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LA Unified students compete to solve social issues

LA School Report | February 4, 2014



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aspenchallengeTeams of students across LA Unified are preparing for the kickoff this weekend of the Aspen Challenge, a citywide competition launched by the Aspen Institute in partnership with the school district.

In an effort to hone social entrepreneurial skills, the program challenges students to find solutions to a series of pressing social issues presented to them on Feb. 8, then sets a deadline of seven weeks.

The program is expected to engage 170 educators and students from 17 schools. The winning team receives a full scholarship to present its creative solution to a gathering of policymakers and entrepreneurs at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo.  It is funded by the Bezos Family Foundation and the the Moriah Fund.

Last year, the first year of the competition, three teams won:

Downtown Magnets designed a solution to the challenge of starting a social movement to protect the oceans by organizing beach cleanups, presenting at community events and forming partnerships with businesses.

Students from Taft High School designed a solution to the challenge of increasing awareness of and enthusiasm for science and technology by creating “Spreading Sprouts” gardens, which can help teach art, science and math.

Westchester High School found a solution to the challenge of bringing peers together to create a healthier community through healthy food. The team designed an Aquaponics system and plans to implement a farmers market to create a healthy community and produce green resources on Westchester soil.

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