McAlister High School Receives Over 13,000 Diapers!
Pupil Services- Pregnant and Parenting Teen Pilot Program
McAlister High School is an alternative continuous enrollment school for pregnant and parenting teens. The school is a small learning community which offers students from 6th to 12th grade personalized learning and a supportive, caring and academically enriched environment. While students are pregnant and parenting, they can complete classes and earn a high school diploma. In addition, students are offered Independent Study programs in the event their physical requires bed rest due to complications from their pregnancy or difficulty during their delivery.
McAlister High School received 13,789 diapers (all sizes), bassinets and eighty-eight baby bottles donated by the Baby2Baby program. These baby necessities will be distributed to the teen moms at all four sites including: Central (Plasencia Elementary campus), Southwest (Hillcrest Elementary campus), Chatsworth High and San Fernando High campuses.
Principal, Tara Thurston welcomed the items and stated the teen moms will have an opportunity to earn these baby necessities in an incentive program that will encourage and challenge them with academic achievement and attendance. In addition, McAlister (Central) has been assigned a new 3-day PSA Counselor from the Neglected, Delinquent Program, Dolly D. Harris, who will work diligently to improve the school’s attendance and provide support services. Special thanks to PSA Counselors Stephan Blustajn and Sonia Solis, who were instrumental in making the arrangements for the distribution.
McAlister High School is dedicated to providing a physically and emotionally safe environment for pregnant and parenting teenagers, while ensuring a rigorous academic curriculum which encompasses parenting strategies, life skills, access to community and career resources, all resulting in empowered students who become productive citizens and positive role models for their children.
PSA Counselors are both creative and resourceful. In addition to promoting the importance of attendance, connecting families to overcome obstacles to regular school attendance, and training staff on attendance policy and law… they find multiple ways to motivate and recognize students who are meeting the attendance goal! Amalia Rodriguez, ESC East PSA Counselor at Magnolia Elementary School, truly encompasses this multi-faceted identity. Amalia identified groups that she wanted to acknowledge for their attendance achievement. To address the District’s low kindergarten attendance rates, every 25th instructional day, Amalia gives students with proficient/advanced attendance small creative rewards, such as a watercolor page with paint. The children really like the small prizes. Amalia also recognized students who met the Performance Meter Goal for the first semester with a special certificate. This semester, she is implementing new grade level banners. She enlisted the assistance of the Parent Representative to create exciting banners. In addition to recognizing students meeting the target, Amalia has also identified chronically absent students and provided them individual incentive charts. She checks in with them weekly and discusses the goal/goals and strategies to meet said goals. Thank you, Amalia, for representing the wonderful work of Pupil Services staff!
Read this great success story from our Pupil Services City Partnership Program! On September 6, 2013, student Isabel T. was referred to PSA Counselor, Linda Garcia and the UCLA YouthSource Center by Belmont High School on Student Recovery Day. UCLA YouthSource staff, along with Ms. Garcia, conducted a home visit to determine the reason for Isabel’s sister being out of school for over a year. When Ms. Garcia and UCLA YouthSource staff arrived at the home, Isabel answered the door and advised that her sister was not available. Through the conversation, Isabel revealed that she was also out of school and expressed an interest in returning to obtain her GED and possibly her high school diploma. UCLA YouthSource staff provided information on services that are available to out of school youth and invited Isabel and her sister to attend an orientation.
On September 10, Isabel and her sister attended an orientation at the UCLA YouthSource Center and met with Ms. Garcia for an intake and academic assessment. Ms. Garcia determined that Isabel only needed to complete 2 classes and pass the GED to obtain her high school diploma. Ms. Garcia referred Isabel to Evans Adult School to complete the classes she needed for the adult high school diploma and referred her to the UCLA YouthSource Center’s WIA program. Isabel was officially enrolled in the UCLA YouthSource Center on September 19, 2013.
Once enrolled, Isabel diligently participated in the services offered by the UCLA YouthSource Center. She attended a GED prep course almost every day and attended over two months of workshops, at least 4 days a week. On October 30, 2013, Isabel took and passed the GED on her first attempt!
Within a few weeks, Isabel was referred to the Work Readiness Certificate program, sponsored by Hire LA and also participated in a mock interview to prepare for the real world scenario. The next day, Isabel received a job interview at H.R. Block and is currently participating in the second round of interviews.
Isabel plans to attend Los Angeles Community College in Fall 2014 and pursue a career in the healthcare industry.
Let’s hear from Jeffrey…How it’s all worth it in the end!
"My name is Jeffrey Reyes and I am 19 years old. Just about the time my senior year at SFHS was about to begin, my family and I were faced with devastating news.
My youngest sister, who was 2 years old at the time was diagnosed with Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia, a rare type of blood cancer. My father was the only source of income, as my mom had to quit her job to care for my little sister at the hospital. Being the oldest of three, I felt the need to undertake the responsibility of getting a full time job to help out with the house expenses. I never thought I would see myself, or even consider dropping out of school, as I always had good attendance and grades. However, helping out my family financially was my first priority.
With all the help I received from my academic counselor, Ms. Herrera, RGPC, Ms. Josie Gallo-Aguilar, and GPC, Ms. Nancy Garcia both from the Diploma Project, I was able to continue with my schooling. They developed a plan for me which consisted of an independent studies program at Options for Youth-Sylmar #1. They also enrolled me in an North Valley Occupational Valley Adult School and take online classes in order to return to San Fernando HS and graduate with my class…. something that I wanted badly but did not seem possible. It was really tough to juggle all this while working full time and dealing with my sister’s battle for her life.
