On January 23, 2019, LAUSD students enthusiastically welcomed teachers back to school! 
AFTERSCHOOL: Bell and Van Nuys High Schools
Stand Out at the Academic Decathlon 

TEACHER DEVELOPMENT: Educator Institute Partners with Fresno State
ACE INITIATIVE: Social Justice Humanitas Academy ACEs the Ropes Course
• Students Welcome Teachers Back to School
• Sylmar High School Greets the Returning Spartans (video)
• Adventures of a First-Time Academic Decathlon Proctor

• How to Support EduCare While You Shop

...and more!

Bell and Van Nuys High Schools: Academic Decathlon Teams Heading to State Competition 

54 LAUSD high schools sent teams to the Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles on February 2, to compete in one of three divisions of the annual Academic Decathlon. Each team of nine high school students had already spent countless hours studying to master material in 10 academic subjects – from art to economics, from music to science.

 Special academic decathlon shout-outs to...

Los Angeles Unified School District Beyond the Bell
Bell High School
Van Nuys High School
Bell High School coaches Heather Wilson and Matthew Moreno

It’s truly hard to understate the amount of support these students received from their schools and families – and just how hard these young people work. For months, school administrators adjusted school schedules,  coaches worked closely with their teams, and families, friends and classmates cheered them on from the sidelines.

EduCare provided support to 10 of the participating schools via its ongoing After School programs. When the day of the Decathlon was over, two of them – Bell HS and Van Nuys HS – placed in the top 10! Bell came in fourth, and Van Nuys sixth.

While every single coach gets kudos, we especially want to thank the coaches at Bell HS, Heather Wilson and Matthew Moreno – who continued supporting their teams throughout the recent teachers' strike.
  • The Academic Decathlon was founded in 1968 in Orange County.
  • LAUSD high schools been participating since 1981.
  • Participants are called "decathletes" because they compete in 10 areas (plus an academic relay and a Super Quiz).
  • Winners at the local level go on Sacramento to compete in the California Academic Decathlon on March 22-23, 2019.

A first-time proctor's experience at the Academic Decathlon

I arrived early, pants drenched from a downpour. There was nobody in the gym yet; the bleachers were empty and white folding chairs were set precisely and numbered in a way I didn’t understand. Teachers, principals, assistant principals, coaches and volunteers like me began to straggle in, reassuring me that this was the right place for LAUSD's Academic Decathlon. There was something about the gym that reminded me of the upcoming Super Bowl, but I wouldn’t know why until the end of the day.

As a Super Quiz proctor, I was one of two adults sitting across from three students in identical five-chair set-ups, one per school – and with more than 50 high schools participating, that's a lot of chairs! Each team had nine members, who rotated into their chairs three at a time. Our job was to monitor them as they marked answers to 14 written questions, then hold up a big sign with a "1", "2", or "3" to show how many students got the correct answers. The signs held high gave spectators something to cheer about after each set of questions. You can imagine how this might look and sound chaotic from the outside, with new kids rotating in and out of their chairs constantly! 

I got a little teary when the teams filed into the gym, one by one, while Pomp and Circumstance provided a dramatic soundtrack. Some held their school flag flying high, some had matching jackets or hats, and all had broad smiles hiding nervousness and pride. It began to feel like a cross between the Super Bowl and the Olympics.  

At first I thought the day was going to drag on. But it flew by, and all I saw was a stream of beautiful young people in front of me, demonstrating their commitment to themselves, their team and their school. Their trust, cooperation and caring with their team members was palpable. They had been studying this year's theme, "The 1960's: A Transformation Decade" for nine months. I found it humbling that so many of the questions they answered correctly mentioned names, places and events that I myself had witnessed myself in the 60's – but wouldn't have been able to remember in the moment.

So now, back to the Super Bowl. What had been empty seats in the stands at the beginning, were now filled with family and friends cheering their heads off at every chance. It is truly inspiring to know that our kids are appreciated and supported like famous athletes for their intellectual and academic talent. 

While it was too bad the LA Rams didn't win the Superbowl, all our kids were big winners in the LA Academic Decathlon – hurrah!

Social-Emotional Learning
Student teams stretching for success
Social Justice Humanitas Academy ACEs the Ropes Course

As part of their senior year, Social Justice Humanitas Academy (SJHA) students took a drive to Simi Valley on February 5 to plunge into a day-long Ropes Course. The Ropes Course is a personal development and team-building series of exercises. With trust walks, climbing walls, group problem-solving challenges, and more, it's an adventure that takes place in a beautiful natural environment. Back at school, ACE team leaders take students through a post-Ropes evaluation to anchor what they learned. 

