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Happenings

​9 Dots: A Classroom of the Future

Posted April 20, 2020 by Amanda Liaw

“What are the coordinates of where we're moving to?”

The teacher's question is met with a flurry of raised hands. He picks a student to answer, she gets it right, and the class moves into independent working time. One student is levels ahead, already unlocking the tougher coding challenges beyond the first five “training wheels” exercises. Another two students point out mistakes in each other's coding and move forward together. The sound of furious typing is punctuated by the occasional “Ohh” and “Yes!” as things click into place.

These students are 5th graders and already learning how to write code.

Coding is complex work, so the design of 9 Dots' Computer Science (CS) pathway prepares students for the difficulty of simplifying their work – an easily under-estimated process that requires high-level analytical and problem-solving skills. From the way 9 Dots plans their curriculum to work like building blocks to the gamified interface they created to support both students and teachers, their focus on cultivating a truly engaging classroom environment is what makes their impact on the next generation so significant.

3rd and 4th graders begin their coding journey by navigating a graphical interface that familiarizes them with the structure and syntax of programming. By the time they enter a 5th grade classroom, many become quickly proficient in typing out their own code, with several even applying and broadening this knowledge on their own through an after-school robotics club.

While being fluent in programming languages is undeniably a useful skill for the future, a 9 Dots classroom emphasizes the multiple useful skills one picks up when learning how to code. The classroom is quiet as students troubleshoot their own work, double-checking their code for spelling errors. With all their focus and attention to detail, it was impossible to tell that they had just come back from recess.

Much of this environment is carefully cultivated by the teacher who hands laptops out ten minutes before recess so students can play with the 9 Dots interface. Details like adding a robot icon to the instruction page and using shapes and colors to visualize the functions they're coding keeps the interface intuitive for students. It also eases their transition into a math class where they might recognize why coordinates are necessary to plot a graph. On the back-end, teachers are able to track the progress of students in real-time and assist those stuck on an easier level who are hesitant to ask for help.

As you leave the classroom you notice a poster hangs on the wall reminding students that they can use CS as a superpower for art, sustainability, social justice, and more, it's not at all difficult to feel hopeful at our glimpse of the future.

How LA2050 Grantees Are Responding to COVID-19

Posted April 6, 2020 by Team LA2050

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We continue to be inspired by our grantees who are adapting, innovating, and championing their missions more than ever during this time.

Defy Ventures has paused its in-prison programs due to the California Department of Corrections restrictions on visitors at this time, but Defy's staff hasn't skipped a beat. The team has been able to connect with participants to continue with the EIT (“Entrepreneur-in-Training") curriculum, and has shifted to virtual meetings for post-release and community programs. In addition, they're starting virtual book clubs and launching a letter-writing campaign so that volunteers and post-release EITs can send words of encouragement to in-prison EITs.

Rise reallocated a small portion of its project budget to provide immediate shelter to 40 local college students living in their car or on the streets. The goal: to use the time in a temporary facility to find permanent housing for these students. Rise has also continued its work with local college student organizers, shifting from in-person to digital advocacy methods.

Rock the Vote moved its Census “Create-a-thon" to an innovative digital gathering. Fortunately, the “Create-a-thon" was all about expressing creativity through the use of digital tools and platforms. The kick-off and award ceremonies were conducted virtually while a Slack workspace was created so that participants and event organizers could share resources, announcements, and questions about the Census in real time.

The Street Vendor Coalition responded swiftly to alleviate the negative economic impact of COVID-19 on local micro-businesses and their workers. The coalition created the Street Vendor Emergency Fund to raise the money needed to provide $400 in direct cash assistance to vendors who are unable to access government assistance.

The Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's coordinated an alternative to its in-home caregiving model given concerns around older adults and COVID-19. The program, “E-Meal," will combat isolation by setting up virtual dinner meetings via phone or video to connect YMAA's volunteers with older adults. Not only does E-Meal encourage social interaction, but it also gives older adults a venue to express their need for resources.

The Natural History Museum has closed its local museums and paused all in-person programming. But NHM's Community Science team is accustomed to using creative, mobile methods to encourage Angelenos to explore nature on their own. One example: the upcoming 2020 City Nature Challenge, an international effort to mobilize people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe using their own smartphones and cameras.

826LA is continuing to provide its free tutoring, writing workshops, and support services to students, teachers, and families both online and over the phone. 826LA was motivated to make the shift to virtual methods in part because of the team's belief that storytelling can be a powerful tool in difficult times. See 826LA's digital resource hub for families here.

