WeClimb LogoWe got the NOD! That’s the Notice of Determination from the city planning commission, clearing the way for us to start building the new campus for Everest Value School. To celebrate this latest milestone, three of our board members have joined forces to magnify your contributions to the We Climb campaign with a $150,000 challenge grant! New contributions will now be matched dollar-for-dollar by new Vice-Chair Vince Gonzales and Jeffrey Garcia of the Value Schools Board of Directors and fellow Stanford University alumnus Juan Bustamante of the Value Schools Foundation Board. Their dedication to Value Schools lives up to Stanford’s mission “to advance knowledge and contribute to society through research and the education of future leaders.”
Everest Value Rendering
Our educators develop future leaders at Value Schools every day. We are extraordinarily grateful to Vince, Jeff, and Juan for helping us expand our reach and build a new home for the flourishing school community Everest Value has been growing since its first Base Camp meeting in 2014.
Vince, Jeff, and Juan invite you (yes, even the Cal Bears out there!) to experience the joy of opening new doors of academic excellence for young people working so hard to emulate their success. Please help us make the most of their generous offer!
jeffrey garcia
Jeffrey Garcia
Jeff Garcia was introduced to the Value Schools cause when he served as a volunteer tutor at Central City Value High. An investment analyst with the Capital Group Companies, Jeff’s expertise is in Management Science and Engineering. But it was his passion for ensuring broad access to high-quality education that led him to work with the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education, and as a board member for Teach for America. 
Vincent Gonzales
Vincent Gonzales
Vince Gonzales, a portfolio manager trained at Stanford in management science & engineering, also earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School before joining Capital Group’s Los Angeles office. As a Los Angeles native, graduate of the local public school system, and a first-generation college graduate, he is passionate about increasing student and parent awareness of higher-education opportunities and financing alternatives. 
Juan Bustamonte
Juan Bustamante
Juan Bustamante is an attorney with Bocarsly Emden, where he practices real estate law with a focus on affordable housing and community development. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems and a master’s in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Stanford, he received his J.D. from New York University School of Law. His expertise in real estate and urban policy have been especially important to the development of the new Everest Value School project. 

"It is with great pleasure and pride that we strongly, strongly urge you to give a big, double thumbs up to this project." Those were the closing words of the president of the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission on September 10th, as she conveyed the neighborhood’s unanimous support for our Everest Value School project.

Rampart village neighborhood council  Los Angeles City Planning Commission 
Unanimous vote at the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council (left) and the Los Angeles City Planning Commission considers Everest Value becoming part of the community (right). 


Valery Fundraising We Climb
Valery (center) helped raise money for We Climb, and recently presented to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.

Perhaps nobody impressed the Commissioners more than Everest Value Student Body President Valery R. In little more than 60 seconds, Valery summed up how the whole Value Schools community has pulled together, from contributing drawings and wishes to the principal’s “Dream Bucket” to fundraising and advocating for the project. Using an architect’s rendering as a visual aid, she let them in on the dream: “As you can see, the snow leopard on a student’s drawing has been put into the design of the new building. I think that letting students be part of the design of the new building is incredible!” And with the confidence that Value Schools instills, she concluded “We are going to reach our goal!”

Alma M., parent of two Everest Value students, brought to life what the Everest team has already built: “It's amazing. It's not only a school. It's a second house for our kids. … This is very important, it’s not only for the kids, it’s for the families, the teachers, and the whole community.”

Principal Chris Medinger spoke eloquently about the genesis of Everest Value School in 2014 including the academic and personal achievements of our students since then. He explained the creation of Everest was a collaborative effort which included hopeful parents, dedicated teachers and staff and willing students.

yellow evs logo building  EVS Building 
Student ideas were incorporated into the architectural design for the new Everest Value campus. 


It is with great pleasure and pride that we strongly, strongly urge you to give a big, double thumbs up to this project.”
– President of the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission

It worked! At the end of the public hearing, the Commission also voted unanimously to grant the Conditional Use Permit and other entitlements needed for us to move forward with construction. Both unanimous votes reflected “the passion, love, and pride demonstrated by parents, students and staff for their school.” As the Neighborhood Council concluded, “This school, and the wonderful people that give it life, will be a welcome addition to our neighborhood.” We couldn’t agree more.

We’ll keep you posted on groundbreaking news in the near future, but we didn’t want to wait to share this great milestone with you.

