Sunday, September 12, 2004


8-Article Newsletter Template
4LAKids: Sunday, September 12, 2004
In This Issue:
 •  8 on the 9th/11 schools in 11 days: WHEN IT REALLY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
 •  The New England Journal of Medicine Publishes Study on the Effects of Air Pollution on Youth: THE LEGACY OF SMOG
 •  LEFT BEHIND: LA Times Editorial + The Bush AdministrationÂ’s Proposed Education Budget Cuts for 2005
 •  EVENTS: Coming up...
 •  4LAKids Book Club for August & September—THE HUMAN SIDE OF SCHOOL CHANGE: Reform, Resistance and the Real-Life Problems of Innovation—by Robert Evans

Featured Links:
 •  MAKING SCHOOLS WORK: Get the Book @
 •  FIVE CENTS MAKES SENSE FOR EDUCATION- Target 5� from every federal tax dollar for Education
Developments have a way of developing.

The good news this week, the week of “Back to School”
for less than half of LAUSD students (those on traditional
calendar - ALL kids on ALL tracks of ALL flavors of
year ‘round schools started earlier!) eight brand new
schools officially opened for the first day of school on
Thursday the ninth! This is the first wave of 17 new
schools this year; the promise of the DistrictÂ’s
construction program is at last beginning to seriously bear

Nearly 8,800 young students are in new classrooms in
new schools this week!

A couple of the schools aren’t really done yet —
gymnasia, multipurpose rooms and cafeterias arenÂ’t
finished, libraries are unstocked, one is on a “fire watch”
because the alarms donÂ’t work ...but the kids ARE
beginning to take delivery of their new schools! I come
from the film business, where missed deadlines mean:
“You’ll never work in this town again!” The folks in
charge of school construction in LAUSD come from the
Navy, an even more demanding lot — so I know they are
not satisfied either! We are going to have plenty more
opportunities to get it right ....and IÂ’m absolutely sure we

The United Way published a rather frightening study on
illiteracy in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Of course, with a
school district with a 50 percent plus drop-out rate,
spectacularly overcrowded and underfunded schools,
palpable inattention to pre-school and adult education
plus a rapidly growing population of non-English
speaking working-poor immigrants — how could we
possibly be surprised? For LA to become the world class
city/county/metropolitan area it is destined to become it
needs to do much, much more in funding, building,
repairing and maintaining its education infrastructure. We
need to invest and reinvest not just money ...but sweat
equity, passion and ideas.

And also on Thursday, the New England Journal of
Medicine published a real eye opener on the long term
effects of air pollution on young people. We need to clean
up our air ....and we need to seriously rethink siting
schools adjacent to freeways and busy roadways —
where not just the smog, but the diesel and rubber
particulates and plain old dust are real - and now proven
- issues! Under current proposed construction plans some
kids in Hollywood will attend school Early-Ed-through-
Twelfth-Grade within a few yards of the Hollywood

Maybe NOT such a good idea! — smf

8 on the 9th/11 schools in 11 days: WHEN IT REALLY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
This past Thursday, September 9th, LAUSD opened eight new schools:

• East Valley New Middle School (@ the former Van Nuys
Drive-In site),
• East Valley New Continuation High School,
• High Tech High @ Birmingham HS,
• Jefferson New Primary Center #6,
• Manual Arts New Elementary #1 @ the California Science Center,
• Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School,
• Southeast Area New Middle School #3, and
• Valley New HS #1 @ CSUN.

Tomorrow, Monday September 13th, two additional new schools open:

• South Gate New Elementary School #7, and
• Stanford New Primary Center

and on next Monday, September 20th:

• The Accelerated Charter School, a 1000 seat pre-K–12th grade academy opens.

Eleven new schools in eleven days!


by Martin Miller - LA Times Staff Writer

September 11, 2004 - It's not every day that Willie Nuñez
shows up early to school. But on Thursday, the
14-year-old with the black "Metallica" T-shirt and dreams
of becoming a musician arrived more than an hour before
the first morning bell.

It wasn't that it was the first day of school, although that
was part of it. It's that it was the first day for the school.
Everything at the sparkling $36-million school was brand
new and meant to last for generations. That is, except for
its name — Valley New High School #1 — which is
expected to last a month until it gets a real one.

