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West side

Venice Public Schools Providing Students Meals and Devices

By Nick Melvoin, District 4 Representative for the Los Angeles Unified School District

At 8am on Monday, I was at Webster Middle School in West LA, but not, of course, to check-in on classes. Nearly six weeks since we closed schools, the world, and LAUSD, look a lot different. But our core mission of educating kids and supporting our community remains unchanged. And that’s why I was at Webster, visiting one of our Grab and Go food centers to help out our volunteers and families they’re serving.

Our first priority when schools closed was opening 63 Grab and Go centers, which have served over 10 million meals—the largest food bank in the country.

From there, we began transitioning the nation’s second largest school district to distance learning. In order to ensure every student had equitable access to continue learning, we invested $100 million for devices and mobile hotspots.

Luckily, some of our schools had devices ready because my office funded new instructional technology through our bond grant program— including Chromebook carts at Mar Vista and Grand View Elementary.

I’ve seen what is possible, from joining a virtual Coeur d’Alene parent meeting focused on reviewing reading techniques, to seeing incredible Zoom instruction and spirited videos from staff at Venice High and Mark Twain Middle School. And we helped facilitate partnerships for meal deliveries, donations, and headphone giveaways to minimize learning distractions.

I’ve also been hosting regular virtual conversations with leaders, experts, and parents, one about fostering resilience, and one for supporting our earliest learners. Join us every Wednesday at 4:30pm live at facebook.com/nick.melvoin.

You can visit achieve.lausd.net/resources or call 213-443-1300 for all the resources and services available right now, including a Mental Health hotline and Information Technology helpdesk.

We’re all doing our best to adapt to an ever-evolving situation. No amount of technology can match a “typical” day at school, but we will continue working tirelessly, thinking creatively, and providing support to get through this crisis together, even while apart.

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