May 2012

May 2012 Family of Schools Newsletter

Letter From the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

As this centennial year celebration draws to a close, I have taken the opportunity to reflect on my time as a member of the LMU family. Over the past 40 years – as a student, staff member and senior vice president – I have witnessed tremendous growth and change in our university. However, one constant has been Loyola Marymount University's commitment to its mission: the encouragement of learning, the education of the whole person and the service of faith and the promotion of justice.

From the Division of Student Affairs, I have the pleasure of watching students mature and grow, exemplifying these values as they matriculate through LMU. I have consistently challenged my staff to nurture our students and model service, compassion and excellence. Over the past three years, this challenge has found a new area for collaboration and partnership: the LMU Family of Schools. This partnership has provided a unique pathway of service opportunities, program development and student sponsorship of projects that benefit our local schools. The partnership has increased the university's overall connection with the community and focused our students' awareness on issues of social justice surrounding education in the FOS partner schools.

For me, there is nothing more important to America's well-being than a strong educational system where access and equity for all is the norm. As I have been in education, in one form or another, since 1970, I understand the importance of developing a strong pre-kindergarten to college pipeline, a system that supports academic achievement, encourages faculty professional development and connects students to a sense of purpose through the best resources available. The LMU Family of Schools provides a unique opportunity to fuse the mission and resources of our university with the needs, concerns and passions of our PreK-12 students. FOS is an extremely impactful and effective PreK-12/University model and Student Affairs is thrilled to be a partner!

I eagerly anticipate what the future has in store for both LMU and the LMU Family of Schools.

Go Lions!

Lane Bove, Ed.D.

Senior Vice President for Student Affairs

Upward Bound

The LMU Family of Schools is focused on creating a pipeline of academic success in the Westchester/Playa communities, in which students progress from pre-kindergarten to high school through academic programs that prepare them to be college and career ready. We are proud to highlight a soon-to-be graduate of that pipeline, Carlos Cruz. Carlos is an alumnus of Orville Wright Middle School and is graduating from Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets this spring. As a four-year member of LMU's Upward Bound program, he was also an intern with the Family of Schools in the summer of 2011. Most importantly, Carlos has accepted admission to LMU as a future Lion in the class of 2016! He is the first participant of LMU's Upward Bound program to matriculate to LMU, exemplifying the success of the FOS pipeline.

Upward Bound is a critical partnership between LMU and Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets High School families that began five years ago. UB is a college-preparation program that serves students who are from low-income families in which neither parent has earned a bachelor's degree. The students are offered tutoring, academic advising, assistance with college applications, a residential summer program at LMU, college visits and enrichment activities such as community service, leadership opportunities and cultural events.

Carlos is not alone in his journey to college. His WESM UB peers will be attending a diverse group of colleges and universities, including the University of Arizona, Santa Monica College, C.S.U. East Bay, U.C. Davis, U.C. Santa Cruz and U.C. Berkeley.

LMU's Upward Bound program was recently awarded a five-year federal grant extension from the U.S. Department of Education. This renewal will allow the program to continue to serve WESM, and increase the number of students they serve annually from 50 to 56. The LMU Family of Schools is proud to continue our support of this amazing program and its impact on the students in our community.

Eco Garden Tour

Education offers an opportunity to foster responsibility in our youth and communities on many issues, including sustainability, which has been a recurring theme this year in the LMU Family of Schools' programs, projects and schools. Several schools have ecology gardens, some with hydroponic gardens courtesy of LMU's Center for Urban Resilience. FOS students and faculty have visited the Ballona Discovery Park in Playa Vista and participated in a variety of data collection opportunities while learning about the history of the Los Angeles River Watershed and Ballona Wetlands. Working with Joseph Rasmussen, LMU's sustainability manager, a number of FOS students have come to LMU for different events focused on water conservation, sustainability and "living green." Additionally, there is a collaborative project with Chevron to install solar panels in the Westchester Enriched Sciences Magnets High School student parking lot.

One of the highlights of this spring was a collaboration with Kerri Rasmussen, a student in the School of Education's Master of Arts degree program in early childhood education. She combined her passion for the environment and sustainability to lead an eco garden tour for more than 150 students from the LMU Family of Schools and LMU Children's Center. Incorporating elements of leadership, the daylong program used the environment as a living laboratory to engage students to look more closely at nature as well as themselves.

Developed from existing resources with no budget, Rasmussen's program opened the world of environmental science to students of varying ages by engaging a host of non-profits, including the Children's Nature Institute, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, reDiscover, Metropolitan Water District, LIONS Garden Club, Center for Urban Resilience and the Sustainability Office within LMU's Facilities Management Department. These organizations donated time, expertise and materials to give the children an opportunity to learn about the environment through hands-on environmental inquiry.

Centennial Day of Service

In March, members of the university community gathered together to celebrate LMU's past and herald its future with a day of service in Los Angeles. One site offered an opportunity to support the Family of Schools through a canyon restoration project at Cowan Avenue Elementary School. The project leverages the university as a partner with multiple public and private entities toward the common goal of creating a shared natural space that inspires and educates.

Parents of Cowan Avenue Elementary School initially dreamed of transforming the two-acre canyon, owned by Los Angeles Unified School District, into a living classroom more than ten years ago. After five years of planning and fundraising, the community is ready to begin physical construction. The site will serve as a natural classroom for scientific inquiry with a curriculum designed by the Center for Urban Resilience that will guide the students' environmental study. Students will use resources found in the canyon, such as the native flowers, as the basis for their engagement with nature.

A team of LMU faculty and staff from the Centennial Committee, Family of Schools, Center for Urban Resilience and Facilities Management Department are committed to assisting the Cowan community in developing this site. Other organizations involved are the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, Friends of Ballona Wetlands, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Backwards Beekeepers and Tree People.

The Centennial Day of Service launched the second phase of this project. On the day of service, volunteers removed non-native plants, completed the walking and observation trail, and began planting in specific areas in an ecologically sensitive way. Future plans include partnering LMU students with Cowan Avenue School students through the Center for Urban Resilience to design and implement scientific research projects centered on the birds, plants and small mammals that inhabit the site.

There was a public celebration of the nature center and Cowan Avenue students on May 20, 2012 in Cowan's Concert by the Canyon.

Loyola Village Distinguished Schools Announcement

Loyola Village Elementary School (LoVE) was honored as a 2012 California Distinguished School! Congratulations to Principal Goodall, her team of faculty and staff, and the Loyola Village Dolphin family. LoVE joins Kentwood Elementary School as member of this honorable group!