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Record Summer School Enrollment in Los Angeles Unified (06-29-20)

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Shannon Haber, 213-393-1289                              June 29, 2020

 Record Summer School Enrollment in Los Angeles Unified

  • More than 100,000 Students Begin First Full Week of Classes Today
  • Curriculum Includes Enrichment Classes Created with Leading Music, Entertainment and Sport Partners

LOS ANGELES – June 29, 2020 –
Los Angeles Unified announced more than 100,000 students are starting their first full week of online summer school sessions today. To mitigate learning loss due to the pandemic and to keep students engaged with their school community through the summer, Los Angeles Unified has made summer school available to all students for the first time.         

In addition to grade-level classes which focus on the foundation pieces in literacy and math, Los Angeles Unified is offering several unique enrichment classes for its first online summer school.

“This is the first time that summer school is available to all students,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “By taking advantage of the tools, technology and online connection every student now has, we can continue to nurture our students’ love of learning during the summer months.” 

James Cameron, the award-winning director of “Titanic” and “Avatar,” is inviting high school students to embark on a “Voyage of the Titanic” to learn about the biology and physics of the deep ocean, underwater exploration, artifact conservation and survivors’ stories. 

"As our community pivoted to online learning during this rough patch we’re all facing, I looked for a way to help educators engage with students,” Mr. Cameron said. “Titanic is a subject with broad appeal but with many teachable lessons, from the math and science of the ship sinking, to the history and sociology of the event, to contemporary themes of warnings unheeded and the need for strong leadership in a crisis. It’s important for all of us in this entertainment capital to use our storytelling skills to engage the young minds of our city." 

Illumination Entertainment, the creators of “Despicable Me,” “The Minions,” “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Sing,” will share with students the process of making an animated film while helping them learn to draw, animate and create their own stories.  

Illumination Founder and CEO Chris Meledandri said, “Illumination is honored to partner with Austin Beutner and Los Angeles Unified in their effort to innovate around teaching and learning.  Artists and executives across Illumination joined together to create this course which will take students through the filmmaking process from story to design to animation to directing and producing. The curriculum has been designed with an eye toward academic rigor and sheer enjoyment. This opportunity is a first step to introducing Los Angeles children to the future possibilities of our growing industry.” 

The Los Angeles Chargers are part of a class on the science, nutrition and medicine of sports, with all sorts of practical advice on a healthy lifestyle. 

“The Chargers are excited to partner with Los Angeles Unified School District to transform education during COVID-19 by bringing relevant, real-world curriculum to students during the summer,” Chargers President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos said. “It is important to provide engaging learning opportunities that prepare students for a variety of careers in sports while keeping them connected to each other and staying healthy.” 

In addition, the Columbia Memorial Space Center will help students explore space while investigating astronomy and space technology. 

Two weeks ago, approximately 1,000 middle school students began guitar, bass and ukulele lessons via Fender Play with the Fender Play Foundation. 

“The mission of the Fender Play Foundation is to equip, educate and inspire the next generation of players, as they embark on their musical journey,” Fender CMO and Fender Play Foundation Co-President Evan Jones said. “With the stay at home orders at hand, people of all ages are learning guitar and new skills now more than ever and we want to support that creative expression however we can.” 

“We are honored to partner with Los Angeles Unified and teachers to bring the opportunity of music to so many students in our community.  Playing guitar has proven emotional and wellness benefits that we hope add some hope during this time,” Ed Magee, Fender EVP Operations and Fender Play Foundation Co-President, added.

"We want to make sure every child has access to summer school, to have all the available tools to thrive and succeed despite these unprecedented times,” Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said. “Thanks to the great leadership in our District and to award-winning director James Cameron, our students will have access to learn about marine biology through online learning. This is just one example of the amazing partnerships we have for the 100,000 students who are signed up for our summer school."

“It’s been a long time since all of our students have been able to attend summer school,” Board Vice President Jackie Goldberg said. “I’m delighted that Los Angeles Unified and our partners have put so much effort into making summer school a joyful experience for our students after these last difficult months. And I believe that these innovations will bear fruit as we move into the new school year.”

“Learning is an ongoing process and happens in a multitude of ways,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “Our summer learning courses display great variety in the available selections of core subjects and enrichment programs. We have something to stimulate the interest and knowledge growth for all of our students.” 

“Los Angeles Unified is offering the best of the best for our students for summer school,” Board Member Mónica García said. “Faced with challenges and an unexpected global health crisis, we adapt and move forward. I am grateful for the District staff and all school employees who are involved in continuity of learning into the summer. There’s something for everyone!”

“As a former teacher and principal, I know how important it is for kids to continue learning while they’re on summer break,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for all students to participate in exciting courses that will keep them engaged in learning and prepare them for the new school year.

“Even in these unprecedented times, our commitment to provide every student with a high-quality education remains constant,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “Offering innovative and enriching summer programs to all L.A. Unified students will help to prevent the devastating learning loss they’re facing during this crisis – so that as soon as we can reopen our schools, our kids are prepared for a new year in the classroom.”

“Today, our students begin a new kind of summer learning,” Board Member Kelly Gonez said. “Throughout the coronavirus crisis, L.A. Unified has been innovative in its work to meet students’ needs, and our virtual summer school is no exception. Our courses are engaging and exciting ways to learn important content and ensure our students are prepared for the start of the school year and beyond.”