On Saturday, September 28th the California Association of African-American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA) and the Los Angeles County Alliance of Black School Educators(LACABSE) held its Annual Round-up of California Educational Organizations in Granada Hills, CA. and attracted many education stakeholders (i.e., superintendents, administrators, teachers, para-professionals, parents, students, counselors, elected officials, clergy, business, etc.) from around the State, and Country.
The purpose of the Round-up is to adopt initiatives to improve educational inequities for black students and other students of color, to network, and to pay tribute to African-American Leaders. The day started with an introduction of the various organizations present; with brief opening statements from representatives of the various groups. Then the groups were assigned to work in sub-committees where they would develop and recommend initiatives that address the inequities for students and families.
The sub-committees were:
1. Brown v. Board and Mendez v. Westminster court cases involving equity and access for African-American & Latino Students
2. Address the digital divide
3. The implementation of the Common Core State Standards and its anticipated impact on students of color
4. Language acquisition and resources for Standard English Learners (SEL’s)
5. Understanding the Affordable Care Act
6. How to improve Parental Engagement
7. Implementing research-based curriculum(s) for Boys and Men of Color
8. Increasing awareness of Black College Tours
9. Understanding the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
After the committees met via discussion they were asked to have their committee chairpersons to briefly report out. CAAASA will compile all the reports and develop a “position paper” to share with the public.
One of the highlights of the day was having actor, director and producer Robert Townsend address the well-attended event. He spoke of how his 5th grade teacher was instrumental in helping him believe he could be a successful student, and took a personal interest in him. He now uses his ability to make films that help educate our youth in positive ways through media. He also received a Social Justice Award from the organizers.
The day ended with the presentation of awards to recognize sponsors, civic leaders (LA County D.A.Jackie Lacey, Urban League President, Nolan Rollins, Compton Major Aja Brown, Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren), superintendents (Dr. Ramona Bishop, Vallejo -Dr. Debbra Lindo, Emery - Dr. Donald Evans, Berkeley - Beverly Hempstead, Cypress - Stan Dobbs, Hayward–Will Ector, Berryessa), parent engagement advocates, Mary Ransom, Thomas Samson, President, Vice President; respectively of the Lynwood USD African-American Advisory Parent Council. And a special thank you goes out to Dwight Bonds, Executive Director, CAAASA, Michael Dennis, Board Director, CAAASA, Derotha (Dee) Williams, President, L.A. County Alliance of Black School Educators (LACABSE), Dr. Chris Hickey Sr. photographer, and to all others who helped make this event a success. Great job! See www.caaasa.org
There is no greater honor than to put your life on the line for the safety of Country. And this past weekend the City of Compton held its 10th Annual Homeless Veteran’s Stand Down for local veterans, and those transported in from surrounding communities. The three-day-long event is a way to show gratitude to our heroes, and provide much needed resources to them. During the Friday-Monday event veterans were able to receive free dental work, vision care, medical treatment, food, clothing, and shelter.
In addition the veterans received free legal services (including free services from Attorney’s and a Judge), transitional housing, sober living referrals, substance abuse treatment, employment & training referrals, employment workshops for resume writing, VA enrollment & assessment services, VA medical services, VA benefits counseling, new blankets, and more services and products from the many participating vendors.
The weekend was filled with entertainment, talks from elected officials, and just plain old fellowship among veterans, and community members. As a veteran myself, I truly enjoyed spending time with some of the vets talking about life in other parts of the country, and of course our shared experiences overseas.
Although the original term “Stand Down” means for military personnel to take a break from the engagement of war or conflict, and to spend some relaxing time with buddy’s, to eat, talk about back home, and other enjoyable activities. However the current version of the Homeless Veteran Stand Down was started by a group of Vietnam Veterans from the San Diego area in 1988, and has grown substantially since; to many states throughout the country. Typically VA Centers, veteran service organizations, community agencies, and organizations collaborate to sponsor these great events.