I want to thank The Diploma Project for believing in me and for having that mentality that “it’s never too late… you can do it”. Now, I am left with this amazing memory of being able to graduate with my friends. My family and I are now able to enjoy my little sister who is now 3 year old… 7 months in remission since her bone marrow transplant.
My message to anyone is that as much as life throws difficult situations at you, and that you might feel that life sucks at times, there is always a way to look at it on the bright side….you may not see it now but you will, eventually. So, don’t give up, keep working hard towards your goal. It will all be worth it at the end.”
2013-14 LAUSD “I’m In” School Attendance Challenge
The 2013-14 LAUSD “I’m In” School Attendance Challenge is an attendance campaign sponsored by the District in collaboration with Schools Federal Credit Union, Clear Channel Media+Entertainment and their select clients, Cool School Café, as well as other corporate partners. The Attendance Challenge will take place beginning in November 2013 through May 2014. All current LAUSD K-12 students that are actively enrolled with 100% attendance for the month period specified are eligible to participate. The attendance eligibility requirements are as follow:
• The student must be present every day and excused or unexcused absences/tardies
will disqualify a student from being eligible for the specified month.
• The student must be at school for all periods of the day and have no partial absences.
• The student must be on time daily to class/period and have no tardies within the
All K-12 students with perfect attendance for the month will be placed on an eligibility list and entered into a randomly selected drawing. All prizes will be awarded to the winning students on a monthly basis and grand prizes will be awarded in May. Prizes include AMC Movie Ticket Packs (with 2 drinks 2 popcorn), Subway gift cards, iTunes Gift Cards, and tickets to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Universal Studios. The goal of the “I’m In” Student Attendance Challenge is to increase attendance at every level and to recognize students for excellent attendance throughout the year. For additional information visit the Pupil Services website http://pupilservices.lausd.net/
This program, event or activity is not presented, endorsed, recommended, supervised, approved or sponsored by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The District assumes no liability or responsibility for any loss or injury arising out of participation and is merely permitting this material to be disseminated at this facility because of the possible interest of students and/or faculty.
Distribution Authorized: Erika Torres, 01/27/14
The L.A. Cash for College will host its annual workshops designed to assist students in completing financial aid applications during the financial aid application season from January 1st to March 2nd. In addition, the program hosts a “Super Saturday” event set for February 1, 2014 where more than 40 workshops are scheduled simultaneously throughout the greater Los Angeles region.
This program, event or activity is not presented, endorsed, recommended, supervised, approved or sponsored by the Los Angeles Unified School District.The District assumes no liability or responsibility for any loss or injury arising out of participation and is merely permitting this material to be disseminated at this facility because of the possible interest of students and/or faculty.
Distribution Authorized:Erika Torres, 01/15/14
LAUSD Grad Van at the Move It 5K Challenge
The Grad Van supported the LAUSD Move It 5K Challenge at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, November 16th, 2013. Pupil Services Counselors provided parents, students, staff and the community with information on attendance, graduation requirements and post-secondary resources. By all accounts the event was a great success! Click here to see more pictures of the event.
Thanks to generous contributions toys, food, clothing and other gifts will be donated to families in need.
What: The Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) and Los Angeles Unified School District have teamed up for the annual toy drive. With ongoing support from Friends of Safe…
Caroling students, from Ramon C. Cortines High School of the Visual and Performing Arts, delighted employees at LAUSD headquarters today. Singing holiday favorites, they strolled throughout the building. Click here to view a clip, and feel free to sing along! Click on to view more. Thank you Cortines students.
Chilly temperatures continue to bring snow to the Los Angeles Unified School District area. Grape Street Elementary School students and staff received a blanket of the wet, white stuff just in time for Mattel’s “Winter Wonderland, Days of Play” events. Mattel brought holiday cheer to students and provided lasting memories. The school playground was transformed into a toy land with activities for boys and girls like Hot Wheel racing, Barbie dress-up, powered-riding toys and dancing. Los Angeles Unified School District thanks Mattel for sharing gifts and time with our students and their families. Click here for more photos.
LAUSD teachers dedicate long nights and weekends to review and prepare their lessons. Many also use valuable vacation time to explore new and innovative ways of teaching. Like Isabel Perez, a Science teacher at Bravo Medical Magnet High School who spent her summer researching in Ecuador.
“I hope this will help students become aware that they can be proactive in their community or at least get the word out there are ways to prevent invasive species from spreading. This information also will encourage students, their families, and friends to use native species when planting gardens,” said Isabel Perezwho teaches biology, chemistry, anatomy/physiology, genetics and zoology at Bravo. Last summer she traveled to Ecuador as part of a fellowship with Earthwatch, an organization of scientists, educators, students and business people who work together to get the fullest benefit from scientific research. “My experiences this summer in Ecuador,” said Perez, “are already paying off in my lesson plans and in igniting the passions of my students.”
Working in an open-air laboratory, she and nine other U.S. researchers studied and recorded their research on raising caterpillars and the effects of climate and the general environment. The fellowship only added to her passion for science, which began when she was a child helping her parents grow mint and wheat on their family farm.
Her unique perspective enhances the learning experience of our students. Thank you for your hard work, sacrifices and continued learning as you find more ways to help youngsters excel.