Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Empty" CWC rooms in use right now by Stoner music class

I just went to drop my daughter off for afternoon Pre-K at Stoner Elementary. As I turned the corner on to Stoner Avenue, I was surprised to see the doors to the rooms previously occupied by Citizens of the World Charter open, and then I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard: music.
     A music class was in session. The children were finishing tuning up and I was able to hear the first two bars of a piece before having to continue along to make it to school on time.
     This year, Stoner began music and dance programs. The school community is very excited about both programs and is glad we have the space to accommodate them.
    It's sad to think that if the co-location had continued at Stoner, we wouldn't have had the rooms for the programs since the rooms they use are considered "empty" by co-location guidelines, and we would have had to scrap the programs.
   I am very thankful that we have these programs at our local school. Del Rey has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Book follow up #1 : [FLASHBACK] Frying Pan News "Why Charter Schools Are Tearing Public Campuses Apart."

The book on the CWC Mar Vista co-location at Stoner Elementary is coming along. I'm not a full time writer. So, these things take time. There are revisions, fact checking and other details to look into before sending the book to press.
Frying Pan - Why Charters are tearing public schools apart capture of the Frying Pan article "
Why Charters Schools are tearing public campuses apart"
     In doing my due diligence on the matter, I came across an article in the Huffington Post titled with the question  "Is Charter School Co-Location Tearing Public Schools Apart?" The article was published on July 17, 2013.  It contained one sentence that mentioned the then up-coming co-location of CWC on the Stoner Elementary school campus for 2013/14.
     I'm an avid HuffPo reader and I read this article in the Los Angeles section when it came out.  Back then, it didn't mean anything to me. I thought, "Good, a charter should come in and fix things around here. Stoner...pfft! What kind of school is that?"
   Recently, I looked a little deeper into the article and found the original version that was published on the Frying Pan News. It had a slightly different title "Why Charter Schools are Tearing Public Campuses Apart" which is a statement as opposed to the question in the HuffPo version. The Frying Pan version included a cartoon by political satirist and my favorite cartoonist, Lalo Alcaraz.
    In the cartoon [click here to see], Alcaraz captures exactly what it felt like at Stoner during the co-location. Our local little American community school house was being squeezed off campus by a corporate "Saks Fifth Avenue" charter school giant that did not "play well with others" and was taking more than their fair share of the public resources yet claimed to be thankful we were "sharing."
   This article and cartoon foreshadowed many of the problems we would later see in the co-location of Citizens of the World Charter Mar Vista at Stoner Avenue Elementary. It is interesting that this article that came out a year and a half ago and meant nothing to me then, stands out and resonates so strongly now. I can confidently answer the HuffPo article title and state "Yes, charter school co-locations are tearing public schools apart." It's too bad I didn't understand this hot message when it first came straight off the Frying Pan.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Follow up #3 to "Naked CWC student hosed down on campus"

I finally had a chance to review the CWC response to my California Public Records Act (PRA) request regarding records about the incident of the hosing of the naked CWC Mar Vista student on the Stoner Elementary campus. The response was startling...mainly, because of the lack of response by CWC. 
    In total, CWC released 1 record in response to the request. The record is a 2 page document titled "NOTICE TO CURE" which was created by LAUSD. CWC claimed privacy exemptions and refused to release any other records.
Taken together, these events create concern regarding the capacity of the CWC Mar Vista staff    This response is very surprising considering LAUSD released 293 pages of documents in response to the exact same PRA request, and most of the records were emails to and from CWC and LAUSD officials, and documents created by CWC. Clearly, there is more information that should have been released. 
     I've asked CWC to reconsider its decision to refuse to release documents since there is more they can and should have released, and because this incident is of interest to the public since it has been written about and featured in the news.

    Hopefully, CWC will release more information so that we can have a better understanding of this serious incident. Regardless if CWC releases more records or not, what I have been able to piece together from the emails and documents paints a very disturbing picture of the co-location of CWC Mar Vista at Stoner Avenue Elementary School, but I think the "NOTICE TO CURE" released by CWC states is best: "Taken together, these events create concern regarding the capacity of the CWC staff, and its governing body, to implement protocols and procedures that ensure the health, safety and dignity of students at all times."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Follow up #2 to "Naked CWC student hosed down on campus"

Back in May, I reported on the incident of the CWC Mar Vista student being hosed down naked on campus [link] and then wrote a follow up [link] and promised another follow up once I had more information on this incident.
   Well, this week I finally received word from LAUSD that documents from my California Public Records Act request about the incident are now available. The report contains 298  pages of documents. For an incident that the CWC community downplayed as a "non-incident" and an "extreme over exaggeration" on my part, that seems like a whole lot of pages for an incident "done by the book."
   The report should be released sometime this week.

