Saturday, April 18, 2009


by smf for LAKids

Bad things happened at LAUSD this week.

You won't read about them in this part of 4LAKids. Not this time.

Kornstein Library

Skid-a-marink a dink a dink, Skid -a-marink a do; we love you,
Skid-a-marink a dink a dink, Skid -a-marink a do; we love you
We love you in the morning and in the afternoon.
We love you in the evening and underneath the moon.
Oh skid-a-marink a dink a dink, Skid-a-marink a do;
We love you Julie Korenstein, yes we do.

You didn't have to be there, but you should've been. If you were you know and heard and saw and felt the love.

Friday. 10AM.. The Charles Leroy Lowman Special Education Center in North Hollywood.

Their Earth Day Celebration.

And the dedication of the New School Library; The Julie Korenstein Library.

Dedicated-to-and-named-for Julie K. who saved the school back when Special Ed Centers were universally out and mainstreaming was universally in. Julie who used her personal board member office funds to get bookshelves for the school library. And books to put on them.

Julie Korenstein. 22 years on the Board of Ed. A teacher before that.

Ponytail. Bangs. The word "retiring" will never fit in a sentence about her

That Julie.

Profoundly challenged and disabled special Ed students like the ones at Lowman don't need books or a library you say? Because they can't read and maybe never will.

That was the thinking - or lack thereof - at LAUSD. Not the big LAUSD we are all a part of, but the small LAUSD about test scores and right sizing and dollar signs. The other LAUSD.

Special Ed Kids can imagine. They can dream.

Like every child they can be and do anything they set their hearts to - and their hearts are a mile wide.

They can sing and dance.

They can connect smiles and make laughter.

They can listen.

They can listen as school librarian Franny Parish reads to them. Yes, that Franny Parish - the PTA Goddess with the leopard print stockings is also the School Library Goddess.

Who knew?

The kids at Lowman know; they know the words and the tune and they dance to the music. Skid-a-marink.

They know about books. They may not be able to decode and decipher and comprehend. They may not know their letters …but they get the very essence of it.

They know about Earth Day and how important the earth is. They know about the hungry hungry caterpillar and about hopping on pop and all those hats Bartholomew Cubbins has. Like every child they love those things. Even if they can't speak they take your hand and show you things you need to know about.

Julie made a speech for the adults about the 22 years. About how this past year has been the hardest; about how next year will be worse. How she wonders whether public education and LAUSD will survive.

And Julie made a speech to the kids about Earth Day and Books and about Franny. How Julie's ninety-year-old- mother asks her each day what she's going to do when she grows up. She talked about the Library. About how special the kids and the school truly are to her and to all of us.

Franny joked about the wonderful new library with the painting on the wall painted over the weekend by Principal Paula Melideo …and how it probably won't have a librarian next year.

That joke didn't get a laugh. Kids don't understand irony and metaphor. The future is a long way away when you have Down's Syndrome …but you have high expectations. You want to know about Bartholomew's hats today and what's in the book next to it tomorrow.

There probably won't be a more meaningful or appropriate memorial to Julie’s service to her community and her constituents than this school library. Julie's community is our aspiring city of angels, her constituents twenty two years of schoolchildren.

Good job, well done. Skid-a-marink indeed.

¡EverOnward/Hasta adelante! - smf

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