What makes the ACE Program unique?
The ACE Program (Achievement and Commitment to Excellence) has been contributing to students' academic and personal success for decades. Throughout the school year, participants engage in workshops and experiences that assist them to develop the critical skills – wise decision making, empathy, personal accountability, communication, and more – that contribute to constructive, successful lives. 

 This is the second year SJHA has participated in EduCare's ACE Initiative program, joining nearly 50 LAUSD schools in the program overall. SJHA began with the mission of building a foundation of love, empathy and high standards, making ACE an ideal partner.

There seems to have been a tipping point in the last few years, with a growing understanding at the state and local level of the importance of educating the heart as well as the mind. Social-emotional learning is coming to the fore of educational standards, and nearly 50 schools participated in ACE Programs in the 2017-18 academic year. EduCare is proud to be part of the positive change, and remains dedicated to its mission: To inspire and empower young people to become responsible citizens, compassionate leaders, and to live their dreams.

ACE at a Glance
The ACE Program: Workshops for students and teachers held throughout the year
The ACE Initiative: Currently in five schools; four part-time EduCare staff members interact with students, teachers, and parents to determine the unique needs of students at each school
Heartset® Educator Institute and Heartset® Education Certification: For teachers, staff, and after school personnel

Upcoming EduCare Events

March 6-8 workshop, Van Nuys HS
Three-day ACE workshop for 9th grade ESL students

March 26, Humanitas Academy of Art and Technology
(Esteban Torres HS)

One-day ACE workshop

(Sponsored by LAUSD/Beyond the Bell)
Students Serve LA
March 9
Students from 33 schools will volunteer for one of three projects:
1) Beach clean-up with Heal the Bay, 2) Downtown Food Bank or 3) a community service project in the San Fernando Valley   
Advocates for Healthy Choices (AFHC)
March 30, 9 am–3 pm, Pitzer College
This conference, in which 63 schools are participating, is led by the AFHC Club – an after-school club of student leaders running a campaign to raise peer awareness of the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and vaping, and discussing healthy alternatives.
Sylmar High School's marching band prepares to welcome back the Spartans – take a listen and you'll find yourself marching in time!
Future teachers learn Heartset skills
 EduCare's Educator Institute Partners with Fresno State Teaching Fellows Program
How do we awaken our young people to who they are and what their lives can become? Perhaps their minds are ready to learn, but what may not be ready are our students’ hearts. How do we instill a positive Growth Heartset® both in ourselves as practitioners and in our programs’ culture so that we teach and lead by authentic example? EduCare’s Educator Institute was created to provide Heartset® Education to teachers, staff and other learning practitioners with new skills for developing a growth Heartset® in our teaching and learning.
An Educator Institute retreat was held January 3-5, at the Asilomar Retreat Center, for about 25 students and staff from the Fresno State University Teaching Fellows program.
We know that to experience the real benefits of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), we need to move beyond principles and curricula. The Institute focuses on shaping successful learning environments that thrive upon a foundation infused with caring, connectivity, and proven social-emotional learning practices. EduCare has been partnering with the LA County Office of Education (LACOE) to hold a year-long Heartset Education Certification Course for a cohort of teachers and after-school program staff. We are thrilled to have been able to work with both Fresno State and LACOE, and and look forward to more such opportunities!
Heartset® Educator Institute
Over the past 29 years, EduCare has reached over 250,000 students in the U.S. and abroad. Along with developing students' social-emotional learning, educators and parents have also benefited from Heartset Education by cultivating a renewed sense of purpose and direction. They have learned to build safe, caring environments that spark young people's creativity, cooperation and achievement.  
Did you know that you can support EduCare every time you shop? Yup! Here's how:
The next time you shop on Amazon, shop on Amazon Smile instead. Look for the word "Supporting" at the top of the page. Click on the word "change" and choose "EduCare Foundation." Voilà – every time you shop, Amazon Smile will donate a percentage to Educare. And just like that, you're helping students achieve their dreams!
Heartset Blog Post "Most Viewed" in 2018 on Learning in Afterschool Blog

EduCare is pleased to learn that our blog post, "Heartset: Transforming Teaching & Learning", was named as one of the Most Viewed on the Learning in Afterschool Blog

EduCare Foundation's Mission
Inspiring and empowering young people to become responsible citizens, compassionate leaders, and to live their dreams.
Our mailing address is:
EduCare Foundation
16134 Wyandotte St
Van Nuys, CA 91406-3422

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