We Climb Collage


When the order came in mid-March to close down public school facilities in Los Angeles, the Downtown Value School staff knew they would have to move fast to make sure the rest of the year’s curriculum wouldn’t be lost. Pivoting to full-time learning at home meant empowering parents to take the lead in providing the safe, nurturing environment education requires. 

Isabel Paterson
Downtown Value School Parent Center Coordinator Isabel Patterson (second top left)

Fortunately, Downtown Value was well prepared to do so, because Parent Center Coordinator Isabel Patterson had already built deep connections with our parents. They knew her from school meetings and parent groups covering everything from anti-bullying discussions to yoga and Zumba classes. They knew they could trust her to help them navigate their new roles as home teachers and technology advisors to their young children.

Ms. Patterson knew immediately that she needed a strong partner on the teaching staff to help with this transition, so she reached out to longtime Downtown Value educator Ana Villanueva. Together they had a singular focus on families, setting out to learn “What do parents need to have? and “What do parents need to know?”

After school secretary Socorro Peña surveyed parents about their computer resources and internet connections, the team created a list of families who needed technology assistance. Working with the Value Schools Technology Systems Director José Esquivel, the school obtained and delivered Chromebooks, notified families about free or discounted internet service offers, and provided hotspot connections for those who had no other access. 

Downtown Value educator Ana Villanueva
Downtown Value educator Ana Villanueva

Having equipment is one thing, but using it effectively is another. Not surprisingly, younger children in the K-5 grades needed the most help, along with their parents. Ms. Patterson held weekend Facebook Live sessions to talk with parents about what they needed to learn, such as how to use Google Classroom; how to communicate with teachers; and how to help their children to participate and to submit their work. For many of them, this was all new, requiring step-by-step instructions with backup resources to answer their questions. 

Ms. Patterson found the ideal partner in fifth-grade teacher and Director of School Operations Zachary Peterson. Enlisting administrative assistant Nancy Yucute for Spanish-language translation, Mr. Peterson developed instructional resources to help parents log in and to upload and download documents, and worked with families to resolve computer problems. Using an intricate tracking system for tech request tickets, he has been able to identify common problems and issues that need particular attention so our students can keep learning.

The quick pivot to distance learning was a challenge, but Downtown Value parents didn’t hesitate. According to Ms. Patterson: “Parents have been really shining through all these moments. They show up. Some are shy but that’s ok. What’s important is that they’re present.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Villanueva recognized that many teachers also needed training and support. Most had never taught remote classes or interacted with students electronically, and were not prepared to be distance educators at first. Once again, Mr. Peterson jumped in to train and troubleshoot. Already skilled at using tools such as Google Classroom, Mr. Peterson followed the Value Schools tradition of Teachers Teaching Teachers. He surveyed the teachers about what they needed and arranged training sessions for them. During the transition, Ms. Villanueva noted, Mr. Peterson “met with teachers every week, just trying to make their lives easier.” The whole team greatly appreciated his willingness to go the extra mile to make sure the teaching and learning never stopped.

Jerry Porath

Each year since 2015 Value Schools celebrates the Jerry Awards. The award is named for our founder, Dr. Jerome Porath, who created Value Schools in 2000. Collaborating with a group of educators in Los Angeles, Dr. Porath created Value Schools to educate students in traditionally underserved communities. Today, our four value schools serve over 1,600 students from transitional kindergarten through high school.

Our staff vote each year for two students, two parents and two faculty/ staff members who demonstrate outstanding commitment to our core values. This year our celebration occurred on May 28 via zoom. The recipients of the 2020 Jerry Awards are:

Jerry Award
2020 Jerry Awards

Everest Value School

Parents: Ms. Edith Cancio and Ms. Haydee Mazas

Students: Ashley M. and Bryan M.

Faculty/Staff: Ms. Lauren Norman and Ms. Laura Estrada

Downtown Value School

Parents: Ms. Norma Martinez and Ms. Maribel Parma

Students: Dianne Y. and Melyssa G.

Faculty/Staff:  Ms. Brittney Ford and Ms. Candy Escobar

Central City Value High School

Parents: Mr. Ricardo Almanza and Mr. Ivan Arzate

Students: Karina P. and Cesar A.

Faculty/Staff: Mr. Bob Gray and Ms. Erin Craven

University Prep Value High School

Parents: Mr. Mario Chacon and Ms. Veronica Martinez

Students: Mayra F. and Jason P.

