2 Elementary Teachers Space Out at Seminar


Chris DiPietro and Lisa Ravitch, a Nestle Avenue Elementary School husband-and-wife teaching team, were looking for a way to space out this summer after a rigorous school year. They found their ticket to ride at the United States Space Foundation’s Space Discovery program near the Colorado Rockies.

The second-grade educators, who also serve as lead science teachers at their Tarzana school, learned about the history of space, rocketry theory and the effects of space travel on the human body at the hands-on classes, held at the Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado.

“The experience was incredible,” said Ravitch, 28. “It was so much better than I could have imagined. We had the opportunity to build our own rockets, and now we can pass the experience onto the kids and other teachers at our school.”

The Tarzana couple, who met in a University of Chicago master’s program, then were married two years ago, say they enjoy working together and bouncing ideas off each other, including an exploration-and-discovery curriculum they’ll introduce to the school this fall.


“We can take the discovery theme of space and incorporate it into the fifth grade’s explorers and Lewis and Clark study,” Ravitch said. “We can tie the whole curriculum into it.”


Top Teacher: Gary Mast, Valencia High School’s American government teacher, recently was named a 1998 Wal-Mart Foundation Teacher of the Year. Recognized for a popular program he developed, in which older students present lessons about racial and religious tolerance to elementary school students, the educator was awarded a $500 grant for his school.

Mast was also named the 1998 William S. Hart Union High School District Teacher of the Year, and is a nominee for California’s Teacher of the Year award.


Moving On: Glendale Community College held a graduation ceremony recently for 34 welfare mothers who completed a Ready-to-Read program, designed to prepare the students for jobs as child-care workers. The graduates, who also served as AmeriCorps volunteers, were recognized for their work with low-income preschool children.


Carolyn Hood has been appointed the new director of the credential preparation office at Cal State Northridge’s College of Education. The longtime educator, who served as director of bachelor’s degree preparations at Pepperdine University, will oversee the operation of the office, which issues about 1,200 teaching credentials yearly.

“We want to make sure that we are accessible to our students and everyone in the community who is interested in the credential program,” Hood said.


Richard Durborow has been named principal of Granada Elementary School, fresh from his recent administrative post with the Ojai Unified School District. The educator, who taught at Cal State Bakersfield, is busy planning fall projects involving the Granada Hills school’s new Adopt-a-School partners, two community businesses that will offer volunteer mentors and tutors to assist with school programs.


Burbank Adult School is offering free job training in word processing, accounting and bookkeeping to welfare recipients and those receiving unemployment benefits. For information, call (818) 558-4611.



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