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Pepperdine University Graduate Students Engage Community in $10,000 Grant for Hollywood Beautification Project

(PRWEB) March 29, 2006 -- A $10,000 grant from the City of Los Angeles was awarded to three students of the Teacher Education
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 program at the Pepperdine University Graduate School
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 of Education and Psychology (GSEP), for a Hollywood neighborhood beautification project. Those students, who student teach at the Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School, where eighty-one percent of the students are English language
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 learners, and many of the families in the community are first-generation immigrants from Central America and Armenia, aim to impact the community by first being a leader in beautifying the neighborhood, then preparing others to take on that role. With this grant the students are making a positive change beyond the classroom by touching the lives of those living in the area.

 “  This grant will certainly assist in accomplishing that goal.  
As part of a requirement for a Social Change Project, Pepperdine University students, Fernando Ibarra, Tina Jung, and Perry Yook, along with Dr. Eugene Kim, Assistant Professor of Education, are working to promote awareness and lead parent representatives and K-5 pupils in ownership of the beautification of their community. This effort will facilitate the project’s longevity beyond the grant timeframe. Local businesses, organizations, and churches have also been approached to increase the resources, legitimacy, and potential outcome of the project. By teaming with the community the Pepperdine University students are fostering pride, ownership, and education in a community where the school doesn’t stop at the fence; it is part of the community in which the students and parents live.

“The Social Change Project requires graduate students to take leadership of a project that will impact the community in a way that is authentic, significant, collaborative, and lasting,” said Dr. Kim. “This grant will certainly assist in accomplishing that goal.”

The project began with an ethnographic approach, in which the student teachers from Pepperdine University canvassed the community surrounding the school to gain a sense of the concerns, needs, and desires of those who live in the vicinity. The Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School, which was founded in 1910, is located across the street from Paramount Studios. The 1,500 pre-K through fifth-grade students have been under the principalship of two GSEP alumni.

As a result of this grant, other student teacher teams at the Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School are looking into various grants for their Social Change Projects. GSEP is focused on involvement with urban schools, and in meeting the needs of all learners. The Santa Monica Boulevard Community Charter School is one of several GSEP Professional Development Schools where the University and the school work closely to share resources, provide invaluable mentorship to student teachers, and improve learning in underserved schools.

About GSEP
The Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) offers six master’s and five doctoral programs, which are fully accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing or the American Psychology Association. With an enrollment of approximately 1,900 students, and five graduate campus locations, GSEP prepares students to serve the needs of others through skilled leadership. For more information visit: www.gsep.pepperdine.edu


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