School Board Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the Oct. 12 meeting of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education.

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Thurston students break fears, make friends

Thurston Middle School Principal Joanne Culverhouse announced the success of this year's Science Camp, where more than 200 sixth-graders, teachers, staff and 45 chaperones ventured to Catalina Island for four days of bonding, exploration, academics and fun.

"Break Your Fears" was theme of the camp, she said, which provided students with life-changing experiences and learning opportunities.

Carl Nelson, a teacher and chaperone, shared a video that depicted the kids on hiking, snorkeling and kayaking adventures, as well as learning about astronomy and squid dissection.

Campfire barbeques, sharing tents and working together in study groups also allowed the kids to bond, he said.

He even created a daily blog for parents who were interested in learning about the details of the students' activities, which generated more than 1,500 views each day.

Culverhouse thanked the PTA and SchoolPower for assisting with student scholarships, as well as parent volunteers who helped organize and chaperone the event.

She extended her gratitude to the board for their trust, which allowed the school to take on this huge endeavor and reward her students with a life-changing academic and bonding experience.

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Superintendent shares strategic coals

The board voted unanimously to approve the 2010-15 LBUSD organizational imperatives, presented by Supt. Sherine Smith, which were designed for the board and district administration to develop core values, vision, mission and strategic goals.

Recently devised during a planning session at the Board of Education Governance Team Workshop, the goals were facilitated by Gloria Johnston, an educational consultant and retired superintendent.

The core values state that the district holds itself responsible for consistently maintaining a clear focus on its mission, which frames the behavior of its students, staff, parents, community and Board of Education; it is committed to a focus on student learning through collaboration, reflection, and openness to change, which results in the highest levels of excellence; it equitably meet the needs of all students through systems, structures, and opportunities that promote success; it is courteous and treats everyone with dignity and respect, seeking to understand each point of view without making assumptions; and it is transparent in all operations, demonstrating ethics through open and honest practices.

The district's vision, Smith stated, is to take ownership of each child's learning in its schools, accepting no limits on potential. Its mission is to ensure that each student gains the knowledge, experience, world perspectives, and skills needed to become a lifelong learner and producer in a competitive and interconnected world.

Goals are to have students demonstrate academic growth across content areas; strengthen connections to the school, community and the world by engaging in activities that build skills and responsibility; to provide a safe, attractive, clean and well-equipped learning environment to each student; to recruit, hire, train and retain high performing staff; and to maintain fiscal solvency and transparency to ensure support of student learning.

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