BEST participants Roxana, Leandro, Vianey, Jorge, Ellesse, James, Kelly and Moises joined by Board Chair Grant Cambridge, CEO David Doyle, Brown University student and Value Schools alumna Brittany Loew, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology student and Value Schools alumnus Victor Reyes at Harvard University.For the sixth year in a row, Board Chair Grant Cambridge has generously provided promising Value Schools students the opportunity to broaden their academic horizons.

Eight tenth and eleventh grade students from University Prep Value High School and Central City Value High School were provided an all-expenses-paid trip to New England to tour some of the most prestigious schools in the country. The experience exposed students to educational institutions and opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.

For Value Schools students, visiting college and university campuses "Back East" is a new and eye-opening experience. Roxana, Leandro, Vianey, Jorge, Ellesse, James, Kelly and Moises all broadened their educational horizons in a whirlwind three-day trip. The group toured Brown University, Northeastern University, Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University.

Seeing it in person made me want to aim for it and achieve it... it made us all feel like we could do it, too."
-- Moises, University Prep Value High School

Mr. Cambridge, Denise Marroquin-Chiang (Central City Value High School College Counselor), and Kathryn Hanling (University Prep Value High School's Biology teacher) began this year's BEST journey months ago. Interested students completed applications and were chosen based on grades, extra-curricular engagement, educational aspirations, and teacher feedback.

"The purpose of the trip," explained Mr. Cambridge, "is to help students and families understand that access to institutions like these is not necessarily out of reach. It's broadening their perspectives, their horizons, exposing them to something they wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to experience. And with so many students from Value Schools now attending these institutions, it feels more real than ever."

best2018 17 2 The trip has paid off for every student at Value Schools. Participants return to share their observations and insight with peers. And after six years of the BEST experience, students from Value Schools are able to visit former classmates currently attending these prestigious institutions!

Students hear about expensive private institutions from college counselors and teachers year-round. But hearing from Value Schools' graduates who have made it to these campuses make attending these universities feel like a real possibility.

I would like to become someone that people look up to, someone to reach out to. This trip made me feel I can be that kind of person."
-- Roxane, Central City Value High School

"Seeing it in person made me want to aim for it and achieve it," said Moises, a University Prep Value student. "It was easy to think someone like me didn't belong there, because of my background or skin color, but we got to meet students like us who came from the same place we did, and it made us all feel like we could do it, too."

Students were thrilled to reunite with with Value Schools alumni when visiting these famous institutions. Brittany Loew, alumna of Value Schools in 2016 and now a sophomore at Brown University, introduced students to her new campus. Victor Reyes, graduate of Value Schools in 2017 and now a freshman at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proudly met our students to show them the lay of the land.

best2018 25Visits to college libraries and dorms led to questions about admissions, cost, scarcity of resources, documentation status, and the cultural and social adjustments students often face when going to college.

With similar backgrounds and aspirations, alumni explained they were not stopped by similar restraints and are living proof that Value Schools students can attend these and other distinguished institutions.

"I would like to become someone that people look up to, someone to reach out to," said Roxane, a junior from Central City Value High School. "This trip made me feel I can be that kind of person."

Value Schools thanks Grant and Peggy Cambridge for providing the BEST opportunity for Value Schools students, helping open their eyes to what is possible and giving all our students a chance to succeed and thrive.

 

Over the following months, Value Schools will be sharing more about our students' experience in the BEST program. These exposés will focus on the impact such experiences have on family members, teachers, other students at Value Schools, and on the students themselves. Stay tuned for more!

Samantha, Dayana and Sofia after winning third place in ICAN Poster CompetitionThis month, three students from Everest Value School were chosen as finalists in an art contest focusing on child abuse prevention. The competition focused on bringing awareness to cyberbullying and a greater respect to peers, values our students work to demonstrate every day.

Fifth and sixth grade students Sofia, Samantha, and Dayana won third place among a city-wide competition of nearly 20,000 applicants!

The ICAN - Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Poster Contest focuses on the health and well-being of children and provides a comfortable forum for discussion in the classroom. The contest emphasizes the importance of child abuse prevention and gives children an opportunity to convey the importance of prevention through self expression and art.

Art is important because it makes people feel like someone knows what they're going through..."
-- Samantha, Everest Value School 5th Grader

"I'm proud of myself," admits fifth grader Samantha, talking about the impact the project has had on her. "When I draw, it makes me happy and excited. My sister taught me to draw, and that makes me feel close to her."

The power of art was not lost on Samantha. She recognized her work's impact was even more important than her award.

"Art is important because it makes people feel like someone knows what they're going through," she continues. "Doing this changed me because it helps people when they see the art, and the art shows us how to stop hurting one another. I can make people happier and help people not get hurt."

Twenty-five city-wide finalists presented before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at their Board Meeting on April 3rd. The Board of Supervisors recognized the students and teachers, and talked about the importance of Child Abuse Prevention.

Samantha, Dayana and Sofia's winning anti-bullying posters!
Everest Value Schools art teacher Ana Martinez has watched Sofia, Samantha, and Dayana's skills develop over the last year. The ICAN poster contest was one of many art projects Ms. Martinez has helped shepherd, developing students' skills along the way.

"They all feel like they've accomplished a lot," explains Ms. Martinez. "They've gotten better, their art is stronger, and it makes us and their families very proud."

