The A-B-C² Monthly
The Eagle Rock/Highland Park CoS Newsletter - FEB 2021
Titus Campos, Community of Schools Administrator
The month of February brings several rich traditions to celebrate: Black History Month, Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras. While the pandemic has impacted the manner in which we celebrate these special events, we have found creative ways to establish new traditions. It should be noted, too, that Local District Central established the Black Students Matter initiative at the beginning of this school year. Celebrating rich Black Heritage has been a focus throughout the entire year, not just the month of February. I hope that you can visit your Eagle Rock/Highland Park Community of School website to find resources to celebrate Black History, President’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
I hope you had the opportunity to log on to this month’s Eagle Rock/Highland Park Community of Schools Town Hall that was held on Thursday, February 18th at 6:00 p.m. I shared calendar options for the 2021-2022 school year as well as information about School Planning and Budgeting---part of LAUSD’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). If you were unable to participate, you can log on to watch a recording of the Town Hall on our website.
Remote Learning Tips
by Alice Won Cho, Instructional Expert
Remote Learning is a kind of eLearning (or ‘online learning’) but isn’t ‘online learning’ because it is not learning that is designed for purely digital spaces (whereas eLearning is). So what kind of remote learning tips for parents can help? (T. Heick)
Let’s set up for Success:
Set a daily schedule. By creating a daily schedule, your child will learn what the expectations are from the teacher and family.
Make a learning space. It might be challenging to create a learning environment; however, your child really needs a special, personalized corner of a room dedicated to learning and be creative. You can simply have your child decorate a pencil box or notebook to use while learning.
Make sure to have the necessary materials for your child. Whether materials are pencil and paper, log-in information, or a stable WiFi connection, it is vital that your child has materials to get the learning done.
Don’t teach-help them to understand. Helping your child can be sitting with your child, learning alongside your child, or even learning if first yourself and then reviewing it with your child.
Help your child check if daily work is completed and communicates with the teacher/school daily. Setting a time boundary for your child to complete daily work is a skill to learn. Helping your child to communicate with the teacher/school daily is one way for your child to succeed.
Encourage your child to own the learning. Help your child to have a voice and choice in their work. The more your child owns the learning, the easier and more fulfilling your child will be.
Display their work to praise your child. Let your child hang up completed work whether that might be writing, drawing, or other projects. Rather than “good job,” try to provide your child with specific details about the work. In what way is your child’s effort clever, insightful, or amazing?
Move around and laugh. Physical activity might be challenging. Try lunchtime to walk around the block, a 5-minute dance party, or sit outside for a few minutes to enjoy the sun. Finding the funny is impactful while distance learning. Be silly with your child-make wacky things, plan a crazy hair day, or tell one joke a day.
Resources for more tips:
Elementary (ETK-5th) Recommendation
by David Daedalus Franke,
4th Grade Teacher at Eagle Rock Elementary School
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
Little Brown & Co. 2009
Of all the books I read each year, the one that most captivates my students is, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, A Newberry Honor Award winning novel, by Grace Lin. It is a beautiful and compelling story that chronicles a journey about friendship, and what it truly means to have good fortune.
In this tale, we follow our hero, Minli, a courageous and clever young girl from a poor farm village, who sets off on her own to find a way to change her family’s fortune. Along the way, she encounters a Dragon, trapped in the forest, who can not fly and does not know why. She frees him, and together, they go in search of The Old Man of the Moon, a wise old Sage who, according to legend, lives on a faraway mountain that no one knows how to find, or even if it truly exists. Their quest has many dangers and difficult challenges to overcome, and they must rely on their wits, and the kindness of others to find their way. The lessons they learn during their adventures are timeless and relevant, and the rich, vibrant discussions which evolve from the reading are testament to the quality of the storyteller’s craft.
Lin’s writing is beautiful and complex. The pace of the story is perfect, with enough suspenseful and thrilling moments to keep the reader wanting more, and enough beauty and joy to fill anyone’s heart. She weaves stories within stories, effortlessly blending traditional Chinese mythology, mysticism, and magic into a very accessible story about life that will speak to people of all ages. Her use of figurative language is nothing less than art. It will inspire young readers to write with more creative imagery and become great storytellers themselves. The artwork is equally stunning. Lin, who also illustrated the novel, uses traditional woodcut printing to bring her own vision of this imaginary world to life. This is a book that should be in every teacher’s classroom and on every child’s shelf.
