School Board Wrap-Up

The following is from the April 26 meeting of the Laguna Beach Board of Education.


Spelling Bee winners recognized

Assistant Supt. Nancy Hubbell recognized the winners of this year's fifth-grade spelling bee, held at El Morro Elementary School.

Makena Augenstein, Top of the World Elementary School student and winner, was there with family. TOW finalists Shea Skenderian and Larson McCarroll were also mentioned.

Hubbell mentioned that 72 students from TOW took part in the spelling bee, with a similar number from El Morro.

Top of the World had three of their students make it to the finals. El Morro won the bee last year.


Nonprofit founder wants more art on campus

Laguna Beach resident Bruce Hopping made an appeal during comments to have Laguna Beach High School recognize the arts community more on its campus in the form of art and monuments.

Hopping is chairman and founder of the Kalos Kagathos Foundation, a Laguna Beach nonprofit.


Student gives accolades

Laguna Beach High student Axl Dominguez congratulated his school's baseball team for getting first place in the Orange Coast League. They still have a few more games to play but they are en route to getting their first league title in 48 years.

Dominguez also mentioned the mural collaboration that the school is doing with Hurley. Every day last week a Hurley artist met with students to work on the mural, which they designed in their art production class. The mural was expected to be finished by the end of the week.


Schools start social program

Laguna Beach High and El Morro have started a new social skills program for kids in need of guidance when it comes to making new friends and forming a social circle.

The program takes place after school and involves off campus activities. To take part in the program, students need to be recommended by a school speech and language therapist.

Therapists collaborate with teachers to select students who are then invited to participate.

Many students are special needs but students do not have to be to take part in the program.

Top of the World and Thurston Middle School plan to start the program in the next year.


Injury claimed denied

The board denied a March 15 claim by Laguna Beach High parent Denise De La Torre regarding an injury that her son endured during football season.

De La Torre claims that her son's injury, which turned into a staph infection, was due to improper maintenance and cleaning of the football field and locker rooms.

During her comment, De La Torre said he accumulated $40,000 in medical bills. She proposed stricter cleaning protocol, such as disinfectants, and more frequent maintenance of the artificial turf.

Supt. Sherine Smith noted Wednesday that a University of Pennsylvania study shows that artificial fields don't differ from regular turf fields in terms of susceptibility to staph.


Sextying, cyberbullying presentation

Board member Jan Vickers mentioned the parenting presentation Monday regarding cyberbullying and sexting. She believes it's an invaluable meeting for any parent.

"I always learn something when I go," she said.

Vickers also mentioned that El Morro State Park has delayed its opening. It was original slated for Memorial Day and they are now aiming for July 4.


District grateful for donation

Board President Theresa O'Hare mentioned the donation LBUSD has received from a Laguna Beach woman who left $362,181.63 to the music departments upon her passing.

Assistant Supt. Business Services Norma Shelton said it took three years to receive the donation from Marjorie Nelson.

"We just feel very fortunate," she said.

Shelton and the schools are working on putting her money to the best use possible, she said.

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