Summer 2006 Newsletter

Project Updates: NSBN Engages With 'High-Need' Communities Throughout L.A. County

NSBN serves as a catalyst and third-party intermediary to front-fund, convene, and manage collaborative, stakeholder master planning of joint-use, community-centered pre-k facilities, schools, parks, and family resource centers in Los Angeles County and throughout California.  With funding from First 5 LA and others, including the California Endowment and the Susan & Michael Dell Foundation, NSBN seeks to showcase for state and local decision-makers the civic and educational value of leveraging over $18 billion of state and local school bond proceeds with park, library, UPK, philanthropic and housing funds to build not only better public facilities but healthier, family-centered neighborhoods.

Lennox Elementary School District

Construction of an exciting joint-use site has begun at Lennox’s Whelan Elementary School.  NSBN anticipates that all construction will be completed in time for the 2006-2007 school year.  Once completed, this site will provide a host of services including Preschool, School Readiness, Healthy Start, and Adult Education. In addition to the Whelan Elementary project, Lennox Elementary School District and NSBN are currently collaborating on LAUP preschool projects in Lennox at Bufford, Felton, and Moffett elementary schools.

Los Angeles Unified/ACOF - Westlake

The Westlake community, just west of Downtown L.A., successfully completed a collaborative master planning effort spearheaded by NSBN.   Instead of displacing  A Community Friends’ (ACOF) affordable family housing to make way for a new primary center, the community will have not only a new school, but family housing, additional open space, a Boys & Girls Club and, beyond all expectations, an early education center.  Parents and community stakeholders participated in a six-month collaborative planning process, which culminated in a  joint use development whose major components were adopted by LAUSD and  ACOF.    Both  will begin construction on this model joint-use project in fall 2006 and construction is scheduled for completion in  in fall 2008.

City & School District of Paramount

NSBN initially worked with the Paramount Unified School District (PUSD) to collaboratively master plan an expansion of pre-K and Open Space at Los Cerritos Elementary School.  An eight-acre park is now being designed and the classrooms are in operation. NSBN is continuing its work with PUSD and its new Superintendent David J. Verdugo, EdD, by investing in the development of a preschool master-plan for the entire school district with a focus on new facilities at the Zamboni (formerly Orange Ave.) and Collins elementary schools located in Paramount and North Long Beach, respectively. Temporary facilities are being planned for installation later this year, as the first stage of a long-term planning, design, community outreach, and construction process. These preschools on existing school campuses will serve approximately 48 children in two areas that have been defined by LAUP as being in “greatest need” for new preschool seats.


The Lawndale Elementary School District (LESD) and Richstone Family Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NSBN to embark on the master planning of an expansion of space at Kit Carson Elementary School. The school is adjacent to a school owned park and another district elementary school. The collaborative team  explored joint-use site planning ideas which included early childhood education space, a family resource center, and better linkages between the park and school. In addition, the team, with the support of NSBN and Trust for Public Lands, submitted an unsuccessful Prop 40 application to support improvements to community use of the park. The district is now considering a bond measure to build the adopted master plan. In the meantime, LESD is working with NSBN and the Los Angeles County Office of Education for the development of a LAUP-funded preschool site at Jonas Salk School in Hawthorne (see below for details).

Santa Monica Bl. Community Charter School

The Santa Monica Boulevard School (SMBCCS), now a charter school within the LAUSD, has been an integral part of its Hollywood neighborhood since 1910, evolving with the changing populations of its community. The school is beginning to plan and raise funds for a campus building project, and NSBN is working with administrators and community stakeholders to bring new services and facilities for the community into the project. NSBN was successful in finalizing a design plan for SMBCCS that allows a new partnership with the Los Angeles Free Clinic to offer students and their families access to free health care on-site at SMBCCS with referrals to an expanding LAFC facility located within walking distance of the campus.  As the clients become more acquainted and comfortable with the clinic, a referral and appointment desk and an insurance assistance program will replace on-site medical care. Simultaneously, NSBN received a grant from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation that will fund a health care assessment program and study of the impact of healthy school design on academic achievement.

