Category: Events

Oct 29

Camp On Wheels

Camp On Wheels, a summer camp-inspired project, was created to invite School on Wheels students to dive into the arts this past August.

It was conceived by Volunteer Support Coordinator, Stephanie Swenseid, who then shared the idea with volunteer tutor, Sheryl Meyerson, who had a background in the arts.  Together, along with the help of Student Support Coordinator, Cheyenne Parker and Volunteer Support Coordinator, Manmeet Sodhi, Camp on Wheels came to life.

“Learning should be fun and I was determined to create something fun for the student and tutors in my region”, Stephanie said.

Meyerson, with the help of School on Wheels Student Support Coordinator Cheyenne Parker, enlisted some truly inspiring artists to establish an experience for students outside of the realm of academics. Nine professional musicians, 4 professional dancers, and a handful of School on Wheels employees and volunteers met online for an hour every Saturday morning in August with students ranging from K-12. The team encouraged partners to share the program with any students who might be interested in the experience. It worked—a new student attended and subsequently joined School on Wheels! This was not only a way to build community and deeper connections between students and tutors, it helped to inspire a love of music and dance. 

Some of THE most talented musicians and dancers in Southern California showed up to share their gifts. They created songs and raps and showed everyone a few dance moves. Students got to learn about the origins of certain styles of music and dance. By the end of the month, several students expressed intent to apply to our scholarship program, which encourages artistic pursuits like learning how to play an instrument or taking dance lessons.

The impact and importance of the arts in a young person’s education can’t be overstated. Art instruction helps children with the development of motor skills, language skills, social skills, decision-making skills, and inventiveness. It boosts critical thinking and teaches creative problem-solving skills. A study of Missouri public schools in 2010 found that greater arts education led to fewer disciplinary infractions and higher attendance, graduation rates, and test scores. Integrating art with other disciplines engages students who might not otherwise be interested in classwork. It connects students with their own culture as well as with the wider world.

None of this would have been possible without the talent and time of the incredibly generous artists who showed up week after week. School on Wheels would like to give a huge thank you to David Ellis and Tom Zehdner from McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica; the wondrous voices of the Mixtape Quartet, Misha Vayman, Michael Siess, Juan-Salvador Carrasco, and Nathan Ben-Yehuda; the delightful people of MUSE/IQUE, Marc “Mojo” Joseph, Corey Williams, and Heather Lipson-Bell; as well as amazing dancers, Devin Dixon, Eunique Browder, Malik Stanford, and Caylon White. 


DAVID ELLIS

David Ellis earned both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at USC. He has been a guitar instructor at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica for the past “thirty-something” years. His students have been accepted into music programs at USC, UCLA, UC Irvine, Cal State Long Beach, and the Berklee College of Music.

TOM ZEHNDER

Tom Zehnder is a versatile musician—a songwriter, singer, and guitar player. He enjoys engaging students at all levels and is proud to be part of the accomplished team of music teachers at McCabe’s Guitar Shop.

MIXTAPE QUARTET

MISHA VAYMAN

Misha Vayman is a professional violinist, educator, and dog lover. He’s a faculty member of the Pascale Music Institute and the Downey Foundation for Educational Opportunities, where he runs the online violin program.

MICHAEL SIESS

Violinist Michael Siess began his musical studies at the age of four in Portland, OR. He holds a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Master of Music from USC Thornton School of Music. 

JUAN-SALVADOR CARRASCO

As a Los Angeles Orchestra fellow, cellist Juan-Salvador performs with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, mentors the young talents at Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, and studies with Ralph Kirshbaum at USC. 

NATHAN BEN-YEHUDA

Nathan Ben-Yehuda has been studying piano since he was four years old. He completed his undergraduate study at the Royal Academy of Music in London and his Master’s degree at the Juilliard School. Joining Mixtape in the summer of 2020, he is now co-artistic director. 

MUSE/IQUE

MUSE/IQUE is a member-supported nonprofit performing arts organization making radically engaging live music experiences accessible for all. Their mission is to build empathy and expand imaginations through transformative live events and strong partnerships with fellow nonprofit organizations in Pasadena and the greater Los Angeles area.

MARC “MOJO” JOSEPH 

A lifelong drummer and New Orleans native, Marc is a recent inductee into the New Orleans Music Westside Hall of Fame. He also conducts private music lessons and public music clinics for adults and kids of all ages. 

