Hello from Sunny L.A.!

We are having a great time. It is sunny, warm and there are flowers blooming everywhere…

Sunday morning, old friends hosted a wonderful book party brunch with about 60 people, The students’ presentation on RICO was brilliant. We sold all of our books and had to take orders when we ran out! Folks asked great questions about how studying the arts has helped with academics and Katy L. explained how her music studies have taught her to be more disciplined in other areas of her life, including academics.

We then drove down to Santa Monica and rented bikes and rode in the sunshine to Venice Beach where we gawked at the 1960’s still being lived out in modern times. Our students were blown away by the sights and sounds of the boardwalk.

In the evening we had dinner with George Simpson and Cara Livermore, two BAA faculty alums. George was our Music Department Chair and is now Principal of L.A. County High School for the Arts. Cara was on our World Languages faculty for many years and is now Academic Dean at LACHA (she was also honored as a Boston Teacher of the Year last year!). We are so proud of them!

On Monday we visited PUC Charter Schools (non-profit charter school management organization designed to increase college entrance and graduation rates for underserved students in the Los Angeles area.). We also visited Ánimo Film and Theatre Arts School, which is one of the “Green Dot” charter schools in L.A. It is interesting and inspiring to see the creative alternatives to the failing public school system in this area.

After our two school visits and presentations, the Los Angeles Coalition of Essential Schools hosted a reception/gathering for us to meet about 25 educators from various district, charter and pilot schools. It is so cool that L.A. is expanding their Pilot School Program. Here is a recent article from the L.A. Times explaining the concept and process.

Well, I have to say again that the kids are amazing and staying really focused! As always, I am so proud of our student ambassadors and grateful for the opportunity to both spread the word of BAA and expose our students to so many new places and experiences. I thank everyone who has helped make this book tour a reality and will continue to post in the coming days.

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