Schools Take Action in Cooperative Effort

On any given day, they walk the campus of Valley College, students from Grant High School taking college-level courses to get a jump-start on their college educations.

Those same students are also walking the halls of Erwin Street Elementary School, gingerly sliding into seats behind small desks to help the schoolchildren read.

Schools from kindergarten to college are helping each other through a recently established partnership called Action in Education. Participants include Valley College, Grant High School, Erwin and Kittridge Street elementary schools, and private schools Laurence 2000 and the Bridges Academy.

Through the program, which was spearheaded by Valley Glen resident Doug Claybourne, each of the six schools shares its resources with the others, erasing boundaries that the smaller schools have faced for years and giving an opportunity for the older students to help their younger counterparts.

"It's a wonderful program," said Eve Sherman, principal of Grant High School. "We're taking education to another level."

One of the upcoming events in the program will allow the students of Erwin Street to use the college's computer center. The elementary school students will be posting essays they have written about the Vietnam War onto the World Wide Web by using the college's Internet access.

"We don't have the kinds of facilities to do something like that here at Erwin Street," said Bobbie Fresh, Erwin liaison to the program.

A second goal of the Action in Education program is to raise money for each of the schools through joint fund-raising activities. Fresh said the idea was developed after officials from each school had been in contact through e-mail for about a year.

"We were all screaming about the same thing--we need money," she said.

The first major fund-raiser is scheduled for April 17, when Valley College will open its campus for a screening of "Apocalypse Now." The event was the idea of Claybourne, who worked on the making of the movie.

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