Education, Arts & Culture

Operation Graduation – A Celebration of Success

In an inspiring ceremony at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, more than 280 students and 2000 well-wishers participated in a commencement ceremony for students graduating from the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) alternative education programs, juvenile court schools, and special education programs.

The annual event, sponsored by the LA County Office of Education and the County Probation Department, celebrated the academic achievements of truly remarkable high school teens, who have persevered through delinquency, behavioral problems, substance abuse, and pregnancy.

The words of this year’s valedictorian, Roman Guerra, who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) moved those in attendance.

“I have a purpose. I have a vision. I have faith. Tomorrow I am going to make a difference in this world,” said Guerra who reminded graduates, “If you fall, get up learn from your mistakes and approach problems differently.”

Overall, 633 students will graduate this year from the LACOE-led alternative education programs, juvenile court & community schools, and special education programs.

Congratulations Graduates!

Watts Summer Games 2011

The mission of the L.A. Watts Summer Games is to build bridges of understanding among high school youth. The Games strive to promote positive interaction, respect and achievement through spirited competition in athletics.

 

 

 

 

In the spring of 1968, the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce established the Watts Junior Olympics. Conceived by a belief in the promise of youth and respect for the dignity of human life, the L.A. Watts Summer Games “promotes positive interaction through competition in athletics, art and scholastics.” The name is a reminder that all Americans must seek new forms of communication with one another if we are to avoid the problems and tensions that ultimately resulted in the Watts riots of 1965.

The Games were modeled after the Olympic Games by William Sims and fellow members of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce. An original goal of the Games was to provide awareness of Olympic sports and to develop athletic talent from Southern California for future Olympic competition. This goal has come to fruition by encouraging young athletes such as Jamaal Wilkes, Florence Griffith Joyner, John Elway, Valerie Brisco Hooks, Vince Ferragamo, and Byron Scott, to name a few.
The success of the first Games – which involved 150 athletes competing in three events at Locke High School – persuaded all who were involved that the concept was sound. Through the years, the number of participants grew to 12,000 and new sports were added to the competition, totaling 17 events.

 

Additionally, competitions were added in cheerleading, music, art and poetry. As the number of participants and sports continued to grow, so did the geographic boundaries from which the participants came: Southern California, Central California, Oregon, Louisiana, and even New Zealand.

 

Almost 200,000 youth have competed during the past 30 years. To promote the achievements of high school students in areas other than athletics, “scholastics” was added to the mission of the Games to recognize the accomplishments of both athletes and scholars. The Games established a scholarship program for youth dedicated to serving the community through volunteerism, and has awarded more than $300,000 in scholarships since its inception in 1992.

 

The Games are not just designed for a gathering of cultures. They are a gathering of ideas, philosophies and the realization that today’s youth can achieve common goals, and reach greater heights through sports. All of the young men and women who compete are winners in their own right, because they do their best, and participate in the spirit of fair play.
As each year ushers in new volunteers, sponsors, spectators, and community support, thousands of youth push themselves to greater achievements, learn to rise above hardship and prejudice and pursue their dreams and goals.

 

