Position: English Language Arts/VAPA Teacher
School: Phoenix Continuation High School
School District: Los Angeles Unified School District
City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Music that Describes Anne
Anne Scatolini was nominated by her colleague, Bob Ruvelson.
Ms. Scatolini has been a leader in social justice education for underserved urban communities in every step of her teaching career. As the granddaughter of Irish and Italian immigrants, and the first in her family to attend college, Ms. Scatolini fully understands the dedication, perseverance, and struggles necessary to succeed as a student in an urban community.
Ms. Scatolini worked her way through college after graduating from high school a year early so she could support herself. Her commitment to supporting her students' success comes from a firsthand knowledge of the daily struggles many face to complete their education. Many of her students are also working and caring for not only themselves, but family members in households and communities that are struggling to survive.
Ms. Scatolini has a passion for bringing real-world opportunities to her students and their families by reaching out to community partners and bringing them into the classroom. She also guides students to curricular enrichment, college, and career opportunities outside of the classroom.
When her students showed signs of stress-related illness and social-emotional trauma, Ms. Scatolini paid out of pocket to bring in the Teen CALM (Connecting Adolescents to Learning Mindfulness) program. She sustained the program through grant writing and outreach to the University of Southern California and the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center at the University of California Los Angeles. The school-wide program was so successful with students that staff and parents have joined the Mindfulness Awareness research based stress reduction program.
As College Advisor, Ms. Scatolini has brought College representatives to school-wide assemblies and has personally taken students through the admissions and enrollment processes at diverse institutions. Students who were at-risk are now graduating and attending colleges as a matter of fact, instead of as the exception to the rule. Ms. Scatolini currently has students currently attending Cerro Coso College, Humboldt, Santa Monica College, El Camino College, and San Diego State University. This fall, many more students will be concurrently enrolled in several Los Angeles County Community Colleges while completing their graduation requirements at Phoenix Continuation High School.
Through her professional work in theatre, television and film, Ms. Scatolini developed partnerships where students can study theatre arts and entertainment with The Actors' Gang and Theatricum Botanicum. Los Angeles provides career opportunities in stage design and construction, lighting and sound, hair and make-up, costume design, special effects, animation, above the line and below the line production, and much more. Ms. Scatolini's students study theatre every Friday morning in partnership with UCLA BruinLIGHTS, Hooligan Theatre Company, and The Actors' Gang. They are also offered UCLA campus tours, as well as scholarships and paid internships with The Actors' Gang and Venice Arts.
Her students have also studied and worked with New York University professor and acclaimed social justice activist, writer, director, producer, and actress Anna Deveare Smith in "Voices of Youth," a social justice personal narrative written by students and performed on The Broad Stage at The Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center. This narrative was performed in conjunction with Ms. Smith's "Never Givin' Up," a performance piece on the treatise of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s’ “Letter from the Birmingham Jail." This opportunity to enrich the lives of students, families, and communities is just one example of the passion Ms. Scatolini brings to her teaching and learning in urban schools. She believes that every child deserves a world class education and the opportunity to engage with the cutting edge issues of our times, from bringing the world into the classroom and bringing her students to the world.
Ms. Scatolini has been a tireless advocate for her students, classroom, colleagues, and school. Through her DonorsChoose teacher account, she was able to raise funds for the Native Habitat Drought Tolerant School Garden. Students designed, planted, and tended to this garden with the guidance of Master Gardener, Jeff Mailes, earning classroom credit toward their Biology class requirement.
Ms. Scatolini also reached out to Michael Howard, director of "Clean Slate: Murals Make A Difference," and won the State Farm grant for students to create, design, and paint the Public Service Announcement Mural. This mural is located on her school's western wall for the community to see as they drive by, and it says: "STAY ALIVE: DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE!"
Ms. Scatolini was honored for her passionate dedication to social justice and equity and access to a high quality education for all students. She was presented with the High Quality Arts Program Award by LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer, and Phoenix was the only Continuation High School in LAUSD to be so honored.
This is not surprising to those who know Ms. Scatolini. She has been reaching out to community partners, not taking "no" for an answer, and telling it like it is ever since she began her teaching career. She started as a TEAMS (Teachers Educating a Multicultural Society)/AmeriCorps Fellow, and she has also served as a UCLA TeachLA Social Justice Intern Credential Candidate and a LAUSD Career Ladder scholar. Much like her students, she was simultaneously working, learning, and teaching. She brought the LA Opera and Theatricum Botanicum in-school residencies to over seven thousand socio-economically disadvantaged students while teaching at John C. Fremont High School. She also brought The Skirball Cultural Center in-school residency, "Women Hold Up Half The Sky," to girls at Westchester High School with choreographer Robin Conrad in partnership with the Los Angeles Downtown Women’s Center. Finally she has brought the intervention program “SUCCESS: Failure is Not an Option,” and shared world class opportunities with her at-risk students, their families, and communities at Phoenix Continuation High School.
"Anne will be the first to acknowledge that it is she who is blessed by her students. She is truly a LifeChanger in our community," said Ruvelson.