Secondary (6th-12th) Recommendation
by Kevin Man Chow, A-G Advisor, ELA
Dear ERHP Families:
This month, instead of recommending any one particular book for our secondary students, I'd like to introduce a wonderful list of highly acclaimed Newberry Award-winning books for grades 7-12: https://bit.ly/newberrysecondary2021 .
The Newberry Award has been awarded each of the past 99 years to books that have made distinguishing contributions to literature for children and young adults. I'd also like to introduce a wonderful free resource for checking out quality digital books via Hoopla and our local libraries: https://www.lapl.org/books-emedia/e-media .
Reading just 30 minutes a day may lead to significant gains in terms of literacy, and a lifetime of learning as well.
Eagle Rock/Highland Park Community of Schools Library
College/Career Update from a NELA Graduate
FHS Class of 2020: Pearl Cana
by Erica Granados, Parent Education Support Assistant
This month we caught up with one of our Class of 2020 FHS Panthers, Pearl Cana. Currently in her first year at Cal State Fullerton, she is studying to become a Nursing Major. She chose to attend CSU Fullerton after researching and realizing that it was recognized as the top Nursing program of all of the CSUs, and had a reputation for exceptional professors, resources, and has numerous connections to local hospitals. Considering she started her college experience during a pandemic, her freshman experience has been starkly different to the one she would have experienced otherwise. Although CSU Fullerton has been accommodating its students to the best of its ability, she does acknowledge that it is difficult to stay motivated. A defining part of the college experience is going to your campus, meeting new people, and making lifelong friends. Doing so via Zoom has proven to be difficult but she eagerly awaits for the opportunity to resume in-person instruction. One thing she did mention is how Franklin High School has prepared her for remote learning. She fondly spoke of her involvement in multiple clubs and organizations such as the Pantharmonics, Teen Court, ASB, and the Glee Club which she founded. Her participation in various school groups gave her the necessary skills of organization, telecommunication, and initiative. She also noted that the support and guidance from Ms. Soldevilla was instrumental in preparing her for the college admissions process. Ms. Cana offers the following advice for students who aspire to attend college, "Build your network. Join clubs and take initiative to talk to your professors. Knowing people opens doors for opportunities." Through her experiences in life and in high school, she realized the importance of building a community of people who empower you and support your goals. With all the extra time because of quarantine and aligning with her commitment to community building, Pearl has devoted time to reconnecting with friends, pursuing her passions, and giving back. Besides school, she has started music accounts on Instagram and TikTok where she continues her passion for singing. Through this hobby, she has discovered her knack for content creating. She also has an online store on Depop, where she sells clothes and donates a portion of the profits to a homeless shelter. Her favorite quote, "When life gives you lemons, you make ice cream," meaning you always want to make the best out of any situation life hands you. Ms. Cana has definitely demonstrated that when one has the will, there is always a way.
If you'd like to keep up with her creative pursuits, feel free to check out her media accounts:
Celebrate Black History Month:
Celebrate Chinese New Year
FAFSA Saturday Virtual Assistance
NELA Employee Spotlight
One of the shining stars in our Eagle Rock/Highland Park Community of Schools is Teacher Veronica Mata-Tharp of Delevan Drive Elementary. Ms. Mata-Tharp has taught most elementary grades over her 23-year span as a teacher. She began her teaching career at Huntington Drive Elementary in LAUSD and currently teacher Kindergarten at Delevan.
Ms. Mata-Tharp grew up in Boyle Heights and has six siblings. All of her siblings are either currently employed or retired after working for LAUSD! She says “teaching is in my blood.” Not only are her siblings teachers, a school Principal, and former Graphic Design Artist in LAUSD but Veronica also has relatives who are teachers and administrators in Mexico.
Ms. Mata-Tharp graduated from Cal-State L.A. with a degree in Communications. Veronica had an opportunity to serve as an Intern for KABC News Consumer Investigator, David Horowitz. After graduating from CSULA, Ms. Mata-Tharp submitted an application for a very competitive position as a Page with KABC. “I was selected from thousands of applicants” said Ms. Tharp. Veronica worked in publicity at KABC for seven years. Hearing her siblings share stories from the classroom inspired Ms. Mata-Tharp to transition to a career in teaching.
