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By Bryce Alderton | January 21, 2014
Laguna Beach Unified School District administrators and board trustees honored two Thurston Middle School teachers Jan. 14 for achieving advanced credentials. Social studies teacher Carl Nelson and science instructor Ina Inouye Wu each earned certificates in November from the National Board Certification of Teachers. The credential is not required. Nelson and Wu were among six Orange County teachers chosen for the distinction last year and the first from Laguna Beach Unified since art instructor Linda Erickson earned the honor in 2003, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website said.
NEWS
By Joanna Clay | November 2, 2012
Laguna Beach High School teacher Jun Shen didn't anticipate the friendship he formed when he visited a Kenyan tribal village in August. After a safari with his fiance, they visited Oloolaimutia, a village outside their camp inhabited by the Maasai tribe, and were able to tour a school there. The staff told him that children walk barefoot to school - some living as far as nine miles away. There are 685 students with nine teachers, he said. The roads are rural and unpaved, and some teachers have to travel up to 65 miles to get to a computer.
NEWS
March 12, 2004
Suzie Harrison The Laguna Beach Unified School District office's parking lot attracted swarms of teachers concerned about their benefits well before the scheduled school board meeting on Tuesday. Teachers from El Morro, Thurston, Top of the World and Laguna Beach High School were buzzing about the impending insurance issue, and they came prepared, passing out scripts and stickers that read "Blue Shield Now." Once the doors finally opened a little past 7 p.m., it was standing-room only.
NEWS
By Dan Beighley | June 16, 2006
The closing of this school year will mark a special occasion for Top of the World Elementary School as three teachers with a collective 110 years experience retire. Having outlived lunchbox styles of metal to plastic to vinyl, many things about their jobs have changed, but all three say the best things have stayed the same. Carolyn Delano, Myrna Heitel and Lois Rake will soon add their names to a commemorative plaque in the school's main entrance. Second-grade teacher Rake began teaching at Top of the World in 1967.
NEWS
By: Sarah Hill | August 31, 2005
Middle School teachers worked diligently Tuesday to prepare for students' return to school Thursday. Teachers from Jordan, Luther Burbank and John Muir middle schools participated in staff development days on Friday, Monday and Tuesday, designed to help better prepare them for the new school year. "It gets me all the more excited for the school year," said Rod Rothacher, an eighth-grade teacher at John Muir. "It helps us get ready." Teachers at John Muir Middle School learned about "thinking maps" on Monday, which are different graphs and charts that help organize material that students learn into visual and easy-to-remember charts.
NEWS
June 13, 2003
Laguna Beach High School science teachers Art Smart and Steve Sogo won this year's "Bravo to the Teachers" awards, issued and funded annually by Laguna Beach resident Natalie Zucker. Zucker, a retired clinical psychologist, presented checks for $600 to each teacher at a lunch honoring the winners June 5. This is the third year Zucker has awarded two Laguna Beach High School teachers along with 14 straight years giving the same awards in Pico Rivera. "Teachers are underpaid, underappreciated and so valuable to a community," Zucker said.
NEWS
February 20, 2009
No layoffs seen in coming school year Laguna Beach Unified School District teachers and staff can rest easy ? there are no plans to consider layoffs, salary reductions or larger class sizes in the 2009-10 school year, Supt. Robert Fraisse told the Board of Education Feb. 10. While most other school districts in the state are planning for massive cuts in light of California?s huge budget deficit, Laguna Beach is one of the few districts with a balanced budget ? and has a healthy reserve in its coffers, school officials reported.
NEWS
April 11, 2003
With unprecedented news coverage of the war in Iraq on nearly every channel and antiwar protests and pro-war rallies on numerous street corners, schools are faced with a difficult situation. When and how should teachers and administrators talk to students about the war? In Laguna Beach, the district has taken a stance of "responsibility and objectivity" according to Asst. Supt. Steven Keller. He said district administrators have confidence in their teachers to engage in appropriate discussion of current events without allowing public opinion to invade.
NEWS
May 16, 2003
Mike Swanson Board backs new books for students The school board unanimously voted to adopt new reading and language arts textbooks Tuesday for grades K through 11 that address needs from English as a second language to Gifted And Talented Education and replace materials that Asst. Supt. Steven Keller called obsolete. Funded with $219,777.65 earmarked solely for instructional materials, Keller said the majority of the new books are consumable, or can be written in, and the district will receive replacements each year at no cost for seven years.
