School board thanks Culver Studios for support

CULVER CITY— The Culver City school board May 23 honored the Culver Studios for its contributions toward education in the city.

The board thanked the production studio for its highly successful partnerships with the Culver City Unified School District, its schools, and several nonprofit associations supporting the district and its programs.

“We are so pleased to have the Culver Studios as a neighbor and generous sponsor of our school district,” said Kathy Paspalis, president of the Culver City school board. “They are a model of good corporate citizenship and we look forward to working with them for years to come.”

The Culver Studios partners with the school district, the Culver City Education Foundation, the Culver City Council PTA, and nearby Linwood E. Howe Elementary School, hosting fund-raising events for the groups and activities for students on the studio lot.

Most recently, the Culver Studios presented a check for more than $3,300 to the Culver City Backpacks for Kids program to help ensure that needy students have sufficient food for the weekend. The funds were the proceeds of a family carnival featuring food, rides, games and entertainment hosted on the Culver Studios historic front lawn last month.

That donation was just the latest in a long line of philanthropic activity the Culver Studios has undertaken to support public education and Culver City schools. The studios’ ongoing partnership with the Culver City Education Foundation includes hosting the annual Tribute to the Stars and sponsoring district programs focusing on providing students at all nine campuses with the skills to compete in a global economy through science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics studies.

In addition, the studios regularly welcomes students onto the lot for tours, movie screenings in the DeMille Theater and ice skating in the parking lot.

“The Culver Studios is honored to be invited to participate in the great work performed by the Culver City Unified School District,” said Michael Goldfarb, vice president of business development for Culver Studios. “We believe strongly in investing in the future, and that includes the students who will be the future of our community.

“TCS loves being part of this community and appreciates the opportunities to invest in our future, in the students of this great city.”

Culver City High wins Grammy award

CULVER CITY — The Grammy Museum has announced that Culver City High School has been selected a Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Award recipient for 2017 for its quality music program.

“We are honored to receive this special recognition by the Grammy Foundation,” said Tony Spano, Culver City High School music teacher. “In order to provide the opportunities our students deserve, it takes a variety of support – from grants, fundraising and donations. It takes the school, district, Culver City Education Foundation and partnerships to help us sustain an active music program. With this grant, we can continue to be an innovative and challenging arts education program.”

The award will give $5,000 per year for three years to the Culver City High School music program to support the professional teaching artists who work with the music students in the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. An additional $2,500 per year for three years will be available for field trips, festivals and other needs of the program.

Each of the schools selected for his honor was also given a full-tuition scholarship to Grammy Camp this summer, valued at $2,500. Spano and music faculty member David Brennan chose freshman Rowan Adams Waters to represent Culver City at the Grammy Camp.

“I am very grateful to Dr. Spano, Dr. Brennan and the Grammy Foundation for selecting me to go to Grammy Camp this year,” Waters said. “I am very excited and looking forward to everything that I will learn this summer. We’re very grateful to have the support of the Grammy Foundation to help continue what we’re doing in the music program.”

Other area high schools honored were Huntington Park High, Manual Arts High and Robert Fulton College Preparatory School, all in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Event showcases district’s theater arts programs

CULVER CITY — Thousands of Culver City Unified School District students have benefited from theater arts programming offered through the district’s Front and Center Theatre Collaborative, and the district showed off the unique collaboration with an extravaganza Feb. 10.

For the 2016-17 school year, six art partners are providing nearly $200,000 worth of programming. They include the 24th Street Theatre, the Actors’ Gang, Center Theatre Group, Story Pirates, We Tell Stories and Young Storytellers.

Combined, the groups are delivering 475 hours of classroom and after-school instruction, and more than 30 assemblies and field trips across all school sites and grades.

The free Front and Center Theatre Extravaganza: A Showcase of Theatre Arts Education featured interactive theatre arts activities, performances by all six art partners and district students, and a rainbow art installation. Several hundred parents and community members showed up to sample the one-of-a-kind theater arts programming the District offers.

“This remarkable initiative gives every child the opportunity to experience the arts, an essential component in developing the whole child and empowering them to embrace becoming life-long learners,” district Superintendent Joshua Arnold.

With more than 4,500 students receiving access to storytelling, set design, movie-making, improv, playwriting, performing and being part of a theater audience, the district’s Front and Center Collaborative is a partnership that brings together teaching artists from professional theater groups with local funding partners to create an unparalleled collective impact — the highest concentration of theater arts programming per student in any Los Angeles County school district, a district spokesman said.

In response to public school budget cuts that curtailed access to the arts, Janice Pober, senior vice president of global corporate social responsibility at Sony Pictures Entertainment, founded the collaborative in 2009 with support from the school district, the Culver City Education Foundation and the city of Culver City.

Sony Pictures Entertainment funded a year of strategic planning before officially launching the program in 2010 with the support of the Carol and James Collins Foundation, district PTAs and, most recently, the Fineshriber Family Foundation.

Past major funders include Playa Vista and the Drown Foundation. Since 2010, the collaborative has worked to provide theatre arts at no cost to district families. The art partners deliver their services at a deep discount, providing many more hours of instruction than the compensation they receive.

Now in its eighth year, the Front and Center Theatre Collaborative has offered a variety of assemblies, residencies, workshops, professional development and opportunities to experience professional performances for all elementary and secondary students as well as teachers throughout the district.

The collaborative provides theater arts programming at nine school sites: El Marino, El Rincon, Farragut, La Ballona, Linwood Howe elementary schools, Culver City Middle School, Culver City High School, Culver Park, and iAcademy.