East Los Angeles CoS

December 1, 2020

Congratulations! NEW East Los Angeles CoS Administrator Lisa Davis

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Greetings East Los Angeles! It's an honor and pleasure to serve the community I was born and raised in as the East Los Angeles Community of Schools Administrator.

As a principal for 10 years at an award-winning pilot high school-LIBRA Academy, it is my vision and goal for all our schools in East Los Angeles to offer the "award-winning" caliber of instruction that all our students deserve. Equity and access to a quality educational experience is our community of schools' mission and I'm excited to continue our partnership with our parents and school leaders to ensure our students are confident and prepared for college, career, and the future!

Springing Hope in the Time of COVID!

For over a decade a large parcel has sat untouched on the northeast corner of the sprawling Griffith STEAM Magnet Middle School campus. What was once a beautiful, award winning garden and agricultural space named Shibley’s Garden after the beloved horticulture teacher, it became a ruin after Mr. Shibley’s retirement, and like most ruins seem to do, the vast, vacant, overgrown lot, communicated the notion of better times gone by.

For years, ideas about what to do with that space floated around. Nothing materialized.

If there is a bright side to COVID-19, is that it has further revealed our need to connect, to draw strength from our communities, to ask ourselves what more can I do to support and bring hope, to act in the service of others. It was this sentiment that propelled us at Griffith to pull our resources, our partnerships, and our collective good will to bring back the garden in service of others.

Led by Mr. Johnny Rodriguez, our community garden will be a space where students, families, Griffith staff and community members can come together. Our garden will function as a learning space and a gathering place, where relationships among all can grow and flourish.

The vision for the garden is to:

❖ Provide students hands-on learning and an opportunity to be part of a project that contributes to beautification of their campus and wellbeing of their community.

❖ Provide access to nutritious food by sustaining a food pantry, to improve food security for the community.

❖ Provide a safe recreation space for students, families and community members.

❖ Host events that focus on wellbeing and living a healthy lifestyle.

Given our current circumstances, this project has started from the homes of our Horticulture students. In September, our students received planters, soil and seeds. From their homes, students will learn the science of food growth and production, how to properly care for their plants and the significance of growing their own food.

Once we are able to return safely to campus, we will transition their home gardens to our community garden. From there, we will host events welcoming the community and asking for their support to sustain our garden through volunteerism.

As a STEAM school, through Project Based Learning, Griffith requires students to “think globally and act locally.” Griffith’s community garden is an example of that, and a good example of learning that has heart, purpose and goodness.

By: Dr. Gregorio Verbera, Griffith STEAM Magnet Middle School

Alma Corado-Barrios, LAEP Community School Coordinator

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Elementary Parent Corner: Habits at Home Can Help Your Child Thrive in School and Life

Every family—and every child—is different, but there are ways all families can set their children up for success. Studies show that kids are more likely to achieve in elementary school and beyond when their parents give them the tools to succeed. To help your child:

  • Assign chores. Kids who have responsibilities around the house learn how to be responsible. Give your child a list of weekly tasks to complete. He may grumble, but don’t give in.
  • Teach social skills. Your child’s success in life hinges on more than grades; it centers on his ability to get along with others. Model good behavior—like cooperation and courtesy.
  • Set the bar high. Expect your child to do well, and he’ll rise to the occasion. Don’t demand perfect grades, but do insist he work to the best of his ability. And praise him when he tries hard—even if he falls short. When you show him you believe in him, he’ll believe in himself.
  • Nurture your relationship. You are your child’s parent, not his friend. But you’re also his ally. So, make time to have fun together! Share a hobby. Play catch in the yard. Never let your child forget you love him and have his back.
  • Take care of yourself. If you’re always stressed, your child will be, too. Carve out time to relax, exercise, or curl up with a good book. A calm, peaceful home starts with you.

Reprinted with permission from the November 2020 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: R. Gillett and R. Premack, “Science says parents of successful kids have these 11 things in common,” Business Insider, niswc.com/elem_habits2.

Secondary Parent Corner: Research Reveals the Importance of Having a Success Mindset

The music teacher handed out a difficult new piece. But your teen wasn’t worried. “I’ll just practice until I get it.”

Then later, his math teacher introduced a new math skill. Your teen rolled his eyes. “I can’t learn this,” he said. “I’m no good in math.”

The truth is that the same strategy your teen learns to master his music is the one that will help him learn the difficult math problems. But many students do not see the connection between practice and results in the classroom.

Researchers at Stanford conducted a study on motivation. They divided students into two groups. They praised one group for their ability (“You must be smart to get that right”). They praised the other group for their effort (“You really worked hard to figure that out”).

Over time, students in the group praised for their ability backed off a challenge. But the teens praised for their work effort said, “Bring it on.”

How do you see school success? Do you believe your teen can learn anything if he works at it? That is what researchers now call the “success mindset.” It’s critical to helping students stay motivated to face—and overcome—challenges.

Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Turns out that he was exactly right!

Reprinted with permission from the November 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (High School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: B. Goodwin, Changing the Odds for Student Success: What Matters Most, Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning.

Leadership Spotlight: New Assistant Principal, Alma Marmolejo @ Hamasaki EL

Experience Highlights:
  • 16 years classroom teacher experience in 1st-6th grade
  • TSP 3 yrs., EL Designee, Title I Coordinator
  • First year Assistant Principal


As an administrator and leader, I want to affect the most change and bridge the pathway for students between home, college, and career readiness. I want to become an active administrator who builds teacher capacity by targeting individual, grade level and school wide needs as indicated by data and stakeholder feedback. I want to empower parents to make them feel that they are true partners in educating all students and contribute to the academic and social-emotional improvement our students.

Campus Family Guide

As the level of the virus in the Los Angeles area remains widespread, state guidelines say schools cannot reopen at this time, and we will not reopen schools until it’s safe and appropriate to do so. We are preparing to serve students at schools as soon as it’s possible, in the safest way possible. Detailed information on the safety protocols at schools and instructional models we’re preparing can be found in the Return to Campus Family Guide.


Return to Campus - Program Selection Form

Families, in preparation for an eventual return to campus, we are giving every family a choice to make the best decision for your child and your family – a return to school or continuing with online learning. Please complete the Program Selection form, available in multiple languages, for each child available on Los Angeles Unified’s website by Sunday, December 6. If no response is collected for your child, the default option for each student will be the Hybrid Model.


Fun Fact:

The late Adeline "Tuchie" Portillo opened opened her eatery on May 8, 1972, inheriting what was once a hot dog stand from a woman named Lupe. The woman let Portillo keep the marquee and even lent her money to start her business. Portillo said in some ways she was fortunate because, as of the early 1990s, she has owned the property her business sits on. The money to buy the land came entirely from “Lupe’s #2.” They have a deluxe bean and cheese burrito with larded refried beans and molten yellow cheese, but even better is the Red & Beef, featuring tender beef chunks slathered with fierce red salsa. They also have a Green & Beef burrito, which is mild.

Winter Break!

Schools will be closed for the Winter Break:

Monday, December 21, 2020 - Friday, January 8, 2021