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West Los Angeles Baptist School

School Corner
Mission and ESLRs
First Baptist Church of West Los Angeles
School Corner
Dolphin Sports
Faculty & Staff

The School Corner is published each Sunday in First Baptist Church of West Los Angeles' worship bulletin. It lets the congregation know what's going on at the school. Check this page each week for a new School Corner.

April 22
WLAB students took the Stanford 10 exam this week. Published by Harcourt Assessments, the Stanford 10 is a standardized exam which evaluates students in subjects such as reading, mathematics, spelling, science and social science. The exam is designed to assess the student's knowledge, as well as their ability to apply concepts, problem solve and organize information. The Stanford exam series was created to reflect standards set forth by No Child Left Behind, as well as state and professional teaching organization standards. WLAB teachers use the exam results to assess student achievement. Teachers analyze each student's progress from year to year and monitor and adjust their curriculum or instruction to meet student needs.
April 15
WLAB School students were on Easter Break this week, but the School Commission has been working around the clock on updating and improving the school's decade-old mission statement. WLAB school is eagerly anticipating contributing toward a newly renovated campus as part of the entire facilities enhancement project. While work is done on the building, school leaders are also asking themselves where they see the school, its students, the faculty and staff in the next 25 years. It's role as a ministry of the First Baptist Church of West Los Angeles is clear. It is the only accredited 7-12th grade Christian school on the Westside. God has done many marvelous things through WLAB School in the last 25 years, and we are looking forward to all the lives changed for Him in the next 25 years.
April 8
On Monday, April 2, the faculty had lunch with the chairman of our WASC accreditation committee. Don Duncan has an extensive background in education, including time as an administrator with the Glendale school district. He is since retired and serves on four to five accrediting teams a year. We are excited to have him here at the end of the month as part of our regular accreditation process. All WASC accredited schools are reviewed periodically through such visits. WASC accredits public and private elementary, middle, and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities. Members of the WLAB faculty have also served on visiting committees to other schools.
March 25
The Fourth Annual Silent Auction and Jazz Night, held last Saturday, raised almost $10,000 for the school. Church members, parents, students and teachers snacked on hordevours while bidding on items such as a basketball autographed by John Wooden, fine jewelry and passess to amusement parks. A Nintendo Wii video game system went for $800. Dinner was followed by an amazing performance from renowned Blues singer, Javina Magnes. Thank you to parent Sherry Bonano and the rest of our wonderful PTC. Food was catered by parent Mary Montalbo and all the rental furniture was provided by parent Mario Figueroa of Classic Party Rentals.
March 18
Spiritual Life Week, held the first week of March, featured a series of renowned speakers who are experts in apologetics. They spoke on Intelligent Design, the Existence of God/Atheism, and Understanding Relationships with a view to Creationism. The final guest was John Mark Reynolds, an associate professor of philosophy, Director of the Torrey Honors Institute, author, and PhD MD at the University of Rochester. One student surveyed afterward wrote, "I did not know that there was that much scientific evidence of God's existence." Another wrote that she would like to talk further about "When God has a plan for us. Sometimes we think what we're doing is a disaster, but God has a purpose for everything and every action."
March 11
You are all invited to WLAB School's 25th Anniversary celebration Silent Auction and Jazz Night here this Saturday, March 24 at 5:30 p.m. Items up for bid include:
  • Tickets to the Magic Castle
  • Pictures signed by Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Carribean, James Gandolfini from the Sopranos and Russel Crowe from the Gladiator
  • Discontinued Iraqi currency featuring Saddam Hussein
  • Spa treatments
  • Sports memorabilia, amusement park tickets, gift certificates and other one-of-a-kind collectables
Tickets are $35 per person and include dinner and entertainment by Blues singer Javina Magnes. Call (310) 826-2050 for reservations. Group seating available.
March 4
WLAB School will host its spring Open House on Wednesday, March 14 at 7:25 p.m. in the Welcome Center. Parents of perspective students and those who wish to know more about the school are invited to attend. Come meet our principal, Jamie Lennon, hear from students and teachers, learn about our mission and receive a tour of the school. Parents will also have an opportunity to schedule admission interviews. If you or someone you know is looking for a accredited Christian 7-12th grade school for their child, please have them RSVP with the school office at (310) 826-2050.
February 25
English teacher, Cindy Smith, died last Sunday of kidney failure. She was 61 years-old. Cindy had been teaching at WLAB School since 1990 and was loved by all her colleagues. She was an amazing friend, mentor and someone who was always a joy to be around. You could often hear her laugh coming from her class as she shared her extensive knowledge, passion for literature, and her enthusiasm for reading with her students. Cindy was also a active member of Brentwood Presbyterian Church. She is survived by her husband, Tom; and her adult children, Paul, Maggie and Arnold. Services will be held Friday, March 9 at 1:30 p.m. at Brentwood Presbyterian Church. 
February 18
Yolanda Heller is WLAB School's art and Spanish teacher. She is also our English Language Learner instructor. Yolanda is an amazing teacher who regularly collaborates with colleagues from other schools via her membership in the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. They exchange ideas and teaching techniques, which she has employed in the classroom. A graduate of Cal State Fullerton, Yolanda has a lifetime credential in art, English and Spanish. She taught in San Fernando Valley public schools prior to coming to WLAB in 1987.
February 11
The 2006 Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year, Janiva Magness, will be performing at WLAB School's 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Silent Auction. Magness was also nominated for 2007's Best Contemporary Female Artist of the Year and Best Contemporary Blues Album of the Year. Come hear Janiva Magness in the intimate, private setting of our own Fletcher Lounge. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Call the school office at (310) 826-2050 for reservations to this fabulous night of food, fun and entertainment.
February 4
Nancy Olah, WLAB School's assistant principal, has just earned her Master's in Education Administration through Grand Canyon University, a private Christian school in Phoenix, Arizona. Her two-year, on-line program included 12 courses on subjects such as leadership, curriculum planning, technology, supervision and finance. The program was fairly rigorous as each week, students participated in an on-line discussion, wrote a research paper, submitted a journal entry, conducted interviews of other administrators and read from textbooks. The final course was an internship, which she completed at WLAB. The school made this program possible through its participation in a consortium of Southern California Christian schools who've made professional development available from No Child Left Behind funding.
January 28
Mark your calendars for WLAB School's 4th Annual Jazz Night and Silent Auction. The event, featuring music, dinner, and a number of one-of-a-kind items will be on the evening of March 24. In the meantime, if you have an item to donate to the auction, please contact the school. Last year's auction items included an ipod, a stay at San Diego's famous Hotel Del Coronado, sports memorabilia, gift certificates to fine-dining establishments and tickets to area theme parks such as the San Diego Zoo. All donations are tax deductible and due by February 23.
January 21
The 8th grade Environmental Science class is working on the Ballona Wetlands restoration project. The class has adopted a 20 X 20 foot area to clean, irrigate and replant. The first phase of the project was to clear the area of all non-native species and garbage. As they did so, the students discovered an endangered lizard. In the next phase, Physics students will work on bringing in an irrigation system while the Environmental Science students replant the area with native vegetation. Students have been keeping journals of the project as they learn about the environment.

