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March 2, 2018
Hello friends and partners, 

My favorite book from middle school, and one that I loved reading with my students, is To Kill a Mockingbird.  At one point in the book, Atticus Finch turns to his son, Jem, and says, “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know that you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

The Parkland students who have turned from victims to activists—and their peers across the country—are examples of real courage.  And I think, despite the odds, they’re going to win. 

Only a few days have gone by in 2018 when we haven’t been rocked by the tragedies of a school shooting.  This has become an American epidemic and these student activists remind us that we all have a part to play to rid our schools, and our communities, of gun violence.  I have drafted a Resolution that the Board will hopefully adopt on March 13th that calls on Congress to immediately pass commonsense gun safety measures.   It also calls on LA Unified to reflect on our own school safety plans and ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep students safe.  While Congress has abdicated its responsibility to do so—and, as a result, we have students as young as twelve who have access to guns—we will continue to ensure that our schools are places where children can learn and thrive safely and peacefully.

The Parkland students remind us that we can follow our darkest hours with our brightest opportunities for change.  I remain hopeful that this generation—those kids in our schools this minute—will be the ones that teach us what real courage is.  And I’m grateful to their teachers for supporting them. 

As I visit schools every week and see the future promise of our country, I’m reminded of something Bobby Kennedy once said:  “Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”

With gratitude,

Read on for more about empowering young leaders, recognizing academic talent and charitable acts, and celebrating new partnerships in BD4 schools.
Priorities in Practice: Increasing Transparency,
Balancing the Budget, and Cutting Red Tape
A Bad Deal for Students and Teachers: Read my op-ed on the recent healthcare deal between LAUSD and eight unions 
Open Data Opening Doors: Read the LA Times' take on why we need my newly-passed "Open Data" Resolution 
PTA Fees Officially Eliminated: As of February 1, 2018, I am happy to report that fees for PTAs, PTOs, and Booster Clubs to use school facilities have officially been eliminated! When I heard that parent groups were paying fees to use school facilities to meet or fundraise, I urged the District to eliminate this barrier for our families. I will keep working to cut red tape in L.A. Unified to increase parent and community engagement in our schools.
Plus: Check out all the projects and funding we’ve started this year in BD4!
Getting Out to Schools:
Tying Ties and Taking Questions with Young Leaders
I participated in the Young Men of Color conference—an event designed to bring students together to find their power and their voice, and to empower them to build upon that foundation for educational success and leadership in the future.
I joined the “Find Your Calling” Club at Taft High School to discuss how I found my calling in education and how current students can turn their passions into future careers. Conversations like this motivate our kids to get to and through college.  
Keep track of my progress visiting every school in BD4 this year!
School Spot-L.I.G.H.T.S.
Serrania and Woodland Hills Pull off Haircuts for a Cause
Serrania Charter for Enriched Studies and Woodland Hills Academy held their annual “Pony Up” cut-a-thon to donate hair to make wigs for cancer patients and raise awareness! These school communities are a shining example of how to teach kids the value of human kindness and helping others.
Bernstein Connects Education to Entertainment in the Heart of Hollywood
Bernstein High School recently celebrated a great new partnership with Netflix, whose headquarters is just steps away from the high school complex. This innovative partnership will create hands-on learning opportunities for students interested in entertainment.
Pali and Venice Show off their Science Skills at the LADWP Bowl
Teams from Venice High School and Palisades Charter High School competed in the LADWP’s 2018 Science Bowl last weekend. These students spent their Saturday answering college-level math, science, and technology questions with other local high schools. Congratulations to all the L.A. Unified participants!
City School History Buffs to Take their Talent to Atlanta Bee
Four students from The City School qualified for the Finals of the National History Bee, to be held in Atlanta this June! These eighth graders are representing great learning in our schools and I am proud to cheer them on as they display their history skills.
Stay in the Know: Updates and Upcoming Dates
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily updates on L.A. Unified,
Board District 4, education news, and much more:
You can also contact my office anytime at (213) 241-6387 or

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Thank you!