Moments before Nuñez arrived, the Los Angeles Unified
School District's top officials held a press conference
hailing the day as a new era in education for the city.
They touted its location on the Cal State Northridge
campus and its significance as the first high school opened
in the Valley in 33 years. And they lauded a close
relationship between the two institutions that will allow
the high school to mirror the college's three "academies":
education; arts, media and communication; and health and
human development.

All that sounded just fine. But on this morning Nuñez had
a concern more immediate and as old as a one-room
frontier schoolhouse. "This place is really cool," said the
ninth-grader, standing in the school's courtyard. "But I
hope I fit in."

In outward appearance at least, he could have easily
meshed with the sizable portion of students who favored
nearly all black clothing. They stood in contrast to the
other noteworthy sub-groups — the athletes and their
imitators, cheerleader-types, and the largest contingent,
the Old Navy-Gap-Abercrombie & Fitch crowd. Of
course, psychologically, everyone shared a key trait that
took the edge off the time-honored first day of high
school jitters.

"I'm not that nervous," said Emily Abad, 15, a
10th-grader. "Because I know no one knows hardly
anyone around here."

English teacher Sue Gordon told her students she was in
the same boat. She left her post at nearby Monroe high
and told her morning class she knew only two other

"I left my husband who is a teacher at Monroe," Gordon
told the students. "The lure of teaching in a brand-new
school is that strong. I don't know if you can imagine how
phenomenal it really is."

Both students and teachers came from more than half a
dozen nearby high schools and middle schools, most of
them aging, all of them overcrowded. At Valley New
High #1, that's not going to be a problem anytime soon,
school officials vow. This first year, the school will serve
about 600 students, just ninth- and 10th-graders. By
2006, with all four grades represented, there will be about
1,000 students — roughly one-fourth of the average at
most LAUSD high schools.

"It's kind of cool," said 10th-grader Zack Marshall, 15.
"You get to feel like you're a senior even though you're

The absence of upper classmen didn't seem to bother
Leana Burkardt either. The ninth-grader from Northridge
has heard of their menace. "Eleventh- and 12th-graders
try to intimidate you. They always want to give you a
swirlie and stuff," she said of the classic
head-dunking-in-the-toilet move.

Valley New High #1 is part of an ambitious and
unprecedented campaign to relieve jam-packed conditions
in one of the nation's largest school districts. It was one of
eight new schools unveiled Thursday, the most in
LAUSD history on a single day. Nine more schools will
open this year, an additional 40 next year and
approximately 100 more in the coming five years.

The first to be trumpeted on this $1.3-billion construction
spree was Valley New High #1. Instead of an
old-fashioned intercom, LAUSD Superintendent Roy
Romer welcomed students over the school's
state-of-the-art video projection system, which broadcasts
into each classroom.

"You are all part of this experiment," said Romer. "We
need to learn from you about how to do this. So, if you
were to do this over again, how would you change this?"

Added Principal Connie Semf: "We're the guinea pigs."

Less than 48 hours before, the atmosphere here resembled
a version of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" with
everyone scrambling and time running out. There was no
landscaping, not even trees in the courtyard planters.
There were no lunch tables for the students or a security
fence around the campus. And construction trash and dust
was everywhere, even caking over the main office's

But work continued nearly around the clock. Semf stayed
until 11 p.m. the night before the opening and then
arrived before sunrise the next morning. But even she was
surprised at what she saw: "Oh my gosh, there's a lawn!
How did that get there?"

In addition, more than 4,000 plants were put into the
ground, the tables were assembled, the grounds were
clean and ready to greet the new students. The school's
bright shine was enough to break down the unspoken
adolescent code of behavior — never show excitement of
any kind, especially to an adult.

"This place was dirt and rocks and I didn't think they
were going to finish," said Burkardt. "I have to admit, it's
pretty cool."

Still, there is work to be done. The gymnasium floor
needs to be laid, the fourth-floor science labs and library
aren't finished either. But these are minor inconveniences
and will be completed within the next several weeks.

Still, the day brought its disappointments in things that
won't change. The school won't have a football team.
Probably ever. There's simply not enough room.

"What's a high school without a football team?" asked
one student during a morning question-and-answer period
with school officials shown throughout the school. And,
more important, asked other students later, does no
football team mean no homecoming dance?

