Value Schools is pleased to announce that on Friday, March 9, 2017, Kate Farrar and Matthew O’Connor joined our strong and growing community of Board members!
Kate Farrar is the newest member of our School Board. As Senior Director for Regional Impact at Leadership for Educational Equity, she oversees the work of their western regions where they support current and former teachers to engage through policy, advocacy, organizing, and electoral pursuits, toward the outcome of achieving educational equity for all children in our country. Kate’s career began in the Compton Unified School District, teaching English and ESL. Since then her professional path has included working as a teacher and guidance counselor in the Los Angeles Unified School District, serving as a charter school principal, and working for the Teach For America organization supporting both new teachers and alumni of the program in Los Angeles and across the nation. Kate has been in Los Angeles for nearly 25 years and currently lives downtown.
Matthew P. O’Connor is the newest member of our Foundation Board. He is president of American Funds Distributors, part of Capital Group. He has 23 years of investment industry experience and has been with Capital Group for eight years. Earlier in his career at Capital, Matt led the Institutional Investment Services group, and managed the insurance client relationship group. Prior to joining Capital, he was the managing director of business development at Putnam Investments. He holds an MBA from F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Saint Anselm College. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation. Matt is based in Los Angeles.
When he was a sophomore at Central City Value High School, Victor Reyes attended the Back East Scholars Trip (BEST). In the span of just three days, he and six other Value Schools students visited Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, Boston University, Boston College, Yale University, and Brown University.
"After visiting the universities," remembers Victor, "and especially after seeing the students who looked like me at Harvard Club, I realized I could belong there, too."
Victor applied to Harvard University this year, along with 40,000 other prospective students worldwide. He also applied to MIT, Stanford, and Cal Tech, among others.
Last week, he received an email from Harvard, but waited for his mother to return home from work before reading the results. The two sat as Victor translated the letter, and jumped for joy as the enormity of Victor’s acceptance to Harvard sank in.
After visiting the universities, and especially after seeing the students who looked like me at Harvard Club, I realized I could belong there, too."
-- Victor Reyes, Senior, accepted to Harvard University and M.I.T.
Just a few days later, Victor received another email, this time from MIT offering a spot on their campus roster! With nearly 20,000 applications, MIT offers positions to a mere 1,500 students.
Victor is the first in his family to go to university, and the first Value Schools student accepted to Harvard College. Victor plans to focus on computer engineering.
"MIT just made my life more difficult," exclaimed Victor. "Now I've got even more decisions to make!"
These are good problems to have, and we know Victor will make the decision wisely! Victor has not accepted either invitation yet, as he waits for a response from two more top schools – Cal Tech and, his top choice, Stanford University, both due to arrive later this month.
Congratulations, Victor, you make Value Schools proud!
On February 22, 2017, four 8th Grade girls from Downtown Value School attended an event called Engaging Girls and Young Women in STEM, hosted by LACOE, the CDE, and the California Commission on the status of Women at the LA Arboretum in Santa Anita, CA.
Te coalition of agencies are working together to promote statewide outreach to highlight and encourage girls and young women to explore, enroll, and complete STEM courses.
The event provided the girls with the opportunity to interact with women who are professionals in STEM related fields in small group settings to discuss things like motivation, challenges, and career pathways.
View the embedded image gallery online at:
See the photos!
There were representatives from JPL, CalTech, pharmacology labs, The Planetary Society, and many other STEM based organizations. There were also booths set up for the girls to participate in science and engineering activities and challenges, as well as a star gazing center outside.
It rained fairly hard for about an hour during the event, but after it cleared, Downtown Value School students left to find a glorious rainbow!
For fifteen years Value Schools has provided students with an education that makes a difference. With four campuses serving students from kindergarten to 12th grade, Value Schools now offers even more opportunities for a free, public educational option to families who live in some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Los Angeles. We offer hope and opportunity in safe, nurturing environments where students are both challenged and supported. We provide a strong choice for parents who appreciate the absolute necessity of a good education for their child. Please take a look at some of the highlights from 2016.
