STRIDES

OUR STORIES

AUTONOMY

“Ask not what your district can do for you, but what your school can do for itself.” 

 

For years teachers and parents have worked side by side to better our Westchester schools. We battled in frustration over our large district, and how our individual schools and community needs could be heard.  Well, after a community wide vote, Westchester public schools got a unique opportunity to do just that! 


In order to accelerate student achievement per our demands, Superintendent David L. Brewer III and the Los Angeles Unified School Board approved the creation of iDesign Schools (formerly iDivision), to serve as a separate division for external “Network Partners” interested in facilitating school reform in families of schools (A family includes a high school and all of its feeder schools). This is how/why the LMU Family of Schools was born. WPEF was instrumental in its creation. READ MORE ABOUT LMU FOS

 

The then 7 local public schools in Westchester (elementary, middle and high school) were been invited to join the Division as a cluster of schools, (Cowan, Kentwood and Westport Heights Elementary, Wright Middle and Westchester High School voted in as members of iDesign and began the 2009 -2010 school year with new governance councils in place).  These models gave schools a greater voice in important decisions that impact them, such as budget, school schedule, and the instructional content of the classroom.

 

In order to qualify for participation, each cluster had a network provider who took a leadership role in building the new school culture.  The network providers were held responsible for the success of their cluster.  We were very fortunate to have Loyola Marymount University step up and accept this role for our “Family of Schools”. 

 

Then we had newly elected LAUSD School Board Member. Then we switched LAUSD Superintendents. Twice (so far). Then, although we fought it, our High School (Westchester High) and our Middle School School (Orville Wright) were closed. Teachers were fired. Adminsitrations (who the community of iDesign had hired, per our agreements) were let go.  All our autonomy legally went away with our schools. Now, in their place, are full-Magnet schools (with no portion as community schools), which have zero autonomy and are completely managed (some say, "mis-managed") by LAUSD with no input from this community who voted for autonomy.

 

GRANTS

WPEF APPLIES FOR AND HELPS TO WIN MANY GRANTS - HOW ABOUT MORE?

Our team, headed up by Susan B. Smith (who is sadly no longer with us) and Forouzan Faridian, applied for a Federal Grant for Small Learning Communities which won the attention of the Feds and of LAUSD who used our written application to apply for the same funds and won them for not only our high school, but also for seven others. Over $1,000,000 went to Westchester High School. Glad to help!

 

For several years running, WPEF teamed up with representatives of each of our schools to apply for, and were awarded, Beautification Grants from the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Division. In total, we won ten grants, including at least one for each of the schools in our family. The biggest change that is still apparent was a grant applied for is the ever-growing Community Garden at Orville Wright Middle School. READ MORE ABOUT THE COMMUNITY GARDEN.

 

Every year, WPEF is the recipient of tens of thousands of dollars of technical equipment that is then donated out to our schools. We have written grants for, or been the recipients of donations for computers, white boards, printers, copy machines, supplies and more. 100% of everything won/received has been given out to our schools.

 

If you have equipment, furniture or other supplies that you would like to donate, please contact Kelly Kane at 310-283-5858. Thanks!

VOLUNTEERS

Many Hands Makes Light Work - and we've got over 12,000 of them!

 

WPEF with the LMU School of Education has been working with the different Westchester schools, the district, and various departments within the University to lay the foundation and building the proper relationships for the LMU Family of Schools.

 

Forouzan Faridian spearheaded the creation, collection and analysis of the teachers' surveys, utilizing community donations to purchase $15,000 worth of supplies to address our teachers' needs. The elementary schools and middle school teachers received their supplies on the first day of school in September. The High School teachers will receive their supplies on December 12th. WPEF values teachers and listens to their needs. We appreciate all the community members who donated towards this, with special thanks to VONS, and Office Depot.

 

For five years, WPEF delivered supplies to all of the teachers in our seven local public schools. These requests were the results of surveys asking for priceless teacher input about our schools. We're listening. The supplies are merely a token of our appreciation for all the teachers hard work, expertise and care for our students. This year we gave over $25,000 in supplies.

 

These and so many more projects were all done through volunteering. We have sent mentors and career speakers to our schools, too. Is that something you would like to do?

EVENTS

EVENTS PLANNING & EXECUTING - ALL VOLUNTEERS - ALL THE TIME!

 

No, we didn't bring the Space Shuttle to Westchester...but we helped our local kids get there to see it!

There are far too many events that WPEF either hosted, planned, participated in or just plain dreamed up to list on one website, but here are few of the highlights:

 

  • Hosted 5 years of Back to School (how to choose) Nights with PTA's

  • Hosted 4 years of Public School Expos (free to the public) with donors

  • Hosted 2 years of Race for Success (now on its own)

  • Orchestrated 5 years of Teacher Surveys and Teacher Supplies from Wishlist on the first day of school

  • Created a Realtor network to inform all realtors about our local public schools - and hosted an Open House of public schools for them to Caravan to.

  • Fundraisers, Fundraisers, Fundraisers.

  • Hosted 2 years of school EAT OUT nights on Restaurant Row (Lincoln)

  • Only missed one 4th of July parade in 10 years - each with a new self-built (volunteer) float - always promoting our local schools!

  • Hosted a Driving Tour of Holiday Lights with local sponsors to fundraise for the schools

  • and we're not done yet!