There will be homecoming dances and other sports are on
the way — basketball, volleyball, maybe even golf and
swimming — school officials said.

Perhaps the most exciting task left undone is naming the
school. Students, parents, teachers and other school
officials will collaborate in the coming weeks on selecting
a new name, school colors and a school mascot.

It won't be soon enough for Annoushka Ranaraja, 14, a
ninth-grader from Northridge. "Right now, I just tell
people I go to the high school at C-SUN," she said. "It's
too weird to say Valley High #1."

A decision is expected within a month or so.

"They are going to be setting the traditions and culture
for their grandchildren," said Semf, a first-time principal.
"They'll be making history."

Long Beach Press Telegram: 53% of working age not
literate enough to use bus schedule, complete job

by Rachel Uranga - Staff writer

Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - Continued
immigration and a stubborn high school dropout rate have
stymied efforts to improve literacy in Los Angeles
County, where more than half the working-age population
can't read a simple form, a report released Wednesday

Specifically, the study concluded that Long Beach, Los
Angeles, Glendale, Pomona and El Monte had the largest
populations of people considered "low-literate."

Alarmingly, only one in every 10 county workers deemed
functionally illiterate is enrolled in literacy classes and half
of them drop out within three weeks, said the study by the
United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

"It's an emergency situation," said Mayor James Hahn,
adding that poor literacy rates could jeopardize the
region's economy by driving out high-tech businesses and
other industries that pay well.

In the Los Angeles region, 53 percent of workers ages 16
and older were deemed functionally illiterate, the study

The study measured levels of literacy across the region
using data from the 2000 Census, the U.S. Department of
Education and a survey of literacy programs taken from
September to January.

It classified 3.8 million Los Angeles County residents as
"low-literate," meaning they could not write a note
explaining a billing error, use a bus schedule or locate an
intersection on a street map.

And despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent in public
schools over the past decade to boost literacy rates,
functional illiteracy levels have remained flat because of a
steady influx of non-English-speaking immigrants and a
30 percent high school drop-out rate, authors of the
report said.

The last available national study was conducted in 1992
by the National Adult Literacy Survey, which found 48
percent of the nation's working-age population were
functionally illiterate.

"This is a ticking time bomb, a dirty secret we don't want
to talk about. We are losing the battle," said Mark
Drummond, chancellor of California's community college

Dozens of community-based groups, including the
Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles, the Los
Angeles Unified School District and other public agencies
vowed to improve programs over the next five years by
connecting English learners with employers and educating
1,000 workers with English-language deficiencies during
the next two years.

Top of the list will be making classes more accessible. For
example, the report found that no school in the county
offered Saturday classes or tailored classes for adult
students with families or multiple jobs.

And while nearly 90 percent of adults who take literacy
classes do it to improve their employment opportunities,
only 30 percent of literacy programs include the
workplace in their instruction.

"It's appalling," said Marge Nichols, the author of the
study. "A 50 percent dropout rate (for literacy classes) is
pretty dysfunctional. We haven't kept up."

Though the report offers no estimate for the cost of
functional illiteracy, the National Right to Read
Foundation places the price tag nationally at $224 billion.
And local observers say untold millions are being lost by
would-be employers who move to other cities in search of
highly skilled workers.

Literacy @ Work: The L.A. Workforce Literacy Project - download the report

The New England Journal of Medicine Publishes Study on the Effects of Air Pollution on Youth: THE LEGACY OF SMOG
Sacramento Bee: The harmful pollutants came mostly
from cars, researchers say.

by Edie Lau — Bee Science Writer

September 9, 2004 - Growing up in smoggy communities
stunts lung development for a lifetime, researchers who
have followed children in Southern California for more
than a decade conclude in a landmark study published

The research, led by a University of Southern California
team and appearing in the New England Journal of
Medicine, answers a long-standing question about the
chronic effects of breathing dirty air.

"When they first started this study and found reduced
lung function growth in their kids, the question was
always, do they manage to catch up back to normal?" said
Barbara Weller, a scientist at the California Air Resources
Board, which funded the $18 million, 10-year project.

"What they find in this study is that they don't seem to be
doing that."

