Santa Monica, a Lifelong Learning Community

Lifelong Learning Community News - OCTOBER 2009

October is a very busy month in our lifelong learning community with lots of events and some good news.

Congratulations to our school district for continuing to demonstrate both excellence and improvement as evidenced by the most recent state accountability measures.

CAHSEE Results: In September the California Department of Education released the results from last year’s standardized testing. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District reached an all-time high in the percentage of 10th grade high school students passing the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), with 92% of first time test takers passing the English Language Arts (ELA) exam, and 92% passing the mathematics portion of the test.

API Results: Also released in September, the state’s 2009 Academic Performance Index (API) report for the district shows continued, steady gains overall, with a narrowing of the achievement gap for several numerically significant groups. The district’s 2009 API is now at an all time high of 835, a five-point gain over the 2008 Base API.

For much more information on the district’s API and CAHSEE reports, please go to
Santa Monica College has received a $2.1 million two year grant from the federal government to support Asian American and other low-income students with academic need. The program will serve 300 students providing specialized tutoring and counseling to help complete their AA degrees and/or transfer to a four-year university within three years.

SMC has also opened a new Veterans Center on the main campus to better serve this growing population with specialized counseling and other support services and a place on campus to come together. For more information on the Veterans Center, please go to
In other news, as part of a pilot project, the Santa Monica Public Library is now responding to text messages! Need an answer in a hurry? Text your question along with the library code SMP to 309-222-7740. All quick questions are welcome. A librarian will answer in minutes. For more information on this new service, please go to or email
Local artist and curator Bruria Finkel has begun writing a monthly post of not-to-miss arts events: Art2c. You can find her latest posting at
Saturday, October 3, 9:30am – 4:30pm
Senior Arts Festival: Celebration of Life

Santa Monica Senior Center
1450 Ocean Avenue

The City of Santa Monica’s 50+ & Senior Programs and the Senior Arts Foundation present the 2nd annual Senior Arts Festival: Celebration of Life. The all-day, free event will include music, visual, and performing arts demonstrations, performances, exhibits and workshops both inside and outdoors. Activities and performances are led primarily by professional artists and performers 50+ and older who are donating their time and talents to providing an amazing arts experience for community members of all ages in book making, collage, improv, creative writing, acting, blue grass, ballet folklorico, creative urban planning, calligraphy and more. The afternoon will have a special focus on drumming, with attendees watching multicultural drumming performances, creating unique drums to take home and participating in drumming circles. For more information, please visit or or call (310)458-8644.
Saturday, October 3, noon – 2:00pm
Kids With Cameras - An Exhibition of Photos and Community Dialogue

McKinley Elementary School
2401 Santa Monica Boulevard

“Kids With Cameras,” a program launched by the Santa Monica Bay Human Relations Council in May 2009 involving mid-city youth, will culminate in a photo exhibition and community conversation at McKinley School. The participating youth met once a week for eight weeks to take pictures and share their perspectives on their neighborhood. Supervised by City staff members Eula Fritz and PAL officers and coordinated and mentored by professional photographer Fabian Lewkowicz, the youth will exhibit their photo essay project focusing on the Mid-City Neighborhood and share their narratives with the community at large.
Sunday, October 4, 2pm-5pm
Santa Monica Conservancy Landmarks Bus Tour!

Meet at 1:45pm in the DMV parking lot at 2235 Colorado Avenue
$30 for members, non-members $35
Advance reservations required!

Hop aboard a specially chartered Big Blue Bus and in just three hours you will learn about the places and stories that made Santa Monica the rich and diverse community that we all appreciate. Tour guide, Marcello Vavala, provides a fascinating narration of the history and significance of the historic places that we all treasure and that define our community. The tour traverses all parts of the city so that tourgoers get acquainted with our landmark buildings, historic districts, even designated trees and signs.

