HGM In The News

HGM / NHHS CyberPatriots Team "AZURE" National Champion!!

Students from Team "Azure," HGM / North Hollywood High School earned the National Champion title for the Open Division at the CyberPatriot VI National Finals Competition on March 29. The award was presented by Kathy Warden, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Information Systems (center). Also pictured are, far left AFA Chairman of the Board George Muellner, and far right, CyberPatriot Commissioner Bernie Skoch. (Photo by Rich Frasier)

"This year's CyberPatriot VI National Finals Competition featured 26 high school and, for the first time, two middle-school teams from around the country who competed to defend virtual networks and mobile devices from a professional aggressor team. The competition drew a record 1,566 teams, a 30 percent increase over last year, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada and U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools in both Europe and the Pacific. "

Photos from the event are available at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjVUd4LZ. - See more at: http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2014/03/31/623023/10074694/en/Photo-Release-Northrop-Grumman-Awards-Scholarships-to-CyberPatriot-VI-Winning-Teams.html#sthash.sx0Y2I7Q.dpuf

The original article can be found HERE

HGM / NHHS CyberPatriots prep for D.C. championships

By Gregory J. Wilcox, Los Angeles Daily News

Isaac Kim, right, and other members of North Hollywood High’s CyberPatriot team prepare for their trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the CyberPatriot VI Games. (Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News)

Isaac Kim, right, and other members of North Hollywood High’s CyberPatriot team prepare for their trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the CyberPatriot VI Games. (Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News)

With much of their school year focused not on the three R’s but on the big D — cyber defense — kids from North Hollywood High are working to defend computers and their networks against attack.

Their efforts culminate March 28 in the finals of Cyber­Patriot VI, in which 26 teams in two divisions vie for trophies, scholarships and, for some, internships. The months-long event is part of the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Education Program, established six years ago to give students a taste of what it would be like to work in a growing sector tasked with protecting the nation’s all-important information super­highway.


iPads in French Class: C'est Fantastique!

From: The Galatzan Gazette

An AP French Student listens to French news on an iPad.

An AP French Student listens to French news on an iPad.

Two years ago Phyllis Spadafora of North Hollywood High School was one of nine winners of Tamar’s Technology Pilot Grant Contest.

In her winning application, selected by a panel of three outside judges, Spadafora described how she would use technology (in this case iPads) to better teach her French classes. One of the stipulations of the grant—which was designed to encourage innovation and experimentation at the grassroots level--is that teachers would share what they learned. On Thursday, a Gazette reporter visited Madame Spadafora’s AP French class to check it out.

Spadafora’s French AP French Class (the equivalent of French IV) has 18 students. As the students walked in they went straight to a closet and picked up their iPads. They knew the routine. Each tablet was numbered, and set up as theirs. Spadafora uses the iPads two days a week out of five. She stressed that the iPads are not meant to supplant the teacher, or replace any of the discussion, group work or presentations that would otherwise occur. They are a tool. In that capacity, they are amazing.

North Hollywood teacher and BD3 Tech Winner Phyllis Spadafora stands in front of her AP French Class.

North Hollywood teacher and BD3 Tech Winner Phyllis Spadafora stands in front of her AP French Class.

"It is fantastic for foreign languages," said Spadafora. "It is the best. The technology is revolutionary in terms of how we are looking at teaching."

Spadafora pointed out that students don’t even know life without a phone or a computer in their hands. You have to engage them, she said. You have to make it matter. Using the technology helps. She also said that for teachers using the iPad takes far more time and lesson-planning. Once she logs on to the computer to plan her lessons, she said, the possibilities are endless. Narrowing down the options takes discipline and practice.

On the iPad days Spadafora uses the iPad for the whole period—otherwise it is not worth the 10 or so minutes it takes at the beginning and end of class to get them all out of the closet, and to return them at the end of class.

Once the students are logged on to www.france24.com/fr/tv-en-direct-chaine-live they can pick a news story they want to listen to—electronic cigarettes, the latest on Julian Assange, a French protest. Instantly, each student clicks on a video of a story that interests them—straight from France. (Other days they will look at news from Somalia, Quebec, or other French-speaking territories or countries). Because each student is hooked into their own iPad with ear buds they can listen to the news report as many times as they like, stopping and  relistening if they do not understand. At the end there is a set of questions (in French) that tests their comprehension. More advanced students (like one student who is half French) can move ahead on individualized projects, and do more advanced work assigned by Spadafora.

Student listens to French broadcast on an iPad.  

Student listens to French broadcast on an iPad.


Students love using the iPads in French class.

