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Author Archives: WSS News

EmpowHer Hosts Workshop to Assist Girls to Engage, Learn and Grow Around Business and STEM Disciplines

LOS ANGELES, CA- (EMPIRE NEWS NETWORK (ENN)- Betty LaMarr, Founder and President of EmpowHer Institute, is pleased to announce an exciting partnership with B-STEM Project, a national organization that focuses on engaging young girls and women in business and STEM-related disciplines across various industries. 

On Wednesday, April 25, EmpowHer will host the Girls to Greatness Mentor to Inspire Summit.  The goal of this Summit is to motivate students by exposing them to different career opportunities in various industries. Professional women from diverse industries and companies, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Southern California Gas Company, United Parcel Service (UPS) and Microsoft, will serve as mentors for the day. The Summit will include a full day of activities for 300 middle and high school students including one-on-one conversations with mentors, an interactive STEM project facilitated by B-STEM, panel discussion and Mentoring Luncheon with Keynote Speaker, Los Angeles’ First Lady, Amy Elaine Wakeland.  

“We’re so excited about all the work B-STEM Project is doing. While many STEM programs focus solely on developing computer science skills, they create a gateway into the entire business of the STEM ecosystem,” said Betty LaMarr. 

“If we are to make a dent in the STEM talent gap, we need to mentor and guide young women now.  Organizations need to make it a priority to level the playing field for women and to deliver top-down support and institutional accountability,” said LaMarr.

“It’s not enough that young girls learn to code nor is it realistic that every girl has an interest in pursuing computer science related careers. However, at B-STEM Project, we believe that all girls need to understand and be confident in their knowledge of STEM disciplines to become successful in the 21st century marketplace,” said Tracie Ponder, Founder, B-STEM Project

This year’s sponsors include: JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, UPS, Microsoft, Quest Diagnostics, Lawrence Livermore, Perry Foundation, Bergman, Dacey, Goldsmith, So Cal Gas, VACO, Frontier Communications, Information Management Resources, Inc. and AMC Theaters.  For sponsorship contact Betty LaMarr, President (310) 574-9181 or info@empowher.org.  For more information on the Girls to Greatness Mentor To Inspire Summit visit our website www.girlstogreatness.org.

EmpowHer Institute 

EmpowHer Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2003. EmpowHer Institute’s mission is to empower marginalized girls and young women by giving them the skills necessary through education, training, and mentorship to enable them to become confident, college and career ready. To learn more about EmpowHer Institute, visit our website www.empowher.org. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

B-STEM Project
B-STEM Project is designed to educate young girls and women about the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math in business and everyday life. We take an interdisciplinary approach by integrating STEM into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real world application in all professional industries. To learn more about B-STEM, visit our website 
www.bstemproject.org or email info@bstemproject.org.  B-STEM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Letter to the Editor: Achievement Gap Legislation Introduced, Advocates Welcome Support

By Manny Otiko | California Black Media

(EMPIRE NEWS NETWORK (ENN)- Legislators and education advocates came together at a press conference Wednesday, April 11, to show support for a bill that they believe will help fix how education is funded for one of the lowest performing subgroups. Advocates say there was a flaw in the five-year-old law that overhauled how education funding is appropriated to school districts through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

Assembly Bill 2635, authored by Assemblywomen Shirley Weber, would target $350 million towards struggling school districts. Many of these districts educate California’s black student population which has historically failed to meet grade-level proficiency in math and reading and perform right above special education students.

According to a press statement, AB 2635 drives equitable funding for California’s lowest-performing subgroup to students not currently receiving funding under LCFF. Additionally, this bill demands greater accountability from both school district and charter school recipients of these supplemental funds over the education outcomes of the lowest performing subgroup.

“We cannot look the other way anymore. African-American kids in California persistently fall behind academically,” said Weber. “And this problem is not limited to low-income students either. Parents have been patiently waiting for something to change, but it has not. Providing additional resources for the lowest-performing students is now no longer an option, but a necessity.”

 Data provided by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) and presented to the California Legislative Black Caucus shows the majority of African-American students performed well below state standards. Legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013 allows school districts to direct increased funding to failing students in four categories.