HISTORY:

Look at what we've done in the last decade!

2014

  • WPEF provides keynote speaker for WPNS "where should I send my child to school"

  • WPEF participates in Chamber of Commerce Education Meetings, securing speakers during School Board Election - LAUSD

  • Recipient of Real Estate Consultants E-Cycling Fundraiser

  • WPEF attends meetings with LMU SOE, Neighborhood Council, Chamber of Commerce and other local groups re: education.

  • WPEF calls meeting to begin a "Community Coalition" for all organizations to support our local schools.

  • Eye <3 Public Schools float in 4th of July Parade promoting all our local schools

2013

  • WPEF provides keynote speaker for WPNS "where should I send my child to school"

  • WPEF participates in all community meetings and First Friday Foodtrucks fundraiser

  • WPEF participates in fundraisers for each of our schools

  • Recipient of Real Estate Consultants E-Cycling Fundraiser

2012

  • WPEF provides keynote speaker for WPNS "where should I send my child to school"

  • WPEF hosts Realtors Open House Caravan of all of our local public schools.

  • WPEF participates in fundraisers for each of our schools

  • Recipient of Real Estate Consultants E-Cycling Fundraiser

  • Partnered with Westchester and Del Rey Little League for float in 4th of July Parade promoting all our local schools

2011

  • WPEF participates in fundraisers for each of our schools

  • Recipient of Real Estate Consultants E-Cycling Fundraiser

  • Big LMU Birthday Cake float in 4th of July Parade promoting all our local schools

2010

  • WPEF provides keynote speaker for WPNS "where should I send my child to school"

  • WPEF hosts Town Hall Meetings regarding WHS closing

  • WPEF participates in fundraisers for each of our schools

  • Recipient of Real Estate Consultants E-Cycling Fundraiser

  • 3rd Annual 5K Race for Success became their own entity. Find them at:

2009

  • Hosted the 4th Annual Public School Expo at LMU - May

  • Hosted the 2nd Annual 5K Race in partnership with PTA Council.

  • WPEF presents School Board candidates with 8 point pledge “To Transform Westchester and Playa del Rey Schools” for signature. Link to http://www.wpef.org/pledge.htm.

  • Submitted a grant application to the Department of Education to bring a Character Education Program to our 7 schools.

2008

  • WPEF named recipient of the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce Holiday Mixer Proceeds.

  • Transition Teams and Governance Councils set at iDesign Schools Westchester High School. Orville Wright Middle School, Cowan Elementary, Kentwood Elementary, Westport Heights Elementary voted to join iDesign, a division of LAUSD focused on providing autonomy within the school district.

  • WPEF float received Best Theme Float Award for our 4th of July Float in the annual community parade.

  • Hosted the 3rd annual Public School Expo at LMU.

  • Hosted the 1st Annual 5K Race in partnership with PTA Council at LMU.

2007

  • WPEF Founders Kelly Kane, Forouzan Faridian, Marie Murphy and Christine Moen received Friends of Education Award at 2007 Teacher Eddy Awards sponsored by the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce.

  • Kelly Kane attended a meeting at the Mayor’s Office – to discuss the six pillars of excellence for education.

  •  WPEF Board attended meeting with Henry Anker, LAUSD Dist. 3 technology expert, meeting at Orville Wright (to discuss how to spend the “Microsoft Money”) and get the grant PC's to WHS

  • Beautification Grants won for 4 schools

  • WPEF petitions for (and wins) Orville Wright - Pocket Park for joint use with the school and community

  • WPEF wins grant for Loyola Village - Irrigation and Garden Planting

  • WPEF wins grant for Paseo del Rey - Mural painting and development in conjunction with Otis College.

  • WPEF hosted community meeting with Mr Stephen Rochelle, Principal Orville Wright Middle School, who discussed the critical success factors for a child attending middle school.

  • Obtained 501c(3) status within 90 days of filing paperwork.

  • Partnership with Otis for Murals program.

  • WPEF purchased a Foundation Directory Subscription to assist with grantwriting campaign for our LMU family of schools. Contact Ann Wexler for more information.

2006

  • Received donation of laptops and desktops (60) for Westport Heights Elementary School

  • Holiday Lights Contest -  Thanks to Coffee Company, Paco’s Tacos, Vons, Just Massage, Jerry’s Liquor and Nanci Edwards for donations of prizes. Thank you for Nanci Edwards sponsorship!

 

 

WANT
TO DO
SOMETHING?

Join WPEF and your school PTA.

PTA gains strength by high levels of membership and parent involvement. Needs vary by school. Please check your PTA website to learn the volunteer and financial needs of your school.

  • Cowan Avenue Elementary PTO

  • Kentwood Elementary PTO

  • Loyola Village Elementary PTA

  • Paseo del Rey Elementary PTA

  • Playa Vista Elementary PTO

  • Westport Heights Elementary PTA

 

Further questions? 

Contact kelly@wpef.org

The Westchester/Playa Education Foundation is a California charitable non-profit, corporation - a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.  The federal tax ID number for the foundation (EIN) is 20-3035179. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

VOLUNTEER

All schools need your time, your money, and, yes, your ideas.

DONATION HOTLINE

ADDRESS

8726 South Sepulveda Blvd.

Suite D-2641

Westchester, CA 90045

Email: kelly@wpef.org

310-283-5858

1-310-283-5858

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