More than 100,000 Los Angeles Unified School District students started their first full week of online summer school sessions on June 29. To mitigate learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to keep students engaged with their school community during summer, LAUSD has for the first time made summer school available to all students.
In addition to grade-level classes focusing on foundational literacy and math, many unique enrichment classes are being offered for its first online summer school. James Cameron, the award-winning director of “Titanic” and “Avatar,” is inviting high school students to embark on a “Voyage of the Titanic” to learn about the biology and physics of the deep ocean, underwater exploration, artifact conservation and survivors’ stories.
“As our community pivoted to online learning during this rough patch we’re all facing, I looked for a way to help educators engage with students,” Cameron said. “Titanic is a subject with broad appeal but with many teachable lessons, from the math and science of the ship sinking, to the history and sociology of the event, to contemporary themes of warnings unheeded and the need for strong leadership in a crisis. It’s important for all of us in this entertainment capital to use our storytelling skills to engage the young minds of our city.”
Illumination Entertainment, the creators of “Despicable Me,” “The Minions,” “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Sing,” will engage students in the process of making an animated film while helping them learn to draw, animate and create their own stories.
“Illumination is honored to partner with Austin Beutner and Los Angeles Unified in their effort to innovate around teaching and learning,” Illumination Founder and CEO Chris Meledandri said. “Artists and executives across Illumination joined together to create this course which will take students through the filmmaking process from story to design to animation to directing and producing. The curriculum has been designed with an eye toward academic rigor and sheer enjoyment. This opportunity is a first step to introducing Los Angeles children to the future possibilities of our growing industry.”
The Los Angeles Chargers are also part of a class on the science, nutrition and medicine of sports, with practical advice on a healthy lifestyle.
“The Chargers are excited to partner with Los Angeles Unified School District to transform education during COVID-19 by bringing relevant, real-world curriculum to students during the summer,” Chargers President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos said. “It is important to provide engaging learning opportunities that prepare students for a variety of careers in sports while keeping them connected to each other and staying healthy.”
Additionally, the Columbia Memorial Space Center will help students explore space while investigating astronomy and space technology. Another program sponsored by the Fender Play Foundation is teaching students how to play guitar and other instruments.
“This is the first time that summer school is available to all students,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner added. “By taking advantage of the tools, technology and online connection every student now has, we can continue to nurture our students’ love of learning during the summer months.”
For information, visit lausd.net.
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