The following is from the Sept. 11 Laguna Beach Unified school board meeting.
Board recognizes young authors and instructional assistants
Top of the World Elementary students were recognized for their literary works by Principal Ron LaMotte and fifth-grade teacher Sarah Wolsey.
The students wrote entries to earn spots in the Orange County Department of Education's Young Author's Faire.
The students recognized were Vickymar Erazo, Cole Hunt, Olivia Jenkins, Claire Knill, True Patterson, Francis Pillsbury, Grant Waldow and Destiny Thompson.
Director of Special Education and Student Services Irene White also recognized classified employees and instructional assistants from Thurston Middle School.
Laura Vickery, John Uhlman, Carol Chelbek, Stephanie Burton, Eleanor Tiner, Jan Hedden, Gail Converse and Sylvia Waimrin were recognized for their dedication to students' needs.
White said Thurston has become a model school out of the school district's four sites for its use of instructional assistants with special-needs students. The other sites are at various stages, she said.
"There's a lot of things going on within them that's beyond their control," board member Jan Vickers said. "Middle school is such a critical time."
She said that makes it all the more important that they have the support of attentive staff.
School principals note changes and programs
El Morro Principal Chris Duddy noted that his students have taken a pledge to not bully. The students signed a document acknowledging that the school was a "Bully Free Zone," which parents also had the opportunity to sign at Wednesday's back-to-school night.
Laguna Beach High School has had changes to its tardy and ethics policies, Principal Joanne Culverhouse noted at the board meeting.
Students who were late were accidentally being marked as absent because teachers were forgetting to edit their records, Culverhouse said about years prior. Student athletes complained that they were getting benched from athletic games due to tardies, she said.
Now when students are late they must come to the office where they obtain a tardy slip and then they're allowed to proceed to class. She noted "kids are running from the parking lot to get to class," so it must be working.
The school has also changed its approach to cheating. Previously, Culverhouse said students had to report cheating offenses on their college applications. Now, on first offense they must attend a parent meeting and a class.
Principal Jenny Salberg mentioned Thurston Middle School's new "6 for 6th" poster program, which includes green "6" signage around the campus that keeps students on point.
Salberg mentioned that sixth grade is a big transition for students because they go from one classroom with one teacher to multiple periods and different course work to keep track of.
The poster tells students to remember six things: Be there and ready (for class), planner, binder awareness, website, online worksheets and green six (the posters.)
Nutrition reports changes at TMS
Food Services Director Debra Appel talked of a proposed grab-and-go eatery at Thurston Middle School. Waverider Cafe would offer items such as sandwiches, salads, fruits and drinks from refrigerated display cases for a quick lunch option.