Friday, September 5, 2014

VERIFIED: CWC MV out performs suspensions

After reporting on the 8 suspensions at CWC,  I received an anonymous email telling me that those numbers were wrong and stating that I "should check my facts."
   While information and statistics about Stoner are readily available on LAUSD's website [link], and discipline statistics can be accessed with a click,  information about Cwc is not as easily available.
   So, I sent a California Public Records Act request to LAUSD to check the facts and the chart below is what I received.

What I found, is that with a population of 351students, Pre-K to 5, Stoner only had 1 suspension for 2013/14. While on the other side of campus, cwc had a population of 133, K to 2, and had a whopping 8 suspensions resulting in 13 days of lost class times. This means there was at least one, if not more, multiday suspensions at Cwc. Adjusting for population size, Cwc had 2100% more suspensions than Stoner.
  Cwc greatly out performed Stoner in the number and rate of suspensions on campus and I will graciously concede that Cwc beat Stoner in this measure.  Kudos on your accomplishment, citizens!

I'm double checking my facts. Are you checking yours?

Friday, August 29, 2014

CWC new location, same old tricks: money, connections and entitlement

I'm trying to end this blog and finish up the book, but people keep providing me with juicy tidbits of information that need to be shared before the book comes out.

So, as it turns out, there are many in the Stoner community who are connected to and attend St. Joan of Arc Parish Church. Yesterday, a few sources, who will remain anonymous, filled me in on how the new Citizens of the World Mar Vista location is working out and, not surprisingly, things are not starting off well.

    First off, St. Joan's was not interested in having CWC locate on their campus. Because of St. Joan Parish's connection to the Stoner community, St. Joan's was well aware of the problems that CWC had caused at Stoner and didn't want any part of it.

Donation bait and switch
    Fortunately for CWC, one of their students has an uncle who is a well known and well connected Los Angeles politician.The uncle coordinated a sizable donation to the church in order to help the deal go through.
    The donation offer worked, and St. Joan's agreed and created a strong contract to prevent any CWC shenanigans on the St. Joan's campus. St. Joan's was looking forward to using the donation for repairs on the church, rectory and convent. Specifically, there are windows that need repair and replacement.
    Once the deal was signed, a donation was given the church, but not to St. Joan of Arc Parish. The donation was given to the Los Angeles Archdiocese. So, St. Joan's did not get a single penny of the money. Talk about a bait and switch. The St. Joan's parish was not amused.

Cinderblock wall
   Now let's just assume for the time that the donation bait and switch was just on honest miscommunication. Well, these next two bits shows the school's entitled attitude continues.
   Part of the location contract states that CWC cannot make changes to the facilities. CWC completely ignored this and began constructing a cinder block wall on the campus. Needless to say, the church was not pleased with this transgression and forced CWC to remove their unathorized construction.

Gates left open
  One of our biggest complaints at Stoner was that CWC would leave its gates open (that's actually the reason I started this blog), and well, much to the dismay of the church, St. Joan is seeing the same behavior. Campus entrances are be left open and unlocked. Oh, when will these citizens learn.

So let's see, to sum up: CWC has money and powerful connections, and acts with a sense of entitlement that allows them to flout the laws of man and ignore their agreement with the church.

Yup, that sounds about right.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventures in co-location : the book

This will probably be my last communication.  Tomorrow is the first day of school for CWC Mar Vista and it is time to turn the page on these adventures in co-location.

Many of our adventurers have been wondering where I have gone. Had I abandoned you? Is that the whole story? Was that it?

    No, no, no. There is a lot more to this adventure, more then I could reasonable write on this blog without ending up confusing the story, but I've continued writing and editing. So, with all this material building up, I've decided to move to a new medium and tell the whole story, from beginning to end.

    So, I am proud to announce the end of this blog and the forthcoming book Adventures in Charter School Co-location: the Book!. This will be the story behind the story. The story of the first year of CWC Mar Vista co-locating on the Stoner ES campus as told by a Stoner parent, and life long local resident, who also had family and friends attending CWC and who learned along the way to support his local school and community and oppose outside forces that would end up hurting his neighborhood school.

