Category: Education

New Academic Complex

Santa Monica High School expands with sustainable Discovery Building By Kamala Kirk Santa Monica High School recently hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the new Discovery Building. Architecture firm HED (Harley Ellis Devereaux), in collaboration with Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners, designed the new academic complex that has transformed the school’s North Campus. It has elevated educational, cultural and recreational pursuits; improved campus access and circulation, and supports whole child development and diverse learning styles. The five-story, 280,000-square-foot complex fosters social interactions and strengthens the sense of community on the campus. Wrapped around an open-entry courtyard, the innovative structure is designed as an “open building” with a flexible open-column grid, raised floor and non-load bearing walls that can be reconfigured over time. The new complex is sustainable and flexible, featuring displacement ventilation, photovoltaic and solar thermal arrays, and a two-story living green wall. Outdoor classrooms, including a rooftop hydroponic garden and science classrooms, connect students with the natural world to support hands-on learning, while interior classrooms are organized around common spaces to build on a sense of belonging, identity and interconnectivity. Additional features include a publicly accessible 50-meter pool, a central kitchen and dining facility, medically fragile suite and labs, and...

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Seeking Student Submissions

LMU to host New Music on the Bluff Festival By Kamala Kirk Loyola Marymount University’s Music Department is once again hosting its New Music on the Bluff Festival in April, and is currently seeking composition submissions from high school or junior college students. Eight finalists will have their pieces performed by LMU’s world-renowned music faculty in the culminating live concert in LMU’s Murphy Recital Hall, which will be broadcast on the Internet and on KXLU 88.9 Los Angeles. They will also have access to masterclasses, meet and greets, and private composition lessons with festival faculty. LMU’s New Music on the Bluff Festival is a composition competition and new music festival for current high school and junior college students, inviting talented young composers from the U.S. and beyond to submit scores for consideration. Students currently enrolled in either high school/secondary education or in a two-year undergraduate degree program (junior college or community college) are invited to submit one or more pieces or songs for the festival. The festival will be held on April 29 and 30 at LMU. Applications are due electronically by Jan. 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Apply here:...

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Teaching Tech Skills

Program provides free work training and job placement for young adults and veterans By Kamala Kirk A new tech training program launched in Los Angeles County this month that provides tuition-free work training and job placement for young adults and military veterans. Funded by Microsoft and national nonprofit NPower, the expansion of the six-month training program into LA comes following the success of its San Jose program. “NPower was originally founded in 2001 by Microsoft as a managed service provider of tech support for nonprofits around the country,” said Chris Starling, executive director for NPower California. “NPower was incorporated and began offering tech training to youth who could deliver these support services to nonprofits and beyond. Later the focus shifted to tech training and follow-on job placement. To date, we’ve served over 6,400 students from nontraditional pathways and diverse backgrounds.” After receiving a grant from Microsoft, the program was able to expand to LA County in October. NPower also has a location in San Jose, CA, along with cities in six other states nationwide including Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Texas. According to Starling, the IT Support Specialist Program is for aspiring IT professionals at the beginner and intermediate level. Students can expect to master the basics of network infrastructure and troubleshooting. 18 weeks of instructor-led virtual training are followed by paid internships, project-based learning experiences...

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Academic Excellence

Local high schools persevered during the pandemic to help students succeed By Kamala Kirk COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the educational landscape, creating many challenges for teachers and students. Schools had to quickly switch to a virtual learning format, finding new ways to keep students engaged while continuing to provide them with a high-quality education. Prior to returning to the classroom, educational institutions spent a lot of time planning and preparing to welcome students back to a safe learning environment while adapting to a new “normal.” Over the past year and a half, the administrators, staff, faculty and teachers at Santa Monica High School (SMHS) and Venice High School have gone above and beyond to support students and their ongoing academic success. From learning advanced technology to establishing updated protocols, the schools and their students have continued to flourish throughout the pandemic. When COVID-19 first hit in March 2020, both schools closed for 18 months during the shutdown. Dr. Antonio Shelton, principal of SMHS, said that when he and his staff were made aware that that would not be attending school as normal, they immediately asked students to take home their school-issued Chromebooks. “Thankfully, we had issued them to students and had started the year off with all teachers having to set up a Google classroom,” Shelton said. “Having a Google classroom already set up for students...

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Raising Funds for Local Schools

Santa Monica Education Foundation’s back-to-school campaign brings in $561,442 By Kamala Kirk Santa Monica Education Foundation’s back-to-school campaign recently raised $561,442 to fund staff and programs at its associated public schools. About 524 donors contributed to the campaign and the money raised will fund arts programs, classroom aides, STEM and wellness programs at local schools. A $25,000 match from Kilroy Realty led the campaign, which also included two separate $2,500 one-day matches from Harmony Hoefner Group/Compass and Santa Monica Music Center. “Kilroy Realty is honored to support Santa Monica’s public schools and we are thrilled that our matching gift inspired so many people to donate,” said Philip Tate, senior vice president, development and government affairs. “We are committed to doing our part to provide an excellent education to students, and we are proud that our support will help give students the vibrant education they deserve.” Last year, the Ed Foundation’s fundraising contributed nearly $2 million to fund staff and programs in Santa Monica schools. Fundraising for 2021-2022 continues through June 30. “This back-to-school campaign was a fantastic way to kick off our fundraising efforts this year,” said Alison Havel, president of the Ed Foundation’s board of directors. “We are extremely grateful to Kilroy Realty for this generous matching gift opportunity. We also appreciated Harmony Hoefner Group, Santa Monica Music Center, and every donor who stepped forward to support our...

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