. Except, of course, when they are wrong.

And 4LAKids cannot argue with Eli Broad and the “Philanthropic Foundations” that subsidize The Times’ “Education Matters” Initiative. Education does matter. A lot.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”
― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

But I suspect the ‘initiative” is more checkbook journalism from the ©orporate $chool ®eform crowd ….and less from The Times.

All this said, The Times reporters+reporting have always been kind to 4LAKids.

…and this past week’s TENACIOUS CHANGE AGENT MAKES IMPROVING L.A. UNIFIED HIS MISSION (following) from Times columnist Steve Lopez

So there you have it.
It’s complicated.
(It wouldn’t be worth writing about – or reading – if it wasn’t.)

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf


By Steve Lopez, LA Times Columnist |

April 6, 2016 :: "He could be a burr in your saddle," says former L.A. Unified Supt. Roy Romer. "But generally he was there when I needed him to help get the job done."

"I don't always agree with Scott, and sometimes I vigorously disagree with him," says school board President Steve Zimmer. "But I always want to know what he's thinking, and if I've done something wrong in his eyes, I'm interested in that criticism."

Both men are talking about Scott Folsom.

Chances are you've never heard of him, and neither have hundreds of thousands of students who have benefited from Folsom's two decades of unpaid public service.

He's been a local and state PTA member and has raised a hand to serve on dozens of education committees. He advocated for restoration of arts programs and expansion of health services, and he kept an eye on how intelligently the district was spending your precious tax dollars, by the billions, on the school building boom.
And Folsom has chronicled this journey on his blog, 4LAKids, where he is both critic of and cheerleader for L.A. Unified

"I read it every single Sunday morning," said Zimmer, who told me that Folsom "has an eye for when the emperor has no clothes."

Zimmer, along with Folsom's family, friends, and a who's who of educators, administrators and education wonks, honored Folsom on Friday for his "tireless" and "tenacious" work.

Folsom, 68, insisted on leaving the hospital where he'd been admitted for the intense pain of a terminal illness. He did not want to miss the shindig — complete with jazz band — at a friend's Art District loft.

Party over, Folsom is back to writing, serving, going to meetings, because his work is not finished.

When I asked him how it all began, Folsom clued me in on the little mix-up that launched his mission.

About 20 years ago, at Mt. Washington Elementary, Folsom's daughter was assigned to kindergarten after he'd been promised a first-grade slot for her. He tried to get help from the principal, the district and a school board member.

Strike one, strike two, strike three.

So Folsom — who worked in TV and film production — held his breath, stepped to the edge of the abyss and dived head first into the murky depths of public education bureaucracy.

Soon he was the PTA president at Mt. Washington Elementary, where it came to his attention that the prehistoric copy machine was ready for the scrap heap.

"A school without a Xerox machine might as well not have a flagpole out front," Folsom says.

He was told there was no money for a new one, and nobody seemed to know what to do about the problem. So he wrote a tongue-in-cheek ditty about the "little Xerox machine that could," until it couldn't.

Somehow it circulated around district headquarters. The bureaucrats got the point.

They found a used replacement.

Folsom later used the power of the pen to muse about one of the daffiest district experiences. If you want to get your child into, say, a particular magnet, you don't apply to that magnet. Of course not. That would make sense.

Instead, you apply to schools you don't want to get into. With each rejection, you compile points that can be cashed in — with luck, witchcraft, connections or who knows what — for assignment to the school of your choice.

"I made it a little funny," says Folsom, "including information on what to do if you get accepted into a school you don't want to be in."

Folsom became obsessed with trying to make a difference, and perhaps was over-invested at times. His daughter asked if he could please not be PTA president at her high school, and Folsom wonders if he strained his marriage by volunteering more and more and earning less and less of an income.

But by then he had made the district his life's work.

He knew that the majority of students were impoverished and attended falling-apart schools on year-round tracks, stuffed into overcrowded classrooms. So he became a member of the bond oversight committee and helped Romer and others bust through political and bureaucratic hurdles and build 130 new schools.

"He was one of the keys," said Romer, "and we were on a remarkable roll. We built about $19 billion worth of schools."

Says Zimmer:
"Scott in large part made the building program possible, and he did it with this very unique combination of agitation, impatience and absolute commitment to his ideals. This is someone who has fought the bureaucracy and in many ways has won, but he also sees the very benefit of the institution he's trying to change."

As part of that mission, Folsom lobbied for every school to have a cafeteria, library and multipurpose room. He opposed former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's attempted takeover of L.A. Unified, and though he sees the attraction of charter schools, he saves his highest praise for the district's magnet campuses.