   I was initially planning on first completing Adventures in Charter School Co-location: the Musical! We had a script ready and were working with the band Summer of Cumbia on creating a uniquely Del Rey sound for the production. However, in order to bring this story out sooner, I decided to complete the Book first and then move on to the Musical and then the Movie (and then the movie based on the musical, but we're getting ahead of ourselves at this point.)

   All joking aside, yes, I am finishing up a book about the co-location of CWC on the Stoner ES campus. It'll make a great Christmas gift!

Monday, August 18, 2014

CWC Mar Vista Library: segregated and elite

Today, I was alerted to an Indie Go Go crowd source fund raising page for CWC Mar Vista's new Library. It all sounds pretty, well...unbelievable. They have created a "list of great quality pleasure reading books" that is a "golden list" of books that can "smooth transitions and soothe psychologies," as such "It is a fantastic list of books." It's almost like they've invented a brand new wheel....simply unbelievable! (In the spirit of community and the best education for all, they might want to share this magical bibliography so that all public schools can benefit from CWC's wisdom.) ...and to top it all off, the library will have "professional library catalog software that is used for university libraries." I'm sure this will come in handy when the students are writing their Kindergarten thesis.
    This sounds great and kudos to them for making a library for their school, but then this reminded me of one of the more personally offensive aspects of the Citizens of the World Charter Mar Vista co-location at Stoner Avenue Elementary School: the CWC Mar Vista segregated library.   
    In my normal life, when I'm not writing this blog, I am a professional librarian, a law librarian to be exact.
   Early in the school year, when I learned about the separate library for CWC, I was crushed. The co-location was still new and I knew nothing about CWC, but I knew that having a library for a select group of students on campus is the antithesis of what a grade school library should be about.
   By law, one of the conditions of charter school co-locations is that the charter is entitled to use campus resources, such as the auditorium, cafeteria and library
    While CWC was co-locating at Stoner, they opted not to use the Stoner Library for their students (but would still use the library for meetings) and instead created their own private library that was for their students only. Why? Having a separate library is a disservice to both their own community and the Stoner community: it denies both school's students access to library resources right on their own campus and at the same time creates separate and thus unequal conditions on campus.
CWC Mar Vista Library: segregated and elite     I complained about the private library, and was told that while Stoner was required by law to share its library with CWC, CWC did not have to share their library with Stoner if they chose not to. It's one thing that CWC chose not to use the Stoner Library out of their own volition; but it's a completely different situation that Stoner was not even given a choice.
     I found it sad that CWC could not see the separate and unequal conditions they were bringing to campus by creating their own private library. A separate library for only their community speaks volumes* about how these worldly citizens were not good citizens of the Stoner ES campus.

*Sorry, I couldn't resist the library pun.

Solidaridad reports: CWC MV had 8 out of school suspensions last year for K-1

Earlier this month, the solidaridad blog reported that CWC Mar Vista had 8 out of school suspension for the school year 2013/14 for grades K through 1.
    I guess new-age educational discipline techniques like asking students to "make better decisions" and sending them to the peace corner to self regulate don't always work and sometime CWC needs to resort to time-tested, traditional methods such as out of school suspension.

CWC Mar Vista suspends 8 students K-1 2013-14
CWC Mar Vista mindfulness: 8 suspension 2013/14 for grades K thru 1

Monday, August 11, 2014

Friends of Stoner Avenue Elementary School - community prepares for school start

Friends of Stoner Ave ES on Facebook has a new posting about how the school community, teachers, staff and parents are preparing for the first day of school.

   I stopped by the main off this afternoon to hand in some paperwork and the school was a buzz. Everyone is excited for the new adventure to begin tomorrow.

Friday, August 8, 2014

#equalschools - the absurd CWC twitter hashtag demanding special treatment

CWC Mar Vista community using despicable
tactics to demand special treatment
I'm not a Luddite, but until last week, I didn't have a Twitter account. As you can tell by this blog, I need a little more then 140 characters to express myself. However, one of our fellow Adventurers alerted me to the Twitter hashtag "#equalschools" that CWC was using during their protest outside of LAUSD headquarters.