January 14
For Christmas, WLAB School's Inquirer's Club voted to buy a share of a camel for a family in Mongolia. The students were very excited to be able to participate in the World Vision program and collected $75 for the gift. Prior to the collection, Yolanda Heller, club advisor, made it a requirement that any money raised had to come from the student's own resources, not their parent's. No amount was set either. Students were asked to give what they felt God wanted them to give. The Inquirer's Club is also continuing their program, "How to Study the Bible Inductively".
January 7
We are sad to announce the passing of one of our graduates. William Nkemere (Class of 2005) went to be with the Lord on Christmas day. William attended WLAB School for three years and was accepted to California State University, Fullerton where he was still undeclared. He was also taking math classes at West LA College. William had a kind and generous spirit and was well-liked by students and teachers alike. He was known for his passion for computers and technology. He was also an accomplished pianist. We ask for your prayers for his mom, June, his father, Ephraim and his four younger brothers and sister.
December 31
Pastor Kevin Elwell took a group of WLAB students to Biola University on December 7 for a seminar on apollogetics and intelligent design. Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith, was the keynote speaker. "This Biola thing was great," Kevin said. "They build a case that there's a creator." Kevin is currently working on getting a teacher from Biola's aplogetics department to speak at the school for a week on the subject of intelligent design. Students enjoyed dinner on campus and learned how the more advancements there are in science, the more evidence there is against evolution.
December 24
Pastor Kevin Elwell took the youth group and students from WLAB School to a Teen Mania event at the Anaheim Convention Center on December 8 and 9. "Acquire the Fire" challenged kids to stand up for Christ, specifically against the influence of media on teenagers. They also spoke to kids about how they should be branded for God. The kids were among five to six thousand other high schoolers at the weekend event. Two girls from the school responded to the alter call to renew their faith. For more information on Teen Mania, go to
December 17
Eighth grader Adam Vargas took the School Winner and First Place awards in the American Mathematics Competition 8. Grade seven's first place winner was Chris McClure. Second place went to eighth grader Jason Semthiti and seventh graders Oscar Mazariego and Margaux Chrystal. Third place winners were eighth graders Brailon Brown, Angeica Robinson and seventh graders Alayna Kamberg and Ashlee White. The AMC 8 is a 25 question, 40 minute multiple choice examination in junior high school (middle school) mathematics designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem solving skills. The examination provides an opportunity to apply the concepts taught at the junior high level to problems which not only range from easy to difficult but also cover a wide range of applications. Many problems are designed to challenge students and to offer problem solving experiences beyond those provided in most junior high school mathematics classes.
December 10
WLAB School high school students provided four gift cards to two families who needed last minute gifts. Each class donated $30 to help make Christmas brighter for children who have a parent, or parents, in prison. Also, the school's annual poinsettia fundraiser ended this week. If you purchased a poinsettia from the school, please pick it up from the lobby today or school office this week.
December 3
WLAB School English teacher, Tiffany O'Rourke, led a seminar at last week's Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) convention in Anaheim. Her seminar, titled "Jane Eyre: A Protrait of Victorian Society and A Reflection of Conflict In Today's World", drew an audience of 47 high school English teachers. "It was a real honor to be able to teach other teachers," she said. "I've had several people e-mail me since then asking me my opinion on their units and asking me for copies of my lecture." Thousands of educators attend the ACSI Convention each year from all over Southern California. to learn, trade ideas and attend seminars on teaching and other issues facing Christian education.
November 26
WLAB School has a lot to be thankful for this November. More students have begun attending Sunday School and participating in youth group activities here at First Baptist than ever before. Pastor Kevin Elwell has been able to marry the school and the church's youth activities as he serves as both youth pastor and school chaplain. Students respect and appreciate his teachings. He is genuine and his heart for winning teenagers for Christ is evident. God is doing great things in the lives of our students. Please pray for their continual growth.
November 19
Do you enjoy decorating your home and spreading Christmas cheer? How about supporting local missions? Well, you can do both through WLAB School by participating in their annual poinsettia fundraiser. These poinsettias are direct from the grower. Traditionally red, they come in a 6 1/2" pot, are 15"-18" high and 12"-17" wide. They are no ordinary garden variety plant. Normally priced at $32, the school is selling them for $12. To order one for your home, office or to give as a gift, call (310) 826-2050. They will be delivered on December 7.
November 12
West Los Angeles Baptist School will be hosting an open house for prospective parents of next year's 7th-12th graders on Wednesday, November 15, from 7:25-8:45 p.m. in the Welcome Center. Come learn more about the school, meet the principal and staff, and have your questions answered. Please RSVP by calling (310) 826-2050. Anyone interested in the school is welcome to attend.
November 5
Students and teachers arrived safely back to West Los Angeles Baptist last Thursday afternoon from their annual School In the Mountains trip to Pine Summit Christian Camp in Big Bear. Wearing their "Lost"-theme T-shirts, the happy, but tired campers said they had an incredible time. Pastor Kevin Elwell delivered challenging messages to the kids about how they need Christ in their lives and the importance of living like a Christian once you've received Christ. As a result, one student accepted Christ as his saviour and a dozen others reaffirmed their committment to their relationship with Christ. 

