Los Angeles Unified School District

Sudha Venkatesan is the Project Director for Preparing for Success in Algebra. She is responsible for the overall implementation of the grant under the guidance of the Superintendent. She will be providing district expertise and mathematical leadership to the grant.

Ms. Venkatesan has extensive training in mathematics instruction as a teacher, coach, and professional development designer and instructor. She has organized and facilitated a variety of Professional Learning Communities, Learning Teams, and Lesson Study Groups, and she successfully designed and implemented RtI2 (Response to Instruction and Intervention) program at school to promote access to core and ELD proficiency for all students. She is one of the members of the implementation team for Brokers of Expertise, a CA Department of Education initiative that uses technology to provide tools and community for educators to improve teaching and learning across the state.

Before joining LAUSD in 2003, Ms. Venkatesan worked as an educator for 12 years in the Middle East and in India. She earned degrees in Education and Commerce in India and her Masters in the United States. She is fluent in Hindi, Arabic and Tamil.

The University of California, San Diego 

Gretchen Laue, Director of the University of California Professional Development Institute (UCPDI) at UCSD, will lead the UCSD team participating in Preparing for Success in Algebra.  UCPDI is an approved SB 472 and SB 472 ELPD provider and will coordinate the development and delivery of Preparing for Success in Algebra curriculum materials, provide SB 472 instructor training for Preparing for Success in Algebra, provide professional development support for summer institutes and academic year follow up, and lead the project management team, ensuring coordination and collaboration between IHEs and LAUSD Local District 6 on all aspects of the project.   UCSD will provide project teachers with access to courses and academic credit for participation in coursework related to project activities. 

Laue is an expert in the design and development of professional development.  Work she began at UCSD became the foundation for the design of AB 466 and SB 472 legislation.  UCPDI has collaborated with Los Angeles Unified School District for six years.  Over the last three years, Laue has led a partnership with Local District 6 that has involved mathematics, English language development, and English and teacher education department faculty.

Dolly Casco, the Associate Director of the Professional Development Institute, has worked extensively with LAUSD over the last few years on AB 466 and SB 472 professional development.  She has also worked closely with the leadership team in the Language Acquisition Branch on developing objectives and implementation plans to improve the student achievement of English learners in the district.  Dolly brings her collaborative experience, program knowledge and expertise in serving English learners to the grant.

As Associate Director of UCPDI in English Language Arts at UC Office of the President, she coordinated the California Professional Development Institute's central office with project directors statewide.  In this role, she was instrumental in coordinating the development of instructor training for Hampton Brown's state-adopted English language intervention curriculum, High Point, to ensure the integrity of the reading/language intervention institutes.  

San Diego State University

San Diego State University will provide Mathematics and Mathematics education faculty and expertise for the project.  Faculty will be involved in project curriculum development, classroom training, and follow up. 

Dr. John Elwin, SDSU Mathematics professor and San Diego Mathematics Project (SDMP) faculty advisor, will provide mathematical expertise to this component.  Dr. Elwin will work collaboratively with the Los Angeles Unified School District Preparing for Success in Algebra project director, Rafaela Santa Cruz, San Diego State University Mathematics Education faculty, and the UC Professional Development Institute to design and develop the curriculum for the 4-day mathematics content professional development workshop.

Dr. Rafaela Santa Cruz from SDSU has been involved in teacher education and mathematics teacher professional development for more than twenty-five years.  She has a long history of conducting mathematics institutes with a focus on English Language Learners.  She directed Spanish and Sheltered Mathematics Institutes in Los Angeles and San Diego, sponsored by the California Mathematics Project.  She served as the co-chair of the Mathematical Power and the Latino Child Conference, sponsored by the California Mathematics Council.  She was the co-leader of the Lawrence Hall EQUALS Project BEAM in El Centro, California.  She provided English Language Development support for a CPEC-funded middle school mathematics professional development partnership project involving San Diego State University and the San Diego Unified School District.  Presently, she is providing leadership for the mathematics component of the CPEC-funded Access to the Core program and serves as director of the SDSU Math/Science Teacher Initiative.

The administrative positions held by Dr. Santa Cruz at San Diego State include Director of the SDSU/CGU Joint Ph.D. Program in Education, Interim Director of the School of Teacher Education, Director of the San Diego Mathematics Project, Coordinator of the College of Education Faculty Student Mentor Program, Director of the Master's Program for Mexican Educators in Tijuana, and Director of the Single Subject Bilingual Emphasis Program.  Dr. Santa Cruz teaches advanced educational statistics courses for doctoral students in the SDSU/CGU program.  She is an active advisor to doctoral students in this program, and she has served as a member or chairperson of 30 dissertation committees.

Dr. Santa Cruz's professional interests focus on diversity, bilingual education, mathematics education, and empowering students of color.  In her career at San Diego State, she has collaborated on externally funded grants worth more than $3 million.  Dr. Santa Cruz is an author for the MacMillan/McGraw-Hill 2008 K-6 Mathematics textbook series.

University of California, Irvine

Robin Scarcella is the project evaluator.  Dr. Scarcella will design, collect and analyze data on teacher content knowledge and classroom practice.  Dr. Scarcella will lead the project research team evaluating project impact.  She will also coordinate the research cohorts and work with the project leadership team. 

Robin Scarcella is a professor in the School of Humanities at the University of California at Irvine where she also directs the Program of Academic English/English as a Second Language (ESL).  While she has taught ESL in California's elementary, junior high, and high schools, she has primarily taught ESL at the university level.  She teaches courses on bilingual education and ESL methodology.  She has written two ESL textbooks and several methodology volumes.  She has also edited over twenty-five ESL textbooks, ten workbooks for middle school and high school English learners in social studies classes, and several research volumes.  She has written over twenty-five research articles that appear in such journals as The TESOL Quarterly , Brain and Language, and Studies in Second Language Acquisition .  She has contributed to The English-Language Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools and The Reading/Langu age Arts Framework .  She is a member of the English Learner Advisory Committee of California's Board of Education as well as a member of various committees of California's STAR Testing Program, including the California English Language Development Test Committee.  Her most recent volume is Accelerating Academic English .