   The absurdity of the CWC Mar Vista community creating a hashtag called #equalschools so that they could demand special treatment is just mind boggling.  The CWC protest was basically asking LASUD to ignore the law, the same law that the CWC administration touted as their right to be co-locating.
   In #equalschools, the CWC community talks about being bullied by the local neighborhood, suffering through a violent anti-charter campaign by an LAUSD employee and being punished for speaking up.
   The misinformation contained in these tweets is just disheartening, but what disturbed me the most is probably the same thing that has been disturbing you about this blog post as you've been reading it: the picture of the boy in what appears to be some kind of medical situation.
CWC jerks
CWC protests their equal
treatment under the law

    I have been debating using this screenshot of the tweet on the blog and have gone back and forth on the idea. It occurred to me that it would be very shocking and probably get this story a lot of hits by using this image, but, then again, it just felt weird and wrong to use a picture of this child in such a vulnerable position, but, well, then again, this twitpic actually exists, and in fact it was re-tweeted by the author, and presumably parent, two other times. One of those re-tweets was directed to @KTLANews5 and @myfoxla. When I saw that, I remembered that this @MakeAWish child was also featured in the KCAL 5 News story about CWC being booted from Stoner.
   What I find extra disturbing about this, is that the CWC community complained that there were children and students at the February 7th Rally for Stoner, and claimed we were using them as misinformed props. Yet, the CWC community seemed to have no problems putting their children front and center in the dialog.
   So, I concluded that if the parents felt it was okay to put this image and information out there on TV and internet, then why should I worry about including it in this blog. So, there you have it.
    Below are some other screen grabs of comparatively, innocuous, yet no less misinformed, tweets from others in the CWC community on #equalschools.
Tweets from CWC community members

CWC community twitpic

Thursday, July 31, 2014

[Flashback] CWC "Segregated rock concert"

 FLASHBACK - On Friday December 6, 2013, Citizens of the World Charter Mar Vista held an extravaganza on the Stoner Avenue Elementary School campus. It was CWC's "first annual" walk-a-thon fundraiser that has come to be known locally as "the segregated rock concert."
      There was a live rock band, a DJ, a 50 foot arc of balloons, boxed lunches and even clowns. It was awesome!!!...for the CWC community. For the Stoner Avenue Elementary School students and surrounding Del Rey neighborhood, it was... not so awesome. If fact, it was disruptive and upsetting, and the event highlighted the traffic/safety/parking issues and the separate and unequal conditions on campus brought about by the co-location of CWC Mar Vista on the Stoner ES campus.
CWC Mar Vista segregated rock concert takes over Stoner ES
CWC MV First Annual Walk-a-thon, known locally as "the
Segregated rock concert," takes over the Stoner ES playground
2 CWC cars blocking 1 drive way.
   I had taken a vacation day and was looking forward to a relaxing time at home with my family. Early in the morning, we started noticing the commotion. There was a giant arc of balloons in the playground. There was more traffic on Lindblade Street then I had ever seen in my close to forty years on the street, and parking was a nightmare.The CWC community was parking wherever they wanted to and were blocking driveways and handicap access ramps up and down the the street. People were jaywalking or just straight up walking down the middle of the street.
   A little bit latter, out of nowhere, "8 Days a Week" by the Beatles starts blasting through our house. It was loud. I looked out the window to see a live rock band in the school yard. Okay? I guess we can deal with this for a bit. I doubt it will be going on for hours. After a few songs, the band stopped (thank goodness) but then the DJ kicked in (doh!). The music just kept going on: band, DJ, band, DJ.
   This loud event was upsetting to the residents. The band was set up only a few feet away from a house on Lindblade that abuts the school creating great frustration for that resident. Some neighbors had finals to study for but couldn't because of the noise. There were new born infants that needed sleep, but couldn't, again, because of the noise. Residents could have planned around the event, but CWC did not act mindfully and gave us no warning about the planned extravaganza.
    Speaking of no warning, I learned later that day that while the event was approved by the Stoner ES Principal, CWC failed to mention the musical aspect of the event, and the music was not approved.

