The following is from the Oct. 27 meeting of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education.
Elementary Spanish highlighted
Nancy Hubbell, assistant superintendent of instructional services, praised El Morro Elementary Spanish teacher Jason Fritze’s new classroom and after-school programs for students in first through fifth grade at both elementary schools.
She said his innovative and untraditional “total physical response" teaching methods, whereby students are enveloped in the language through games and story-telling activities, have proven to engage all students and show positive results.
Fourth- and fifth-graders partake in weekly 45-minute lessons during school hours, while first- through third-graders have the option of taking Spanish after school in eight-week sessions.
Currently, 24 beginner and 25 intermediate students are enrolled in the El Morro program, and 30 beginner and 19 intermediate students are enrolled at Top of the World.
Hubbell said the district’s ultimate goal is to graduate more bilingual and biliterate students, who are familiar with foreign communication, cultures and connections between them.
Afterward, Fritze shared an “inside the classroom" video with the board that illustrated his high level of enthusiasm and ability to fully engage his students, who sang songs in Spanish, asked and answered questions and told stories.
“So far, I’m excited at the production I’m seeing," Hubbell said.
Student safety, flu precautions
Supt. Robert Fraisse updated the board on student safety precautions that have been implemented regarding H1N1, student hikes and fire and traffic safety.
The schools continue to hold bi-weekly meetings regarding the so-called “swine flu," H1N1, and to keep students and parents up-to-date via the schools’ websites. All sanitary measures are still in effect, and attendance of staff and students is being monitored, he said.
Due to a recent mountain lion sighting on the El Morro Elementary School trail, the physical education department has recruited more volunteers to accompany students on hikes. There is now one chaperone for every 20 students.
During higher risk fire seasons, the schools are stepping up their safety measures with “full" fire drills that include evacuation from the school and onto buses.
A traffic safety task force has been set in place with volunteers who will assist students with traveling to and from school safely.