Briefly in Education

Hopping seeks district apology

Bruce Hopping, a local activist and founder of the Kalos Kagathos Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to educate youth to respect and preserve the body, mind and environment, solicited an apology from the Laguna Beach Unified School District and Laguna Beach High Principal Don Austin at a recent school board meeting for interfering with his attempt to engage student journalists in sports investigations.

Austin, who learned from two students at the school newspaper that Hopping approached them about running a story on football injuries at the high school, reported Hopping to police, who then responded by paying him a visit at his home.

Hopping, who said his concern is for football players who go out for the team without being informed of brain concussions and other injuries that are common to the sport, argued that kids should be aware of these risks.

In response to his request for an apology, Supt. Sherine Smith said that Austin was simply following the law by contacting police, as he is contractually obligated.

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TOW launches Box Top Fundraiser

Top of the World Elementary School recently announced the launch of its 2010-11 Box Tops for Education fundraising campaign, with a goal of $5,000 through box tops to buy a new shade structure for their playground.

School supporters can earn cash for their favorite school with box tops through everyday activities like buying groceries, shopping online and with the purchase of books. Schools can earn a total of up to $80,000 each year.

Established by General Mills in 1996, the fundraising program has helped schools raise more than $300 million to buy things they need such as library books, school supplies and playground equipment.

To help, clip box tops from hundreds of products and send them to Stephanie Thompson, Box Tops coordinator, Top of the World, 21601 Tree Top Lane, Laguna Beach, CA 92651; sign up to support TOW at btfe.com; shop online and help the school earn up to 15% of qualifying purchases when you shop at more than 100 popular online stores at the Box Tops Marketplace; buy books at Barnes and Noble and help TOW earn up to 6% of purchases; or help a classroom by buying needed items through the My Class Essentials registry.

For more information, visit btfe.com or contact Thompson at steph_and_brett@yahoo.com.

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Thurston Middle School STANDs for SMART choices

Thurston Middle School has added STAND to their Positive Behavior Support Program, which helps teach students to know when to stand up for classmates; stand with or support another student; stand proud for making good choices; and stand down when student behavior has had a negative effect on others.

Asst. Principal Jenny Salberg said that encouraging students to embrace individuality and compassion for each other is a key element.

"We want every student to understand the life-long rewards of making positive behavior choices," she said. "Helping students think about the effect of their words and actions helps them to develop healthy habits and character."

A few years ago, Thurston incorporated SMART as a part of their ongoing Positive Behavior Support Program, which works to increase instructional time by decreasing discipline issues. The program accentuates proactive strategies for defining, teaching and supporting proper student behavior in a positive learning environment.

It also enables them to stand strong for SMART choices, encouraging students to solve problems, make good decisions, achieve and respect.

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MOPS holds holiday boutique fundraiser

Laguna Beach Mothers of Preschoolers will hold a holiday boutique fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave., where the sale of clothing and home décor items will benefit the MOPS organization.

For more information, call (949) 494-7555.

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Christmas trees are back

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has brought back the Christmas Tree tradition for the second year, where you can buy a beautiful Wood Mountain Christmas tree.

The trees are hand selected from farms in the Northwest. Custom order a noble, Douglas or grand Fir from 5 to 10 feet tall through Nov. 15 by calling (949) 494-2535, ext. 105.

Tress will be available for pick up on Dec. 4 at the club. The trees are guaranteed to be fresh when they arrive and you will be able to choose the tree you want. The club will also offer fresh garland, fresh wreaths and tree stands.

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