    The event continued throughout the morning. From my kitchen window, I could see Stoner 4th and 5th graders leaning on the second floor balcony to see the loud, awesome event on their playground. The Stoner teachers reported the most number of bathroom requests that day. The students all wanted to get out and have a peak at the commotion on their campus.
   One of the most inconsiderate and disturbing effects of the event was that it disrupted the 5th graders who were trying to take standardized tests at that time. Students later told me that they believe the distraction caused by the loud and inconsiderate nature of the CWC event effected their scores.
   The event went on longer than initially proposed and continued through the Stoner student's recess. This is where the segregation was on full display. While working in our garden, I could see the CWC Director and Stoner Principal standing between the event and a group of Stoner students who were gazing longingly at it. I could see that they were gesturing for the Stoner students to go back to their play areas and ignore the spectacle right in front of them. How could anyone expect them to go back and play on the swings and slides when there was a kick-ass band, clowns and ballons right in front their own eyes. This was a truly a sad scene and still can't believe that these "mindful" citizens could not and still cannot recognize the separate and unequal conditions the co-location of CWC was bringing to campus.
    As the event continued into its third hour, I decided I'd had enough and walked over to the Stoner Elementary Main Office to complain. Once I got to the office, the music stopped and the event was over, but I felt I still needed to register a complaint.
   As I was waiting to meet with the Stoner Principal, a Cwc founding parent came in to the office and asked if he could borrow a dolly to help breakdown the event. I was incensed. Really?! How entitled is the CWC community? You are going to ask to borrow our school's resources to help you with an event that excluded our students and disrupted their standardized tests. I stood up and pointed to the other side of campus and said firmly, "The CWC office is over there. If you need anything you should talk with your administration." The office got silent. You could cut the tension with a knife. The CWC parent stood, mouth agape, looking stunned for a moment and then tried to explain that "we" were all "one school" and "we should help each other" and that Stoner ES could benefit from the CWC co-location.
   I began laying into the guy, "How dare you try to say we are one school and should help each other when you just had an event that excluded our children?! You think that just because..."
  Just then, the Stoner Principal ran out of his office and tried to diffuse the situation. He placed himself between me and CWC parent and then asked me to step into his office (Wow, that's the first time in my life that I've ever been asked to go to the principal's office.)  The principal had a brief word with the CWC parent before coming to address his school's parent's concerns.
   I complained about the event: the disruption, the noise, the traffic, the parking, the safety concerns and the segregated nature of the event. I continued with other complaints against CWC including the elitist and insulting fence covering, and segregating planter boarders, but most notably, I complained about the fact that CWC had put a combination lock on their gate and given the combination to all their parents.
    This is were I first learned about the LAUSD Prop 39 Office and the email We were directed to send all our questions, concerns and complaints regarding the co-location to the Prop 39 office, and so I did.
    While CWC Mar Vista may have labeled the walk-a-thon as thier first annual, the school and local communities are relieved that there will not be a second segregated event on the Stoner ES campus.


[Snark edition #2] "Have you read the 62 page letter from the LAUSD to CWC?"

Last month, I got a comment on this blog asking if I had read the 62 page April 1, 2014 LAUSD Final Offer letter delivered to Citzens of the World Charter Mar Vista. I haven't had time to read it until now, but I'm glad I did read it. I thought I had been shocked before by CWC Mar Vista like when they hosed down a naked, sick student, or when CWC declared war on the Del Rey neighborhood, or when they put our students lives at risk for coffee, but reading LAUSD's response to CWC's counter offer left me stunned. The audacity and entitlement in CWC's requests were just outrageous. The absurdity of the CWC request of just begs for a snarky response.
  The letter is quite long and dense, so I'm just going highlight the top 10 disturbing quotes and respond to those. You know the drill annotations are in red.
   If you do want to read the entire letter you can find it here:

1. "Charter School requests that the District enter into an alternative agreement whereby it would
provide Charter School with one additional teaching station and special education meeting
space at Stoner Avenue Elementary School" – Sorry, CWC, you were offered what was available and suitable for your needs based on your proposal. There will be no special treatment for CWC.

2. “Charter School objects to the District's request for information regarding the specific number
of students with special education needs and particular detailof those needs.”    Hmm, you are requesting more space for special education, but don't want to give numbers to back it up. Right...

3. “Conversely, Charter School requests that the District ignore the methodology required by
Section 11969.3subdivision (b)(l).” Um, Citizens, we follow the law here, you don’t get to choose which laws you follow nor decide on your own methodology. 

4. “Charter School does not possesa valid food permit or certification from the applicable enforcement agency for the kitchen at the proposed school site, as required by the California Health and Safety Code.” CWC requested use of the cafeteria, but did not have the necessary permit or certification to operate the cafeteria. CWC, you do not seem interested in following the law. What kind of worldly citizens are you that you continue to try to ignore the law?

