THE ALERT: News from Alliance College-Ready Public Schools 

March 2011

In This Issue
Mohan School of the Year
Chinese Courses Offered
Heritage Ribbon Cutting
City National's Gift of Books
LAMS Teacher Residency
Director of Instructional Technology

Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School Named "Charter School of the Year"  



High-Performing Dr. Olga Mohan High School  

- One of LAUSD's Top Performers-

Named Hart Vision Award Winner at  

California Charter Schools Association Conference


Today the California Charter Schools Association will recognize Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School in Los Angeles as "Charter School of the Year" annual Hart Vision Award recipient for their "commitment to students of all backgrounds, and for making a true difference in their communities."  Alliance President and CEO Judy Burton and Principal, Janette Rodriguez, will accept the award on behalf of Dr. Mohan High School at this year's 18th Annual California Charter Schools Conference in San Diego.

Opened in 2006, Dr. Olga Mohan High School is a free public charter school that has quickly become one of the top-performing high schools in Los Angeles. Mohan High School earned a 2010 API score of 883, ranking it #4 among LAUSD high schools. On the 2010 California Standards Tests, 70% of students were Proficient or Advanced in English and 64% were Proficient or Advanced in Math. Formerly named College-Ready Academy High School #4, Mohan High School was named a 2009 California Distinguished High School, a 2010 Title I Academic Achievement High School and was honored with an EPIC Silver Gain Award in 2009 and EPIC Gold Gain Award in 2010 by the New Leaders for New Schools organization.

"We are very proud of Dr. Mohan High School. It's like the little engine that could, and really took off," said Alliance President and CEO Judy Burton. "Principal, Janette Rodriguez, and staff are the best example of a high-performing team, which focuses on each individual student's success, and works closely with parents as true partners. It is an honor to have an Alliance school recognized, and acknowledge their hard work, because we believe that every child can learn at high levels, if given the tools and the opportunity."

Mohan High School serves 430 students and has a 4-year graduation rate of 100 percent and a 94% 4-year college acceptance rate. The student body at Mohan High School is 93% Hispanic and 5% African-American; 18% are English Language Learners; and 97% qualify for the Free and Reduced Price Meal program.

The four-year-old school was named in honor of Dr. Olga Mohan, a renowned pediatrician and anesthesiologist who taught at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.

The Hart Vision Awards were established in 1995 in honor of Gary K. Hart, retired California State Senator and former California Secretary of Education. The goals of the Hart Vision Awards are to recognize and honor annually schools who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education.


 Chinese Language & Culture Courses

Offered at Heritage 


Jesus Correa, 12th Grader, and Rosa Reyes, 10th Grader, at Heritage High School 


Some very fortunate students at Heritage College-Ready Academy High School are learning Mandarin and Wushu, a Chinese martial art, taught by Master Hu Jianqiang, founder of the U.S. Shaolin Wushu Center. The courses, which are free to Heritage students and meet twice a week for 12 weeks, represent a collaboration between the UCLA Confucius Institute and After-School All-Stars. Heritage High School was chosen after administrators of the Confucius Institute were impressed with the level of interest shown by the students and thanks to After-School All-Starts coordinator, Cindy Lizarraga. The program features Master Hu, a two-time, back to back WuShu World Champion and former film star in tandem with a Chinese culture/language class. 


I sat down with two of the Heritage students participating in the program, now in it's eighth week, to find out what they've learned so far and how they like the classes.


Rosa Reyes, a 10th grader interested in possibly becoming a veterinarian, says she loves the Wushu because it's physical and highly recommends the whole experience. "If ever you have the chance to do this program, do it! I didn't know anyone at first - now I know everyone in class. You make new friends and have fun doing it." She's also learned quite a bit of Mandarin and was happy to share with me her newly appointed Mandarin name - Ming Ming, which means bright or radiant. 


Jesus Correa, a 12th grader interested in George Fox University in Oregon as a possible college choice with plans to major in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, is also one of the 12 students from Heritage enrolled in the program. "I wanted something new," says Jesus when describing why he joined. "If you are interested in learning a new language, Mandarin is spoken in most of the world. That's why I signed up."


Another big bonus - the student who demonstrates the most dedication will win an all-expense paid trip to Shanghai for two weeks this summer. Even Principal Pambello is taking advantage of the opportunity and has committed himself to the classes as well. Congratulations again to Heritage for the good work - let's hope one of our students is the lucky winner of the trip to China!



Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Reminder 

Heritage College-Ready

Academy High School


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.


Heritage College-Ready Academy High School

10101 South Broadway Street

Los Angeles, CA 90003


RSVP to Lili Barsha, Communications Coordinator

(213) 943-4930 x1026 

Environmental Science High School Receives Generous Donation from Barnes and Noble and City National Bank


Reading is The way up, a nonprofit initiative affiliated with City National Bank, collaborated with Barnes and Noble Booksellers over the holidays to share the joy of reading and to make a difference in the life of a child. Through generous donations made by the customers at the Barnes and Noble at the Grove, a total of 500 books were given to Environmental Science and Technology High School.


In addition, City National Bank generously volunteered to match the value of the Barnes and Noble book donations through a store credit redeemable at that store for $5,000! Congratulations to the students of ESAT and thanks to all the good people at Barnes and Noble and City National Bank, especially Vice President Carolyn Rodriguez and Gwen Miller, for coordinating the project.


esat books students 


LAMS Teacher Residents

at Skirball and Mohan 


The Los Angeles Math and Science Residency (LAMS) advances student achievement by developing highly trained, effective math and science teachers who are dedicated to becoming transformative leaders in math and science education. The LAMS mission is accomplished by integrating practice, content, theory, and pedagogy through an in-field apprenticeship model within The College Ready Promise (TCRP) schools in the Los Angeles region.


