A jubilant crowd of students from 42nd Street Elementary this week became the grateful recipients of new backpacks stuffed with supplies they need for the school year.
Every student – from transitional kindergarten through fifth grade – received a shiny new bag during an event sponsored by STATE Bags, a buy-one-give-one benefit corporation that has been working in partnership with entertainment company Roc Nation and the Obama administration’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. More than 30,000 students in cities across the U.S. received bags this summer as part of an effort encouraging students to stay in school.
“We are absolutely thrilled about the support from our partners to promote attendance among all of our amazing students,” said Drusilla Hale, Principal of 42nd Street, the first Los Angeles school to receive a bag drop. “Good attendance is the cornerstone of our efforts to promote success. We remind our kids every day that if you want to win, first you need to be here.”
Scot Tatelman, who co-founded STATE Bags three years ago with his wife, Jacqueline, was on hand with a very enthusiastic team of motivational “coaches” from the Brooklyn-based organization.
“These bag drops are our absolute favorite thing that our organization does,” he said. “Our work with under-funded communities rests on the notion that kids need more than ‘stuff.’ They need role models who can inspire and motivate them to beat the odds that are often stacked against them. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be where we are right at this moment with these amazing kids.”
The two-hour event brought every student in the school into the cafeteria for a lively celebration with a DJ from KPRW-FM. Special guests included Detroit rapper Big Sean, featherweight boxer Daniel “Twitch” Franco and composer/producer DJ Mustard – a former student at 42nd Street.
“I remember growing up that I always wanted to be a rapper, so I always kept notebooks in my bag that went with me wherever I went,” Big Sean told the kids. “Those notebooks not only kept my rhymes in them, but they reminded me to stay out of trouble and focus on what I needed to do so I could follow my passions.”
In between the bass-heavy beats that kept the students on their feet and cheering, the “coaches” and special guests lead them through exercises and offered words of wisdom about what they carry with them in their bags that helped lead them on the road to success.
Also on hand was Associate Superintendent Earl Perkins, who was instrumental in bringing the event to L.A. Unified.
“Attendance is one of the key drivers in our overarching strategy to get every student to graduate ready for post-secondary success,” he said. “We are so grateful to STATE Bags, Roc Nation, and My Brother’s Keeper for their tremendous support in promoting good attendance. We look forward to partnering with them further to create more exciting events like this as we move forward.”
Los Angeles Unified’s magnet centers and schools outscored independent charters by double-digit margins on California’s rigorous new state assessments, and also beat the statewide average on the math and English tests, according to a new District report.read more
Seeking successful strategies that could help improve outcomes for English-learners in California’s public schools, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson visited classrooms this week at Union Avenue Elementary, where he got a first-hand look at one of L.A. Unified’s most effective language-development programs.read more
More than 1,300 students from two dozen high schools participated in a Summer Bridge program sponsored by Beyond the Bell and Pupil Services, which allowed them to become familiar with their new campuses.read more
Los Angeles School Police Chief Steve Zipperman is the latest public figure to speak out in a #StopTheViolence video campaign, a series of public service announcements spreading the message of unity, tolerance and respect.read more
L.A. Unified students recorded across-the-board increases in both Math and English Language Arts during the second year of more rigorous state assessments, according to results released today by the California Department of Education.read more
The Encore Thrift Store at Francis Polytechnic Senior High School raises thousands of dollars from the sale of gently used items to benefit the programs for special-education students.read more
Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the former shuttle astronaut and current director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, recently paid a visit to the Ellen Ochoa Learning Center in Bell Gardens, the fourth time she has returned since the school was named in her honor a decade ago.read more
As the inaugural class of Superintendent Michelle King’s Student Summer Scholars program, four high school seniors wasted no time in lending their ideas and efforts to L.A. Unified, contributing to its operations almost immediately after their orientation.read more
Dorsey Students Complete College Board Pilot Class. – L.A. Sentinel
Girls Academic Leadership Academy: A Unique Opportunity.– Jewish Journal
West Valley Occupational Center celebrates 50 years. – Los Angeles Daily News
Linked Learning the focus of innovative high school. – Education Writers of America
Music, arts programs at LA schools increasing after years of decline. – Los Angeles Daily News
Coeur d’Alene Elementary: One school’s journey towards instructional excellence. – Cotsen Foundation
Student identity through the arts. Huffington Post
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