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Julie Korenstein has over thirty-six years of experience as an education advocate and has been a Member of the Los Angeles City Board of Education for twenty-two years. She began working in education in 1968 as a parent volunteer, became a paid teacher assistant in 1970 and continued as a substitute teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) until launching her tutoring service for at-risk youth. Tutoring in the areas of social studies, remedial reading, English and mathematics, she began to focus in on what has become for her an educational priority -- dropout prevention strategies.
While working as a teacher during the 1980's at Chatsworth High School, Ms. Korenstein taught a model program, Exploratory Community Service, that provided students with volunteer opportunities in various fields. Ms. Korenstein was one of the early initiators of service learning. The aim of the program was to help students gain the work experience and insight that would help them make decisions about future careers, technical training or higher education as well as the intrinsic value of volunteering. Today high schools, community colleges and universities are establishing service learning programs as a part of their ongoing curriculum.
Ms. Korenstein was first elected in 1987 to fill an unexpired term, representing Board District 4 (West San Fernando Valley) and won the seat again in 1989. In 1993, she won the seat for Board District 6 (West San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks, and Sunland/Tujunga) and was reelected in 1997. She was reelected in 2001 for Board District 6 (Arleta, Lakeview Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, North Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, San Fernando, Sun Valley, Sunland/Tujunga, Sylmar, and Van Nuys). In 2005, Ms. Korenstein was again reelected to represent Board District 6. Ms. Korenstein is the longest serving Board Member in the history of LAUSD.
Ms. Korenstein has been a major proponent of local control and decision-making and helped develop the Shared Decision Making/School-Based Management proposal. She also believes that it is extremely important to be accessible to her school communities and has worked very closely with her schools to resolve ongoing problems and concerns. She has always acknowledged the importance of parent involvement. She hosts an annual parent summit in the beginning of each school year for parents where the latest District information is presented.
Since 1989, Ms. Korenstein has provided funding for the Kindergarten Intervention Program (KIP) which addresses the needs of at-risk children experiencing academic, social or emotional problems. This model dropout prevention program targets children in kindergarten and in the first grade and uses trained volunteers to assist in activities that improve academic performance.
Pre-school/Early Education has been a major priority for Ms. Korenstein. She has helped to expand this program in LAUSD and believes that Early Education is the best drop-out prevention program there is. She has been a major supporter in the implementation of the class size reduction program for grades K-3rd, where the maximum number of students is 20:1, as well as for Full Day Kindergarten in LAUSD.
Ms. Korenstein is also in the forefront on school safety issues. In 1989, Ms. Korenstein established the School Safety and Security Task Force to study how to make LAUSD schools safer for children. Many of the recommendations resulting from this in-depth study were adopted by the board and are in operation today. In 1999, Ms. Korenstein was also instrumental in helping to bring about a new Integrated Pest Management Policy to phase out the use of dangerous pesticides and herbicides. Ms. Korenstein currently chairs the School Safety, Health and Human Services, and Human Relations Committee, which examines matters involving student affairs, school safety, and human relations, including environmental issues.
Ms. Korenstein provides annual funding for a San Fernando Valley Youth Summit, which allows the opportunity for over 700 LAUSD students to participate in a day of dialogue on inter-group relations.
Mindful that good nutrition and student achievement go hand in hand and a long time advocate for nutritious meals in LAUSD, Ms. Korenstein has been a pioneer in this area and helped lay the ground work for the ‘LAUSD Healthy Foods Policy’.
In the 1997-98 school year, Ms. Korenstein was chosen by her colleagues to serve as Board President. During that time LAUSD began to see an increase in student achievement. Test scores and attendance began to improve. The dropout rates decreased and intervention programs were developed. This marked the beginning of the reform movement. Ms. Korenstein played an integral role in creating a 3-year labor contract with LAUSD unions resulting in positive employee relations during this time period.
In 1999, Ms. Korenstein was appointed by Governor Gray Davis to serve on the California Community College Board of Governors. In this role she was able to expand her educational experience into the community colleges linking K-12 education with higher learning. She helped to develop and initiate a program where high school students can attend community college classes and earn both high school and college credits concurrently. Ms. Korenstein initiated the development of an LAUSD high school on the California State University Northridge (CSUN) campus where students have the opportunity to work with college students who are preparing to become teachers. Northridge Academy opened in 2006.
Ms. Korenstein was involved in the development of the Schools for Advanced Studies (SAS) Program. The focus of this program is to support continuous education at all grade levels for gifted and talented students. The SAS program was implemented in 1998-1999 and it has been extremely successful.
Ms. Korenstein has been intricately involved in the development and implementation of LAUSD’s School Construction Program, which is the largest school construction program in the nation. Currently there are 74 brand new schools with an additional 60 schools that will be built within the next 5 years.
Committed to the preservation of our planet, Ms. Korenstein has been very instrumental in the implementation of the District’s Sustainable Green Schools Program. Since 2001, all LAUSD new schools have been designed to ‘green’ standards. Her commitment to building healthy and sustainable schools in the District is evident through the various Board Resolutions that she has authored. In 2008, Ms. Korenstein and LAUSD were honored with the prestigious ‘California Environmental Leadership Award’ by Global Green for its ongoing leadership in providing students with healthy and sustainable learning environments.
Ms. Korenstein’s involvement has been influential in the nationally renowned LAUSD Recycling Program, which has saved the District millions of dollars. LAUSD was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its waste reduction and recycling programs and honored with the ‘EPA School District Partner of the Year’ award from 2001 to 2006. In 2008, the EPA selected LAUSD for induction into the Waste Wise Hall of Fame.
Ms. Korenstein attended schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and received her B.A. Degree in history from California State University (Northridge) in 1971. She received her Elementary Teaching Credential in 1972 and her Secondary Teaching Credential in 1974. Born in California, Ms. Korenstein has been a resident of the San Fernando Valley for over thirty-six years. Ms. Korenstein is a grandmother of four and all three of her children graduated from LAUSD schools.
Julie Korenstein, Board Member
Board District 6, Los Angeles City Board of Education
333 S. Beaudry Avenue, 24th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90017
Telephone: (213) 241-6388
fax: (213) 241-8451