And there is no way that I will be able to mention ALL who provided their time or product – but I do want to thank everyone who contributed to this wonderful event. Special thanks go to a few who I personally know: Charlie Lonon, Michael Johnson, Barbara Calhoun, Lillie Dobson, Shea Hamilton, Jim Hester, VA Long Beach, Vietnam Veterans of America – South Bay Chapter, VFW Post 5394, KJLH & KLIQ radio stations, Compton 125 Project, Corporate Sponsors, and the many other individuals and organizations who came out and/or supported this awesome cause.
If anyone would like to add their name to this support/sponsor list please comment on this page and/or contact the writer directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inglewood High School held its Family Food Truck Fundraiser on Friday, September 13th. The proceeds from the event will go towards extracurricular activities for the school. According to Shemia Moore, Executive Assistant to State Appointed Administrator, Dr. Don Brann the Inglewood Unified School District has been using the food truck fundraiser since May of this year, as a way to bring the school and community stakeholders together for some fun, entertainment, resource sharing, and of course to support student activities.
Food trucks that participated for the event was A Taste of Soul, The Melt, Sliders, and Sugar Babies. So whether you had a taste for soul food, melted cheese sandwiches, miniature burgers, or cup cakes….you were sure to find something you could sink your teeth into.
Entertainment was provide by the Inglewood High School Jazz Band, drill team, cheerleaders, and later on by KJLH DJ “Big Rock” who I tried to get to speak with me for a moment but he respectfully told me that he was busy providing music to his dancing audience….and I replied to him “I ain’t mad at cha” in a smiling manner.
Many schools have fund raisers which include candy sales, raffles, car washes, and garage sales, just to name a few. But it’s something about food that just attracts people….and in the end we all have to eat sometime during the day anyway.
Inglewood Unified is hoping events like this will help bring the community together. The district was taken over by the state last year (at the request of the district) due to financial issues. Payroll and other obligations were in jeopardy if the move for state takeover didn’t take place. State Superintendent Tom Tarlakson said that Brann was appointed because he believed that his strong leadership would return the district to fiscal solvency.
Brann most recently served as Interim Superintendent of San Gabriel Unified School District, and served for 15 years as a Superintendent in Hawthorne. Brann has over 40 years of educational experience and was recognized as the Region’s Superintendent of The Year by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).
*Slideshow photos click here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99891034@N04/sets/72157635690778793
With all of the Greater Los Angeles area schools back in session now, it’s a good time to take a look at some of the things that will most affect our students. Among them the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will be implemented in the 2013-2014 school year, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) was enacted in 2013, and LAUSD outpaced the State’s API scores.
Common Core State Standards is a near-universal set of academic standards (i.e., what students should know and be able to do in each subject and grade level) agreed to by 45 states that will affect K-12 education. CCSS was designed by educators and academic experts, and inspired by standards from the world’s highest-performing countries. It represents a huge shift in teaching English Language Arts, and math (other subjects may be phased in later). The concept is to have the same set of standards nationwide – so that if families move to different schools or states students will be familiar with the standards in english and math.
The Local Control Funding Formula is a complex system that will ultimately provide much needed financial resources to many schools with poor, underserved, English Language Learners, and Special Education students in CA. schools. It’s a result of the passage of proposition 30, by CA. voters in 2012. A meeting highlighting many of the LCFF was held on August 8th at the Los Angeles County of Education (LACOE) Office in Downey. The meeting which was conducted and sponsored by State and County officials gave an overview of LCFF, and allowed public comments by education stakeholders (including this writer). Although the LCFF will not be fully implemented for several years – it has already appropriated an advance of $26,735,314,361 (yes that’s 26 billion) to CA. schools for the 2013-2014 school year.