The findings are the latest in a series of results from the
Children's Health Study, which began in 1993 to track
air-pollution exposure and health effects in 5,000
schoolchildren. It is the longest study of its kind.

The pollutants in question include nitrogen dioxide, ozone
and particulates, all products of burning fossil fuels, and
emitted mostly by vehicle tailpipes. Since bad air is
produced by traffic all over the world, the scientists say,
the results are broadly relevant.

In the latest study, the researchers followed 747 children
from schools in 12 Southern California communities from
the time the students were 10 until they reached age 18.

Each year, researchers measured the children's lung
function by having them blow into a device that measures
how much air is produced per blow and how quickly the
air is expelled.

After adjusting for confounding factors such as body size,
gender, race and ethnicity, asthma, cigarette smoking and
exposure to secondhand smoke at home, the scientists
discerned striking differences in lung function between
students from communities with dirty air and students
from communities with relatively clean air.

By the time they were 18, the proportion of students with
diminished lung function was five times as great in
polluted communities as in communities with cleaner air.

Nearly 8 percent of students in the polluted communities
showed diminished function, compared with 1.6 percent
in the cleaner communities.

The researchers considered lung function diminished
when the amount of air in the first second of the blow was
20 percent below normal.

The dirtiest air, and the greatest effect on lungs, was
identified in places such as Upland, Mira Loma and
Riverside. Cleaner air and healthier lungs were found by
the coast north of the Los Angeles basin in Lompoc and
Santa Maria.

Scientists say the results at age 18 are especially
significant because at that age, most girls' lungs have
finished growing, and most boys' lungs are nearly finished.

"It's interesting that we have a children's health study
where the real impacts are, what does it mean for you as
you grow older?" said Richard Bode, chief of the Air
Resources Board's health and exposure assessment

That's because lung function naturally declines in adults,
starting around age 25. Someone whose lungs are
underdeveloped because of a constant assault by
pollutants starts out with a deficit.

"It's pretty well known that low (lung function) later in
life is linked to some pretty nasty health outcomes, like
respiratory illness and death due to respiratory illness and
death due to heart disease," said W. James Gauderman,
an associate professor of medicine at USC and lead
author of the study. "It has something to do with the
ability of the lung to take in air, and transfer air to the

Furthermore, there's no way to beef up lung power in
youth. Unlike bones or the heart, which gain density and
strength, respectively, from exercise, lung power is
determined by genes and the ambient environment.

"The cardiovascular system has a lot more potential to be
improved with exercise, whereas the respiratory system is
pretty well fixed," said Edward Schelegle, a pulmonary
physiologist at the University of California, Davis.

The answer then, he and others said, is to clean up the air.
Bode at the Air Resources Board noted that the state, and
especially Southern California, has made significant
improvements in air quality over the past 25 years.

Even so, the Children's Health Study shows that today's
level of pollution is affecting health negatively, and
reveals no threshold below which pollution is safe.

In results published previously, the researchers reported
that children exposed to smog through participation in
after-school sports were more likely to develop asthma
than their less-active peers.

Moreover, Bode said, air quality has gotten worse in
other parts of California, including in the Sacramento and
San Joaquin valleys, due to an ever-growing population
with its attendant traffic congestion.

C. Arden Pope III, an environmental epidemiologist at
Brigham Young University, found good news in the USC
study. "The control of air pollution represents an
important opportunity to prevent disease," he wrote in an
editorial accompanying the study in today's New England
Journal of Medicine.

"The question is," Pope added in a telephone interview,
"do we have the discipline, do we have the political and
public-policy will, to actually prevent this disease to the
extent that we can by cleaning up our air?"

NEJM: The Effect of Air Pollution on Lung Development from 10 to 18 Years of Age: Read abstract or download the full report

LEFT BEHIND: LA Times Editorial + The Bush AdministrationÂ’s Proposed Education Budget Cuts for 2005
• EDITORIAL: Test for Students' Parents

September 11, 2004 - American parents think public
schools in general are a mess — but their own children's
schools are fine. How is this finding, in one poll after
another, possible? It might be because parents want to
feel that they're doing right by their offspring, or that, up
close, they see beyond gloomy news reports to their
school's special programs, the teachers' extra efforts and
their children's progress.

