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ACE Spectrum


Ace Spectrum is about you — the ACE Learning Centers.
It’s a quick sharing of ideas, inspiration, opinions and best practices among our continuing education organizations.

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Alpha Parent Learning Center Preps Parent to Earn High School Diploma

Posted by on Oct 31, 2019 in ACE Learning Center, Continuing Education | 0 comments

Daysi Nava (center) is congratulated by Alejandro Espinoza, Parent Learning Center Lead (left) and Karen Martinez, Parent Learning Center Manager.

The Alpha Parent Learning Center supports parents of students in the Alpha School District not just with English as a second language, but also to provide the opportunity and support for parents to earn their high school diploma. This diploma opens up opportunities for further education and employment and can be golden.

Daysi Nava is the current student that is now working on earning her high school diploma. She will earn it by the end of this school year. The entire team from Alpha Parent Learning Center is very excited for her and she requested a special song to be sung an inspiration and motivation.

Our Parent Learning Center send off to high school – Congrats Daysi Nava who had this song request from our English AMAZING English teacher Adrian Parra

Posted by Alpha Parent Learning Center on Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Congratulations Nava. Onward to your high school diploma.

Learning to Define the “Face of Radio” at KALW Audio Academy

Posted by on Oct 7, 2019 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report, Continuing Education | 0 comments

By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW, Listener Supported Public Radio

KALW’s Audio Academy plus special guests take a class on feature production. Pictured (clockwise from center): Julia Llinas Goodman, Precious Green, Christopher Egusa, Sona Avakian, Joshua Sirotiak, Victor Tence, Marissa Ortega-Welch, Sarah Lai Stirland, Adreanna Rodriguez, Katie McCutcheon, and Imran Ali Malik
Photo credit: Ben Trefny

Last week, we brought our Audio Academy fellows over to our new Oakland offices at StudioToBe for a seminar on feature story production. It’s been great to have desk and conference space at a place that hosts producers from the podcast Snap Judgment(including Audio Academy graduates Liz Mak [’14] and Chris Hambrick [’15]), the nationally syndicated radio show Making Contact, and lots of independent podcast makers. We’re looking forward to building upon relationships we’ve got and forging new ones.

One of the students taking part in our lesson, taught by KALW‘s teaching coordinator Marissa Ortega-Welch, was Victor Tence. We’ll continue our in-person introductions to our new fellows with a few words he wrote about his experience in the Audio Academy so far:

Do I have a face for radio? 

I asked this question as a quip, but it was more or less my charming way to let my friends know about my upcoming time with KALW’s Audio Academy. However, despite the wide range of responses, from supportive, to enthusiastically insulting, I realized I myself couldn’t picture who belonged on the air. 

What does public radio’s face look like?

Up until my first week in KALW’s office, it would have been difficult for me to say, though I certainly had my suspicions. Before, had I been made to guess, I would have predicted a work space that greeted you with two racks, one for coats and the other for your NPR tote bag. I could envision mornings of radio people asking about each other’s breakfast, for personal and professional reasons.  

I will not say that my prediction was completely wrong, it was however woefully incomplete. Which is to be expected, considering how ethereal audio can be as a medium. Public radio itself, and the people behind the considerable work that goes into the production, can be just as invisible as the radio waves that carry their voices. 

I still cannot recognize the titans of the craft like Terry Gross or Ira Glass on the street. Furthermore, radio is elusive and hard to pin down in a whole host of other ways. Where do I find this intersection where news is informative, concise and complete, as well as conversational, full of personality and ultimately human? 

As it turns out, KALW’s Audio Academy, nestled discreetly behind a high school and between a quiet park that silently boasts sweeping views of Hunter’s point is a wonderful place to begin looking. 


Audio Academy Fellow Shares “Instants of Success” and Learns Election News Reporting

Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in ACE Learning Center, ACE School Report, Continuing Education | 0 comments

By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW Listener Supported Public Radio

On Wednesday night, I had the absolute pleasure of leading a seminar for the Audio Academy class of 2020. The subject: timely news reporting.

We went over the upcoming election in San Francisco. Yes, there’s plenty to vote on in November 2019: a mayor’s race; an open seat for district attorney; and six ballot measures, among other things. We went over how to prepare hosts for interviews, made booking assignments including all the candidates running for the aforementioned offices, and reviewed stories KALW has made about past propositions. By next week, our Audio Academy fellows will put together all the information Crosscurrents host Hana Baba, KALW justice reporter Holly J. McDede, KALW election coordinator Angela Johnston, and I need to know about the races, and the students will have first drafts completed on two-minute election briefs helping voters in our audience get the info they need to make educated choices. Stay tuned!

Also, if you’ve been listening to KALW, you know that we produce newscasts, now, at 8:04am and 4:04pm. The afternoon version includes input from our trainees, who typically take print stories from the Associated Press (with whom we partner), research additional content when necessary, rewrite the articles, and then prepare them for broadcast with an editor. We’ve been doing some preliminary work on these the first few weeks during the regular working day, but on Wednesday we had the chance to collectively work on the practice. It was great! The eight fellows set their heads down for about 40 minutes, turning a relatively dry story about the House passage of a bill that would allow the cannabis industry to use banks into a dynamic, engaging radio story. It was awesome to hear what they came up with, each person showed strengths, and we’ve definitely got some great storytellers!

One of them is Julia Llinas Goodman. I asked them to share some thoughts about the start of the Audio Academy training program. Here’s what they had to say:

Julia Llinas Goodman at Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona. Photo credit: Brit Byrd.

Before starting the KALW Audio Academy, there was a lot I was unsure of in my journalism career. For example: not knowing if it would be perceived as biased for me to be open about coming from a family of immigrants, especially if I wanted to write about immigration policy. For example: not being sure if I could be openly bisexual and nonbinary at work, because I had only ever had one openly gay coworker in a newsroom, and no openly trans or nonbinary coworkers. For example: feeling the pressure of competition for the best story, without the reward of true collaboration with the amazing people I was working with. I wanted to pursue this passion I’d always had for storytelling, but I also felt the need to do so in an environment that would let me be honest about where I was coming from, what my life experiences had been, and who I wanted to work with in order to bring these stories to life.

Enter the Audio Academy. A program I heard about from an impersonal online forum, while living all the way across the country. A program that turned into an opportunity I could actually see myself pursuing—in fact, one that I felt I needed to pursue. From the moment I stepped into the newsroom, it was clear that there was going to be a lot to learn. If you think the word “tracking” has to do with following someone and “automation” is just a concept relevant to robotics, then you have some idea of what I’m talking about. The truth is, there’s so much about audio journalism that I couldn’t have anticipated, and a lot of it has a steep learning curve.

Yet, at the same time, there’s so much that I couldn’t have imagined being the amazing experience it is. First and foremost, the news crew. It’s rare to feel truly welcomed in a space right when you enter it, but that’s what I experienced when arriving at KALW. From the first moment meeting all of my fellow Audio Academy classmates and comparing the varied life stories that led us to this moment, to the unimpressed tabby cat who demanded pats as I walked up to the station, to having everyone at KALW welcome us with open arms, set us up for success, and then be there to catch us when we fall. (And fall, and fall again, and…I mentioned there was a learning curve, right?)

And then there are those instants of success, the rush that’s so unique to audio storytelling. When you line up an edit perfectly, so your background music and the person speaking over it match up, it’s something like magic. When you hear the first words you wrote or the first sound you recorded air on the radio, it feels like a small piece of yourself has reached an unknown, unimaginable audience. They may never know exactly who you are, but the words and sounds that mean something to you are now reaching them, hopefully catching their attention, holding them for just a little bit.