School Board Meeting Wrap-Up

October 25, 2012|By Joanna Clay

The following is from Tuesday's Laguna Beach Unified School District school board meeting.


iPods popular in second-grade classroom

Top of the World Elementary School teacher Linda Barker and District Director of Educational Technology Victor Guthrie led a presentation on her second-grade classroom, which is utilizing iPod Touches in its curriculum.

Principal Ron LaMotte said the program was funded through SchoolPower, which encourages innovative and creative thinking.

The kids can use the iPods as another means to learn their Common Core Standards — playing math games, learning to add money or completing spelling challenges.


"Does it foster engagement? Absolutely," Barker said. "There's endless possibilities of educational uses for iPods."

She said it's a good assessment tool because she's able to find apps on iTunes that fit different students' learning.

In the case of learning to count money, Barker said they hadn't learned it yet but students found the app and started playing it, putting them ahead of the game — no pun intended.

Other students who excel in math found the games fun, she said, because they can go up to different levels and are continually challenged. Another child played a spelling game and reached the fifth-grade level.

Barker asked the students to do a project to demonstrate their understanding of Newton's Laws of Motion using photography with the iPod. The students photographed themselves participating in push-pull, acceleration and velocity. She was surprised by the sophistication of their results.

"Technology isn't limited by our children's abilities. It's limited by our perception of what our children's ability is," Guthrie said.


District applauds API scores

Deni Christensen, assistant superintendent of instructional services, led a presentation on the district's test results. The most recent results were API, accountability progress reporting, which increased to 922 in 2012 versus 904 in 2011, according to state records.

A score higher than 900 is considered "exemplary," Christensen said.

Thurston Middle School's score rose to 944 in 2012 from 935 in 2011. Traditionally, middle schools have higher scores and high schools have the lowest ones due to the academic rigor, Christensen said. El Morro Elementary has an API score of 923, compared to 894 in 2011. Top of the World Elementary reported 924 this year and 919 in 2011.

Laguna Beach High School received an API score of 906 in 2012, up from 882 last year, according to records.


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