Briefly In Education: Board members meet Secretary of Education

Members of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education and District leaders recently had the opportunity to meet briefly with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller, who were in Laguna Beach for the Black Corporate Directors Conference, held at Montage Laguna.

The LBUSD team shared details about the success of Professional Learning Communities in Laguna Beach schools, which is a hallmark of educational excellence in the District and demonstrates its long-standing commitment to continuous improvement.

"This meeting was an excellent opportunity for Laguna Beach education leaders to meet with the nation's top education official and better understand the policies that President Obama's administration is pursuing," Board of Education Clerk Theresa O'Hare said.

Duncan also welcomed the chance to learn more about achievements in Laguna's schools, including the successful deployment of PLCs, where teachers collaborate and share best practices and lessons learned in their classrooms, according to the district.

Implemented by the district five years ago, the PLC model is a research-based practice focused on student success. PLCs provide collaboration time for teachers, support staff, and administrators to focus on improving student learning. By providing schools with both the time and opportunity to research best practices, question, share, and collaborate, the District builds students' academic skills and provides targeted support for students with learning gaps.

"Nationally, the Laguna Beach Unified School District has been on the forefront of implementing collaboration time to ensure high levels of student learning. You can see the results in the year-over-year student achievement growth," Supt. Sherine Smith said.

"Our School Board members understood the importance of the research on PLCs from the very beginning and were willing to devote the time and resources needed to provide an outstanding educational program. We are grateful that our community understands and supports our efforts."

MOPS hosts fall speaker series

The Laguna Beach chapter of Mothers of Preschoolers, called MOPS, an organization that provides mothers with friendship, community, resources and support, will host a fall speaker series beginning Thursday at the Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave.

The lineup, which includes "mentor mom" speakers Ana Brandt, who will discuss "capturing family memories," a behavioral compass seminar by Dr. Brett Patterson and Michele Blair who will stress the importance of self-nurturing, will aim to help mothers foster relationships with other moms and better equip themselves mentally, socially and physically for the new role of motherhood.

MOPS mission is to create a welcoming, inclusive environment where new mothers can feel they're not alone but part of a larger community. Mothers are invited to build friendships, share a meal, listen to informative speakers, be encouraged and gain practical parenting strategies while children are cared for in the Moppets program. Every mom is welcomed, accepted and challenged to reach her potential.

For more information about the series or a membership with MOPS, visit or call Deborah Sekerka at (949) 285 2073.

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