Similarly, people at first thought the No Child Left
Behind Act was the perfect way to hold schools
accountable. It would get all those other bad schools to
shape up by giving them a failing grade based on
standardized test scores. They never imagined that their
school would be listed as one of those "other" ones. Yet a
third of California's schools are listed as failing — even
though many of them have good or rising scores. Under
No Child Left Behind, parents may demand a transfer
from a failing school to a supposedly better one, but
they're often full of doubt about making a switch.

The federal act's rules are often arcane and sometimes
daffy. The flood of mind-numbing statistics with such
labels as API and AYP can be useful for administrative
types, baring weak spots and showing overall school
trends. They're limited in measuring the true worth of a
school. There are many reasons a school might be listed
as failing, some more valid than others.

In California, 44% of failing high schools were listed
solely because not enough students of every demographic
group took all the tests, no matter how well they scored.
Oxnard's high schools made huge gains but also made the
failure list because, of 46 areas measured, the schools fell
one-tenth of one percentage point short of the test-taking
goal for one group, special-education students taking the
language arts test.

Parents have to be the judges, and they have to look
mainly at whether their schools work for their children.
It's quite possible for a student to transfer out of a
"failing" school only to land in a worse one.

There are schools that do a lackluster job and rightly
belong on the failure list. On many failing California
campuses last school year, black students weren't making
expected progress in math. That might not make the
school bad, but it should at least raise parental eyebrows.
Involved parents can see when their children are stuck in
a school that grooms them for failure. That's where No
Child Left Behind is of real use, giving them a chance to
get out of a hopeless situation.
• LEFT BEHIND: The Bush Administration’s Proposed
Budget for 2005

• Underfunded $9.4 Billion/27%
• Over the past four years, President Bush has allocated
$30 Billion less than Congress authorized for NCLB,
which requires increased testing and penalizes schools
where scores donÂ’t improve. Programs for disadvantaged
students take the hardest hit; the budget leaves them
underfunded by $7.2 billion.

• Cut $247 million
• Eliminates this program that teaches parents and
children in poor families to read.

• Cut $5 million
• Eliminates this program to help at-risk students. Under
NCLB, schools are penalized if students drop out.

• Cut $11 million
• Eliminates this program for gifted students who are
minorities, disabled, or speak little English.

• Cut $10 million
• Eliminates this program to brings computers to places
where kids donÂ’t have access to technology, such as
housing projects.

• Cut $ 17 million
• Eliminates the program

• Cut $316 million
• Cuts 20% of federal funding for job training programs.

• Cut $35 million
• Eliminates the program

* source National PTA & Mother Jones magazine

EVENTS: Coming up...
• Monday Sep 13, 2004
Huntington Park New Elementary School #7
Construction Update Meeting
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Freedom Park Recreation Center
3801 61st Street
Huntington Park, CA 90255

Valley Region Elementary School #7
Phase II Site Selection Update
Local District 2
Your participation is important! Please join at this meeting where we will review:
* Criteria used to select potential sites
* Sites suggested by community and by LAUSD, and
* We will present and discuss the most suitable site(s) for this new school project
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Camellia Elementary School Auditorium
7451 Camellia Avenue
North Hollywood, CA 91605

• Tuesday Sep 14, 2004
Southeast Learning Complex
PEA Hearing
Please join us at this important community meeting regarding the Southeast Learning Complex project to be hosted by the LAUSD Office of Environmental Health & Safety (OEHS). The proposed school site is roughly centered at the intersection of Tweedy Boulevard and Adela Avenue in the City of South Gate.
The purpose of this community meeting is to:
* Present to the community the findings of the Draft Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) prepared for the review of the California Department of Toxic and Substance Control (DTSC). The Draft PEA presents the findings of the previous environmental investigations to determine if the project site will require further action.
* Collect community input regarding the Draft PEA for this project.
Bryson Elementary School Auditorium
4470 Missouri Ave.
South Gate, CA 90280

• Wednesday Sep 15, 2004
East Valley Area New Middle School #1 (aka Valley Plaza site) Pre-Construction Meeting
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Victory Boulevard Elementary School
6315 Radford Avenue
North Hollywood, CA 91606