Faculty/Staff: Ms. Quinn Butterfield and Ms. Ana Meza

Congratulations to all our Value Schools students, staffs, and parents who remind us each and every day how the five values change lives.

English teacher Yuria Koga didn’t expect to become a distance educator overnight. She already used digital presentation resources to conduct her English classes, but only with students there in the room. Would she discover tech features to replace her handwritten edits and post-it notes at the board? Sure. Central City Value staff scrambled quickly to outfit students at home, learn how to use Zoom and Google meeting platforms, and find the best distance learning resources to continue their classes.

 CCVHS English teacher Yuria KogaCentral City Value High School English teacher Yuria Koga.
 Ms. Koga helped students discover that bigotry they’re seeing in the COVID-19 era has echoes in our past.Ms. Koga helped students discover that bigotry they’re seeing in the COVID-19 era has echoes in our past.

“Our teachers did not skip a beat; we exchanged pedagogy and teaching resources immediately. There’s so much dedication at this school. Everyone was all in right away, while a lot of other schools waited for a month or more.”  

Yuria worked through more than “how to set up breakout rooms on Zoom” and “how can I replace the classroom’s quick check-in glance when there’s an array of boxes on my screen?” Our students were facing huge challenges in their school and home lives, with health and economic fears looming. Classes were not just displaced, they were disrupted. State guidance was understandably slow in coming. In consultation with colleagues, Yuria decided to reteach material but repurpose it to help students make sense of what they’re experiencing. Discussing nonfiction texts and news articles helped keep their English classes relevant and allowed students to express anxieties and build resilience. Researching xenophobia helped them discover that the anti-Chinese bigotry they’re seeing in the COVID-19 era has echoes in our past.

Meanwhile, faculty in each department met to decide on strategies for spacing out homework, discuss how resource professionals like special education staff and counselors would be integrated into classes, agree on a grading policy, and identify the most important standards to cover in the remaining months.

We’re all excited because it’s a challenge. Nobody gave up. And we don’t just teach; we check in on our students’ mental health constantly.”
-- Yuria Koga, English Teacher at Central City Value High School

“We’re all excited because it’s a challenge. Nobody gave up. And we don’t just teach; we check in on our students’ mental health constantly.” Sometimes that means assigning more journal-writing and less vocabulary study.Sometimes it means keeping Zoom open during lunch so students can drop by as if everyone were still on campus. Or it might be an online guitar concert by a fellow student.

Shifting to distance learning means much more than merely broadcasting what would have happened in the classroom. “I am so proud of how Central City and Value Schools pulled together so fast to make sure our students’ education kept moving forward in this new environment,” says Alvin Lamarre, Central City Value teacher and Director of Data & Technology. Staff did an immediate survey of computer resources available to students at home and quickly obtained supplemental resources to get nearly everyone connected within a few weeks.  

 Alvin Lamarre with 2019 GraduatesAlvin Lamarre with 2019 Graduates.
 Alvin with Central City Value students during one of our We Climb fundraisersAlvin Lamarre with Central City Value students during one of our We Climb fundraisers.

Department heads and school administrators had plenty to decide. What about the scheduled work on WASC accreditation renewal? Keep going, remotely. What about seniors headed for college? Get counselors lined up with appointments. How to take and encourage attendance? This was a great opportunity for temporarily sidelined staff like coaches to pitch in, and they were ideally suited to place immediate calls to parents of absent students, to identify connectivity problems or help them motivate their children to keep tuning in to school. 

Together, the Central City Value staff decided on a teacher requirement of a one-hour block twice a week for each class. Teachers quickly adapted to using a lot of breakout rooms and groups for projects, allowing a continued focus on collaborative learning. 

Both Yuria and Alvin share with their colleagues the downsides of distance. They miss face-to-face interaction with the students, in-person Community Time sessions, and the creativity that flows from hallway conversations and drop-in chats. Now that creativity is devoted to finding Zoom-based workarounds and even enhancements of the educational experience.

Alvin and Yuria are just two of the Central City Value High teachers who’ve demonstrated the flexibility and commitment Value Schools prizes. We are so proud of them for changing gears so cheerfully, without losing focus on developing the whole person, making sure all students get the education they deserve to reach their potential.

Final Score: 42-31: On February 27, 2020 the Central City Value High school girls’ basketball team, led by Coach Jasmine Bryant, met the challenge and won the CIF Division 3 City Championship. Two weeks later on March 16, Ms. Bryant, Central City’s talented 12th grade English teacher, led her students on another challenge, Distance-Learning.

