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NEWS
By Joanna Clay | May 24, 2012
The following is from Tuesday's Laguna Beach Board of Education meeting. * Teacher of the Year award El Morro third-grade teacher Mary Blanton was honored as "Teacher of the Year" by the board and school officials. Blanton also teaches a second/third grade combination class, which Principal Chris Duddy said she does with ease and enthusiasm. Duddy called Blanton a mentor to other teachers and said he was impressed when he first arrived to the school to discover she had already created a website and blog for her class.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | August 2, 2013
This post has been corrected, as noted below. Robin Rounaghi is leaving her job as an attorney to become SchoolPower's first executive director, the Laguna Beach nonprofit organization announced in a news release. Rounaghi served two terms as president of the organization that raises money for Laguna Beach Unified School District's four public schools. "No one knows the organization or our community better than Robin," current president Lynn Gregory said in the release.
NEWS
September 9, 2011
Capistrano Unified School District schools are closed Friday due to the San Diego Gas & Electric power outage affecting South Orange County. "The district, like many school districts serviced by San Diego Gas & Electric, has decided to cancel classes for its students," a statement on the district's website said. "A decision regarding Friday evening sporting events has not yet been made. " Supt. Joe Farley decided to cancel classes after authorities told the district that there was no guarantee that power would come back Friday.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | July 10, 2013
Laguna Beach Unified School District's director of human resources and communications has resigned, school board president William Landsiedel announced at Tuesday night's board meeting. Gerald Vlasic's resignation was effective July 1. Vlasic, who had worked at the district for a year, was not at the last board meeting June 25 and an email to him July 1, had an automatic reply of, "I am away from the office. " Landsiedel gave the news coming out of closed session and did not elaborate on why Vlasic resigned when asked later in the meeting by parent Sheri Morgan.
NEWS
By Joanna Clay | June 28, 2012
The class of 2012 isn't the only group moving on this year — a group of administrators are retiring from the Laguna Beach Unified School District. Norma Shelton, assistant superintendent of business services, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Nancy Hubbell and Laguna Beach High School Assistant Principal Gretchen Ernsdorf are retiring. Also retiring from the district office are Human Resources Coordinator Patty Beaver and Facility Director Eric Jetta, Supt.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | April 12, 2013
It's been quite a year for Thurston Middle School. Fresh off receiving a Schools to Watch designation, the hillside campus was one of two Laguna Beach Unified School District schools named a California Distinguished School. State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the honorees, all public middle and high schools throughout California, in a news release via email Thursday. Laguna Beach High School also received the honor, which recognizes schools for their commitment and innovative approaches to improve students' achievements.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | September 5, 2013
Two of Laguna Beach Unified's four schools had academic performance gains, according to statistics released last week by the state Department of Education. El Morro and Top of the World elementary schools improved their Academic Performance Index scores, while Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School saw declines. The district as a whole dropped five points to 918 from 923 in 2012 for the API, compiled from standardized tests across different content areas such as English-language arts, mathematics, history and science.
NEWS
August 30, 2007
Laguna Beach High School Principal Don Austin joined fellow state Distinguished School administrators at the Aug. 24 Los Angeles Angels game at Angel Stadium to watch State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O?Connell throw out the first pitch of the game. ?It was nice to be able to look around and get a sense that there aren?t many Distinguished Schools,? Austin said. ?It was fun to feel the excitement and pride of being in that group.? O?Connell joined California State Lottery Director Joan Borucki in honoring the Orange County middle and high schools that were selected this year at a pre-game ceremony at home plate.
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SPORTS
By Mike Sciacca | May 1, 2014
The Laguna Beach High boys' volleyball team clinched at least a share of the Orange Coast League title Tuesday by again sweeping their way to victory, this time, against Calvary Chapel. Laguna defeated the Eagles for the second time this season, winning, 25-9, 25-14, 25-14. Jake Hexberg had a team-high 10 kills, Jack Wyett seven kills and 12 digs, and Alec Wulff and Isaac Wulff had 15 and 11 assists, respectively, for the Breakers who improved to 8-0 in league and 13-3 overall. Calvary Chapel fell to 5-2 in league and 15-4 overall.