• Thursday Sep 16, 2004
Huntington Park New Elementary School #7
Groundbreaking Ceremony
& Ribbon-Cutting for Freedom Park New Recreation Center
Please join us to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new school and a ribbon-cutting of a new park in your community: Huntington Park New Elementary School #7 and Freedom Park New Recreation Center.
Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m.
Huntington Park Elementary School #7
6055 Corona Avenue
Huntington Park, CA 90255

Washington Preparatory High School Addition
Pre-Construction Meeting
5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Washington Preparatory High School - Peer Hall
10860 S. Denker Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90047

• Tuesday Sep 21, 2004
Central Los Angeles New Learning Center No. 1 aka Ambassador — Community Update Meeting
Please join us at a community meeting with School Board President José Huizar regarding the new school project at the Ambassador Hotel Site.
At this meeting you will learn about:
* Status of the project and timeline
* The Construction Alternative that Facilities Staff will recommend to the LAUSD Board of Education
* Next steps in this process
* How you and the entire community needs to get involved!
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Berendo Middle School
1157 S. Berendo Street
Los Angeles, CA 90006

• Wednesday Sep 22, 2004
Central Los Angeles High School #11 [former Belmont LC] aka Vista Hermosa Pre-Demolition Meeting
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Plasencia Elementary School
1321 Cortez Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Oxnard Elementary School Addition
Pre-Construction Meeting
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Oxnard Elementary School
10912 Oxnard Street
North Hollywood, CA 91606

• Friday Sep 24, 2004
San Miguel Elementary School Playground Expansion
Ribbon-cutting Ceremony
Please join us to celebrate the completion of the playground expansion project at San Miguel Elementary School!
Ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m.
San Miguel Elementary School
9801 San Miguel Avenue
South Gate, CA 90280

*Dates and times are subject to change.
MEETS THIS WEDNESDAY, SEPT 15 @ 10 AM in the Board Room @ LAUSD HQ - 333 South Beaudry Ave
Phone: 213.241.4700
Phone: 213.633.7616


4LAKids Book Club for August & September—THE HUMAN SIDE OF SCHOOL CHANGE: Reform, Resistance and the Real-Life Problems of Innovation—by Robert Evans
Publisher: Jossey-Bass Paperback: 336 pages ISBN: 0787956112

This book was pressed into my hands by a senior
educator, high in the DistrictÂ’s hierarchy.

We were wary of each other. She undoubtedly viewed me
as a wild eyed parent activist — intent on upsetting the
apple cart. I am a proponent of the bottom-up reforms
espoused by William Ouchi in “Making Schools Work”; a
would-be empowerer of parents and school site

I viewed her as the protector of the status-quo of slow,
steady improvement as measured by test scores — and
the great top-down centrally-driven bureaucracy that is

WeÂ’d both be right. I have no respect whatsoever for
apple carts; I come from the film industry and apple carts
are always the first to be smashed in the big chase scene!
I press Bill OuchiÂ’s book into as many hands as I can. She
and I discussed at length the LEARN reforms at LAUSD,
a too-brief wrinkle-in-time where principals and parents
were empowered ...until the interest waned and the
political will and money ran out. Until other agendas
took hold. Time passed LEARN by before it had a chance
to work or fail.

I expected EvansÂ’ book to be an apologia for things as
they are, instead I found a truly enlightening vision of
where we are in public education and just how difficult
the very necessary change will be. I returned the borowed
copy with many thanks and bought my own.

Evans is a psychologist - and his analysis is of the
teaching profession and the business of public education.
Imagine youÂ’re a teacher. Imagine you are faced with the
challenges of the classroom, the politics of the schoolsite
and the dynamics of the administration, children, parents
and school district. Now mix in the politicians – right, left
and center – and activists, bureaucrats and theorists. All
call for every flavor of reform imaginable ...and embrace a
new one with every lunar cycle! Even if youÂ’re a good
teacher every successful practice you have and every
decision you make is second-guessed and compared to a
rubric that measures success – or lack thereof – in a new
way every day. And all the while your friends from
college are making three times more money than you!

Evans analyzes management styles and models of reform
and suggests strategies for building a framework of
cooperation between leaders of change and the people
they depend upon to implement it. He is no fan of
top-down central-control — but he truly abhors
‘change-of-the-month-club’ reform! Evans does not tell
us to be slow in school reform, only to be thoughtful,
thorough and respectful of the true instruments of change:
Those in the classroom working with young minds.