Harlem Lacrosse adapted proactively to the challenges faced by students, families, and teachers due to COVID-19. Program Directors served as “Resource Catalysts" to disseminate information from schools about virtual learning, meal distribution, and more. Meanwhile, the Leadership Team created virtual platforms and streamlined curricula to continue delivering academic support, athletic training, and social-emotional learning virtually. Some activities: live workouts, lacrosse jeopardy games, and an age-appropriate discussion on the coronavirus.

9 Dots has designed new remote learning options for its Get Coding and Academy students and will be offering webinar lessons to a full grade level at a time. 9 Dots is also launching this year's CS Education Heroes awards as a virtual campaign by soliciting videos from the community about why CS education and teachers are so important.






Safer At Home And Chill

Posted March 30, 2020 by Amanda Liaw

One thing we're really thankful for during this time is the truly wide variety of content that's available online to keep our spirits up and our minds open. We've put together 8 of our top picks that we're excited to share!

  • Marvel's Hero Project, a Disney+ original series that reveals the positive change several young, real life heroes are making in their own communities.
  • Film Independent's Spirit Awards Shorts Program, a weekly curated list of short films by independent filmmakers
  • She Did That, a feature-length documentary on Netflix about black female entrepreneurs.
  • East Los High, a Hulu original series about a group of teens who are navigating their final years at a fictional high school in East Los Angeles.
  • Gentefied, a Netflix series that follows Mexican-American cousins as they try to save their grandfather's taco shop while gentrification shakes up their LA neighborhood.
  • The Farewell, a film celebrating family that's based on an actual lie, following a Chinese-American woman played by Awkwafina.
  • Los Angeles Plays Itself, a documentary that explores the tangled relationship between movies and Los Angeles as seen through these movies. It's available to stream for free on Kanopy, which is accessible with a Los Angeles Public Library card.
  • The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, a Netflix series reporting on the case of Gabriel Fernandez and how it exposes the failures of multiple Los Angeles County departments.

Stay Engaged While Staying Safer At Home

Posted March 30, 2020 by Amanda Liaw

Looking for ways to stay engaged while self-isolating? Check out some of the resources we've come across that can help you live, learn, play, connect, and create from the great indoors.

LIVE

  • AltaSea's Project Blue features content and education resources around the emerging blue economy, healing our oceans, and saving our planet.
  • TreePeople has educational activities about important environmental topics.
  • Camp Kindness Counts provides teachers and parents with free guide books that foster strong, compassionate character and awareness in children.
  • HERE is a free app that combines meditation practice with interactive exercises.
  • Respectful Ways is offering teachers and parents free access for up to 3 modules in their social-emotional learning curriculum.
  • NHMLA's Connects page invite you to explore natural and cultural wonders from their exhibits to your own backyard.


LEARN

  • Los Angeles Public Library has tons of free online learning tools that you can access instantly with either a library card or e-card, including language learning with Mango Languages, courses ranging from grant writing to team management fundamentals with Lynda, and more.
  • California Science Center's Stuck at Home Science is featuring science activities for families using common household supplies.
  • LAUSD has partnered with PBS SoCal and KCET to offer free daytime educational programming for students in Pre-K through 12th grade.
  • Scholastic offers free online day-by-day projects for students in Pre-K through 9th grade.
  • Academy 4SC hosts free videos and content on psychology, philosophy, and economics.
  • American Panorama is an historical atlas of the United States that combines research with innovative mapping techniques.
  • American Archive of Public Broadcasting provides access to significant historical content created by public media, with suggested topics to start ranging from biography and consumer affairs to travel and parenting.
  • Audible has a large variety of free audiobooks.
  • Abdo Digital Bookshelf has free ebooks for children of all ages.
  • Petersen Automotive Museum offers free live stream and video activities in addition to coloring and building activities that include building your own race car and more.
  • Khan Academy provides students aged 2-18 with free remote learning resources in subjects such as math, science and engineering, arts and humanities, computing, and more.
  • KQED Learn is a free platform for middle and high schoolers to build media literacy and critical thinking skills.
  • These free Carmen Sandiego educational resources for kids include exercises that build self- and social-awareness, activities such as creating animal trading cards and writing an opera, and more.
  • Storyline Online hosts free videos of actors reading children's books.
  • The Huntington Garden released The Collections, a podcast hosted by Huntington President Karen R. Lawrence.


