Category: Education

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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Virtual Learning

California Connections Academy Southern California helps students excel during pandemic By Kamala Kirk On September 7, students throughout California logged on for their first day at California Connections Academy Southern California, a network of six tuition-free online public schools serving students since 2004 in grades TK-12 in 32 counties. Now in its 17th year of serving students across the state, the school has demonstrated history of expertise in the learning-from-home model. “California Connections Academy has been an incredible experience for our family,” said Nichole Gould, mother of upcoming California Connections Academy junior Griffin Gould. “My son has been enrolled in Connections Academy for five years and the independent study allows him to learn at his own pace, but also teaches him important life skills such as accountability and time management.” California Connections Academy serves more than 8,000 students across the state. Many families adopted online learning amid the ongoing pandemic during the past two school years and California Connections Academy has seen interest in enrollment increase as more families opt to pursue a permanent virtual education path Students have access to advanced courses and flexible scheduling that helps them take ownership of their own unique educational journey. California Connections Academy’s high school curriculum offers NCAA core courses, career-oriented electives, and University of California “A-G” courses to inspire students to be their best. Beyond their rigorous curriculum, California Connections Academy...

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Supporting Education

Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey awards scholarships to local students By Kamala Kirk The Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey recently awarded $1,000 scholarships to three students from Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets High School. Jasmine Nicole Washington will attend UC San Diego, where she plans to study political science with the goal of becoming a health care attorney and helping to reform the health care system. Denise Martinez will attend UCLA, where she plans to study psychology and become a clinical psychologist. Geyci Martinez is headed to CSU Long Beach, where she plans to earn a degree in public administration: health services. Scholarship committee members, Hilda Almada-Higgins, chair; Margarita Diosomito, Julie Lansing, Vicki Ohlinger and Evelyn Boyar were delighted to help the three young ladies continue to pursue their professional goals. “It mean so much to look back on my childhood, where I started and see where I am right now in my life, I never would have imagined it,” Geyci said. “I felt tears of joy when I read the email saying I was granted the scholarship. It meant a lot to have support and people that believed in me and my future. I feel such an honor to be supported by the Woman’s Club and I can’t stop thanking them for this great...

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