Over the years Ms. Mata-Tharp has touched many lives. She will never forget one of her 2nd grade students named Dylan. This young boy was being raised by a single parent and perceived himself as always getting in trouble. One day Ms. Mata-Tharp told Dylan that she needed to speak with him and he responded by saying “I know you’re going to tell me I’m a bad boy.” Ms. Mata-Tharp said, in contrast, “I want you to express your feelings through art---draw how you feel.” This strategy worked. Years later Dylan reached out to Ms. Mata-Tharp and shared that he is married and has a child of his own. He was employed as a Paraeducator in another state and told Ms. Mata-Tharp that she had inspired him to go back to school and become a teacher.
There are many memorable events in Ms. Mata-Tharp’s vast teaching career. She recalls organizing a Read Across America event with a guest Los Angeles Dodgers player. Since the event was in the evening, children were dressed in their pajamas. After reading The Little Red Hen, Ms. Mata-Tharp got everyone at this special event to get up and show their moves to the Chicken Dance. Can you imagine over 200 people dancing the Chicken Dance all at once? It takes a person like Ms. Mata-Tharp who can get everyone on their feet.
Another memorable event in Veronica’s career was when she taught fifth grade. She partnered with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. As a culminating activity, the District Attorney organized a field trip to Juvenile Hall. The attorney told Ms. Mata-Tharp not to worry about lunch because he would order pizza for all the students. To the attorney’s surprise, when he tried to order pizza for the students from Juvenile Hall, no outside food was allowed on the premises. The Cafeteria Manager came to the rescue and provided “mystery meat” for all the students and Ms. Mata-Tharp to eat for lunch. Her students said they never wanted to return to Juvenile Hall because they hated the lunch!
Ms. Mata-Tharp enjoys inspiring her students to be creative and take risks. She has been on the Science Extravaganza Planning Committee at Delevan Drive Elementary showing the Caine’s Arcade video to inspire creativity. Students have created cars, bridges and other creations out of cardboard. When Veronica noticed her sixth-grade students at Huntington Drive Elementary snacking on hot Cheetos, she began using an innovative reward for the table with the most points at the end on the month. What was the reward, you might be wondering? “The Cheese Platter”! Not just any cheese platter, this one had gouda, salami, grapes, walnuts
all washed down with sparkling lemonade. One student told Ms. Mata-Tharp: “Teacher, you could serve something like this at a party.” Students began holding each other accountable for completing homework by calling each other at night all in an effort to win “The Cheese Platter”! And recently while teaching at Delevan Ms. Mata-Tharp noticed that Ms. Garcia, the school’s Library Aide, liked to surprise students as she logged on to read to them during distance learning. Ms. Mata-Tharp knew that the following week Ms. Garcia would be reading a book about pirates to her class. So, Veronica showed the students how to make a pirate hat out of newspaper. The following week when Ms. Garcia logged on, her entire class was wearing pirate hats, some wore eye patches and others wore pirate costumes. They turned the table on Ms. Garcia who was surprised! A class photo of Ms. Mata-Tharp’s pirates made its way to the KTLA Sunday News.
Ms. Mata-Tharp has been married to a LAPD Detective since 1988 and they have three lovely daughters. Two are in college and one of their daughter’s has followed in mom’s earlier footsteps working for the CBS Network. In her free time Ms. Mata-Tharp enjoys bike rides and has participated on a Triathlon Team. We appreciate Ms. Mata-Tharp’s energy and dedication to her students and families!
Community Partner Highlight
Over the course of the last few months, Town Pizza's owner Joram Young and his staff provided over 50 dinners to families who were experiencing hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Thank you TOWN Pizza for providing community relief, especially during this difficult time.
About TOWN Pizza:
Town is an independently owned pizzeria proudly serving handmade pizzas and salads using original recipes and quality ingredients. They are currently offering contactless delivery, takeout and curbside pick up. Town is at the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 51 in the heart of historic Highland Park and just minutes from Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington, Glassell Park, Cypress Park and South Pasadena.
Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet "I Matter Because..." 2020 Reflections Art Program
Eagle Rock Jr/Sr HS- Eagle's Scream Publication
Writing during a crisis: 1942 vs. 2020
by Amelia Kim & Itzel Whyte-Aguayo