  • The Games grew to be the largest high school athletic competition in the nation with more than 7,000 participants.
  • The Games are covered by more than 30 media outlets, including two weeks of pre-Games coverage by NBC. Additional coverage draws from CBS, ABC, Fox, the Los Angeles Times, Power 106 FM, The Beat, Xtra Sports 690 AM as well as many other print, radio and television sources.
  • More than 300 volunteers from the LAJCC, community organizations, youth groups, CIF officials and other corporations support the implementation of the Games.
  • The reach of the Games extends to students and schools in the following counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo and San Francisco.
  • Recognized accomplishment, with more than 40 years of equity and good standing in the Southern California and high school athletic communities.
  • The L.A. Watts Summer Games is a nonprofit event.
  • The California Interscholastic Federation continues in its support and endorsement of the Games.
L.A. Watts Summer Games Highlights
  • 1969 – Games moved to LA High School. Gymnastics, swimming and diving added. Number of athletes increased to 600.
  • 1970 – Women’s events added for the first time. Games moved to Cal State LA. Soccer and wrestling added.
  • 1971 – Football and Tennis added to Games.
  • 1974 – Games attracted more than 5,000 youth.
  • 1975 – Men’s water polo, art and music competitions added.
  • 1977 – Woman named Most Outstanding Participant
  • 1978 – First woman chair named. Softball competition added.
  • 1979 – Games move to East L.A. College. Judo competition added, totaling 23 events. Leadership and volunteer awards established.
  • 1980 – Participation reaches all time high. Steering Committee organization and structure improved.
  • 1981 – First Pro-Stars Celebrity Basketball Game, featuring 17 Games alumni.
  • 1983 – Summer Games Foundation created for year-round fundraising management.
  • 1984 – Games committee implemented a plan to invlove the Southern Pacific Association Amateur Athletic Union.
  • 1985 – A record 128 men’s basketball teams competed. Games participation surpassed Olympic Games with more than 9,000 participants.
  • 1986 – Games moved to El Camino College. Cheerleading competition held at Knotts Berry Farm and hosted more than 1,000 cheerleaders.
  • 1987 – Games celebrates 20th anniversary.
  • 1988 – A Rap for Peace Symposium in Association with the Community Youth Gang Services was established.
  • 1992 – Scholarship Program established.
  • 1991 – The number of athletes grew to 12,000.
  • 1999 – Florence Griffith Joyner Alumni Award established by committee member Jan Hardy.
  • 2000 – Most sports move to two-game guarantee.
  • 2004 – The Home Depot Center becomes the host venue for the Games.
  • 2006 – Community 5K Run/Walk added.
  • 2007 – Games celebrates 40th anniversary.
  • 2008 – SpiritFest Event was created to encompass the Cheer, Dance, Hip Hop and Pom Categories. The LAWSG Logo was changed.
  • 2009 – LA Southwest College once again becomes the Host Venue for the Games. Boys and Girls Lacrosse was added to the Games Tournament.
  • 2010 – Advisory Council established. Games logo changed to be more in line with the overall LAJCC Brand.
  • 2011 – Opportunities through Education Day added to the overall LAWSG Program.  Annual Games Fundraiser established, The Champions Ball.

Los Angeles County Office of Education hires veteran educator as superintendent

Arturo Delgado will take over the 27,000-student district that educates young offenders in juvenile halls as well as students in specialized schools. He is now superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District.

By Carla Rivera, Los Angeles Times

June 13, 2011 — When veteran educator Arturo Delgado takes over as the superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education next month, he will face a formidable challenge: charting a new course for an unheralded but powerful agency that has been hammered by budget cuts and faulted for failing to adequately educate the troubled and incarcerated youth it serves.

Delgado was chosen for the post by the county Board of Supervisors last week after a closed-door meeting. He was one of five finalists for the position that was vacated last August when Darline P. Robles retired amid controversies over the safety and academic progress of students in detention facilities.

In November, the county settled a federal class-action lawsuit that calls for sweeping reforms at one of the largest facilities, Camp Challenger in Lancaster.

The agency controls a $700-million state-funded budget, offers support services — and must approve budgets — for 80 kindergarten-through-12th-grade school districts and provides classroom instruction annually for 27,000 students, including young offenders in juvenile halls and probation camps and students in the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and other specialized schools.

“I think I bring to the county the ability to build relationships and I hope to extend my hand to organizations and talk to them and hear what they have to say,” Delgado, 59, said in an interview. “It’s going to be challenging. Decisions have to be made, and I hope to make the kind of budget cuts that stay away from kids. Our priorities have to respect our mission statement of providing the best education we can.”

Supervisors said they were impressed by Delgado’s energetic management style during his 12 years as superintendent of the San Bernardino City Unified School District, his embrace of innovative ideas and his willingness to engage teachers and other stakeholders while holding all accountable.

“The main priority is to get education programs in juvenile halls and probation camps at the level they deserve to be,” said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. “We’re counting on Dr. Delgado to bring that hands-on commitment he expressed in his interview, his written materials and his experiences to bear, because these kids are not getting a quality education.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said Delgado plans to examine successful detention programs in Houston, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere to find solutions to Los Angeles County’s failings.

