Superintendent Austin Beutner, School Board Members and Community Leaders Welcome Students Back to School

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 14, 2018) - Superintendent Austin Beutner, Los Angeles Unified officials and community leaders joined today to welcome students and families to the new school year, which will focus on shifting more resources to classrooms, improving learning and creating a school-centered District to propel student success.

“We want all of our schools to be places of great learning, they need more resources to do it,” Superintendent Beutner said. “We’ll be working this year to empower our teachers and school leaders, get them the tools they need and increase parent and community participating in our schools.”

During a daylong tour that began before dawn, the superintendent, School Board President Mónica García and Board Vice President Nick Melvoin visited nearly a dozen schools that highlighted the District’s varied programs. Other Board Members, Local District superintendents and community and labor leaders joined them at stops along the way, welcoming back employees and the District’s approximately 600,000 students.

The group met with students and held a news conference at Edward Roybal Learning Center in downtown Los Angeles, and later were greeted by career- minded cadets at the Police Academy and Firefighter Magnets at Wilson High School. With student and school safety as a top priority, the District leaders also met with Los Angeles School Police officers following their morning roll call.

“Welcome to all of our students, families and employees to a wonderful school year,” Ms. García said. “We believe in the power of public education to inspire success and create a bright future for all Los Angeles Unified students.”

“I am excited to kick off the new year by getting back into schools,” Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said. “I know from visiting every school in my District last year that the only way to make decisions in the Boardroom is to understand their impact in our classrooms. I’m looking forward to another year of progress toward putting kids first in L.A. Unified.”

The visitors stopped at University Pathways Public Service Academy, where students can enroll concurrently at nearby Los Angeles Trade Tech community college and earn an associate’s degree along with their high school diploma.

They also visited innovative classrooms at Coeur D’Alene Elementary School, and ate lunch served by culinary students at San Fernando High School. At Vanalden Elementary School, they met with third-grade teacher Bradley Upshaw, recently inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

“I’m looking forward to great things from our students, families and teachers,” said School Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III. “Kids, remember that your teachers and the school staff love you, so do your best for them.”

School Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson toured schools in his district in the West San Fernando Valley.“Today, I had the pleasure of visiting the classrooms of Madison Middle School, Chandler Elementary School, VAAS (Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences), Vanalden Elementary School, Leichman Career Preparatory and Transition Center, and Lake Balboa College Prep Magnet K-12. I am very happy to see how smooth things are going and how engaged and excited students are to be back in school,” he said. At each stop he greeted principals, front office staff, parents and directors of parent centers.

“Enrollment is up at all schools and, there is a feeling of confidence and excitement echoed at every grade level. In the elementary schools, students have adjusted quickly on the first day. It’s going to be a great school year!” he added.

School Board Member Kelly Gonez said, “We are starting the school year in the East Valley with more students attending dual language and magnet programs than ever before.”  She added, “Schools serving the highest-need students are getting more resources to better support great teaching and learning. This is going to be a strong year of learning in Board District 6.”

Later in the day, the superintendent and leaders learned about community partnerships as they toured a YMCA facility located on the University High School Charter campus. At Crenshaw STEM and Medicine Magnets High School, they toured classrooms and the Wellness Center before taking in an athletic practice.

“As we begin the 2018-19 school year, it is important that while we recognize the challenges the Los Angeles Unified School District faces, it is more important that we recognize and celebrate all that is good that occurs in our schools on a daily basis,” said School Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic. “We have more magnet programs than ever before, and Local District South continues to be a leader in concurrent enrollment programs that enable our students to earn college credit as early as middle school. We have extensive modernization projects under way to extend the life of our oldest historic facilities and allow them to complement our newest.”

“It is crucial that we continue our efforts to offer all of our students an equitable chance for a quality education and a strong future,” Dr. Vladovic said. “Access to high quality education is their right. Welcome back students and staff. Let’s have a great school year!"

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Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766