Two thumbs-up, one for Ouchi and another for Evans!


• Dr. Robert Evans is a clinical and organizational
psychologist and director of the Human Relations Service
in Wellesley, Mass. A former high school and preschool
teacher, he has consulted to hundreds of schools and
districts throughout America and around the world and
has worked extensively with teachers, administrators,
school boards, and state education officials.

• Editorial Reviews:
"A unique, superb, and penetrating analysis of the human
side of educational change. Evans knows the human
realities of change and portrays them vividly in both
individual and organizational terms. His discussion of
hope and realism in the final chapter is a gem." —Michael
Fullan, dean, Faculty of Education, University of Toronto

"Evans certainly understands what gets in the way of real
school change and what the simple, key elements are that
can make it happen. No board member, superintendent, or
school principal should make one more decision or host
one more meeting without reading this book." —Judy
Cunningham, principal, South Lake Middle School,
Irvine, Calif.

"Evans has written a realistic yet hopeful book that sets a
new standard for providing the leadership needed to
implement school improvements. An engaging and
much-needed update of the critical, but often overlooked,
human side of change." —Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Lillian
Radford Professor of Education and senior fellow, Center
for Educational Leadership, Trinity University

"School leaders will find this book realistic about the
difficulties of change, rich in practical advice about school
improvement, and useful in showing how to transcend the
limits of their own experience to practice effective
leadership." —Thomas W. Payzant, superintendent,
Boston Public Schools

Get CHOOSING EXCELLENCE from your local library, bookstore - or order it by clicking here.

by Vicki Caruana

Parents and students alike have their own concerns about
the school year. As parents we are leaders. Our children
look to us for how to handle their trepidation, enthusiasm,
confusion, frustration, fears, and challenges.We can lead
the way through a successful school year. Look at this
year as a clean slate, a fresh start.Maybe you had a
difficult year last year with your child at school. Maybe
the teacher(s) werenÂ’t as helpful as you needed them to
be.Maybe you had your own personal struggles that
distracted you from giving your childÂ’s education the
attention it needed from you. This year can be different
and it starts with you!

1. Get involved. ThereÂ’s not just one right way to get
involved.You could volunteer in your childÂ’s classroom
once a week.You could offer to do something from home
like type the school newsletter or get materials together
for a craft the class will do.You could volunteer your time
on a parentteacher committee. Serve in a way that fits
your personality, gifts, and talents.

2. Be available.Make sure your childÂ’s teachers always
know when you are available if needed. If you work
outside the home, let them know when you can be
reached at work. If you work at home, let them know
what days or times you are available if needed.

3. Be interested. Find out what your child is studying so
that you can ask him or her relevant questions.DonÂ’t ask
“What did you do in school today?”Ask instead,“What
have you covered about South American countries so
far?”Ask a specific question and you’ll get a specific

4. Keep children healthy. Absences can quickly submarine
your childÂ’s learning.We canÂ’t control rogue viruses or
injuries, but we can control what our children eat, how
much sleep they get, how much exercise they get, and
general hygiene.

5. Set a schedule. Set a good bedtime schedule right from
the start; adequate rest is an important part of school
success. Set a time and place to do homework each day,
and enforce it. Be a guardian of your familyÂ’s time. Too
many outside activities, though fun or educational, can
wreak havoc on a studentÂ’s ability to manage his or her
own time for school studies.How we spend our time
shows others what is really important to us. Our children
will know we value their education when we make it a
priority. We can model for our children what it takes to
succeed. Start this school year off right to give your child
the excellence edge!

• from the National PTA Newsletter “Our Children”
Vol.4 No.1 – Vicki Caruana, parent and former teacher,
is the author of Giving Your Children the Excellence
Edge (Tyndale, 2004)

• E-mail, call or write your school board member. Or your city councilperson, mayor, assemblyperson, state senator, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think.
• 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. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child.
• Vote.

Contact your school board member

Scott Folsom is a parent and parent leader in LAUSD. He is Vice President for Education of Los Angeles 10th District PTSA and represents PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee. He serves on various school district advisory and policy committees and is a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is also the elected Youth & Education boardmember on the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council.
• In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited.
 Â• THE 4LAKids ARCHIVE - This and past Issues are available with interactive feedback at

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