PLAY


CONNECT

  • Civics 101 is a podcast refresher course on the basics of American democracy.
  • The Metropolitan Opera is offering free nightly opera streams.
  • World101 provides modules to understand the issues, forces, and actors that shape the world.
  • Google Arts & Culture offers free virtual tours of museums and cultural institutions.
  • Louvre Museum is offering free online tours of the museum's exhibition rooms and galleries.
  • Berliner Philharmoniker is offering their Digital Concert Hall for free to everyone who signs up before March 31.


CREATE


For more context about what is open and what is closed at this time, browse this list.

For more resources in response to COVID-19, check out our article compiling all the local resources we're aware of.

If you know of other resources, please submit them through this form.




Food and Nutrition Resources in Los Angeles

Posted March 30, 2020 by Team LA2050

General Resources:

  • LA County's "Let's Feed LA" portal connects those in need of food to those who can help.
  • For the closest food pantry/bank to you, visit Los Angeles Food Bank Pantry Locator
  • Community Services Unlimited is assisting people in applying for Calfresh (aka food stamps) by phone. If you or anyone you know is recently unemployed, experiencing shortened hours, is a student, or experiencing other issues that impact your ability to buy food, call to make an appointment at (213) 746-1216 or email [email protected]
  • Every Table is offering free delivery and food distribution for seniors who need food brought to their homes, students, and food distribution centers. If you need 10-10,000 meals, reach out to Everytable at (323) 458-6487. For more info, click here!
  • Hollywood Food Coalition is providing nightly, packaged takeaway meals. Location: 5939 Hollywood Blvd, LA CA 90028. Phone number: (323) 462-2032. Hours: Monday through Sunday 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm.
  • Expensify is offering reimbursements for up to $50 in groceries for families enrolled in SNAP
  • WIC clinics under South Los Angeles Health Projects will remain open and will be remotely issuing participants food benefits onto their WIC cards to avoid families from going out given our COVID19 pandemic. For those families that have not yet gotten the new WIC card and wish to locate the nearest WIC clinic to them, please visit: http://www.slahp.org/wic-centers-by-city/
  • Check out this list of restaurants that are offering markets to buy groceries at this time.


Children and Youth Specific (0-17):

  • The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks offers FREE lunches to kids and teens ages 1 through 18* at over 100 parks starting June 10, 2019 - August 9, 2019. https://www.laparks.org/foodprogram
  • Los Angeles Food Banks will be offering Grab and Go Meals for Summer Lunch 2020 at a total of 22 locations. Starting Monday, June 1 through August 20, all children are welcomed to participate in Grab and Go breakfast and lunch. Please click the link to see locations: https://www.lafoodbank.org/programs/children/summer-lunch/
  • Starting June 16 – August 7*, customers ages 18 and younger can visit one of 24 participating libraries and pick up a free nutritious meal. Lunches are available for pickup Tuesday – Friday, 12 – 1 pm, while supplies last. (*No lunch is available on July 3.)
  • Dashboard of LA County student meal distribution centers


Adults 65+:


Click here to return to the full directory of Los Angeles area COVID-19 resources, services, and opportunities to make a difference.


Employment and Financial Resources

Posted March 29, 2020 by Team LA2050

  • Use the IRS "Get My Payment" Portal to check on the status of your Economic Impact Payment
  • California's Employment Development Department (EDD) provides a variety of support services to individuals affected by COVID-19 in California.
  • BENEFITS FOR WORKERS IMPACTED BY COVID-19 and also check out the EDD's Frequently Asked Questions
  • Paid Family Leave: Paid family leave is available for those who stay home because they need to take care of someone who has contracted the virus (Covid19) or who has been quarantined (must be certified by a medical professional). Learn how to file a Paid Family Leave Claim HERE.
  • Disability Benefits/Paid Sick Leave: If you're unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. How to file a disability claim.
  • Unemployment Benefits: If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, or you have to miss work to care for your family, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. Workers who are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week. However, they must remain able and available and ready to work during their unemployment for each week of benefits claimed and meet all other eligibility criteria. Eligible individuals can receive benefits that range from $40-$450 per week. How to file an unemployment claim.
  • Directly from the Employment Development Department: “Employers experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return."
  • CalEITC4Me has resources for low-income Californians filing tax returns
  • For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center.
    • Toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886
    • Hearing impaired (TTY): 1-800-547-9565
    • Outside the U.S. or Canada: 1-916-464-3502
  • Resources Based on Type of Employment


Click here to return to the full directory of Los Angeles area COVID-19 resources, services, and opportunities to make a difference.

