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TERA Summer Public Meeting

The Eagle Rock Association Public Meeting

TERA is such a hardworking resident’s association, dedicated to improving the Eagle Rock community through education, community activities, and some good old political activism where indicated.  The summer Public Meeting was held at Occidental College and it was a wonderful warm evening that showed off the campus at its peaceful, sylvan best. There were two presentations, one by Wendy Greuel, the City Of Los Angeles Controller, and by Eagle Rock High School.

 What is a Controller, anyway? 

Wendy was there to explain to us what a City Controller does and what she has to do with the City budget crisis right now. As with General Motors and several other venerable companies, cities are being challenged with the economic struggles of today: the worldwide economic collapse, spiraling health insurance costs, an aging population, and an unsupportable pension system. Wendy’s passion and purpose is to help the City achieve a sustainable financial system so that our city can be the safe, well-run network of local communities that it was when she was growing up in the Valley. Her office audits city departments including the airport and the Department of Water & Power. I have to say, I think I need a controller for my personal financial system and I would hire her in a hot second.

 Eagle Rock High School’s Amazing Statistics

Salvador Velasco, who has been ERHS principal for the last several years, has been on a mission to raise the graduation rate and through an aggressive program involving the whole school and its staff, has accomplished it. Here are some statistics taken from the school website:

  • Ranked in the top 5% of all public high schools in the nation. Ranked #393 of the top 1500 public high school in the U.S.A. by Newsweek Magazine.

  • Received an API (Academic Performance Index) score of 717, which is the second highest score in Local District 4 for both junior and senior high school.

  • Graduation rate has improved greatly in the past five years – going from 67% of seniors graduating to 92% for the Class of 2010.

  • College going culture: 95.88% graduates to attend post-secondary educational institutions.  Of that 95.88%, 41.68% attend a 4-year college or university and 54.2% attend a 2-year community college.

 Stephen Williams also spoke to us about the college preparatory program and how the number of college bound students is rising as well. Increasing numbers of  top seniors are getting into top schools and the lower ranks are graduating with the expectation of going to college as well. As the college-bound culture continues, the momentum builds upon itself and the results are pretty remarkable. One senior this year turned down Harvard in order to go Yale. Impressive. Mr. Williams has been the college counselor at ERHS since 1994, and he is one of the most passionate, helpful, and effective staff members I have even had the pleasure of working with. He was a huge help to us when my daughter applied to college.

Also from the ERHS website:  Eagle Rock High School continues to progress with its application to become a fully certified International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program.

One of the aims of all IB programs is “to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.” To achieve this end, all IB student learners strive to be: Inquirers, Open-Minded, Knowledgeable, Caring, Communicators, Principled, Thinkers, Risk Takers, Balanced and Reflective.

IB Learners who are Principled have a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect individuals, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them. Parents can support this principle by noting the characteristics of a team player or acknowledge being well mannered in both winning and losing situations. Thinkers show initiative in applying thinking skills that critically and creatively approach complex problems to make reasoned, ethical decisions. Parents can encourage their children to seek multiple solutions to problems or ask their children to explain how they arrived at a specific solution to a problem.

As a past PTA president of ERHS (my daughter graduated in 2004), I would say that the school has made wonderful progress with their objectives that were enacted “back in my day” with the accreditation process that took place then. And to quote my daughter, “if more people sent their kids to public school, the schools would improve even more.” Every student and family is different and has individual needs, but in Eagle Rock public school is a viable option for many.
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