In his 2009 Thanksgiving blog post, he wrote, "We hear too much chin music about how hard it is to get rid of a few bad teachers and administrators — and not near enough about how to honor the many, many good ones."

He praised non-teaching staff, nurses who are "spread too thin," those who "volunteer in the classroom and on the playground before and after school," and "the students who work hard and make us proud."

Cancer has spread to Folsom's bones, but at his home in Hollywood early Tuesday morning, Folsom reminded me he had to cut our interview short because he had work to do. As he once put it, the job is to raise issues, raise awareness, raise hell.

He winced in pain, moving with the aid of a walker, eager to get to a meeting at school district headquarters.

●●smf’s 2¢: Thank you Steve Lopez. And Roy Romer and Steve Zimmer. Thank you Howard Blume and Bob Sipchen. Thank you always and especially Jack Smith – who taught me that whatever it is with the water in Mount Washington – a mythical place that Smith made up on the pages of the Los Angeles Times – it makes the writing better.

Thank you all for reading and insisting on making a difference. Democracy is ideally about the majority – but Margaret Mead taught us that it is always+only the small dedicated few that change the world. Thank you for imagining+being the change.

Tony, my friend from high school adds special recognition for LA Times photographer Mark Boster, whose photos accompany the column in the Times: [ |] “BTW, I loved the portrait in the article. Sure didn't look like the stuff you see nowadays, shot on phones and one-touch electronic cameras with auto-flash, auto-everything. The guy actually did a little lighting. Excellent!”


by Garrett Therolf | LA Times |

April 8, 2016 :: The case of Gabriel Fernandez, a child who was killed after having been beaten, burned and shot with BBs, took a new twist when four social workers were charged with child abuse.



In May 2013, paramedics arrived at a Palmdale home to find 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez not breathing. His skull was cracked, three ribs were broken and his skin was bruised and burned. He had BB pellets embedded in his lung and groin. Two teeth were knocked out of his mouth.

Gabriel died two days later.

His mother's boyfriend told authorities that he beat Gabriel repeatedly for lying and "being dirty," according to records. The child's mother and her boyfriend were charged with murder and torture.


Gabriel's mother, Pearl Fernandez, called 911 on May 22, 2013, to report that her son was not breathing. She told sheriff's deputies who arrived at the apartment that Gabriel had fallen and hit his head on a dresser, according to testimony. When paramedics arrived, they found Gabriel naked in a bedroom, with multiple injuries. He died two days later.

"It was just like every inch of this child had been abused," testified James Cermak, a Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic.

Fernandez and her her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, 34, deliberately tortured the boy to death, hiding their tracks with forged doctor's notes and lies to authorities, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jonathan Hatami told the grand jury.

"For eight straight months, he was abused, beaten and tortured more severely than many prisoners of war," Hatami said.

The abuse worsened in the months leading up to Gabriel's death, according to testimony from two of his siblings, both of whom are minors. They said Gabriel was forced to eat cat feces, rotten spinach and his own vomit. He slept in a locked cabinet and wasn't let out to go to the bathroom.

Fernandez and Aguirre called Gabriel gay, punished him when he played with dolls and forced him to wear girls' clothes to school, the siblings said.

Fernandez and Aguirre hit Gabriel with a metal hanger, a belt buckle, a small bat and a wooden club, Gabriel's brother said.

Their mother once jabbed Gabriel in the mouth with a bat and knocked out several teeth, according to testimony.


Records showed that Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services left Gabriel in the home despite six investigations into abuse allegations involving the mother over the last decade.

Gabriel had previously written a note saying he was contemplating suicide, records show. His teacher told authorities he often appeared bruised and battered at school. BB pellets left bruises across his face. All but one investigation was determined to be "unfounded."

At the time of Gabriel's death, there was yet another, unresolved allegation of child abuse in his file. That referral has lingered two months past a legally mandated deadline for completing an investigation, records show.

The social worker assigned to that case did not make first contact with the family until 20 days after the complaint was received, and then "made minimal attempts to investigate," according to an internal county report.

On multiple occasions, deputies went to the family's apartment or to Gabriel's school to investigate reports of abuse and of the boy being suicidal.

Each time, they concluded that there was no evidence of abuse and did not write a detailed report.

Timothy O'Quinn, a sheriff's homicide detective, told grand jurors that there was no indication that deputies had removed any of Gabriel's clothing to check for signs of abuse.