For more information and to make your reservations, please go to to secure your reservations. Additional questions? Call 310-496-3146.
Wednesday, October 7, 7pm
Community Meeting: SMC Facilities Master Plan Update

SMC Academy of Entertainment & Technology, Room 235
1660 Steward Street

Santa Monica College is holding community meetings to present its Career and Educational Facilities Master Plan 2009 Update and solicit public comments with regard to the proposed project. For more information, please go to
Wednesday, October 14, 7pm
Community & Scoping Meeting: SMC Facilities Master Plan Update
SMC Main Campus, Business Building, Room 111
1900 Pico Boulevard

Santa Monica College will present its Career and Educational Facilities Master Plan 2009 Update and hold a scoping meeting to solicit public comments with regard to potential environmental impacts that may occur as a result of the proposed project. Parking is free but requires a visitor permit. Please enter the campus at 17th and Pico and request a visitor permit at the parking kiosk next to the Business Building. For more information on the Facilities Master Plan Update please go to
Saturday, October 17, 11am – 4pm
Disabilities Awareness Month Special Event

Santa Monica Main Library, MLK Auditorium and Community Meeting Room
601 Santa Monica Boulevard

This event celebrates Disabilities Awareness Month and is sponsored by the Santa Monica Disabilities Commission. For more information, please contact or call 310-458-5619.
Wednesday, October 21
Samohi Bike It Day

Going to and from Santa Monica High School
Students (and staff) are asked to get out of their cars and walk, bus, or bike to school on October 21st. Organizers are hoping that at least 600 individuals will walk or bike with many more taking the bus. The goal is a Car Free Samohi day.

On campus, the student club Solar Alliance is organizing a big lunchtime event with music, DJ's, and special guests. Solar Alliance received an award this summer from Education Secretary Arne Duncan for their work last year on promoting Bike to School Days.

Santa Monica recently received a Safe Routes to School grant from Caltrans for $880,000 with a local match by City of Santa Monica of $100,000, for total of $980,000 for pedestrian and bike safety improvements to streets around the Santa Monica High campus, including installing hundreds of additional bike racks on campus. The grant was submitted by the City of Santa Monica with assistance from parents, students and staff at Samohi. To date, Santa Monica students in the Solar Alliance have organized several Bike Days which have increased the number of students biking to school from 30 in 2006 to over 160 at the June 2009 Bike Day. The increase in students biking and walking to school has highlighted safety issues, and the Samohi PTSA has helped to organize bike safety classes and bike helmet promotions with the assistance of local cyclists and Santa Monica police. The Safe Routes to School grant includes continuing safety education and encouragement for students to walk or bike to school, using these partnerships. Congratulations and many thanks to the students, parents, staff, and cyclists in the Samohi community and the City of Santa Monica who are working together on these needs and improvements.
Saturday, October 24, 8am- noon
Special Education Fall Forum: Creating Unity through Collaboration

John Adams Middle School Cafeteria
2425 16th Street
Pre-registration requested.

SMMUSD & PTA Council Special Education Committee invite the full community to attend this Special Education Fall Forum with keynote speaker Dr. Doug Fisher, distinguished researcher, professor, author and expert in the field of reading and the brain. Dr. Fisher’s presentation will be followed by breakout sessions focusing on strategies for successful learning for all students. The forum will close with Dr. Sara Woolverton, new SMMUSD Director of Special Education. For more information and to register, please visit
Saturday, October 24, 11am-2pm
League of Women Voters Luncheon with Guest Speaker Tim Cuneo

SMMUSD Superintendent Tim Cuneo will be discussing The State of Our Schools at this event. If you are interested in joining the Santa Monica LWV or in attending this event, please call 310-394-3079.
Friday, October 30, 7pm
Cirque du Soleil, Benefits SMMEF

Santa Monica Pier parking lot

Cirque du Soleil is returning to the pier parking lot and is offering specially priced tickets to benefit local organizations. The Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation has tickets on sale for the October 30th performance. Proceeds will support arts education in our schools. For more information, please visit or call 310-396-4557
Santa Monica College and the Santa Monica Public Library are in full swing with many, many engaging events scheduled. For their listings and others, please refer to Lifelong Learning Community Calendars & Events at

Lifelong Learning Community Links provides useful websites including local theatrical companies – listed under “Local Museums and Special Venues.” To stay abreast of these wonderful local organizations, please visit the links at
That’s all for now.

Cheers, and Onward,

Louise Jaffe

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