And finally, LAUSD has surprisingly outpaced the State’s API scores even though half of their schools still are not meeting adequate standards according to the most current data. However one school in Watts, Animo College Preparatory Academy made the highest gain (110 points) in the State. Mendez Learning Center, and other schools located on the Roosevelt High School campus also scored higher than the state average. A school official attributed their gains to recruiting and training strong principals and teachers, using technology to meet student’s needs, and increased parental involvement.
For more information on CCSS, LCFF, and API scores go to: www.cde.ca.gov
This past weekend the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum hosted an Ice Cream Social for the community. It was an event that included ice cream, popcorn, cotton candy, drinks, games, tours of the museum for the families. Other activities of the day included a water balloon toss, three legged race(s), and taste the flavor (ice cream) contest.
The museum is located at 18127 S. Alameda St. Compton, CA. 90220 just south of the 91 Fwy. Many people have never visited this CA. historic landmark because it sits in a unique location. However this writer can honestly tell you that is definitely a hidden jewel in the community. It has much of the original furniture, and artifacts used during the late 1800’s.
Families from the communities of Compton, Carson, Lynwood, Paramount, Gardena, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Inglewood were just some of the attendees at the event. The Compton 125 Birthday Committee was on hand to raise awareness of the City’s 125th birthday, and the planned activities that will take place throughout the year; such as the Dec. 7th “History of Compton” presentation and tour(s) to take place at the museum in December. Although the museum itself is not within the city boundary of Compton; however it is in the unincorporated area of Compton, and like other such areas use Compton’s address for mailing purposes.
The mission of the Friends of Rancho San Pedro is to preserve and increase community awareness of early California history as it relates to the Dominguez family, homestead adobe and the Rancho San Pedro, the first Spanish land grant in CA. This is accomplished through educational programs (including school tours), activities, and the operation of the museum. In 1910 an International Aviation Meet was arranged by Dr. Gregorio Del Amo (the husband of Susana Dominguez) at the museum. It was the first time people on the west coast witnessed an airplane in flight. Aviation pioneers such as William Boeing attended.
The museum is a great place to visit for exercise or to just get away from the hectic pace of the city and rest in a peaceful environment. The grounds of the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum have a beautiful lower compound area that includes a park with tables and benches, beautiful trees, and gardens throughout.
Looking for a wonderful place to be a docent (tour guide), intern, or volunteer….yes, this is the place. Special thanks to Alison Bruesehoff, Executive Director, her staff, and volunteers for a great event. This is a fantastic place to learn California History from the 1780’s – 1920’s. For more information on the museum hours and events go to: http://dominguezrancho.org/
Photos of Event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99891034@N04/sets/72157635084392659/
On Saturday the historical Watts (WSF) Summer Festival celebrated its 47th year at Ted Watkins Park. The WSF started in 1966, shortly after the 1965 Watts Revolt. In 1972 the Festival became the first African American organization to sponsor a sell out concert at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, called “Wattstax: The Living Word” which became a recording album and major film. The resilience of the Watts Summer Festival is a strong testament to the dedication of the late Tommy Jacquette who served from 1968-2009.
An excited community came out to enjoy culture, great music, food and activities. The event opened with libations poured, in memory of those who lost their lives during the revolt. Mpinduzi Kuthaza, WSF board member, recognized the Festival’s honorary co-chairs, Les Jones (ret. Exec. Dir., Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club) and Desiree Edwards (owner, Watts Coffee House).
Congresswoman Maxine Waters graced the Festival with her annual presence and gave a rousing welcome and words of praise for the community and the steadfastness of the WSF board and volunteers, under the leadership of Pamela Garrett, WSF board President. Carson Councilman Mike Gipson, a son of Watts, enthusiastically paid tribute to the community and Festival. Senator Rod Wright presented the “Tommy Jacquette Legacy Torchbearer Award” to Watts resident and student, Lionel Rookard Jr.