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NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | April 24, 2014
Laguna Beach Unified School District trustees are sticking with their goal of getting a bid for a more extensive tennis court repair project after hearing the city's proposal for a less-expensive solution. Trustees met with City Council members and district and city staff Tuesday to discuss the state of six tennis courts on district property across Park Avenue from Laguna Beach High School. The city and district share the courts through a joint-use agreement, which requires the city pay 70% for improvements and the district 30%. The percentages align with the hours the courts are available for public and high school use. Residents say the court surfaces are unsafe because they are slippery, dirty and cracked.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | April 15, 2014
Mike Morrison remembers geeking out on his Apple IIe , marveling at its capabilities. He thinks back to when email meant a once-a-day alert that a group of messages was ready to read. How times have changed. The former elementary school teacher and Laguna Beach Unified School District's newest chief technology officer enters at a critical time as students prepare to take new standardized state tests on computers, whether on traditional desktops or Google Chromebooks. Boosting speed to the Internet was one of Morrison's first tasks and he successfully negotiated a deal that will provide increased speed . Morrison, 46, a Trabuco Canyon resident and Southern California native, discussed this matter and his hopes for the district's technology infrastructure.
NEWS
By Rhea Mahbubani | April 10, 2014
Pamela Martinez approached Sarina Shohet with a proposition late last year. "I said to Sarina, 'Can I give you a really difficult assignment?'" Martinez recalled. "She said, 'Yes.'" Students in Martinez's Advanced Placement art class at Irvine-based Tarbut V'Torah drew a single portrait for the project. But Sarina drew two - one on white paper and the second on a differently textured brown sheet. The final graphite sketch, which depicts a friend whose parents are in the throes of a divorce, was titled "Cognizance of Her Teenage Psyche.
SPORTS
By Mike Sciacca | March 27, 2014
It was just a matter of time before Laguna Beach High, a school steeped in a rich volleyball tradition, tried its hand in the sand. For the first time, the school is fielding a girls' sand volleyball team. The Breakers are in their second week of their inaugural season playing a sport that is not sanctioned by the CIF Southern Section. Laguna is part of the Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League, which began in 2012, and added a boys' IBVL season last year. The league works under the Amateur Athletic Union.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | March 19, 2014
Laguna Beach Unified School District Supt. Sherine Smith has received her first raise since joining the district nearly four years ago. The board of trustees unanimously approved the 4% increase at its March 11 meeting, boosting Smith's salary by $9,000 a year. The raise, retroactive to July 1, increases her pay from $225,000 to $234,000. The spike aligns with the percentage salary increases approved for 162 certificated teachers and counselors represented by the Laguna Beach Unified Faculty Assn., 25 classified management employees, certificated administrators and school psychologists who are not part of either the faculty association or the California School Employees Assn.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | March 13, 2014
The Circle of Friends Club at Laguna Beach High School had a few more friends than usual in attendance Monday. The lunchtime club, which offers students a way to interact, play games and spend time together - rather than eat alone or in insular groups - welcomed visitors from Tennoji High in Osaka, Japan. The guests were part of a group of 25 high schoolers at the campus shadowing students as part of a foreign exchange program. Senior Jackie McMahon, 18, and her sister Kate, 20, started the club when they were Thurston Middle School students about eight years ago as a place for special-needs kids to meet and get to know other students.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton and By Bryce Alderton | March 10, 2014
Fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Chen set aside some time Tuesday morning for a Google Chromebook jam session. The only sounds inside her El Morro Elementary School classroom were "taps" from students clicking the mouse on the devices, which resemble laptops but do not have internal memory, relying solely on cloud servers. Children plugged away at math questions in preparation for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium field tests coming this spring. The consortium is a group of top educators, some from universities, who designed the tests as California and more than 40 other states transition to the new Common Core State Standards.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton and By Bryce Alderton | February 27, 2014
Four part-time nutrition service employees will receive pay increases to coincide with greater responsibilities, the Laguna Beach Unified School District board voted Tuesday. Trustees unanimously approved the pay increases and revised job descriptions and titles for two workers at the elementary level and two employees at the secondary level. Laguna Beach Unified has two elementary schools - Top of the World and El Morro - along with Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | February 12, 2014
Rather than simply write a report, students in Dave Dixon's eighth-grade Spanish class are going high-energy marketing and high-tech. The Thurston Middle Schoolers are creating a one- to two-minute travel advertisement for a Mexican city of their choice using Prezi, a cloud-based program that allows users to insert pictures, music, text and audio. Dixon and his students talked about the challenge of swaying the public to visit the nation, which has been besieged by a violent drug war. "Crime is everywhere.
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