Linwood Howe Spotlighted At Meeting
Linwood E. Howe Elementary School and Culver City High were the spotlighted schools at the Culver City School Board’s first meeting of the New Year on January 22.
Kim Indelicato, principal of Linwood E. Howe (or as it is familiarly known, Lin Howe), gave a presentation on her school as several students sat on the floor in front of the podium, all wearing Linwood E. Howe T-shirts.
“We focus on a well-balanced approach…..a challenging, authentic, and nurturing environment,” said Indelicato. “Beyond academics, we offer a wide variety of programs.”
Among those programs on the list shown via slides were the “Mathletes” club, featuring two retired UCLA professors who offer advanced math and logic exercises; an anti-bullying program; and “Family Fun Night.” One recent Family Fun Night found over 20 families making gingerbread.
Lin Howe’s API (Academic Performance Index) was 826 for the 2010-2011 school year. In 2011-2012, it improved to 862, a 36-point gain.
The students who had been sitting on the floor were then invited to the podium to tell their stories about how the school helps them.
One student said “I like the Homework Club because I do my homework there and then I can relax!”
Board member Karlo Silbiger observed that Linwood E. Howe has “made remarkable gains without losing character.”
The students wound up the presentation with their cheer: some chanted “LIN” and the rest chanted “HOW!”
Culver City High principal Dylan Farris (sporting a bow tie) gave a more subdued presentation. He noted the school’s ethnic/racial diversity: 22 percent white, 23 percent African-American, 39 percent Hispanic, 12 percent Asian.
The school is also experiencing API growth-the current API is 821. There have been continual gains in English Language Arts (ELA) and math “but we’re trying to close the achievement gap with different student groups.” Farris said that English Language learners and students with disabilities were the two groups with the biggest challenges.
42 percent of the students at Culver City High have been cited as “eligible for college entrance,” a number up from 38 percent last year.
497 students took Advanced Placement tests in 2012. 71 percent of the students scored 3 or higher.
School-wide goals, according to Farris, include increasing the students’ ELA and math proficiency; providing support to students not meeting learning targets; increasing the number of students who go to college; and decreasing the number of 9th grade students who fail one or more classes.
Students from Culver City High spoke about the school’s newest programs, among them “Blended Model Math Support,” (an early morning remedial math class); Link Crew Class; “A + A” (Athlete and Academic Support Program); ROP (Regional Occupational Program) Film; ROP Robotics; and video game design and programming.
One student described the Robotics program, in which students are actually building robots. “I have no interest in going into engineering,” she said. “But [robotics] is such a great experience!”
Board member Nancy Goldberg asked Farris about the school’s environmental status. Here, Farris admitted that the high school’s facility is “over-used” or as he preferred to call it, “seasoned.”
“It’s a struggle to keep it ‘green,’’’ he said. “But we have a lot of students who are environment-conscious. It’s a constant conversation.”
Earlier in the evening four public hearings were held on the initial bargaining proposals between the Culver City Federation of Teachers (CCFT), the Association of Classified Employees (ACE) and the School Board.
Culver City Federation of Teachers president David Mielke spoke during the public hearing on the CCFT’s initial collective bargaining proposal to the city. He thought two issues were of primary concern—class size and compensation.
“My [average] class size this year is verging on 36 students,” said Mielke. “Teachers are concerned that they can’t be efficient with a large class.”
A competitive salary is also an incentive for attracting the best teachers, Mielke added. He believed that the community would support him on these issues but expressed the wish that more people would participate in the public hearing process for collective bargaining. Mielke was the only speaker who spoke in any of the four public hearings on bargaining proposals.