Continuous entertainment on stage included Limited Edition Performance Company, Teye Sa Thosanne African Drum & Dance, Mo Betta Experience Band, Hope Hop Music Family, Man 2 the Future, Bobby Haynes Blues Band and Quinto Sol. The Hope Hop Music Family Band, which consisted of four sharp looking young men dressed in suit and tie, played a couple of jazz tunes (Bumpin On Sunset by Wes Montgomery, and Mr. Magic by Grover Washington) that made me slip back in time, and put a big grin on my face.
Other activities included a petting zoo, clown, hula-hoop contests for children (and adults who were game), and social service information regarding free services for residents. It was also a great opportunity to meet and speak with residents who had been a long time supporter of the Festival such as Alma Jackson, board member who was a runner-up of the Miss Watts Pageant in 1968.
Thanks also go out to Tulivu Jadi, vice chair of Organization Us, Kathy Williamson, Watts Festival Publicist, Richard O. Jones, Emcee, Author, Playwright, Comedian, Professor Amen Rahh, Founder, Compton Black Think Tank, and the entire planning committee, and volunteers. Great job!
The Miss Compton Pageant (2013-2014) was held on Saturday at the Carson Community Center. The event was attended by elected officials, celebrities, business owners, family/friends of the contestants, community members, and other supporters of the pageant. Shanice McKinley, Executive Director of the pageant opened the event (former Miss Teen/Jr. Compton winner) who also participated in Miss California USA pageant 2010-2011, and Miss Southern Coast where she was crowned in 2011-2012. Shanice said that she re-opened the pageant because she wanted to shine a positive light on her community, and show others that Compton has great people in it – and are doing some positive things each and every day.
The pageant contestants are divided into three categories, from the oldest of the young ladies to the youngest: Miss Compton, Miss Teen Compton, and Miss Jr. Teen Compton respectively. They started off the day by walking the runway and introducing themselves. Then the young ladies participated in the various competitions: sportswear, swimsuit, evening gown, questions & answers, and then a final walk; all done by category.
This is the first beauty pageant that I have covered in its entirety…..and I can truly say that it was a well organized event, and I was impressed with the contestants beauty (inside and out), stage presence, speaking ability, outfits, and definitely their stated causes that they want to work on to help make Compton (and surrounding areas) a better place to live and work. At one point during the day I could not hold back tears because of what was said by a contestant, and she reminded me of the fact that there are a lot of great people in Compton who are doing positive things each and every day.
Before I get to the title winners I want to thank the elected officials who came out. Mayor Jim Dear of Carson for sponsoring the event in his city, Mayor Aja Brown of Compton for supporting the young ladies representing her City, Senator Roderick Wright, Congresswoman Janice Hahn (Dist. Rep. Michelle Chambers), Carson City Councilman, Mike Gipson, CUSD Board members, Margie Garrett (served as a judge), Emma Sharif (presented community service award), and Mae Thomas.
Winner(s) of Miss Compton, Cheyenne Brown, Miss Teen Compton, Latiara Roberts, Miss Jr. Teen Compton, Brandy Johnson. Congratulations ladies! But these young ladies had some tough competition, and here they are: Miss Compton 1st runner up, Ci’Erra Evans, 2nd runner up, Janessa Danyelle. Miss Teen Compton 1st runner up, Success Carter, 2nd runner up, Kimberly Plascensia. Miss Jr. Teen Compton 1st runner up, Milady Duarte, 2nd runner up, Shaterra Jones. Congratulations runner-ups!
Other awards went to contestants in the following categories: Miss Cover Girl, for raising the most funds for the pageant, Ci’Erra Evans. Highest G.P.A., Latiarra Roberts 4.3, Milady Duarte 3.8, Cheyenne Brown 3.8 People’s Choice Awards, Miss Compton, Rosemary Valle, Miss Teen Compton, Kimberly Plascensia, Miss Jr. Teen, Shaterra Jones. Team Award(s), Andrea Luna & Ci’Erra Evans, and Rosemary Valle & Kimberly Plascensia. Most Improved, Faith Grisste, Tracie Davis. Most photogenic, Brandy Johnson, Andrea Luna, Rosemary Valle. Miss Congeniality, most pleasing in nature or character, Brandy Johnson, Latiara Roberts, Cheyenne Brown. Community Service, Cheyenne Brown. Scholarship Award, Cheyenne Brown.