5. “Charter School objects to complying with the Asbestos requirement as cited in the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), 40 CFR part 763.”  Really?! It’s one thing that CWC wants to flout LAUSD rules  and California state laws and regulations, but they also want to ignore federal law regarding asbestos? ASBESTOS?! You’ve got to be kidding me.

6. “Charter Schooobjects to its purported obligation to pay for the repaiof any damages it makes to the facilities.” – Wow, how entitled can one charter school be to believe that they should not have to pay for repairs for damages they cause? Is this the "mindful”behavior that CWC is always touting?

7.  Charter School requests that the District "reexamine the practice of assigning custodial staff…” What, are you going to have volunteer parent take care of maintenance? We saw how well it went when CWC parents handled facilities duties before (see: CWCparents throw spike in the street

8.  “Charter School objects to the inclusion of utilities costs in the pro rata share calculation.”   Yeah, I wish I could object to my utilities cost too. 

9.  “Charter School objects to costs associated with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety ("OEHS") and contends that it is unaware of any benefits it receives from OEHS.” Are you kidding me? The letter goes on to state,  “ OEHS idedicated to providing a safe and healthy environment for all students at District campuses… These include the activities of maintaining safety in buildings, on the grounds, and in the vicinity of schools." Really CWC? You see no benefit to ensuring safety on campus or in the vicinity of your school?...okay. Is that why you had the private security for the last month of school

10. "Charter School objects to the general public's potential use of the school site outside of school hours." – So, CWC claims to want to be part of the Del Rey community, but want to keep the community from utilizing the public school facilities after school hours for the public's benefit. That doesn’t sound very citizen like to me. 

Bonus qutoe: LAUSD’s response to #10  “To make an exception for Charter School's students would require the District to accommodate Charter School students in better conditions than students attending District School. “ – Bascically, CWC, you will not be given special privilege to benefit your school while hurting the local community and community school. 

  There are still plenty of other gems in the 62 page letter, but I think these 10 quotes exemplify the entitlement and flouting of the law that we continued to see from the CWC community.

[Flashback] Cwc protest #2

On Thursday, December 5, 2013, neighbors and Stoner parents held a second protest, again complaining about the traffic/safety issues and the separate and unequal conditions on campus caused by the co-location of Citizens of the World Charter Mar Vista on the Stoner Avenue Elemtary School campus.
   The rally fliers caught the attention of the CWC administration and so, the night before the rally, I was invited to meet with the CWC Executive Director and the Principal at Geo's coffee shop on Inglewood.
   I met with them.The director brought her children along. They seemed like nice people, but nice people or not, the problems caused by the co-location were real and were not going to be solved over a cup of coffee.
   The next day, there were about a dozen neighbors and Stoner ES parents out on Lindblade next to the CWC separate entrance. The signs were simple, some were even made with crayon, and there were chants,(my daughter still on occasion will chant "CWC, stand with the community!") but mainly, it was the local community standing together to make their voice heard.
  For the most part, the CWC community did not engage with the local community and just ignored our presence, but someone did call the police and two cruisers showed up.

   Little did we know that our complaints about traffic/safety issues and the separate and unequal conditions on campus would be on full display the very next day at the CWC Walk-a-thon, or as it is called in the community, the "Segregated rock concert!"

Neighbors and parents organize against the co-location of CWC Mar Vista
Neighbors organize against the co-location of CWC

2 LAPD units show up at CWC Mar Vista protest
2 LAPD cars showed up at the CWC Rally

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kentwood was upset with CWC co-location and fought back

One of our fellow Adventurers alerted me to a July 3rd article in the Hometown News about the June 25 meeting at Kentwood  ES regarding the CWC co-location.
    You can read the article here:

    Kentwood parents and community were especially upset that the co-location would take away key resource rooms and force them to end programs to accommodate the CWC co-location.
   For this co-location, just as at Stoner ES, CWC would have its own private entrance. At Stoner ES, the private entrance was a major sore point. I don't see why that would be different at this co-location.
   CWC Principal Kerr confirms that it was CWC Executive director Held who missed the deadline and that Held had resigned.
   Kentwood parents did not take the co-location news lying down and wrote a petition to LAUSD asking them to re-evaluate the co-location decision.
    LMU Family of School, which supports 6 schools in Westchester, including Kentwood and Loyola Village, will be organizing a workshop to help their sponsored schools navigate Prop 39 and future co-location requests.
    As for the myth that Kentwood and Loyola would welcome CWC with open arms, I think the quote from Kentwood PTO president Doug Lee sums it up "If you [CWC] can come back and say with a straight face that it is, that Kentwood is the only place that this school can go to do what it needs to do, then we’ll have to receive them..." Open arms, more like up in arms.