Investigators searching the family's apartment after Gabriel's death found blood stains, BB gun holes and a wooden club covered in his blood, according to testimony.


In a prepared statement issued late Thursday morning by the Department of Children and Family Services, department Director Philip Browning said the accused workers did not represent the organization.

“In our rigorous reconstruction of the events surrounding Gabriel's death, we found that four of our social workers had failed to perform their jobs. I directed that all of them be discharged. Only one appealed his termination, and he was reinstated last year by the Civil Service Commission over our strong objections,” Browning said.

“I want to make it unambiguously clear that the defendants do not represent the daily work, standards or commitment of our dedicated social workers, who, like me, will not tolerate conduct that jeopardizes the well-being of children,” Browning said. “For the vast majority of those who choose this demanding career, it is nothing short of a calling.”



By Garrett Therolf | LA Times |

April 7, 2016 :: Four Los Angeles County social workers have been charged with felony child abuse and falsifying public records in connection with the 2012 death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, who was tortured and killed even though authorities had numerous warnings of abuse in his home.

Los Angeles County prosecutors allege that the county Department of Children and Family Services employees minimized “the significance of the physical, mental and emotional injuries that Gabriel suffered … [and] allowed a vulnerable boy to remain at home and continue to be abused.”

Stefanie Rodriguez, Patricia Clement, Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt were each charged with one felony count of child abuse and one felony count of falsifying public records.

At their arraignment on Thursday afternoon, the defendants did not enter pleas, pending another hearing later this month. Superior Court Judge Sergio Tapia set bail for each at $100,000.

Gabriel's death sparked widespread outrage and prompted a series of reforms designed to improve how county officials monitor children who show signs of being abused. Prosecutors said the social workers' actions were so troubling that they warranted the rare step of filing criminal charges.

“Social workers play a vital role in society. We entrust them to protect our children from harm,” Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey said in a statement. “When their negligence is so great as to become criminal, young lives are put at risk. We believe these social workers were criminally negligent and performed their legal duties with willful disregard for Gabriel's well-being.”

The dead boy's mother and her boyfriend are awaiting trial on charges of murder and a special circumstance of torture. They have pleaded not guilty.

The pair are accused of beating Gabriel to death after dousing him with pepper spray, forcing him to eat his own vomit and locking him in a cabinet with a sock stuffed in his mouth to muffle his screams, according to court records. Detectives who searched the family's apartment found a wooden club covered in his blood.

In the months before the boy was killed, county child protection caseworkers and sheriff's deputies investigated allegations of abuse without removing Gabriel from the home. Shortly before Gabriel's death, officials decided to close his case.

The social workers were aware that the boy had written a suicide note and had a BB pellet embedded in his chest. Yet he was not sent for medical treatment or mental health assessment, county records show.

Additionally, the boy's teacher said she made repeated phone calls reporting evidence of abuse. The caseworkers disregarded them, she said.

A complaint for an arrest warrant was filed against the workers March 28 — about three years after their alleged failings — and all were scheduled for arraignment Thursday.

Merritt was the first to arrive in court in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday morning. Asked for his reaction to the charges against him, Merritt told a reporter, “no response.”

Clement, a former nun and chaplain in the county's juvenile detention centers, sobbed in court as she awaited arraignment. She, too, declined to respond to the charges, as did Bom, a supervising caseworker and father of four young children as well as an elder at his church. Rodriguez could not be reached for comment.

In a prepared statement issued late Thursday morning by the Department of Children and Family Services, department Director Philip Browning said the accused workers did not represent the organization.

“In our rigorous reconstruction of the events surrounding Gabriel's death, we found that four of our social workers had failed to perform their jobs. I directed that all of them be discharged. Only one appealed his termination, and he was reinstated last year by the Civil Service Commission over our strong objections,” Browning said.

“I want to make it unambiguously clear that the defendants do not represent the daily work, standards or commitment of our dedicated social workers, who, like me, will not tolerate conduct that jeopardizes the well-being of children,” Browning said. “For the vast majority of those who choose this demanding career, it is nothing short of a calling.”

In an interview with The Times on Thursday, Browning said he had referred the social workers' case notes to the district attorney in 2013 “to make sure we didn't miss anything,” but he was not aware that a criminal investigation was gathering steam, and he said he was surprised when he learned that charges were filed.

After Merritt appealed to regain his $166,000 job as a supervising social worker, the five-member civil service commission — which is appointed by the county Board of Supervisors — voted unanimously to reinstate him, imposing a 30-day suspension in lieu of termination.

