Creating Community in Los Angeles Area Schools With Strong STEM Education, Dual Language Immersion, and Caring Educators

When you have a six year who loves playing sports, quite often you befriend other parents who are part of the same team/league while spending countless hours at the park. I have talked to grandparents, parents, teachers, and school administrators who day in and day out are at the park with their kids after school. Keeping our kids active and in extracurricular activities is a common goal for all of us.

Quite often, we talk about education and our children’s school. The park neighbors LAUSD schools, the Alhambra Unified School District, Montebello School District, and Garvey School District. Because of the location of the park, I frequently come across different perspectives from different caregivers, yet they all have similar priority lists when it comes to their child’s education.

The top three things that quite often come up include a well balanced curriculum with STEM focus, dual language immersion for Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese (we live in a predominantly Asian community), and educators who care about student success.  

I frequently ask the adults how is their child’s school is living up to their expectations. For the most part, I tend to hear good things about Alhambra Unified School district and the Garvey School district. These districts have both adapted STEM as part of their curriculum at most of their elementary schools. Our kids are learning to code in the first grade, which is something I really like about my son’s school. Garvey is also now adapting the dual language immersion program for students entering kinder in the 2018-2019 school year. The school that my son attends also offers a third language as an after school enrichment program. I know Alhambra also offers dual immersion at a couple of their elementary schools.

I do get mix reviews for Montebello school district due to last year’s budget problems.  While there are good teachers and schools, parents seem to be concerned with the district’s future.

Then recently, I had a grandma share that her grandson was attending a school in City Terrace, which is part of LAUSD. While he attended that school, he was a top student and was frequently recognized with achievement awards. The shocking surprise came when the family moved to Alhambra, her grandson who was once a honor roll student, was now in the 6th grade and was behind academically in comparison to most of his peers. She said that his mom seeked tutoring support to get him up to grade level. She said that in the past if someone would have told her school rigor mattered, she would not have understood or believed it. Not until now that she experienced it with her grandkids did she understand not all schools are equal! It’s hard for her to accept that students are cheated from a quality education.

As parents we want to be told the truth. If our kids are struggling, we want to know early, and we want teachers to communicate ways we can help turn things around. I want my son to be in an environment where he is truly being challenged and prepared to compete academically, not only on the field.

I have also learned that teachers want parents to take initiative, become involved and not just drop off and pick up their children. We need to send notes, emails and ask questions all through the year about our students’ performance. This is good parent/teacher communication.

If parents and teachers works together, we can create community we all seem to be longing for.

What do you think?

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Cindy Borbon

Cindy Borbon

Cindy Borbon is a Co-founder and Editorial Manager of She is a single mother of 2 who graduated from Bell High School when she was five months pregnant. Becoming a teen mom forced her to become self-sufficient and very responsible early on. She worked fulltime in the auto finance industry, prioritizing working so she could provide for her daughter. She attended junior college for a bit but dropped out to focus on work. Her extraordinary problem solving and strategizing skills led her to become a Senior Supervisor by the age of 26, almost unheard of in her company and industry. She built over a dozen successful teams and she mentored dozens of leaders directly. She was passionate about working with young adults to enhance their skills while she mentored them. Many of her employees were straight out of high school and new to the workforce. She took initiative in getting to know them and their back ground, many times this meant having heart to heart talks about their personal goals, encouraging them to return to college. She turned her talks and speeches for others into her own reality. It is never too late to get an education. It’s never too late start over. It’s never too late to pursue your personal goals. She has found this part of her life to be the most rewarding though challenging. She is working on her BS in Business Management.

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