October 22
This week is the highly-anticipated annual "School in the Mountains" trip. For three days and two nights, WLAB School students and faculty will be staying at Pine Summit Christian Camp in Big Bear, California. Students will sleep in cabins with their teachers, dine together, compete in team-building activities and test their limits on ropes courses and other spiritual and physical challenges. While they have fun, every activity centers on learning about God and putting their trust in him. Please pray for Pastor Kevin Elwell as he delivers God's word and for the students and teachers.
October 15
WLAB School is committed to preparing our students to reach their highest potential. As part of that effort, the school and Kaplan's Westwood test preparation center, continued their partnership last Friday through a free SAT practice test. More than a dozen students, mostly from the 11th grade, gave up their Friday afternoon to take advantage of the opportunity to boost their scores. A WLAB alumnus, who recently graduated from UCLA and is now working with Kaplan, came to help the students from her alma matter achieve their dreams. Parents and students will receive their scores at a meeting on campus Monday night.
October 8
Think you've got school spirit? You haven't seen school spirit until you've seen WLAB students participating in Think Blue and White Week. Sponsored by the Student Council, Think Blue and White week is designed to bring students together and foster pride in their school. Students earned points for their homeroom by dressing up according to the theme of the day (Pajama Day, Pirate Day, etc.). Each homeroom, and their teacher, also competed against each other in silly and innovative ways to earn their homeroom bragging rights and a party.
October 1
The Inquirer's Club has 12 students, a club record, attending its weekly lunch-time meetings. The Inquirer's Club is led by language arts teacher, Yolanda Heller. It is made up of students who have questions about the Bible, Christianity and Jesus' role in their lives. Some of the attendees include a student who received Christ over the summer, an international student from China, a young man who says he doesn't believe in God (and yet has joined the club and has been asking a lot of questions) and others who, for the first time, are taking their spiritual walk seriously. Please pray for Mrs. Heller and the Inquirer's Club.