CWC Mar Vista finds a new home (again)

There is a major announcement on   CWC Mar Vista has a new new home.
    They will be moving to St. Joan of Arc School in West Los Angeles located at 11534 Gateway Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064 for the 2014/15 school year.
   What adventures will these worldly citizens and St. Joan have next year? Based on CWC MV's first year, one can only imagine...will CWC distribute Purgatory Tickets to parishioners? Hose down naked children by the rectory? Erect another cocoon-like fence covering declaring themselves a "true community"?
     One can only wonder what type of mindfulness and gritty behavior CWC will bring to their new location.
Gritty mindfulness coming to a parish near you.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kentwood and Loyola concerned about co-location (...and they should be)

Kentwood Elementary School Charter co-location meeting
Kentwood ES community concerned about charter co-location
The word through the grapevine is that Kentwood and Loyola communities are very concerned about the co-location of CWC Mar Vista.
   If I was them, I would be worried too. Even the June 7th offer letter regarding the co-location at Kentwood & Loyola sounds ominous.
   Below is an especially troubling excerpt from the offer letter that highlights the fact that the Cwc co-location at Kentwood and Loyola would take "...set aside spaces critical to existing programs..." that are used for "art, childcare, computer labs, itinerant workrooms, intervention and counseling..."
    This was one of our biggest fears at Stoner ES, that CWC would ultimately take our art rooms, computer lab, parents center, counseling rooms and speech & occupational therapy labs, thus decimating Stoner ES and leaving our community school with little if any resources for our neighborhood children. These fears were expressed in the initial petition and letter writing campaign that ultimately lead to the third and largest protest against CWC Mar Vista.
    It is troubling to think that CWC would enter into a co-location knowing that they will be taking resources away from the community school that they claim to want to work with.

Friday, July 18, 2014

[Flashback] CWC Karma Tickets

Citizens of the World Mar Vista claims to be a progressive school that teaches and practices mindfulness, and encourages diversity and respect for other cultures. Unfortunately, their actions don't match up with their platitudes. In fact, Cwc has shown themselves to be an entitled community that is culturally insensitive and thoughtlessly insults the surrounding Del Rey community for bringing up serious concerns about the co-location of CWC.
     The most blatant example of this thoughtless insensitivity and lack of respect for other cultures is the CWC Karma Ticket.
CWC Karma ticket     A few days after the first protest against the CWC co-location, CWC delivered packages to the surrounding neighbors on Stoner, Lindblade, and Wagner that contained a letter (pictured at the end) from Executive Director Held and Principal Kerr.
     In the letter, CWC states that it has asked its parents to be "mindful" and " drive safely, park legally, and refrain from moving any trashcans, blocking driveways, and generally to respect our neighbors."
     Included with the letter were CWC Karma Tickets which CWC asked the neighbors to use to help keep the CWC community mindful of respecting the neighborhood.

     Of course, CWC administration asking its entitled parents to be mindful and respectful did not work.  The CWC community continued to block driveways, which continued to increase the frustration of local residents and ultimately led to the "flicked cigarette infraction." These "mindful" citizen continued to ignore traffic safety around the school, be disrespectful to local residents, and park illegally, even up until the last few hours of school
     Now, let's talk about the karma tickets.Who would even think this was a good idea? Cwc is, in essence, asking the local community to not report their citizen's illegal and dangerous activities to the proper authorities, and instead asking the residents to police the Cwc community ourselves by giving out culturally insensitive "karma" tickets.
     Karma is a deeply held spiritual belief in many cultures and religions. For CWC to use it so flippantly shows a complete lack of understanding and respect for other cultures and spiritual beliefs.  Karma is not just something you give to the barrista at Starbucks. It is a key concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism and many others religions. How entitled must one be to think that it is a good idea to co-opt a spiritual belief from another culture and use it inappropriately to insult the community they are claiming to want to be a part of?
     If CWC intended to calm the neighbors concerns, the letter and Karma tickets had the complete opposite effect. Instead of easing tensions, this just heated up on the whole situation and opened the neighbor's eyes to what CWC was all about.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CWC takes their mindfulness (and trees)

June 30, 2014. I received the following pictures from local resident who wanted to report that the co-location of CWC Mar Vista at the Stoner Avenue Elementary School campus was finally coming to an end.
   The last few CWC items were being moved out, including the contentious large potted-trees that were part of the "green" border that separated (and thus segregated) the charter school from the community school.

