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School Board Wrap-Up

The following is from the Oct. 13 meeting of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education.

Technology advancements lauded

Supt. Robert Fraisse praised the district’s director of technology, Victor Guthrie, who in turn thanked his staff, Marcos Rojas, Jackie Parker and Long Le, for their efforts to improve technology throughout Laguna Beach schools.

Among recent improvements were electronic file storage and sharing for teachers, which allows them to easily exchange documents, presentations, activities and lessons; the implementation of DataDirector, a program that assists teachers with instructional tools; full interactive “whiteboard" capabilities in each classroom; a digital locker system at Thurston Middle School, which allows students to complete assignments and submit them online, and allows teachers to return grades through the same system; and an upgrade to three computer labs at Laguna Beach High, whose library alone now has more than 60 new computers, half of which are 22-inch touch-screens.

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“This incredible staff has allowed us to pull all technology work in-house, whereas it used to be outsourced," Guthrie said. “We’re now moving beyond how the systems work, but more importantly, how we can make the best use of them in our schools."

Nancy Hubbell, assistant to the superintendent, said the technology staff members are educators as well as computer experts.

“It is astonishing what we’ve accomplished since this team came together," she said. “These individuals are not only technicians, but teachers as well."

Outdoor Science Camp a success

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Thurston Principal Joanne Culverhouse and social studies teacher, Carl Nelson, presented the board with a video and blog that documented a recent sixth-grade science trip to Catalina Island.

The video captured footage and stills of ocean-side accommodations, where 228 students and 44 chaperones slept in two-person tents, and enjoyed a time of learning, outdoor exploring and bonding.

Nelson said he was impressed by the camaraderie between kids and watching them break through their fears.

“This kind of bonding is priceless," he said.

He created the blog so parents could log on and see what was happening, as well as leave messages for their kids, a tool that both parents and students seemed to appreciate, he said.

Culverhouse, who went on the excursion for the fifth year, also thanked the board for supporting the trip.

“This experience always gives me an opportunity to get to know students that I’m not familiar with, and for that I am truly thankful," she said.

Report cards due

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Laguna Beach High Principal Don Austin said report cards will be mailed Oct. 30.



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