“About 260,000 (76 percent) receive a supplement under LCFF because they are low income, foster children or homeless, or English learners,” according to the California Department of Education web site.

Under AB 2635, districts could see possible increases: Los Angeles Unified would receive $50 million, Oakland Unified $12.6 million, Long Beach Unified $10.6 million, Pasadena Unified $7 million, San Francisco Unified $6.2 million, Sacramento City Unified $5.3 million, and Inglewood Unified $4.8 million, according to the press release.

“Our students are the most likely to be disciplined and suspended than any other student as shown in various studies linking to implicit biases and damaging stereotypes,” said Sen. Steve Bradford, vice chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, “because of this, and their lack of access to the adequate school resources, the future for our next generation looks grim, unless we take meaningful action. We cannot allow African American students to be left behind any longer.”

Students marched in front of CTA to support AB 2635

 Young people have joined the fight to improve the education system.  Students recently took to the front of the California Teachers Association in Sacramento chanting “schools not prisons,” “support AB 2635” and “don’t watch us fail.”

 “We’re here telling them (CTA) to be in support of AB 2635, and don’t watch us fail” said Nailah Dubose, a ninth-grade student at Fortune High School.

CTA sent a letter to Weber, the author of AB 2635, expressing their shared goal for the bill, but highlighting concerns and marked it as a bill CTA will “watch”.

 In the letter CTA wrote:

“We share the goals of this legislation—to provide additional resources to school districts to help close the achievement gap for our lowest performing students. However, we are concerned that as currently drafted, AB 2635 will not meaningfully increase resources to serve our lowest performing students and may have unintended consequences.”

However, speaking at a press conference Margret Fortune, president and CEO of Fortune School, called for unity among the education community. She noted that the California Charter Schools Association is often on opposite sides of policy debates and acknowledged California School Board Association’s support for this legislation. Fortune invited all of the education coalition community to join in supporting students that were left out of the LCFF funding.

“The students in the most need are the ones that equity demands that we give support. Isn’t that the reason the Local Control Formula Funding was created in the first place?” Asked Fortune.

AB 2635 passed out of the Assembly Education committee and now heads to assembly appropriation.

Link to full press conference

Student protest CTA video link

Social Justice Groups to Open ‘Co-Op’ Headquarters in Downtown San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- (EMPIRE NEWS NETWORK (ENN)- Dozens of community organizers and volunteers are gearing up for the inception of a community space that will provide effective, supportive resources to low income residents.

The co-operative, located at 802 N. E Street, is the only of its kind in the Inland region. A community kickoff will take place on Friday, April 20 to introduce residents to the community service model that utilizes shared governance to resolve social, economic and cultural issues.

Organizations working out of the center are not offering “charity” or “pity” to residents, but instead looking to empower fellow residents living near or in poverty.

“We’re here in this space to be responsive for our community’s needs” said Mary Valdemar, Co-founder of the Chicano Indigenous Community for Culturally Conscious Advocacy and Action (Ch.I.C.C.C.A.A.). “Whether its jobs, education, immigration, or environmental justice, we’re looking for local, grassroots solutions.”

The kickoff will feature live performances from local artists and musicians. Organizations are also hosting a community potluck with the community. Students organizing walkouts across the region are expected to also be in attendance.

The following groups are located at the center: Chicano Indigenous Community for Culturally Conscious Advocacy and Action (Ch.I.C.C.A.A.A.), Sierra Club My Generation Campaign, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Inland Regional Equality Network, the Indigenous Defense and Resistance Movement, Progressive Alliance of the Inland Empire, Village and Child Co-Op, Mother Earth Co-Op, San Bernardino Valley College LGBTQ+Pride, San Bernardino Valley College Progressives, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A.) de San Bernardino Valley College, I.E. Hack Lab, and Team Abigail.

DateApril 20, 2018

Time: 4:20 p.m.

Location: 802 N. ‘E’ Street, San Bernardino, CA, 92410

For more information on the kickoff, contact the core team at chicccaa@gmail.com.