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Daniel Pearl Magnet High School Journalism Incubator

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As a new, small, stand alone Magnet High School with a definite theme and focus, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) found itself in a quandary: how do we take the Journalism focus of our magnet, and infuse our classes with this a major aspect? This grant allowed faculty members to become more fluent in various aspects of Journalism and Communications and become the resident experts on these various fields.




Our theme is evident in our name: High School Journalism. This field has changed into one that uses a wide of different types of media and technologies. To provide the best teaching to our students, our teachers are moving beyond traditional journalism to educate print, broadcast, and cyber journalists. Our teachers are developing their Information and Communications Technology skills that comprise the use of media technology and “social media” to retrieve, access, store, produce, present, and exchange information.

Team Bio/ Information

Team Photo
Members of the team at the April 2011 TIIP Conference
(Left to right: Leslie Hicks, Stephen Schaffter, Jim Morrison)


Adriana Chavira

Adriana Chavira, M.A. Ed., is a Certified Journalism Educator. She teaches English, Journalism 1, Journalism 2-4 and yearbook and serves as the newspaper and yearbook adviser. Ms. Chavira is a member of the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and is the secretary of the Southern California chapter of JEA. In February 2012, she was named the Southern California Journalism Educator of the Year (high school division) by the California Journalism Educators Coalition. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Chavira spent 10 years as a daily newspaper reporter at four different publications in Southern California. She holds a B.A. in Journalism.

Leslie Hicks

Leslie Hicks teaches mathematics at DPMHS and also serves as the Leadership adviser.  Trained in mathematics, computer science, and music, Ms. Hicks worked as a software engineer and later served as a Peace Corps Volunteer before joining the faculty of the journalism magnet.

Janet Kiddoo

Janet Kiddoo is formerly the principal at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School and brought a rich variety of experiences from her 32 years as an educator to the classroom and the school.  As a former elementary school teacher, she embraced the concept of Journalism Days, while as a secondary administrator, she understood the needs of high school teachers attempting to create a rich and varied curriculum.

Ms. Kiddoo left the school in June 2012 and is currently a Director at Educational Service Center, North, in LAUSD. She believes that journalism and media literacy are critical for all students.

James Morrison

James Morrison is the Biology and Media teacher at DPMHS. Mr. Morrison has his professional training as a veterinarian, and uses this knowledge in his Biology, A.P. Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology classes. In addition to his training in biology,  Mr. Morrison is a member of AFTRA.

Stephen Schaffter

Stephen Schaffter is the Physics and Chemistry teacher at DPMHS. Mr. Schaffter has been teaching for 12 years. Before becoming a teacher, Mr. Schaffter worked in libraries, ran a bookstore and a game store, and was an instrumentation and manufacturing engineer.

Mr. Schaffter has a B.S. in Physics, and an M. S. in Education.

School Information


Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) is a magnet school within the Los Angeles Unified School District in Van Nuys, California.

With an enrollment of 370 students and a faculty of 12 teachers, it is the smallest comprehensive high school in LAUSD. The high school offers a complete academic program with an emphasis on journalism and communications.

The school has an API score of 803, and has been ranked as one of the top 4% of High Schools in the U. S. by US News and World Report.

Daniel Pearl Magnet High's Journalism Incubator 

Click on the following links to learn how teachers incorporated journalism and communication skills into their various content areas.

Math teacher Leslie Hicks used comics and symbols stories to make math come alive to students. 

Physics teacher Stephen Schaffter is teaching fellow teachers how to set up and teach online courses to allow students at our small school more flexibility in their class schedules.

Biology teacher James Morrison, math teacher Leslie Hicks and English teacher Adriana Chavira helped the school branch into filmmaking and video production.

Daniel Pearl Magnet High opened its doors to possible future students by holding a few Journalism Days.



Using their cellphones or Flip cameras, students conducted interviews and created videos, photoslides and podcasts

even if they were not in the newspaper production class.


Professionals who support the school's mission to teach journalism and communications to a new generation volunteer their time

and provide their expertise to mentor the school's students.


Contact Info

For more information about Daniel Pearl Magnet High School, contact team leader

Stephen Schaffter at (818) 654-3775 or 

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1320 Moore Hall, Box 951521
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521
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