I met Rebekah and one of her mentees at the two-room building on the campus of Van Nuys High School that now serves as the branch location of the West Valley Service Area of the Division of Adult and Career Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District. It was bittersweet to visit this particular location for me personally because I taught on that campus for almost 14 years when it was its own independent campus. In those days, we had dozens of classes operating afternoons, evenings and weekends and offsite at other locations. The consolidation of the Division in the last two years reduced the number of independent sites from 26 to 10. Sites that did not continue were either eliminated completely or brought under the umbrella of those that did. The downsizing is of importance to Rebekah's project choice as not only were class offerings reduced, staffing was reduced as well. Whereas before, teachers always had clerical staff or administrators available to handle student inquiries, now, those administrators are at another location, and the clerical staff has reduced on-campus hours so the teachers are isolated and must handle all student inquiries at certain times of the day. The few teachers that are there in the morning would therefore like a web site to be created that can answer the typical questions students have when they come to the location for the first time. Rebekah's first project is to work with her mentee to build such a web site.
Her second project is to train a teacher who shares her room learn to operate the new Intelliboard interactive white board and associated accessories that came with it. Of course, Rebekah will also provide instructional strategies so her second mentee can use the equipment effectively for instruction. It's so new that at the time of my visit, the set-up hadn't been finished yet.
Rebekah's final project is to create and organize a computer-based learning center for student use. With the overall reduction in the program at the site, the rooms that were formerly used as computer labs are not accessible to her students. Along with her mentees, Rebekah will use existing hardware to create a multi-station learning center with Internet access for her students, many of whom do not have alternative locations in which to use computers.