Weekly roundup: Sunburst cadets channel their emotions through music, statewide student assessment results are in, and more

Sunburst Academy Class 30 cadet Abigail Ramirez practice rap lyrics with musician Jamie Ross.
(Courtesy of Grizzly Magazine)

Making beats, writing lyrics and becoming leaders — this is what the past week on the Sunburst Youth Challenge Academy campus looked like for cadets as they participated in a five-day hip-hop and arts education workshop.

Grizzly Magazine, a California Military Department publication, reported that class sessions were provided Oct. 17 to Oct. 21 for Panthers platoon students, who creatively expressed their emotions and accomplished small victories each day with the help of the program’s mentors.

Professional musicians Jamie Ross and Tony Ozier started the Beats Lyrics Leaders program 10 years ago to give students access to arts education in a time when budgets for the arts were seeing major cuts. Ross told Grizzly Magazine that their goal isn’t to turn students into musicians but to teach them important lessons.

“Our goal is to give you coping mechanisms, find your passion, how you use music in everyday life,” Ross said.

Unlike their typical format, the mentors worked with every cadet and introduced workshops on lyric writing, beat production, dancing, visual art and self-expression to help them find the right area of concentration.

Those who expressed interest in a specific workshop moved on to prepare for their performances, receiving specialized mentorship from dance and music coaches. By the end of the week, cadets showed off their newfound passion with their original raps and dances in an academy-wide showcase.

Here are the other stories we have been following this week:

GGUSD leaders
(Courtesy of Garden Grove Unified School District)
  • Thirty years after Red Ribbon Week was established, the OCDE Newsroom looked back on the origins of the drug-free initiative geared toward students.
  • Despite the pandemic’s negative effects on academic performance, assessment scores released by the California Department of Education revealed that Orange County students have outperformed their peers statewide.
  • Laguna Beach public schools students helped raise $10,000 at their annual dodgeball tournament to raise money for teachers and school programs.
Laguna Beach Unified student competes in an annual dodgeball tournament to raise money for his school.
(Courtesy of SchoolPower)
  • With the Statewide General Election less than two weeks away, Spotlight Schools created a comprehensive list of candidates running for school boards across Orange County’s 28 public school districts.
  • A remodeled teachers’ lounge and new dance studio for students will soon be under construction at Santa Ana High School thanks to a $21 million modernization project.
  • The Orange County Register reported that a substitute teacher at Aliso Viejo High School was arrested Wednesday for allegedly making criminal threats to students, prompting a school lockdown. In Placentia, the Register reported that a former social worker intern at Valadez Middle School Academy was charged with contacting and distributing inappropriate materials to a minor.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.