 Coach Jasmine Bryant and CCVHS athletes met the challenge as CIF Division 3 City Champions.
Coach Jasmine Bryant and CCVHS athletes met the challenge as CIF Division 3 City Champions.
 Ms. Bryant's 12th grade English Honors class makes the pivot to distance learning.
Ms. Bryant's 12th grade English Honors class makes the pivot to distance learning.

Whether coaching or teaching, Ms. Bryant is an excellent role model. Inspired by her math and English teachers from Pasadena’s John Muir High School, whom she describes as “approachable, relatable and real,” Ms. Bryant decided as an undergraduate at UCLA on a career in teaching.

The high school classroom provides the setting for Ms. Bryant to demonstrate Value Schools’ Value 5 “giving back to the community.” Another way that Ms. Bryant builds community with her students is through her participation in the school’s Senior Retreat. The retreat takes months of planning with alumni, school leaders and teachers. During the retreat, Ms. Bryant shares her story as a high school and college student and the life lessons experienced as well as the important people in her life who have shaped her character. The consummate team player, Ms. Bryant participated in the Value Schools’ Summer Institute where veteran teachers meet with teachers who are new to our schools to share best practices on how to impart our five core values. When asked why she attended the Institute, she said, “I feel like I have a lot to learn from other teachers.”

During her first year at Central City, she volunteered to coach girls’ softball. Based on that experience, she accepted the opportunity to coach the girls’ basketball team. After losing in the first round of the CIF Division 4 playoffs in back to back years, 2018 and 2019, she led the same group of athletes to this year’s CIF Division 3 championship. It is not surprising that she carries this perseverance practiced on the basketball to her classroom. She is motivated to help all of her students to become the best version of themselves by building positive relationships. Inspired by the memory of her high school teachers, Ms. Bryant is relatable and certainly very “real”. At the beginning of each school year, she sets the course saying, “I teach, because you want to learn and graduate.” Through that mutual understanding and trust, she challenges her students, “let’s get along and do the job!”

Click to see Ms. Bryant, her athletes, and her students in action

Since March 16, Ms. Bryant and her colleagues at the school have quickly pivoted to Distance Learning through Zoom sessions. The teachers use a combination of live instruction and google classroom to continue to challenge their students. However, she misses talking with her students in the hallway and hanging out with “regulars” who choose her classroom as their community space for lunch. It is clear that Ms. Bryant continues to approach each day with empathy and patience, as she understands the challenges our students face.

Ms. Bryant demonstrates our five core Values at every pivot.

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Everest Value Distance Learning and Digital Classrooms

Thoughout the remainder of the year, Everest Value School is supporting all our students and families in our Digital Learning Classrooms. For information on meals, classrooms, technology requests, and all academic work, please visit the Everest Value School Digital Learning Classrooms.

Downtown Value Distance Learning Classrooms

Thoughout the remainder of the year, Downtown Value School is supporting all our students and families in our online and offline platforms. For information on meals, classrooms, technology requests, and all academic work, please visit the Downtown Value School Distant Learning Plan. And be sure to visit the Downtown Value Parent Workshop Facebook page.

Central City Value Distance Learning Schedule

FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION: See Central City Value High School's new DISTANCE LEARNING SCHEDULE effective immediately.

COVID-19 Resources

Value Schools is directing families to some important resources during this difficult time. See them here.

Welcoming Parents to the 2020/2021 School Year

"Back-to-school” is always a time of hope and promise at Value Schools, and we will not let Covid-19 dampen our enthusiasm for building safe, nurturing communities to help you educate your children. Read the letter from CEO David Doyle.

Welcoming Teachers and Staff for 2020/2021

We are so proud of how all of you – teachers, leaders, and support staff – have stepped up to fulfill your unique roles during this crisis. Read the letter from CEO David Doyle.


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Downtown Value School Downtown Value School 
950 West Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Phone: (213) 748-8868
Fax: (213) 742-6684
Everest Value School Everest Value School
668 South Catalina St.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Phone: (213) 487-7736
Fax: (213) 487-7745
Central City Value High School Central City Value High School
221 North Westmoreland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
Phone: (213) 471-4686
Fax: (213) 385-5127
University Prep Value High School University Prep Value High School
1929 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Phone: (213) 382-1223