Briefly In Education

Kids learn biz and raise money

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach recently partnered with Taco Bell for its Club Keystone Teen Leadership Program fundraiser.

A portion of the proceeds sold between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Nov. 5 went to the teens at the club to support their trip to the National Keystone Leadership Conference.

The teens got hands-on with the fundraiser, learning how to work behind the fast-food chain's counter and even dressed up in taco and sauce packet costumes to promote the event.

"It was awesome," said teen Amanda Jeffress. "I felt important when I was helping."

The teens participated in Taco Bell's Graduate to Go business camp this year, where they learned how to create a Taco Bell product and produced its marketing campaign.

The teens' product, "The Encheeselada," was sold at the camp.

Taco Bell is also no stranger to giving back to the club, providing more than 80 complimentary meals to teens and families for special events, according to a news release.


Sports Swap supports Thurston PTA

Thurston Middle School held its annual Sports Swap event, where the community had the opportunity to sell or buy used sporting equipment, with a portion of the proceeds going to PTA programs.

The day started with as many as 40 surfboards, 12 paddleboards, 28 bikes, skimboards, snowboards, ski clothes, wetsuits, soccer gear and bikes, Sports Swap co-Chairwoman Sheri Morgan said in a press release.

Almost everything was gone, she said, doubling last year's sales.


Schools get $165,000 for music instruments

The SchoolPower Endowment Fund has donated $78,000, in addition to the district's $87,000 to buy instruments for every music class at all four schools, according to a news release.

The money comes as school districts across the state face losing funding from extra curricular and class fees, which the American Civil Liberties Union claims denies students the right to a free public education.

Programs, such as music and athletics that have long relied upon extra fees for things like uniforms and instruments are now unable to require these fees, according to the release. They can still accept donations, but there are strict rules on how and who can ask for them.

SchoolPower also is organizing a musical instrument drive, called Play It Forward, for woodwinds, strings and brass instruments in good working condition.

"We know there are people out there with a trumpet or violin, maybe even an oboe or clarinet, in their garage that is no longer being used," SchoolPower President Marcus Skenderian said in a prepared statement. "Play It Forward offers them the chance to donate these instruments so that other kids in the school district can use them — they Play It Forward."

People are encouraged to drop off their instruments at the SchoolPower office, 733 St. Ann's Drive, 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Nov. 28 to Dec. 9.

"We'll even come to your car if you can't find a parking space," Skenderian said in the statement.

For more information on Play It Forward or SchoolPower or the Endowment Fund, go to or call (949) 494-6811.


District adds two members to school readiness team

Laguna Beach school district Early Readiness Program Facilitator Julie Olsen and School Readiness Nurse Kathleen Knott are working with new team members to assist children and their families in preparation for kindergarten entrance, according to a news release.

School psychologist Grace Jones and autism/behavior specialist Luisa Martinez add their expertise as part of the district's partnership with the Children and Families Commission of Orange County to implement the School Readiness Initiative.

Irene White, the district director of special education and student services, reports that the program's goal is to make sure that each district student up to age 5 is provided with the services and resources they need so that they are ready to successfully enter school.

Developmental screenings are made available throughout the school year at no charge. Screenings provide essential information related to a child's current functioning level.

"Regular developmental screenings in the early years makes sure that children are on track and helps identify areas where additional support may be needed," Olsen said in a prepared statement. "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends developmental screens at every well-child checkup."

Screenings are available in general health, development including but not limited to communication and social emotional development, vision, hearing, dental and height/weight/BMI.

For more information, contact Olsen at or (949) 683-9825.


Parents, students invited to drug, alcohol event

Laguna Beach Unified School District, in conjunction with the California Youth Services (CYS), will host an alcohol and drug prevention talk Nov. 29.

The Reality of Orange County Teens: What Every Parent and Teen Should Know takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Thurston Middle School gym, 2100 Park Ave.

Irene White, the district's director of special education and student services, reports that the District Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Steering Committee parent education subgroup has identified key activities for both parents and students this school year.

"We know that surviving adolescence is difficult for both teens and their parents and therefore we have decided to create learning opportunities for both students and their parents where they can better understand how to navigate through the sometimes difficult teen years in a healthy manner," White said in a prepared statement.

She said that many teens and parents believe that all teens experiment with drugs and alcohol at various levels.

"This is clearly a myth and teen and parents need to understand the risks involved in a single use," she continued. "We need to change the mindset in our community and embrace the belief that the adults need to do whatever it takes to assure that all teens stay alcohol and drug free."

Presenters include CYS Clinical Director Duane Durst, and Erin Rose, a drug overdose survivor

"The information provided in this parent information night is invaluable and will provide an avenue for parents to have meaningful conversations with their kids about the impact of drug and alcohol" Laguna Beach High School Principal Joanne Culverhouse said in a prepared statement.

Send reservations to Laguna Beach High School Assistant Principal Bob Billinger at

— Joanna Clay and Jamie Rowe

Twitter: @JoannaClay, and @jamierowe3

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