Download the report HERE, or flip through below.
Middle school flag football teams across Los Angeles take to the field each autumn to play in the FIYA League. For over two months, teams throughout the city compete, until two face off in the playoffs. This year, the victors were our very own Downtown Value and Everest Value schools!
With support from the Fitzberg Foundation, both Downtown Value and Everest Value have had the opportunity to participate in citywide sports. Although our campuses are relatively small compared to other schools in their divisions, Value Schools’ campuses pride themselves as being contenders year-round.
They worked hard and never gave up. That’s what it’s all about! Seeing what might be and working hard to succeed. That’s what Value Schools stands for. That’s what the kids do every day.”
– Everest Value Coach Roberto Sanchez
Downtown Value entered the FIYA Division 1A Westside League playoffs with an impressive undefeated streak of 9-0. Everest Value trailed only slightly with the second-highest point spread of 7-1. Each took to the field against one another for the championship game at Frank Parent Elementary in Inglewood.
Downtown Value players were confident from the first play. But facing off against students whom they knew and spent time was not as easy as they had thought. Everest Value was ready, and the skills, speed and passion of Everest players helped propel them to the lead in the first quarter.
By mid-game, Downtown Value tied the score, but was never able to overtake Everest Value. Everest pulled ahead in the second half and didn’t look back, clenching the win, 26-14!
Downtown Value staff Henry Martinez was honest about how his team felt. “It would have been better if we had that trophy,” he admitted. “But sports isn’t just about winning or loosing. It’s about taking a loss and coming back stronger the next season. And it’s good for the players to experience both sides. It’s about getting back up and never quitting. It’s about living the Values and becoming a better person.”
“I’m so proud of our team,” said Everest Value coach Roberto Sanchez. “They worked hard and never gave up. That’s what it’s all about! Seeing what might be and working hard to succeed. That’s what Value Schools stands for. That’s what the kids do every day.”
“I’m glad the trophy stayed with Value Schools,” continued Martinez, “and in the end we all win."
Long-term success requires healthy bodies as well as healthy minds. With the Fitzberg Foundation grant, Value Schools is now better equipped to maintain a full complement of team athletics at both its K-8 schools and encourage widespread participation in healthy activities.
But these activities are not a frill! We believe “healthy bodies, healthy minds” to be more than just a slogan, and that our schools must take the lead. Students face a wide range of health challenges. Obesity in America, for example, is reaching crisis proportions, and especially so among the groups Value Schools serves – Latino and low-income children. Our Team Sports program tackles that issue head-on!
Most students at Downtown Value School and Everest Value School participate in Physical Education for 180 minutes (three classes) per week, with supplemental programs such as Running Club for the K-6 students and our Students Run LA Club, in which 7th and 8th graders train for the Los Angeles Marathon.
Sports isn’t just about winning or loosing. It’s about taking a loss and coming back stronger the next season. And it’s good for the players to experience both sides. It’s about getting back up and never quitting. It’s about living the Values and becoming a better person.”
– Downtown Value Coach Henry Martinez
And there are collateral benefits of team athletics! Along with healthy bodies, athletic participation brings academic benefits that raise achievement levels. Physical activity improves cognitive skills, concentration, attention, and attitude – all of which help improve academic achievement.
“School work always comes first,” explained Martinez, “and sports is a way to make sure kids stay engaged. To participate in sports, each student has high academic expectations. They’ve got to keep up with their studies if they want to be on the team.”
Athletic participation also builds social skills and develops character. Sports can increase self-esteem, encourage goal setting, and bring out leadership skills in children who may not yet excel in the classroom. And they provide success opportunities for children who will never be at the top of the class in academics, yet will develop into fine citizens and leaders.
The gift of $25,000 from The Fitzberg Foundation allows Value Schools to maintain a tradition of athletic and academic excellence. We are deeply grateful for the continued support given to Value Schools by the Fitzberg Foundation and Dan Rothenberg!