According to the commission's hearing officer, “In the final analysis [Merritt] bears some culpability for lax supervision but not to the extent to justify his discharge after nearly 24 years of unblemished service.”

Merritt's union representative had argued that his client was used as a scapegoat and had labored under difficult circumstances in the Palmdale office, where social workers carry some of the highest caseloads in the county.

County lawyers for Browning went to Los Angeles County Superior Court in hopes of overturning the civil service commission's decision. That case is ongoing, but the judge ordered Merritt's reinstatement until a decision is reached.

Browning said the performance of the four workers in the Fernandez case was the worst he had seen in any case he'd reviewed since his arrival at the agency in 2011.

“We made so much progress in the past few years,” Browning said. “I don't want the morale of the department to suffer in a way that would impact services to clients.

In the months after the Fernandez case was first reported by The Times in 2013, social workers removed children from their families at a higher rate.

Browning defended the rise in removals at the time, noting that detention rates were rising statewide, but critics said social workers sometimes needlessly removed children because they were afraid to lose their jobs if something unforeseen occurred to a child under their watch.

Browning said he is worried that the charges against the social workers could spur social workers to again increase the number of children taken from homes.

“Safety is our priority, but I hope that there won't be additional detentions because of this,” he said. “I hope that they will continue to make decisions based on the facts in front of them.”

At a news conference Thursday in Sylmar, family and friends of Gabriel praised the arrests and decried a system they said is fraught with laziness and corruption.

“You brought this upon yourself,” Emily Carranza, the boy's cousin, said of the social workers.

Carranza is part of a group of family and friends who rallied after the boy's death, determined to hold those who killed Gabriel and those who failed to protect him accountable.

The shirt she wore showed three photos of Gabriel's smiling face.

“Your conviction will be our greatest victory,” she said.

Child welfare officials and prosecutors said that this was the first case in memory in which child protective caseworkers had been criminally charged in California over the alleged mishandling of a case.

Such prosecutions are also rare nationally, although New York prosecutors pursued criminal charges in recent years against two social workers who handled the fatal case of 4-year-old Marchella Pierce. In that case, the workers were initially charged with negligent homicide, but the case collapsed in a plea deal for lesser charges.

Both workers eventually pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child, and that misdemeanor was subsequently knocked down to a violation when they completed hours of community service.

●Times staff writer Sarah Parvini and Times researcher Scott. J. Wilson contributed to this report.


By Paul Glickman | KPCC/89.3 |
Audio from this story : 0:43 |

April 08, 2016 | 02:47 PM :: Young children living near the former Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon have higher levels of lead in their blood than those living farther away, but the age of their homes may be as important a factor as proximity to the facility, according to an analysis by the California Department of Public Health released Friday.

State environmental officials declined to draw definitive conclusions about the role lead emissions from the plant may have played in the elevated levels, saying the study was not designed to determine the sources of the lead.

The analysis did not measure other potential sources of lead, such as that emitted from cars on nearby freeways or lead paint in homes, said Gina Solomon, deputy secretary for science and health at the California Environmental Protection Agency.

The study was also limited in that it only looked at one year of data, and it involved very small numbers of children in the area closest to Exide, Solomon added.

Those factors "make it hard to draw resounding conclusions" about the relative importance of Exide's emissions, she said. "We can't say where the lead in a child's blood is coming from."

The analysis will be used "to further target and refine our efforts" to clean up lead from soil at homes in a 1.7-mile radius around the facility, said Ana Mascarenas, assistant director for environmental justice at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Public health researchers analyzed blood tests of nearly 12,000 children under age 6 in an area reaching up to 4.5 miles from the now-closed plant. The tests were from 2012, the Exide facility's last full year of operation.

Only about 2,000 of the nearly 12,000 children lived in the 1.7-mile cleanup zone, said Solomon.

The analysis found that 3.58 percent of young children living within one mile of Exide had blood lead levels of 4.5 micrograms or more per deciliter of blood. That's the level the state has set as significantly higher than average and meriting measures to reduce future exposure.

That's compared with 1.95 percent of children in Los Angeles County overall who showed lead levels of 4.5 micrograms or more in 2012. In the broader study area, reaching out to 4.5 miles from the plant, 2.41 percent of children were in that category, according to the analysis.

But when researchers factored in the age of homes, the picture shifted. Of youngsters living in homes built before 1940, 3.11 percent had elevated blood lead levels, while only 1.87 percent of those living in homes built after 1940 had high levels.