Boyle Heights- East LA High School

In the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, the need for land for a new school and MTA station appeared to endanger an existing community pre-school, until the parties, with the support of then-Councilman (and now Mayor) Villaraigosa’s office and the assistance of NSBN, worked out a collaborative, joint-use alternative.  A visionary community master plan by Barrio Planners followed the signing of an MOU by LAUSD’s Board  President (and now Councilman) Jose Huizar, Rev. Jim Conn, an urban strategist with United Methodist Ministries,  Eduardo Garcia of Plaza Community Center, and Elizabeth Zamora of the Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative.  

With additional support from  the International Institute of Los Angeles, another childcare operator located within Boyle Heights and the Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative (a spin-off educational action group within the Roosevelt HS and new East LA HS feeder areas), the NSBN/Boyle Heights’  stakeholders  are now working with the Mayor’s Office, LA City Council District 14, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, the LA City Community Development and Engineering departments, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority , and the California Department of Transportation District 7  to co-develop a 2.5-block multipurpose community center with preschool facilities operated by both Plaza Community Center and International Institute, as well as other community-based programs.  

NSBN is pleased to announce that, on May 17, the L.A. Proposition Citizens Oversight Advisory Committee  (COAC) approved a recommendation to include the NSBN planned Boyle Heights Joint-Use Community Center in the list of projects to be funded under Proposition O. The COAC, established by the voters, recommends projects to the City Council to be funded by proceeds from the Prop O bond.  This project and its funding under Prop O is historic. The combination of a childcare center and social services in one location is not unique, but the inclusion of the Prop O component to clean up stormwater pollution in the adjacent neighborhood is truly unique.  On May 25, 2006, the COAC’s recommendation was approved by the Administrative Oversight Committee.  


NSBN, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and the Lawndale Elementary School District (LESD), is developing a master plan for an existing seven-acre school site in Hawthorne. Once a “starter” school  (a small, three-classroom facility with only an office, bathroom facilities, and limited recreational space) within LESD, the site was transferred to LACOE and currently operates as an alternative day school for junior and senior high school students reassigned from other schools within the South Bay region of L.A. County.  LACOE now has plans to expand its current classrooms with a small addition while developing appropriate playing fields for its current student population.

Separately, LACOE is working with NSBN and LESD to facilitate the operation of a LAUP-funded preschool on a portion of LACOE’s Hawthorne site.  This preschool will serve approximately 48 children in an area that has been defined by LAUP as being in “greatest need” for new preschool seats. Further, NSBN is working with LACOE to identify other potential project participants, such as Trust for Public Land, to develop an accessible, open space master-plan for improvement of this large school site.

Willowbrook, South L.A.

NSBN, in collaboration with Century Housing and the Drew Child Development Corporation (DCDC), has developed plans for a 200-seat preschool and space for DCDC offices, which are being relocated from DCDC’s current location at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science campus. As with several of NSBN’s current projects, this facility will serve preschool children in an area that has been defined by LAUP as being in “greatest need” for new preschool seats. This  project was stalled for 10+ years due to land acquisition issues, but the intervention by LA County 2nd District Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke’s office recently facilitated this joint-use development.  Both Century Housing and DCDC have signed Letters of Intent with NSBN for this pre-K project.


NSBN, in collaboration with the Lancaster Church of Christ (LCC) and the Children’s Center of Antelope Valley (CCAV), is developing plans for much needed preschool seats in the Lancaster area of Antelope Valley.  NSBN is pleased to report that both LCC and CCAV have signed Letters of Intent with NSBN for this pre-K project.  

Lake Los Angeles, North County

NSBN, in collaboration with the Wilsona School District (WSD) and the Children’s Center of Antelope Valley (CCAV), is developing plans for much needed preschool seats in the Lake Los Angeles area of Antelope Valley.  This new facility will be located on the campus of Wilsona Elementary School.  NSBN is pleased to report that both WSD and CCAV have signed Letters of Intent with NSBN for this project.