The judges for the contest were Dr. Dione Washington (Miss Compton 1992-1994) Senior Consultant and Proprietor of Quantum Leap Consulting Agency, MeLeah Robinson, founder and CEO of From the Heart Productions, Jose Torres, Board Member of Sativa L.A. County Water District, and editor of the local bilingual newspaper La Voz de Compton, Tootie Inez Adkins, Creator of docu-series Ladies of Compton, and Mortuary Executive/Funeral Director, Andre Spicer, Owner/Operator of The Hub Radio Station, Margie Garrett, Retired Educator, and CUSD Board of Trustees, Vice-President, Jose Beltran, Entertainment Director and wedding professional.
But let’s face it this great event could not have taken place without the pageant staff, volunteers, and sponsors. Staff: Shanice McKinley, Executive Director/Event Coordinator, Corion Lucas, Yvette Carrillo, Master and Mistress of Ceremonies, Debra Dowell, Pageant Coach, Andrea Logan, Photographer, Steve Reed, Komica Purnell, Angelo McVay, Back Stage Hosts.
Sponsors: All pro Printing, Hair 4 U Boutique, La Reyna Discount And Pop’s Chicken, 7 Eleven Store # 39627, Olivia Luna, Independent Beauty Consultant, Rudolph Skeete, Car Audio, Tacos El Rincon, Shoot Me FX (photographer), El Potrero, Yolanda Lopez and Francisco Orozco, CUSD School Board Candidates, United Printers, Exum Medical Corp., Bruce Nelson Residential Home, Trinity Unlimited Child Care Ctr., Brenda’s Catering, Compton Community Pharmacy, the Nem Hicks Family, L&D Barbershop, Jean Richburg, Toyicha Chisom, Cynthia Robinson, Garden of Praise Christian Fellowship, New Revelation Faith Ctr., Get Transformed (weight products), Compton City Councilman Dr. Willie O. Jones, City Pride Magazine, Urdream Photography, Pinks Beauty Salon, Mid City Mini Storage, Pizza King, Passion Latina (dance studio), Monica Lewis Swimwear, Lavita Beauty Lounge, The Perfect Image (photography), Dr. Dione Washington, and the Compton Tribune Newspaper.
Whew! If I missed anyone I apologize in advance…..and contact me to add you on. But as you can see it took a lot of behind the scenes work to make this year’s pageant a success. The young ladies also attended many meetings and events in and around the community to promote the event. And also the 2012-2013 title holders (Miss Compton, Felicia Fairley, Miss Teen Compton, Chrinesha Moore, Miss Jr. Teen Compton, Jasmine Williams supported the event up until handing over the crown to the new winners. Great job everyone…..thanks for showing the world how Compton shines!
For photos and more information on the Miss Compton Pageant go to:
Photos of the 2013-2014 winners: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99891034@N04/sets/72157635051240044/
Photos of 2013-2014 Contestants: http://www.misscompton.com/contestants.php
Miss Compton Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/misscomptonpageant
This past Saturday the Philanthropic Society Los Angeles (PSLA), a support group of Children’s Institute, Inc. (CII), hosted the 2nd Annual Watts Back To School Giveaway to provide much-needed educational resources and support for children, pre-school age to 12th grade. Fall is the season when most families take the purchase of backpacks and other school supplies for granted, but not so for families living in one of Los Angeles’ most challenged communities. Thanks to major support from PSLA, Mattel and nearly 20 other sponsors, the event benefitted approximately 5,000 children and their families who receive services from CII—a nationally recognized organization that helps children and youth severely affected by community and family violence.