As the analysts adjusted the data to account for other factors, "the effect of age of housing persisted," while "the effect of distance from Exide diminished greatly," said Solomon.

And the older the homes, the greater their impact, said Solomon.

The Department of Public Health delved more deeply into this question by performing a sub-study, comparing the ages of the homes of a group of nearly 300 children who had 4.5 micrograms or more with those of a group with lower levels. The researchers found "a very large increased risk" of elevated lead levels for children living in homes built before 1925, she said.

The study found that younger boys were at higher risk as well.

Exide smelted batteries in Vernon until last year, when the state ordered it to shut down after it operated for decades on a temporary permit. At the time, Toxic Substances Control said a few hundred homes closest to the site would be tested and cleaned up. Last August, the agency said up to 10,000 properties could be contaminated in a 1.7-mile radius around the smelter.

The state Legislature is in the process of approving Gov. Jerry Brown's request for $176.6 million in emergency funding to expedite the testing and cleanup of those properties.

From the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly Update Week of April 11, 2016 |

April 7, 2016 :: This week, we are continuing to feature Michael Fullan’s and Joanne Quinn’s book COHERENCE, which senior leadership and other staff in the central offices are busily reading.

Unfortunately, copies of the book have not been made available for middle managers throughout the District who will be impacted by coherent actions that may be initiated as a result of these reading circles. Therefore, we are sharing some of the more cogent and applicable tenets we have learned from the book.

Seeking coherence means building an organization that engages in “…purposeful action and reaction, looking for capacity, clarity, precision of practice, transparency, monitoring of progress, and continuous correction.” Coherence requires “simplexity,” which is defined as “the harnessing of the smallest number of key factors and working together with practitioners to become clear about how to master the factors in actions.” The pathway, or framework, lights the way to understand what motivates people to engage in the work.

Fullan’s Coherence is an overview of the wrong and right drivers to move an organization. Wrong drivers are cited as punitive accountability, individualistic strategies, technology, and ad hoc policies. Using these drivers to instigate change, the authors argue, results in “…initiative failure, ad hoc projects, arbitrary top down policies, compliance oriented bureaucratization, silos and fiefdoms everywhere, confusion, distrust, and demoralization.” However well intended or well founded in research these approaches may be, they are doomed to limited influence as they circumvent the most important asset in the process: The people who are the organization.

The core basis of Fullan and Quinn’s work is the energizing of human and social capital to initiate meaningful change within an organization. This is done by employing the right drivers, which are described within the Coherence Framework as: (1) focusing direction; (2) cultivating collaborative cultures; (3) deepening learning; and (4) securing accountability. As the four drivers are delved into thoroughly throughout the book, it becomes readily apparent that the approach will have tremendous implications for every role or position in an organization.

Focusing direction, the first driver, involves, not only streamlining the work, but also building an ongoing vertical and horizontal organizational conversation of the focus. The focus will be reduced, reframed, and pieces removed as the direction continues to be clarified. Further, it may require “…moving compliance to the side of the plate” (pg. 4), not to avoid the mandate, but to shift it to a purposeful function. It also requires ongoing communication among all levels to continue to build true collaborative approaches to allow the system to “…recognize that finding solutions to complex problems requires the intelligence and talents of everyone,” (pg. 22). It also allows for ongoing strategizing and dealing with barriers. In short, continually checking progress by asking, “What is going well? What do we need to be worrying about or taking action on?” It is the mechanism for institutionalizing constant adaptation and inquiry.

This topic naturally leads into discussing cultivating collaborative cultures, the second driver. In this section, the authors more deeply examine the dynamics of collaborative work. Its first basis is the acknowledgement that everyone – principal, teacher, superintendent – is an active learner, and clearly is a participant in the process. Secondly, collaborative work acknowledges the capabilities of the people within the system to address the challenges before them. More significantly, it will allow collective capacity to emerge. Collective capacity is defined as “the capability of the individual or organization to make the changes required and involves development of knowledge, skills, and commitment,” (pg. 56). This, in turn, allows the organization to take ownership of student achievement and creates a “growth mind set at all levels of the system,” (pg. 57). Arranging for teacher groups, the authors warn, is not enough. Teacher groups, commonly referred to as PLCs (professional learning communities) are not the panacea. “The popularity of the concept of PLCs has been far greater than its consistent impact on student learning,” (pg. 63). The collaborative experience must be structured, intentional, and focused on “…designing more precise pedagogy to meet the identified needs,” (pg. 63). Collaborative cultures require involvement in an ongoing process of inquiry. Inquiry extends beyond questioning, but rather encapsulates a cycle of investigation, planning, action, and reflection that is ongoing. The constant inquiry builds capacity to adapt and allows for meaningful transformation, as the book expresses, “…deep collaborative experiences that are tied to daily work, spent designing and assessing learning, and build on teacher choice and input can dramatically energize teachers and increase results.” As the collective work involves the entire system, it influences the structure of the system to support and ensure the efficacy of the collaborative practice. Intrinsic to this movement is deep learning, the third driver.