Marissa Andrade, an 11th grader, said anything with a screen just sticks better in her mind. Erika Van-Glahn, a 12th grader, said before the iPads it was hard to hear in class depending on where you sat in the classroom, and how far away you were from the speakers. She said last year during her final she could not hear the tape very well. She said listening to real French newscasts also introduces more sophisticated and complicated language than they would use in a normal classroom discussion, or read in their textbook. Talia Dutton, another senior, agreed the iPads make it easier to hear the language, and said she likes how easy is it is to research life, culture and history in French-speaking countries for school projects on the iPads. With the iPad, instantly they are there, immersed in another culture.

So far Spadafora’s French classes are the only classes at North Hollywood High School with iPads.

But as those at the cutting edge of their school community, students had interesting thoughts on LAUSD's 1:1 iPad roll-out.

All three girls said they thought the iPad was great for French class, but they did not know that they needed it for every class. “I don’t need it for Statistics,” said Dutton. “And I like to take notes by hand—it helps me to learn better.”

Students also said they would like not carrying around heavy textbooks, and they hoped having textbooks on the iPad would mean their textbooks were up to date. Two students said last year they had an AP History textbook so old that it only covered events up until 1993, even though they were responsible for events up until 2000 for the AP Exam.

Spadafora said kids are so advanced with technology that all you can really do is try to guide them to use the iPads responsibly, and then to let them go.

“If you are a control freak, it is not going to work,” she said.

Still, she said it is important that teachers control the class. When every kid has a tablet in their hands, if the teacher does not set rules and guidelines, a teacher could lose control of a class in 90 seconds, she said. She is constantly walking the aisles, checking the students work, and making sure they are on task.

In this class, they were.


North Hollywood kids ready for CyberPatriot, Science Bowl, Academic Decathlon season

By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer LA Daily News


LADailyNews.com ; MercuryNews.com

The signs are everywhere that it's awards season in L.A.

No, not those awards.

These are the CyberPatriots, the Science Bowl and, the Oscars of school contests, the Academic Decathlon, with hundreds of kids across Los Angeles Unified prepping for hours every day in the hope of bringing home a trophy.

That would make North Hollywood High the "Lincoln" of competitors, with entries in each of the major categories.

Tuesday afternoon found North Hollywood's nine-member Academic Decathlon team polishing their knowledge of Russia, the theme of this year's competition, in advance of this weekend's finals.

Down the hall, five math and science whiz kids drilled for the regional Science Bowl on Feb. 23, while the eight members of the school's two CyberPatriots teams honed their computer skills for their first-ever entry in the national cyber-defense contest in March.

"I think the kids enjoy being part of a larger adventure," said Ethan Bradbury, who is in his third year as coach of the Acadeca team. "It's fun to be close to this few people in a competition."

Despite its magnet program for highly gifted students, North Hollywood historically isn't considered one of the district's powerhouse teams in the Academic Decathlon. Its eighth-place finish in a November scrimmage against 55 other LAUSD schools was its best showing in recent years, and one its members hope to improve.

That's why the students have memorized every page in the 3-inch-thick binder loaded with facts about Russia and its people - from its epic history and the science of the space race to the politics and romance of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Dr. Zhivago."

After spending hours together after school and on the weekend, the decathletes know that team member Daniel Lewis is the go-to guy for music questions, Jonathan Goldenberg will help them with the Russian words since his parents hail from Moldavia and he's fluent in the language.

They've also come up with the phrase "lugubrious drollery" for any topic they find boring, an inside joke that sends them into peals of laughter and helps ease the grind.

While the decathletes have some idea of the material they'll be quizzed on, the Science Bowl is wide open, covering college-level math, science and technology subjects.

"It's fun, and it rewards students immediately with open, individual learning in a way that a regular high- school curriculum never will," said Altair Maine, who has coached the North Hollywood team for seven years, including its second-place finish in last year's national contest.

With a game show-style format in which students have to buzz in to answer, the Science Bowl requires not only extensive knowledge, but solid teamwork and quick reflexes.

"It's fast-paced and exhilarating," said sophomore Richard Wang, lauded by Maine for being fast on the buzzer.

Suna Zekioglu uses the Science Bowl to feed her love of chemistry and physics, an affinity that gained her admission next year to both Caltech and Cambridge University.

"Science Bowl gives me drive and motivation to study," Suna said. "I can come in here and read any textbook. I truly love science, and this makes me so happy."

The CyberPatriot teams coached by Ray Gehringer and Yolanda Gardea are unsure what to expect at the finals in Washington, D.C. Last year was the first time the school had even entered the contest, in which computer-savvy students try to defend against cyber attacks from even savvier hackers, but this is the first time they're making it to the national level.

"Some people think that it sounds boring, but it's really fun," said Jenny Lu, 15. "The possibilities are amazing."