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(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The high school students at Lincoln Heights' Los Angeles Leadership Academy have been marching a lot lately — to fight for immigrant protection, to protest Donald Trump's presidential election, to make their voices heard in favor of LGBT rights. 

On Wednesday, the charter school's student activist group, La Resistencia, decided that instead of missing more school for the nationwide A Day Without a Woman strike, they would throw a "Women's Party" at school.

So they filled the school's multipurpose room with red balloons bearing the names of strong women — Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony, Michelle Obama — and invited speakers including Wendy Carrillo, a candidate for the 34th Congressional District, to speak about the importance of young women in politics and activism. 

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(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday and Thursday, the California State Board of Education is meeting to talk about school accountability and the kind of information parents get about their schools.

Starting this year, parents will receive a new "dashboard" showing many measures of their schools: test scores, graduation rates and the rates at which students who still are learning English are becoming proficient. Eventually, the information also will include more factors, such as attendance levels and scores on new science tests.

Instead of numbers, schools will receive colors for each area. Some groups think the current draft isn't clear enough because it doesn't provide schools with an overall rating and makes it hard to compare them.

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L.A. Unified school board President Steve Zimmer
L.A. Unified school board President Steve Zimmer (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Millions of dollars have been poured into races for seats on the Los Angeles Board of Education this year in contests that could for the first time shift the balance of power in the nation’s second-largest school district in favor of fast growth of charter schools.

In early returns, Monica Garcia, a charter ally, appeared on her way to another term in District 2, while in District 4, school board President Steve Zimmer was in first place but seemed headed for a May runoff against Nick Melvoin, who also had backing from pro-charter forces.

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School board candidate Nick Melvoin
School board candidate Nick Melvoin (Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

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Lisa Alva hosts an election night gathering at her home.
Lisa Alva hosts an election night gathering at her home. (Sonali Kohli/Los Angeles Times)

The election-night parties of Monica Garcia and Lisa Alva said something about the two rival campaigns to represent District 2 on the Los Angeles Board of Education.

The gathering for Garcia at Puente Learning Center in Boyle Heights was a victory party, and it looked the part — with a mariachi band from Mendez High School and an arch of blue, white and gold balloons.

Garcia's activist roots and political strength were on display, in the form of about 100 local activists, parents and union leaders. 

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(Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

As midnight approached, the crowd of well-dressed young people fanned out around the Venice space where Nick Melvoin hosted his election-night party. For the first time all night, he addressed them formally.

The candidate for the L.A. school board's District 4 seat seemed poised for a runoff election with incumbent Steve Zimmer, the school board president.

“I learned that half the people in this room didn’t realize that it was going to be a runoff until I told them,” Melvoin said. He thanked his supporters — many of whom knew him from high school or college — for sticking with him, and for fighting with him to unseat an incumbent. People told him to wait until a seat on the board opened, but five years of continued L.A. Unified leadership was too long, he said.

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Allen Leech, who plays Irish firebrand Branson on "Downton Abbey," moved to Los Angeles in January. 

On Tuesday night, he found himself at candidate Nick Melvoin's victory party in Venice. He stood drinking a beer in an arts space with industrial lighting, a ping pong table, a foosball table, and many other young, mostly white people. 

What brought Leech out? His girlfriend, Jessica Herman, also an actress, knew Melvoin growing up. Herman went to El Rodeo School in Beverly Hills, but her mother taught in L.A. Unified.

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L.A. school board President Steve Zimmer casts his vote.
L.A. school board President Steve Zimmer casts his vote. (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)

Millions of dollars have poured into races for seats on the Los Angeles Board of Education this year in contests that could for the first time shift the balance of power in the nation’s second-largest school district in favor of fast growth of charter schools.

In early returns, Monica Garcia, a charter ally, appeared on her way to another term in District 2, while in District 4, school board President Steve Zimmer was in first place but seemed headed for a May runoff against Nick Melvoin, who also had backing from pro-charter forces.

The third seat on the ballot had no incumbent, and in that race, Kelly Gonez was ahead of Imelda Padilla in a field of six.

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Sandra Santiago at the L.A. women's march.
Sandra Santiago at the L.A. women's march. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Shannon Block is skipping work on Wednesday.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., preschool teacher plans to stay home and write postcards to her elected representatives.

“For my congresswoman and senators, because they are fighting for women and women’s rights, I’m going to thank them for the work,” said Block, 26. “For others who I don’t agree with, I’m going to let them know why I’m striking.”