School Board Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from Tuesday's Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education meeting.


Board acknowledged for dedication

Supt. Sherine Smith and Laguna Beach school principals proposed a resolution to the board that names January 2012 "School Board Recognition Month."

"We urge all citizens to join us in recognizing the dedication and hard work of local school board members and in working with them to create an education system that meets the needs of our children," Smith said at the meeting, after reading the resolution in its entirety.

Staff also presented gifts of appreciation to the board.

"We pale in comparison to the actual work you do," board member Jan Vickers said.


Schools present progress reports

Laguna Beach's four school sites presented to the board their strategic goals for the rest of the year and their mid-year progress.

El Morro Elementary School Principal Chris Duddy said a new area of focus at the school is on English learners and students with disabilities, which have seen increased enrollment at the school.

Duddy said he wants to create a unique model for the students to cater to their specific needs, which may be different than other students.

He also touched on the implementation of testing in third through fifth grades to cite specific areas in need of improvement. He mentioned that he was somewhat disappointed by the school's API results.

Top of the World Principal Ron LaMotte said that the school has been holding workshops — for teachers by teachers — after school and has found them successful.

LaMotte pointed out the benefits of tapping into the expertise of the staff versus going outside the school for professional development.

Thurston Middle School Principal Jennifer Salberg similarly touched on a staff program that's been successful at the school. Thurston has been holding cross-curricular meetings where teachers split in groups and share strategies and tips with each other on best first instruction. It gives teachers in different courses a chance to compare what works for them.

Laguna Beach High School Principal Joanne Culverhouse pointed out the addition of three new counselors to the high school. The school recently hired a board-certified behavioral analyst who works with autistic children.

— Joanna Clay

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