In addition to receiving filled backpacks, attendees learned about good nutrition and healthy cooking through demos and snacks from the Watts Healthy Farmers Market, and received useful community information from event partners.
“Providing the resources that children need to start school better prepared is exactly what Philanthropic Society Los Angeles strives to achieve,” says PSLA president Rochelle Gores Fredston. “We’re reaching children who need this support the most.”
Marion Dave, Vice President of Spa 6 Region said that CII adheres to the three R’s philosophy (recovery, restoration, resiliency) when working with its client population. She also said that CII is building a new permanent multi-building campus at the former site of the County South Health Center, located at 1522 E. 102nd St. The completion date is scheduled for 2017. Much thanks to Lizanne Fleming, Director of Communications, the CII leadership team, all volunteers, and sponsors listed below; for some much needed services for the residents of Watts. Great job!
Major event sponsor Mattel was joined by the following supporters: Ted Watkins Park, Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, Parks After Dark, Watts Healthy Farmers’ Market/SEE-LA, Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center, K.I.D.S., Herbalife, LA Galaxy, Office Depot via Feed the Children, 99¢ Only Stores, Plum Organics, Baby2Baby, Activate, Cory Martin Events, Caruso Affiliated, Scholastic, Accessory Innovations, Planet Sox, Handcraft, New Era, LA Party Rents and Centro Latino for Literacy.
And yes I did return to the evening music festival, where groups entertained the local residents…..some who were brave enough to show their dance moves. This is the kind of day that may not be widely advertised on local large media outlets…..but it surely should be. Well done Watts. For more info: go to www.childrensinstitute.org
Slideshow photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/99891034@N04/sets/72157634946902683/
Not too many things are as important as mentoring our youth. And on Saturday the United Job Creation Council (UJCC) held its annual Mentor Recruitment Day & Youth Hip Hop Festival. The event was held at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena. The day included opening prayer, introduction of resource vendors, event staff and volunteers, and the highly anticipated list of entertainers, guest speakers, and artists scheduled to perform throughout the day.
But back to mentoring……UJCC’s official mentoring program called Teleion (a Greek word meaning “complete”) Mentoring is a comprehensive re-entry program designed to keep our youth from re-entering probation camps, and other detention facilities. Adult mentors work with the youth to help them develop goals and objectives that will effectively guide them through life’s challenges. The program provides recreational activities, positive social interactions, educational/vocational opportunities, and potentially gainful employment.
UJCC Teleion Mentoring Program specializes in helping juvenile offenders 12-26 years old in Los Angeles County and specific areas of Compton, Watts, Gardena, Inglewood, and Hawthorne improving their long term market prospects. The program serves as a Model for other mentoring programs.
Of course for a lot of the youth in attendance (and adults alike) the highlight of the day was the awesome performances by such entertainers as Du2ce, a gospel singer on a mission to impact the world for Jesus, Moses The Prophet, a rapper from Compton who uses the word of God as his inspiration, Lady Shofar, who gave her life to Christ after giving birth to her daughter…and now holds a master’s degree in Christian Counseling, Pastor Isaac Williams, born and raised in New York, and has formed the record label Miraculous Music Productions. Also performing were Committed Feet, a Christian Dance team at Cal. State Northridge, and the group #ATHNTCPPLE, started by two brothers who was later joined by their two sisters… use their music to reach out to people who are typically not in Church.
And then for many in attendance it was the guest speaker presentations/testimonies by Jemeker Thompson, (aka Queen Pin), Giovanni Stephens, teaches leadership classes, and Monet Bagneris, a USC graduate, singer and actress who spreads the message of healthy lifestyles.
Much appreciation goes out to Bishop Noel Jones of City of Refuge Church, Jean Franklin, UJCC Executive Director UJCC, Zanetta Smith, Teleion Mentor Coord., and the entire Planning Committee. Job well done!
More info: on Mentoring Program go to: www.Teleionmentoring.org