COREY WILLIAMS 

Corey Williams, aka Thelonius Kryptonite, is a musician, songwriter, producer, and radio host. A new wave-modern hip hop artist, he currently hosts the first hip hop show on WWOZ 90.7 FM in New Orleans.

HEATHER LIPSON-BELL: artistic producer at MUSE/IQUE

Performer, choreographer, and educator Heather Lipson Bell works nationally and abroad on stage and screen, in both the classroom and the community. Currently, she is co-artistic director of Teatro Filarmonico; founder and creative director of Performing Arts For All; assistant director and co-choreographer with Los Angeles Opera Education Department; and a Wharton Performance Certified Flexibility Technician. Her work with special needs individuals is featured in the short dance documentary FREEZE! Try Again.

PROFESSIONAL DANCERS

DEVIN DIXON

Based in Atlanta, Devin has been dancing for 10+ years and has experience choreographing, teaching, and performing. He’s also served as president of the collegiate hip-hop dance crew “Physical Graffeeti”. 

EUNIQUE BROWDER

High school teacher by day, dance instructor by afternoon, and Netflix binge-watcher by night! Eunique currently teaches English courses and advises the dance team at Vernon Malone College and Career Academy. 

MALIK STANFORD

Malik is a Los Angeles resident working in health care IT as a project manager. He has a background in hip hop dance and served as president of the dance crew “Physical Graffeeti” while in college. Malik also taught cardio dance for 5 years.

CAYLON WHITE

Caylon is based in Los Angeles and currently works at UCLA as a senior administrative officer. Caylon has been dancing for the past 6 years and his favorite styles of dance are hip-hop, vogue, and waacking. He’s a firm believer that anyone can dance if they have enough confidence and attitude.

Oct 29

Tickets for Soiree – November 12th

Please join us on November 12th for an evening of celebration with art, dinner, drinks, and dancing.

This will be an indoor/outdoor event benefitting School on Wheels.

Click here to purchase tickets.

For the safety of our guests, we respectfully ask that all attendees provide proof of vaccination. In addition, the event will be held in accordance with all statewide regulations concerning Covid-19.

Feb 8

Digital Learning Day Contest

Congratulations to winners Guillermo, Jairo, and Luna!

Guillermo (age 12)

Jairo (age 10)

Luna (age 9)

Did you know? February 25th is Digital Learning Day! Digital Learning Day is a time to celebrate innovative technology practices in education and think about how we can intentionally bring digital tools into tutoring sessions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to push the boundaries of what technology can do for education. It has also shown us how crucial it is for our students to not only have access to technology, but also technology skills. This year, now that all our students are tutoring online, we want to put their digital devices to use to enhance their 21st Century skills.

In celebration of Digital Learning Day, we want to see your students use Scratch – a program we love that teaches kids creative coding. All students who create an “Animate a Name” project and submit it us will be entered to win a special prize. Watch the video below for all the details. Kindergarten-3rd grade students have the option to complete a different project if Scratch is too difficult for them. Scroll down for more details.

How to enter the contest:

  1. Before your session, create a Scratch account (it’s free!)
  2. During your session, instruct your student to share their screen with you.
  3. Have your student go to Scratch, log into the account you created, and create an animated name or word using the above tutorial as a guide.
  4. Creativity is encouraged! Your student can animate their name, or a phrase like “School on Wheels,” “Learn,” “Grow,” or “Think.”
  5. When their project is complete, instruct them to name the project and click “Share.” Have them share the link with you, or access the link yourself via the account you created.
  6. Submit your student’s project using the form below by March 25th.

Option for K-3 students:

  1. Before your session, download the Odd Squad Robot Coder activity sheet from PBS Kids.
  2. During your session, upload the activity sheet using the “Upload a Presentation” feature in Big Blue Button. Turn on the multi-user whiteboard.
  3. Explain that “Coding” means giving a computer commands to complete tasks. Coding is what makes robots and other machines work. Explain to your student that they will use arrow commands to program Agent Oswald.
  4. Have your student use the whiteboard tools to complete both pages of the activity sheet.
  5. Optional: If you have time, try completing this additional coding activity, which uses a similar process.
  6. Take screenshots of the completed pages and submit the files via the form below by March 25th.

Contact egerch@schoolonwheels.org with questions.

Aug 18

2020 Student Artwork Contest

A huge thank you and congratulations to all the students who participated in this year’s contest! There were so many amazing entries and we really were in awe of the talent on display.

Congratulations to our winners: 

  • Nicholas
  • Shirin
  • Madeline
  • Mateo
  • Syria
  • Jesus
  • Kieley
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