“He showed an aptitude about probation and a willingness to take a risk,” Ridley-Thomas said. “We need to have someone go in there and take the bull by the horns.”

Full LA Times Article from June 13, 2011, here.

“Morning Joe” Broadcasts from Crenshaw High School

How do schools in the Second District help encourage learning, promote excellence, build a strong learning community, and ultimately promote jobs?  Crenshaw High School is undergoing a process of empowerment and transformation at a local community level serving as an example for schools and communities across the nation.

 

The L.A. Urban League’s Blair Taylor discusses the Neighborhoods@Work program, which helps address issues in urban communities as they pertain to Crenshaw High School and the Crenshaw/LAX Line job creation.

 

 

 

Leimert Park Village Book Fair



The Leimert Park Village Book Fair Planning Committee has named world renown artist Charles Bibbs as the official artist for the 2011 Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF). Bibbs unveiled his work, “The Reader II,” in celebration of the book fair’s fifth anniversary. “The Reader II” will appear on all LPVBF marketing and event materials. “Charles Bibbs is a national treasure and we are thrilled to have an artist of his caliber create our signature artwork,” commented LPVBF Executive Director Cynthia Exum. During African American Heritage Month in February, the Los Angeles City Council formally recognized Bibbs for his contributions to the book fair. The Leimert Park Village Book Fair will take place on Saturday, June 25, from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm in the lot adjacent to the Vision Theatre, 3341 43rd Place in Los Angeles, California 90008 .

The LPVBF 2011 line-up includes over 100 authors, exhibitors and vendors, including many of the top African American authors and celebrity speakers. “Every year we’ve grown bigger and better,” says Exum. “This year, we’re very excited to have many amazing authors and celebrities guests and expect over 5,000 festival attendees. We’ve also organized some very relevant panel discussions that touch on a variety of current issues in our community. There’s definitely going to be something for everyone at this year’s book fair.” Applications for the author’s tent and vendors are still available online at www.leimertparkbookfair.com or by calling (323) 730-0628.

Bibbs’ works displays a unique, strong and stylized quality done in a combination of abstract and realistic interpretations of a contemporary subject. Using his ethnic heritage as inspiration, along with a mixture of realism and fantasy, he has developed a distinctive style. A native of Southern

California, Bibbs’ exposure to African and Native American art, which both have a distinct spiritual motivation, is strongly reflected in his works. “My most important goal is to make profound aesthetic statements that are ethnically rooted, and at the same time, arouse spiritual emotions within us,” says Bibbs.

Mr. Bibbs is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, presented by the African American Chamber of Commerce; a Community Recognition Award from the National Council of Negro Women; a NAACP Freedom Community Award; an Appreciation Service Award by the California State Assembly. His work has been exhibited at museums around the country and overseas. A partial list of Bibb’s art collectors are Frankie Beverly, Najee, Steve Harvey, Dr. Bernard and Mrs. Shirley Kinsey, Marc Brown, Earl Graves, Queen Latifah, Drs. Frank and Marsha Glover, Dr. And Mrs. Charles Mitchell, the University of Arizona and Fox Searchlight Pictures. Charles Bibbs will also be on hand at the Book Fair to meet and greet festival attendees. For more information on the event, visit www.leimertparkbookfair.com or call (323) 730-0628.

About Leimert Park Village Book Fair:
Produced by Exum and Associates in partnership with L.A. City 8th District Councilmember Bernard C. Parks, the LPVBF also is supported by public partners Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, 2nd District; the City of Los Angeles; the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; Community Build; and the Leimert Park Village Merchant’s Association. Sponsors include Nestle U.S.A., Inc.; The Gas Company; SEIU–ULTCW; Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management; The Walt Disney Company; Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza; and Capri Capital Partners. The mission of LPVBF is to promote, encourage and advocate literacy, education and the love of reading throughout the Greater Los Angeles areas. LPVBF is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to producing year-round educational programming, as well as to the presentation of events in collaboration with our partners, in addition to the annual summer fair for which the organization is named.