LAMS provides a rigorous apprenticeship experience for residents that places students at the core of teaching and learning. This model is central to developing school cultures where collaboration, new teacher support, transparent practice, and professional growth are valued, encouraged, and expected...


Meet the LAMS Teachers:


LAMS Mentor Sarah Martinez and Resident Joan Wicks at Skirball Middle School 


Sarah Martinez

Math and Science, Jack H. Skirball Middle School 

I teach sixth grade math and science at Jack H. Skirball Middle School, which is located in the Watts community of south Los Angeles. The school opened in 2006 with only six teachers - five others and myself. We now have twenty teachers on staff and an API score several hundred points higher than neighboring schools. I consider it a privilege to teach at a school where you see the difference you are making each and every day.


During my interview to begin working at Skirball, my principal told me that all of the math teachers would receive support from math coaches from Loyola Marymount University.  As a fairly new teacher, this gave me some confidence. Little did I know that the Center for Math and Science Teaching (CMAST) would transform the way that I taught, and would equip me with research-based strategies to increase student learning. It still encourages me to see the results as I continue to implement and improve what I have learned through CMAST.


As a LAMS mentor teacher, I now have the opportunity to lead a resident teacher through these same math and science strategies in a very hands-on way. Through the LAMS program, I can teach and coach a future teacher about how to effectively implement strategies for teaching middle school math and science. This residency program has allowed me to share my experiences, improve my own practice, develop leadership skills, and influence other teachers so that they might also see the increase in student learning in math and science.


Dane Spracklin

Algebra 1 and 2, Dr. Olga Mohan High School

I am vocal and passionate about one thing at Dr. Olga Mohan High School in Los Angeles: my students. My goal each day is to give them the tools they need to think critically about math and hopefully learn to apply the same enjoyment and intellectual rigor to other aspects of their lives. I would like to build the type of foundation for my students in Algebra 1 and 2 to give them the opportunity to pursue more advanced level coursework in mathematics.


My school was recognized as a 2010 Gold Medal EPIC Gains school for student achievement and a 2009 California Distinguished School, an award that recognizes the state's most exemplary, inspiring and well-rounded community public schools. Great achievements such as these are built one success at a time.


Being a LAMS mentor has allowed me to examine and articulate my own practice and grow as a math teacher. Having residents in my classroom - planning with them, teaching with them, and learning from them - has also allowed me to grow as a teacher leader in ways that have been far beyond anything I ever expected.


LAMS Mentor Dane Spracklin (center) with LMU Residents Justin Chang (left) and David Zampach (right) at Dr. Olga Mohan High School 

Super Futures: Distance Counseling program at Media Arts using Skype Spearheaded by Jennifer Openshaw (seated center), Principal Fox (center left), Nicole Murphy of the Alliance (top right), Iqbal Theba of "Glee" (top center), and the Students of Media Arts. 



LA Media Arts & Entertainment Design High School and SuperFuture Inspire Teens through Unique Online Coaching Program


Students Turn Dreams into Reality and Passions into Impact 


What do you want to be when you grow up? And, how do you get there?


Those are questions that eight lucky students are getting answers to, thanks to an exciting pilot program underway by SuperFutures at Alliance's Media Arts & Entertainment Design High School.


"A lot of my students are shy and aren't used to getting in front of people," said Principal John Fox, who sat in one a session. "But knowing how to think critically and how to sell yourself - those are essential skills to succeeding in college and work. The SuperFutures program is literally connecting our kids with those on the East Coast, helping them define their futures through a structured program, and teaching things we couldn't, even if we had the funds."


"I already feel more confident," said Flor Velez, a student in the Passions into Impact Program. "I'm learning things I never knew - even to help me get into college -- and we've only had two classes. The coach is great."


Founded by Jennifer Openshaw, a former executive in the California Treasurer's Office and columnist for Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, and Iqbal Theba, who plays "Principal Figgins" on the hit TV show, Glee, SuperFutures has developed coaching and courses with Harvard experts and leveraged technology to deliver college and career counseling in a cost effective yet engaging structure.


"Unfortunately, tight budgets mean that many of our schools aren't able to have a guidance counselor until year three of operations," said Nicole Murphy, Director of College Success, who initiated the pilot with SuperFutures. "Even if they do, they're not equipped to bring in the real-world experts and national connection to other students that can expand our students' horizons and learning."


The eight students are divided into two different SuperFutures courses.  Discover Your Future  features 10 sessions, an assessment in which students identify possible careers and college majors, and creation of a Career Action Plan to clarify goals, interests and career options.


"I've always wanted to be a musician," says Noe Anderson, 15. "In my Discover Your Future course, I got to research how to make this a career. I learned that successful musicians start playing young. So, I am already on my way! This course is inspiring me to go for it!"

Alliance Welcomes  

Director of Instructional Technology   

Scott Perloff has been an educator for the 

past 27 years. He has a depth of experience working in K - 12 and adult education, both public and private. His current position as Director, Instructional Technology for the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools is a natural fit for Mr. Perloff since he has been working in Educational Technology for the 

past 15 years.

His interest lies in how to best design and implement technology-rich learning environments for schools. This work includes the the development of school Video Project/Production Studios and Technology Enhanced Classrooms (TEC). He also has significant experience in the implementation of technology into teaching and learning while working with middle and high school students and teachers. Over the next few years, Mr. Perloff will guide the implementation of the $5 million federal Investing in Innovation (i3) grant throughout the Alliance schools.

Mr. Perloff currently holds a California Multi-Subject Teaching and a Language Development Specialist Credential; a B.A. in music from the University California, Santa Cruz; a M Ed. in Education Technology from Pepperdine University; and in progress, an EdD in Education Technology Leadership from Pepperdine University.


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