Monday, August 15, 2022
Cuba Excursion And Science Extravaganza Set Escuela Plus Apart
By Sentinel News Service
Published April 12, 2018

Some of the travelers excited to spend their Spring Break in Cuba.  Approximately fifteen additional travelers are not pictured.  Top (left to right): Monique Earl (Escuela parent), Flint Hinton, Dr. Sandra Roussell.  Bottom (left to right): Milan Earl, Blaze Hinton, Maya Bell, Elise Harris, Lola Jefferson, Sasha Jefferson.

Families from Escuela Plus, a progressive school (K through 6thGrade) in Baldwin Hills, spent Spring Break in Havana, Cuba.  Escuela families visited museums, art galleries, Morro Castle, Old Havana, and the beach, and saw where author Ernest Hemingway lived and often spent time writing.  They also enjoyed delicious Cuban cuisine and the lively music for which the country is famous.  As they toured the city, they had the opportunity to marvel over automobiles from the 1950’s and stunning art deco architecture.



Brilliant young scientists who won Escuela Plus’ Science Fair, Science Fair Chair Dhaujee Kelly, and assistant Jasmine Johnson. Student winners are named in the article.

Escuela Plus was founded by Dr. Sandra Roussell, who was the founder and Head of School of Escuela de Montessori and Escuela Elementary Center.  Escuela Plus is a spin-off of those schools and is following in the stellar tradition of its predecessor.  A key part of that tradition has been annual international excursions.  In the past, Escuela families have traveled throughout Europe and to China.  When asked why Cuba for this year’s trip, Dr. Roussell said, “Why not?  Cuba is a major player in today’s global market.  Our students will be at an advantage having been exposed to Cuba’s culture, language, and people.”

 Congresswoman Karen Bass chats with students on Escuela’s Cuba trip.  Back (from left to right): Maya Bell, Congresswoman Bass, Milan Earl, Jaxton Jordan. Front: Arlington Jordan.


In addition to international travel, Escuela Plus sets itself apart academically from other elementary schools in the southern California.  Students are working at least a year to two years above California state standards.  The school held its first graduation in June 2017, and the graduates matriculated to some of the most desirable, academically-challenging middle schools in southern California, including the Archer School for Girls, Army and Navy Academy, Campbell Hall, Chadwick School, Geffen Academy at UCLA, and Immaculate Heart.

One of the activities that prepares them to excel at such institutions is the annual Science Fair.  This year, the Science Fair took place on March 22 and was chaired by Dhaujee Kelly, the upper school Science and Math teacher.  Students completed projects in biological, chemical, and physical science to test their knowledge.  All students, even the Kindergarten students, had an opportunity to develop public speaking and scientific research skills by participating in the fair.  Escuela’s winners in each category were:

Biology – 1st-3rdGrade 

1stNia Guillemet – The Tasteless Tongue

2ndGia Upshaw – Real vs. Gluten Free Brownies

3rdRobert Ball – How to Make Geodes


Chemistry – 1st-3rdGrade 

1stBlaze Hinton – How Thieves Reuse Your Checks

2ndMilan Earl – What Makes Eggs Sink or Float?

3rdSasha Jefferson – How to Make a Lava Lamp


Physical Science – 1st-3rdGrade

1stMaya Bell – How Volcanoes Erupt

2ndPhoenix Armstead – Potato Power

3rdAngelo Sparrow – Tornado in a Bottle


Biology – 4th-6thGrade 

1stJustin Pouncey – How Does Water Type Determine Plant Growth?

2ndMichelle Oppong – Can You Absorb Your Medicine?

3rdCaitlyn Oppong – Which Disinfectant Prohibits Bacteria Growth?


Chemistry – 4th-6thGrade 

1stKevin Hall – Mentos Geysers

2ndFlint Hinton – Secrets of the Homemade Lava Lamp: Revealed

3rdGavin Frye – Which Solution Will Dissolve Skittles?


Physical Science – 4th-6thGrade

1stAlexandria Campbell – Thermal Expansion of Water

2ndLola Jefferson – Egg Shelter Structure

3rdChristopher Anderson – Aluminum vs. Wood, Which Bat Yields the Best Hit?


Escuela’s faculty continues to push beyond conventional pedagogy and provide rigorous, rewarding experiences for students and their families.  The small private school at the top of the hill has already established its reputation as pioneers in primary education and whole-student Montessori method.


To learn more, including about the summer program, visit, or call (323) 903-6049.

Categories: Family | Local | News (Family)
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