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Celebrating the Gift – Cisco TelePresence connects, engages Los Angeles students

Choir_Compressed_BetterThis holiday season, the Urban Entertainment Institute, Cisco and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have joined forces to address the achievement gap in education, the dropout rate and the need to keep performing arts in schools by integrating academics, arts and technology to bridge the cultural gap in education throughout the world.

Unprecedented budget pressures are forcing K-12 schools across the nation to think differently about how to deliver learning to their students. As such, we’re seeing a growing acceptance of collaboration technologies in schools to increase quality learning and engage students, and to relieve some financial pressures.

One such school district implementing Cisco TelePresence video systems is the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Serving some 700,000 students, LAUSD has deployed TelePresence to avoid cutting its arts programs, instead scaling the program across the large geographical area of Los Angeles and beyond with video.

Today, LAUSD is holding a star-studded celebratory event, connecting hundreds of urban students with their peers from across the country via TelePresence, demonstrating the benefits of incorporating video and collaboration technologies to expand learning beyond the four walls of a classroom, easily and cost-effectively.

Joining students in Los Angeles, are American recording engineer, record producer, and Grammy award winner Phil Ramone; American television personality Dr. Phil McGraw; Gospel artist Kim Burrell and R&B Hip Hop artist, Trey Songz. Kim will sing from Houston, while video capture moves through TelePresence codecs to link to the receive site at the Robert F. Kennedy Community School in Los Angeles. Also performing are alumni of Fred Martin and UEI College, Stellar Award Nominee Prez Blackmon, Shanta Atkins, younger sister of Grammy award winners Mary Mary, Lorenzo Johnson and Praizum.

In May of 2011, LAUSD hosted the country’s first ever, live, multipoint schools concert, in which student performers gathered in Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles to celebrate their proficiency in the arts. At tonight’s event, students from Emerson Middle School in Los Angeles will sing, dance and perform a skit against cyber bullying.

For large, inner-city districts across the country, video offers new, next-generation opportunities to engage the hearts and minds of students everywhere. Stay tuned for photos from today’s event!

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