With the CWC trees, fence convering and plant borders now gone, the Stoner Avenue Elementary School campus looks like a unified learning center for the local neighborhood community. 

Del Rey Style #3/4 - Del Rey Art Walk/Stoner-Lindblade-Wagner block party

Del Rey SLW Block Party 2014
2014 Del Rey Art Walk 
   Faithful readers, apologies for the extended break on the blog.
   I didn't realize how many people are still interested in these adventures.
   After an exciting evening at the St. G's carnival, the family and I went down to Mexico to reconnect with the rest of the clan. We had no internet or phone access, which is why there were no updates to the blog even though there are plenty of stories left to tell.
   After we got back, there was really no urgency to write and so I decided to continue the hiatus. CWC was gone and I was focusing my energy on what was next for Stoner ES. I figured with school out and cwc moved out, it was all done, and no one would care about the Stoner/CWC adventure, but when I checked on the blog yesterday, I was surprised to see how many daily hits the blog received on during the hiatus and was still receiving today.
    So, since there is still interest and there is more to say, we will continue....

Del Rey Style #3 -- 5th Annual Del Rey Art Walk.  Sunday, June 22.
The Del Rey area is full of artists. This residential neighborhood is an art district unto itself. For the past five years, residents have opened up their home studios, garages and yards to share their art and music with the community.

Del Rey Style #4
Sunday, June 29 the Stoner-Lindblade-Wagner residents held a block party.

    After a tumultuous year, the Stoner Lindblade Wagner residents decided to organize the annual block party a few months earlier than usual. It was a celebration of the difficult times that we all came together to overcome. There was food, music and drink.

Fallen friends were remembered. New life was celebrate.
 Old friends reconnected, and new friends were made.

  Del Rey is a special place and we are living a special time. I feel very privileged to share these streets with those who call them their home.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Del Rey Style #2: St. Geezy Carnival - "You weren't supposed to win"

Tonight the Saint Gerard Majella Festival begins and kicks off another awesome Del Rey summer!
    Like many children in the neighborhood, our girls have been coming to the carnival since before they were born. My wife and I would go the carnival as children before we knew each other. Before they were married, my mother and father would go on dates to the carnival.
     The carnival is the thing to do in summer in Del Rey. There is bumping music, romance and great food. It's a time and place for neighbors and friends to connect and relax. It's a Del Rey summer!
   The girls have seen the carnival attractions arriving all week and are so excited to go. So, last night, we decided to take a walk to the church and watch the rides being assembled. They were working on the carousel, the Superslide, and we even got to see the free-fall tower go up.
   As we were watching the people work, we saw a few neighbors, friends and family out and about. Some would stop to talk. How are the girls? How's the folks? 
   One friend was looking for a pre-school for the fall and asked if could we recommend one. She was looking at a few different schools in the area. We told her about Stoner and what a great year our girl had. She said she would check it out.
    A long time friend who was also a former Stoner TA asked about the charter situation. We told her what happened and that it was over. She said that when she heard about the charter and that we were opposing it, she thought that we were wasting our time and that we couldn't win, but she was glad we were trying. 
   They had money. They have privilege and connections. "You weren't supposed to win." she said. We told her we could not take credit for their exit, in the end, it was the charter's own doing. She insisted that we helped and thanked us for efforts.  She said she would see us at the carnival and was off on her way. 
   As we packed up to head home, the girls were watching the Scrambler go up and were jumping for joy, saying they couldn't wait for today.
  Well, it's TODAY! and now, I can't wait until after work to go to the St. G's Carnival.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cwc director to resign tonight

We have received word that Cwc executive director Amy Held will be submitting her resignation at tonight's Cwc board meeting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cwc classes over, but cwc still present #2

Two hours ago, the only neighbor who is a cwc sympathizer asked if I could take down my lawn sign.
   I told him it would be gone when cwc was... hour later, our streets were over run by the cwc community.
   Don't we get any respite from cwc traffic even now that the school year has ended?
Neighbor circles looking for parking