Author: garywalker

Westchester High in ëbottom fifthí in the state, according to WASC accreditation committee

A recent review of Westchester High Schoolís academic performance identified substantial deficiencies and a lack of communication between parents, teachers and administrators, according to the organization that accredits California high schools. The analysis by a five-member committee of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) ranks Westchester High near the bottom fifth among public high schools in the state. The study found that in addition to poor academic performance, disciplinary problems and truancy are considered to be of serious concern. The association is also charged with assigning accreditation to all public and private schools, colleges and universities in the state. Two years ago, Crenshaw High School temporarily lost its accredited status after a Western Association of Schools and Colleges visiting committee found the school was deficient in its physical structure and academic standards. After hearings on accreditation were conducted by Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero of Los Angeles with members of the association and outraged Crenshaw parent groups and students, the schoolís certification was restored. But Western Association of Schools and Colleges committee chairman William Brand did compliment Westchester High School on an atmosphere that is favorable to students, including a diverse curriculum. “We want to come back and get some real accountability here,” he said. “Nobody is negative about this school.” “Clearly, there is a lot of work to be done at Westchester High,” said A.J. Duffy,...

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Airport Commission endorses bill on air pollution 3-2

Seeking to address neighborhood concerns regarding air contaminants from jet fumes that have reportedly increased exponentially in recent years, the Santa Monica Airport Commission recommended Monday, April 23rd, that the City Council support legislation that has been submitted to the State Legislature to study aircraft pollution. Assembly Bill (AB) 700, sponsored by Assemblyman Ted Lieu, was crafted to target toxins produced from larger airplanes at Santa Monica Airport. Under the bill, the state Air Resources Board would be required to complete an analysis of air pollution from jets and turboprop airplanes taking off and landing at Santa Monica Airport. The commission endorsed Assembly Bill 700 in a 3-2 vote. ‘I expected a unanimous vote, so I’m definitely disappointed,’ said commission member Yoram Tal, who voted with Susan Hartley and Ofer Grossman to support the pending legislation. ‘I think this is important legislation, and I truly hope that the city will put its voice and weight behind it.’ Commission chair Mark Young, one of the commissioners who voted no, said this week that because AB 700 is still in its nascent stage, the recommendation was somewhat premature. ‘While I agree with the concept of [AB 700], I thought that it would be best to wait until it’s in it’s final form,’ Young said. ‘If this was in its final version, I don’t think that I would have opposed [the recommendation],’...

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LMU inaugurates service allowing students to receive wireless messages

Thousands of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) students will now be able to receive communications via cellular phone and BlackBerry wireless handheld devices (personal digital assistants) during an emergency or crisis, thanks to a new and innovative mass notification system. Connect-ED, a communications service that university officials purchased through a company called the NTI Group, Inc., went into effect Friday, April 20th, and is considered an additional mechanism that the school can employ to assist students and parents in times of crisis, says Erin Griffin, vice president of information technology services at LMU. “This is a new tool that will help us protect our students,” Griffin said. The service enables school administrators to record, schedule, send, and track personalized voice messages to tens of thousands of students, parents and staff members in minutes. While several students at LMU on Monday told The Argonaut that they were not familiar with the new system, those who had heard about Connect-ED seemed to approve of the new service. “I think itís a good idea,” said Geraldine Silva, 18, a business major at the University Center. She learned about Connect-ED through an e-mail that university officials sent to the student body last week. Told that many of her fellow students were not aware of the mass notification system, Silva appeared surprised. “Maybe some of them donít check their e-mails that much,” she said. Lauren...

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