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Sound Bites - Issue #7 / March 2014


This Month's Topics:


Michelle King, Director Community and Contract Ed Michelle King, Director
Career & Contract Ed.

A Bittersweet Farewell to
Barbara Bickerton

Sometimes it’s the people you don’t see, the ones who work quietly and modestly behind the scenes, who are among the most crucial to a program’s success.

This is the case with Barbara Bickerton, administrative assistant, who has worked tirelessly for the last 22 years at Community Education to make sure classes run smoothly, instructors receive the support they need, and students get answers to their queries.

Barbara Bickerton, a farewellBarbara Bickerton, with calligraphy instructor Kazuko, will retire April 1.

Alas, we will be saying goodbye to Barbara on April 1 as she embarks on a new chapter in her life: retirement.

Over the years, her strong work ethic and her dedication to solve problems for hundreds of students and instructors have been exemplary.

But don’t take my word for it. Here is what Monona Wali, memoir and creative writing instructor, has to say: “Barbara has made teaching at Community Ed so seamless – she's always on top of my rosters and classes. It took me a while to realize she was there, behind the scenes, making everything work so smoothly, and I was so happy to finally meet her in person – after about two or three years working there. She is so positive and supportive and I will miss her presence there in the corner office!"

I’m personally appreciative of Barbara’s sincerity and thoughtfulness – which has helped to make Community Ed a more harmonious unit.

We’re sad to see her go but wish Barbara much happiness in her new life. Please feel free to call or email Barbara with your wishes for a fun-filled and relaxing retirement. She can be reached at 310-434-3402 or

Michelle King
Director of Career & Contract Education



Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator, Community and Contract Ed Alice Meyering,
Program Coordinator
Community & Contract Education

What's New

Our newly created “Secrets of Public Works Projects Series” debuted in January with great reviews. 

 “This course provides so much clarity in prevailing wage and calculating/completing reports for certified payroll,” Elana Daley said about the “Prevailing Wage: Tips You Need Before You Bid” inaugural class. “It makes the process 1,000 times easier!”

Secrets of Public Works Projects SeriesSecrets of Public Works Projects Series (Photo by Paul Keheler)

For those of you who are interested in bidding for public construction jobs, our series is designed to be your blueprint to succeed in Public Works construction. We will even connect you to the Santa Monica Small Business Development Center for one-on-one assistance in putting what you learn to work for you. 

California has $100 billion in approved public works projects that require small Business Enterprise participation goals, so if you are in the construction business, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity to expand your revenue. 

Our brand new “Estimating for Greater Profit” starts April 26.

Registration is online or by calling (310)  434-3400. You can also email or email us at


Tarot Reading Classes Help Discover a Better Future

Davida Rappaport chats with studentsDavida Rappaport chats with students in class.

To spend an evening in Davida Rappaport’s Tarot Reading class is to be
immersed in a rich system of human guidance with Medieval roots but
with a simple goal: to understand ourselves better and discover how
we might live better in the future.

Observing Rappaport’s first of six SMC Community Education sessions
of her “Practical Tarot – the Minor Arcana” class reveals a fascinating
world of symbols laden with meaning, the power of intuition, and a
group of students with intriguing reasons for taking the course.

 “I teach and use Tarot as a means of providing information so people
can make their own choices,” Rappaport says. “My goal is to entertain,
enlighten and empower and I teach my students to do the same.”

Rappaport teaches both the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana in two separate
classes. Major Arcana is a suit of 22 cards in the Tarot deck that represents
life’s spiritual journey. Minor Arcana are the 56 suit cards of the 78-card Tarot deck that represent the people and events encountered in life.

She covers the elements of Minor Arcana – wands, swords, cups and pentacles – and what they represent. The meanings get more detailed and layered when aces, twos, threes and so forth are added. But these are intended to serve as general guides.

“I try to get students to stop overthinking or trying to remember the information they learned in the class, but to trust their intuition and let the images or symbols from various different decks speak to them,” Rappaport says.

In her first class, held in late February, Rappaport asked students to introduce themselves and discuss what they hope to get out of the class. Some of the responses are fascinating.

One student says he wants to read cards to understand how a woman had predicted, long ago, down to specific dates and times, that his wife would leave him. Another student, who is working on her Ph.D. in physiology from USC, is doing Tarot for fun. Yet another student says he is taking the class on the advice of a psychic who told him that understanding Tarot would help him develop deeper empathic skills to use in his work with autistic children.

After her lecture on the elements of Minor Arcana and the aces and twos, Rappaport had the students play Peter Rosson’s profiling game in which one person asks a question and is read by another.

Davida RappaporDavida Rappaport’s Tarot Reading class reveals a fascinating world of symbols laden with meaning and the power of intuition.

“The objective is for them to use the card(s) to answer the question(s) asked – not so much as to give them an answer, but to provide information,” she says. “Generally, I comment on their readings or add information showing them what I see.” 

Rappaport started reading Tarot cards for her friends at the age of 15, encouraged by a mother who studied palmistry. She started reading professionally at a Halloween party in 1980. Seven years later, she began performing readings in the Excalibur nightclub in her hometown of Chicago with her friend, clairvoyant healer Kathryn Haun. In 1994, she relocated to Los Angeles and established herself, once again, on the party circuit, working with event planners, hotels and caterers.

Over the years, she has given thousands of readings at a wide range of events, including some hosted by celebrities, such as a Christina Aguilera New Year’s Eve party (where she gave readings to the pop star and her friends) and a “Will and Grace” season finale party (where she pulled out the Tarot cards for lead actors Debra Messing and Eric McCormack, as well as executive producer James Burrows and several of the writers and crew members).

Since she started teaching at SMC Community Education in 2006, she has developed a following of a number of students who frequently take more than just one of her classes.

Said student Malini S. Iyer, “Davida taught me how to trust my intuition and use Tarot in
combination with my intuition. It was an excellent class!”

To register for Tarot or other classes, call (310) 434-3400 or go to: