Santa Monica, a Lifelong Learning Community

Lifelong Learning Community News - March 2006...

Last Tuesday, March 28th, Eddie Lopez, a fifteen year old Santa Monica native, Samohi honor student and varsity athlete, was shot and killed on Pico Boulevard at about 9:20 pm. I didn't know Eddie or his family and neither did my daughter but her account from fellow-students, like that reported by the press, was that "he was a really nice guy, the kind of kid who smiles and says hi to everyone." Eddie seems to have been a Santa Monica success story, that is until he was gunned down. It's hard to know what we can learn from such a heartbreaking, senseless tragedy. Redouble our efforts to provide good schools and safe communities. Know that we are not living in an impermeable bubble. Try to help Eddie's family. Try to work together.
A fund has been set up to help Eddie's devastated family and to honor his memory. Contributions can be sent to:

Eddie Lopez Fund
c/o First Federal Bank
1630 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA  90403
Account #: 60220421887

A vigil in Eddie's memory will begin at 7:30 p.m., Friday March 10 followed by his funeral at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 11. Both will be held at St. Monica's Catholic Church at Lincoln Boulevard and California Avenue. There is some talk of a community picnic following the funeral. If such an event is organized, we will post it on the Lifelong Learning Community Calendar at
Samohi ended classes early on Thursday and held a memorial service at the school. You can read about it at "Schoolmates Mourn Eddie Lopez's Death" at
The school is providing counseling and support services as best it can to the many, many students and staff members devastated by Eddie's killing. A special parent education session entitled "Understanding Grief and Your Teenager" will be offered this Tuesday evening at the school.

Board of Education News
At their March 2nd meeting, the SMMUSD Board of Education appointed Dr. Mike Matthews as Interim Superintendent and authorized the beginnings of a national executive search to find and hire a new superintendent to replace John Deasy. Dr. Matthews assumes his new position immediately and Dr. Deasy will leave for Maryland on or before May 1st. Several site principals and Harry Keiley, President of the Classroom Teachers Association all spoke in support of Dr. Matthews' appointment, describing him as a "good listener" and gifted "community builder." The Board welcomed Dr. Matthews and expressed confidence that the district will be assured a smooth transition with his leadership.
The Board also approved and will post School Accountability Report Cards (SARC) for the middle and high schools in our district. Each SARC is full of information on student achievement, demographics, student-faculty ratios, faculty qualifications and experience, and discipline. The SARCs provide a wealth of information in a format that actually compares apples to apples. The 2004-2005 SARCs for middle and high schools should be posted any day now. Go to the district website at and click on "School Accountability."
The Board adjourned early so that Board members could attend a memorial service for Eddie Lopez.
SMC's Dr. Tsang is on board.
Meanwhile, at Santa Monica College, Interim Superintendent Tom Donner has stepped down from that position and Dr. Chui L. Tsang, SMC's new Superintendent and President is now on duty. Many thanks to Tom Donner for his extraordinary service to SMC and welcome to Dr. Tsang!
We now have new top leadership in all of our major public institutions: Lamont Ewell is the new City Manager for Santa Monica; John Jalili is the new Interim City Manager for Malibu; Mike Matthews is the new Interim Superintendent for SMMUSD; and Chui Tsang is the new President/Superintendent for SMC. It must be the beginning of a new era.
Federal Budget looks bad for California
While all of our local institutions seem to be in good and capable hands, a recent analysis by the non-partisan California Budget Project (CBP) is ominous.  
A new analysis of President Bush's proposed budget shows that California could lose more than $3.9 billion in federal funds over the next five years.  A new California Budget Project Budget Brief, "What Would the President's Proposed Budget Mean for California?" finds that, if enacted, the President's budget would reduce funding for education in California, weaken critical services for children and families, and place new burdens on the state's budget. The Brief is available at
Highlighting some upcoming local Lifelong Learning events:

Sheila Kuehl's Community Forum on Gang Violence in Santa Monica

Saturday March 18th, 10 am – Noon, John Adams Middle School
This important and sadly timely forum, convened by State Senator Sheila Kuehl, will update the community on commitments made by Action Partners at last year's forum and move on to discuss Next Steps. To RSVP or for more information, please contact Hilda Garcia at (310) 441-9084 or
Samohi's Spring Musical "ANNIE" previews March 23rd!  Come be amazed and entertained by Santa Monica High School's acclaimed band, orchestra, choral, and theatre programs! For information, please go to
17th Annual Latina Youth Conference
Saturday, March 25, 8:00am – 3:00pm at the Santa Monica College Amphitheater. For information, please go to
SMMUSD Facilities Master Plan Workshop #2: Where are we going?
Saturday, March 25, 9:30am-12:30pm
John L. Webster Elementary School, 3602 Winter Canyon Road, Malibu
Based on the Educational Strategic Plan of 2002, this workshop will analyze and assess those educational goals in terms of specific facilities issues. Participants will investigate strategic initiatives such as "optimal classroom size" and "differentiated instruction" and their effect on facilities. For more information, please go to
These and many other noteworthy events are posted on our Lifelong Learning Community Calendar at

Raising Readers: A Children's Literacy Festival
Saturday, April 1, noon-4pm
SMC Clocktower, Free
The State of Our Schools Community Forum
Wednesday, April 5, 6:30pm
Santa Monica Main Library, MLK Auditorium
Community for Excellent Public Schools and the Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs are organizing this event. Details to follow but please save the date!
Citywide Reads 2006 begins April 3rd. This year's book is "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer. See
Lastly, please note that the Lifelong Learning Community Links has been expanded to include many more local theatrical companies – listed under "Local Museums and Special Venues." Please use these links to stay abreast of these wonderful local offerings. Links can be found at
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Remember to check out the Lifelong Learning Community Calendar at
That's all for now.

For more information about the Lifelong Learning Community, contact

Louise Jaffe











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