 
Congratulations to our ICAN Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Poster Contest winners!

building 03Basketball season is always exciting for our students. But facing off against your sister school is thrilling! This year, Downtown Value and Everest Value once again met on the court. Although players from Downtown Value were successful in defending their title, the Everest Value team got closer to clinching the win than ever before!

With support from the Fitzberg Foundation, both Downtown Value and Everest Value have had the opportunity to participate in citywide sports. Although campuses at Value Schools are relatively small compared to other schools in their divisions, our students pride themselves as being contenders year-round.

"They work hard and never give up," said Everest Value Coach Robert Marquez. "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."

They work hard and never give up... 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 Robert Marquez

Downtown Value Education Coach Henry Martinez kept a big-picture perspective. "Sports isn't just about winning or loosing," he said. "It's about taking a loss and coming back stronger the next season. It's good for boys and girls, it's about getting back up and never quitting. It's about living the Values and becoming a better person."

Long-term success requires healthy bodies as well as healthy minds. With the Fitzberg Foundation grant, Value Schools is better equipped to maintain a full complement of team athletics at both its K-8 schools and encourage widespread participation in healthy activities.

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.

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 our boys and girls 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 then use these skills to practice academic excellence in the classroom.

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!

building 03In March, Value Schools teachers and staff from all four campuses gathered in Griffith Park to celebrate the accomplishments and collaborations taking place this year.

Schools gained points as they competed against one another in volleyball, kickball, and badminton; they won points for school spirit; and during the final round, they battled for position in the values-based obstacle course to win the coveted Teachers Celebrating Teachers Trophy.

It was a raucous and joyous afternoon, culminating in a Habit Burger feast.

The yearly celebration has grown out of a four-school strategy focused on leveraging the skills and learning of academic leaders at each campus to provide excellent, targeted, and supported instruction for all of our students.

"It's an important goal," says Value Schools CEO David Doyle. "The goal has been to focus the efforts and experience of skilled individuals to help all our educators get the guidance and expertise they need to ensure all students reach their highest academic potential."

 
Teachers Celebrating Teachers is a day where the faculty and staffs from our four schools can spend time together, compete against one another, and build strong relationships.

Ned Colletti with University Prep Value students

Ned Colletti, the former General Manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers, recently met with students on two occasions at University Prep Value. He shared how hard work and dedication helped him become a successful general manager, and how his passion brought him to his current position as a professor at Pepperdine University teaching courses on life management and planning.

Ned Colletti with University Prep Value students"Mr. Colletti was really interesting," said 11th grader Sheilla. "He said, 'steel sharpens steel.' It's like our values - we make each other stronger when we look out for one another. When we have each other's back."

In his Pepperdine University course called The General Manager, and his book The Big Chair: The Smooth Hops and Bad Bounces from the Inside World of the Acclaimed Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager, Mr. Colletti is bringing the skills he has garnered to help our students develop to their fullest potential. 

Value Schools is proud to have such dedicated professionals and scholars on our side!

Mr. Cambridge with special guest Koko ArchibongBeginning last Wednesday, and for five Wednesday's to come, members of the Value Schools Board of Directors are teaching a financial literacy course for students at University Prep Value High School.

The course is led by three Value Schools Board of Directors: Mr. Jeff Garcia (who graduated from Stanford), Mr. Vince Gonzales (who graduated from Stanford and Harvard), and Mr. Grant L. Cambridge (who graduated from Harvard). 

Each is a portfolio manager from Capital Group Companies, the manager of the American Funds. Founded in 1931, Capital Group is a privately held investment management firm located in Los Angeles, CA with assets under management of $1.7 trillion!

The Value School's Financial Literacy course is designed to alert, inform, and educate students in concepts of personal finance and money management. Five broad topics will be the foundation of the course: college and career planning, money management, savings and investing, income and spending. Students are exposed to concepts related to investing, savings, debt, interest rates, compounding, and basic company analysis. The course will also include a stock picking contest.

Mr. Jeff Garcia, Mr. Vince Gonzales, and Mr. Grant L. Cambridge with students

As the first-born son of Nigerian immigrants, my parents always gave me the chance to get great educational opportunities, but I never learned to take care of the money I made along the way."
-- Koko Archibong, Guest Speaker at Value Schools Financial Literacy Course

Grant Cambridge began the first session talking specifically about the basics of financial literacy: supply and demand, return on investments, and the power of compounding interest. And to highlight the impact these practices have in the real world, Mr. Cambridge brought along a very special guest speaker.

Koko Archibong received his education at the University of Pennsylvania and went on to became a professional basketball player. He shared his experience of investing and his attitude toward money with our students. "As the first-born son of Nigerian immigrants, my parents always gave me the chance to get great educational opportunities," he said, "but I never learned to take care of the money I made along the way." He explained to our students it was important to reevaluate his relationship to money in order to better plan for his future.

During the session, Mr. Cambridge helped students deconstruct their own understanding and relationship to money, and educated them on the basic underpinnings of savings, investing and financial planning.

We are all looking forward to learning more from these leaders in the financial field! Value Schools thanks its dedicated and passionate board for helping our students thrive!

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Downtown Value School Downtown Value School 
950 West Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone: (213) 748-8868
Fax: (213) 742-6684
Everest Value School Everest Value School
668 South Catalina St.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone: (213) 487-7736
Fax: (213) 487-7745
Central City Value High School Central City Value High School
221 North Westmoreland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Phone: (213) 471-4686
Fax: (213) 385-5127
University Prep Value High School University Prep Value High School
1929 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Phone: (213) 382-1223