(To be continued next week.) Next week’s AALA Update will be available Thursday April 14 at

●●smf’s 2¢: COHERENCE: THE RIGHT DRIVERS IN ACTION FOR SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, AND SYSTEMS: Michael Fullan, Joanne Quinn: ISBN 9781483364957: Books It’s $22.75 for the paperback, $14.37 for the e-reader. If senior management is reading it and citing it chapter+verse, the District should have one available at every school library and on every teacher+administrator’s iPad.

HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest (but not necessarily the best) of the Stories from Other Sources

by Barbara Jones | LAUSD Daily |

Apr 5, 2016 :: New courses.

New start times.

Even a new name.

L.A. Unified officials on Wednesday unveiled a robust summer program that will offer space for nearly 69,000 students, up from 42,000 last year, at 71 high school campuses. Most of the 2,749 classes will be in English, math, science and social science, and reserved for kids who need to make up a failed course.

But schools will also be able to offer enrichment classes open to any student in L.A. Unified – the first time since the budget crisis hit in 2009 that elective courses will be available.

“Whoever thought people would get excited about summer school?” said Janet Kiddoo, the veteran educator who is the intervention coordinator for the Beyond the Bell Branch. “People are very excited, and there are such passionate and very bright people involved this year.”

Summer classes will start June 27 and run for 24 days with two periods of 2-1/2 hours each that will start at 9 a.m. and noon. That’s an hour later than previous years, and officials hope the extra time will improve student attendance and punctuality.

In addition, the program is being called “summer term” rather than “summer school” so that students will come to see the classes as simply an extension of the regular school year. Rather than feeling stigmatized by going to school in the summer, kids can embrace the chance to take a class just for the fun of it.

“It’s a small step, but small steps can leave a huge imprint,” Kiddoo said during a presentation to the school board’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee. “Calling it ‘summer term,’ students may think, ‘I have the opportunity to take another type of class.”

Other changes are also coming to the summer program. A counselor will act as a “case manager” in supporting students and helping them overcome hurdles that might otherwise derail their progress toward graduation.

And a two-week “bridge” program will be offered at 43 campuses, offering academic and social-emotional support to incoming freshmen who might otherwise feel overwhelmed by the new world of high school.

“We are beginning to show very positive steps forward,” Kiddoo told the committee. “That is our mantra – what is happening for the student.”






Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs: "DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I SING?" | deutsch29 …

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
REGULAR BOARD MEETING – Tues. April 12, 2016 - 9:30 a.m.- Including Closed Session Items
REGULAR BOARD MEETING – Tues. April 12, 2016 - 1:00 p.m.

Live stream of the board meeting available at LAUSD's Live Stream and on broadcast+cable channel 58

*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
Phone: 213-241-5183
Phone: 213-241.8700


What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member: • 213-241-8333 • 213-241-6180 • 213-241-5555 • 213-241-6382 • 213-241-6388 • 213-241-6385 • 213-241-6387
...or the Superintendent: • 213-241-7000
...or your city councilperson, mayor, county supervisor, state legislator, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • Find your state legislator based on your home address. Just go to: • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Brown: 213-897-0322 e-mail:
• Open the dialogue. Write a letter to the editor. Circulate these thoughts. Talk to the principal and teachers at your local school.
• Speak with your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Stay on top of education issues. Don't take my word for it!
• Get involved at your neighborhood school. Volunteer in the classroom. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child - and ultimately: For all children.
• If you are eligible to become a citizen, BECOME ONE.
• If you a a citizen, REGISTER TO VOTE at

Who are your elected federal & state representatives? How do you contact them?

Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and was Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and has represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for over 13 years. He currently serves as Vice President for Health, is a Legislation Action Committee member and a member of the Board of Directors of the California State PTA. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served as a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the UTLA/AFT "WHO" Gold Award and the ACSA Regional Ferd Kiesel Memorial Distinguished Service Award - honors he hopes to someday deserve. • In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
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