LA Area COVID-19 Resources and Responses

Posted March 28, 2020 by Team LA2050

The following is a directory of local resources to assist Angelenos during the COVID-19 crisis. If you know of others, please submit them through this form.

Note: LA2050 is not coordinating the efforts on these lists. We are compiling and amplifying the resources sent to us. Please confirm with organizations that the resources or services are active.


OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP:

COVID-19 Funds for Donation

Local Volunteer Needs

Opportunities for Philanthropic Funders


RESOURCES AND SERVICES:

Resources for Local Businesses

Food and Nutrition Resources

Education Resources

Technology Resources

Employment and Financial Resources

Housing and Utility Resources

Mental and Physical Health Resources


"SAFER AT HOME":

Ways to Stay Engaged While Staying Safer at Home


LOS ANGELES CITY AND COUNTY RESOURCES AND GUIDELINES:

Los Angeles County Resources

Los Angeles City Information and Resources

Updated Los Angeles COVID-19 Orders

USC Price Center for Social Innovation COVID-19 Data Map for Los Angeles County



Mental and Physical Health Resources

Posted March 28, 2020 by Team LA2050


Click here to return to the full directory of Los Angeles area COVID-19 resources, services, and opportunities to make a difference.

Educational Resources and Services for Students

Posted March 28, 2020 by Team LA2050

  • Child360's Home Grown program tapped into the great minds of child development experts to help parents take everyday moments and turn them into creative ways to support children's development. Join them for Motivation Monday, Talk Tuesday, Wiggle Wednesday, Thinking Thursday, and Feeling Friday!
  • Free Los Angeles Public Library resources for students of all ages, including home tutoring, encyclopedia access, STEM content, college admissions test prep, and more!
  • Up2US Sports At Home portal of free resources, videos and virtual training opportunities to help coaches keep their teams physically, socially, and emotionally healthy during this time of social distancing and isolation.
  • The Online Physical Education Network, the nation's largest public-service organization serving physical educators, coaches and activity leaders, is available to help coaches and students deal with extended school closings.
  • Spectrum Broadband: Free access to Spectrum Broadband and Wi-Fi For 60 Days For New K-12 and College Student Households who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. (For more information, click here!)
  • Charter Comcast: Free Internet Service for Households with Children - To enroll: 844.488.8395
  • Free Zoom (platform for virtual meetings) for all K-12 students and staff to facilitate remote/virtual learning
  • Google Meet (Free)
  • The team from the musical Hamilton has released EduHam at Home, where students study primary source documents from the Founding Era, learn how Lin-Manuel Miranda used such documents to create the musical Hamilton, and finally create their own original performance pieces based on the same material.
  • PBS: Starting Monday, March 16, students in Pre-K through 12th grade will have the opportunity to access free, educational PBS daytime programming designated for each grade level weekdays (For more information, click here!)
  • Bob Baker Marionette Theater's "At Home Happiness" Activity Portal
  • Learning Resources: Free online resources for learning – this includes a whole host of free online/web based learning resources for all ages and subjects: http://www.amazingeducationalresources.com/
  • MIND Research Institute is offering no cost access to a free math instructional program for students in grades K-8 (For more information, click here!)
  • Scholastic offers free, online learning experiences for kids of all ages (For more information, click here!)
  • "For anyone in these areas who have kids at home from school, watching other kids or knows of someone who can use free brand new books for their kids during this time, we will be giving away books to anyone who asks (while our supply lasts) We are happy to either do a "no contact" delivery or pick up. We have books from board books to high school levels. If you are interested please email [email protected] Supplies are limited but we will do everything we can to fulfill your request.
  • CTE Online offers thousands of free lesson plans aligned to CTE, Common Core, and NGSS.
  • EdSpace is a social learning network for the world of education.
  • The Petersen Automotive Museum is offering free educational activities and livestreams.
  • Edge Factor is a platform to learn new skills and uncover opportunities.
  • UC/Scout A-G approved HS courses
  • Khan Academy
  • Kahoot: Free distance learning
  • Adobe Creative Cloud


Click here to return to the full directory of Los Angeles area COVID-19 resources, services, and opportunities to make a difference.

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