NEWS
August 9, 2002
September 2 Labor Day holiday 3 Professional development day for teachers 4 First day for teachers 5 First day for students November 8 End of first quarter 11 Veterans' Day holiday 28 Thanksgiving holiday 29 End of trimester (grades K-5) December 2-6 K-5 Parent conferences 6 Teacher contract day / non-student day grades K-5 23 -Jan. 3 Winter recess 24 Christmas Eve holiday 25 Christmas Day holiday January 1 New Year's holiday 6 School resumes 20 MLK Jr. holiday 30 End of the first semester 31 Teacher contract day / non-student day (grades 6-12)
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NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | January 30, 2014
Laguna Beach Unified School District teachers and counselors will receive their first pay raise in four years after the board of trustees unanimously approved a contract Tuesday night. Each of 162 certificated teachers and counselors with the Laguna Beach Unified Faculty Assn. will receive a 4% salary raise for the 2013-14 year, according to a district staff report. The increase includes a 3% salary increase and an additional 1% raise for two additional staff development days, along with an incentive to retire early, the staff report said.
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NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | January 23, 2014
The Laguna Beach Unified School District board unanimously voted Jan. 14 for a tentative contract that would allow certain teachers and administrators to retire early and still reap certain benefits. But the retirement incentive program would be offered only to employees who retire between June 15 and Aug. 15, the staff report said. The district has offered limited incentives in the past. Members of the district's teachers union, Laguna Beach Unified Faculty Assn., must still vote on the proposal, its president, Linda Barker, wrote in an email.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | January 21, 2014
Laguna Beach Unified School District administrators and board trustees honored two Thurston Middle School teachers Jan. 14 for achieving advanced credentials. Social studies teacher Carl Nelson and science instructor Ina Inouye Wu each earned certificates in November from the National Board Certification of Teachers. The credential is not required. Nelson and Wu were among six Orange County teachers chosen for the distinction last year and the first from Laguna Beach Unified since art instructor Linda Erickson earned the honor in 2003, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website said.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | December 13, 2013
Even a letter to Santa can benefit from a dose of persuasion. Earlier this week, students in Shannon Velotta's third-grade class at El Morro Elementary School went step-by-step in a writing exercise designed to wriggle their brains to produce thoughtful prose. Velotta asked students to persuade Santa why they are the best animal for a certain job, such as pulling a sleigh, or placing presents under a tree. Teachers throughout Laguna Beach Unified School District and the state are rolling out retooled lesson plans to prepare students for new testing standards, called Common Core, that will become official in the 2014-15 school year.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | August 14, 2013
Roger Shew, a music teacher at Thurston Middle and Laguna Beach High schools, was one of two Orange County educators chosen for an award announced this week. StudentsFirst, an educational advocacy organization based in Sacramento and active in 18 states, chose Shew and 28 fellow teachers for its California All-Star Teacher honor, according to a news release. Shew, 38, who teaches jazz band at both schools, was one of 16 teachers selected from Southern California, according to the release.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | July 19, 2013
What started four years ago with a Laguna Beach High School student's interest in snakes, coupled with a teacher's research, has turned into an ongoing project on the cusp of a breakthrough. Students in science teacher Steve Sogo's Advanced Chemical Research class are developing a synthetic antivenom that would treat the deadliest snake bites. The students, all seniors, built on work their predecessors began four years ago, using toxins from the Mozambique Spitting Cobra as their template.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | June 27, 2013
The Laguna Beach Unified School District does not need to remove a note from a teacher's personnel file that alleges she arrived at school drunk in December 2010, an Orange County Superior Court judge ruled this week. In his ruling, Judge Andrew Banks said Barbara Joan McKnight needed to prove that the school district's notice of unprofessional conduct "was arbitrary, capricious or entirely lacking in evidence, i.e. that the board action in issuing the notice was an abuse of discretion," according to a court document provided by McKnight's attorney, James Guziak.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | June 20, 2013
Two years ago, students in Carl Nelson's world civilizations class would have encountered this essay question: Persuade me why you feel this way. The question as phrased appeals to emotion, said Nelson, a Thurston Middle School instructor. In coming years, the question will be, "Analyze a source's credibility and use evidence to support the argument," Nelson said. The shift is part of Common Core, new state testing standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | June 10, 2013
Triana Ramazan said she was humbled as her name was read during the May 28 Laguna Beach Unified School District board meeting. Ramazan, a reading teacher at Top of the World Elementary School, was named district Teacher of the Year for 2013-14 and joins an elite list of educators singled out for the honor. Ramazan found out in April that district administrators had selected her for the prestigious honor from a group of teachers representing the city's four schools. "I couldn't believe it," Ramazan said.
NEWS
By Bryce Alderton | June 3, 2013
Tom Purdy did not anticipate a long career in education when he agreed to an interview for a Thurston Middle School teaching position while waiting to play volleyball on Main Beach 41 years ago. Purdy, who was 22 at the time, had just finished college. His uncle, a lifeguard, approached him on the beach and told him that Thurston's then-Principal David Lloyd was looking to fill a teaching position. Purdy immediately called Lloyd from a nearby phone booth and soon was sitting, sand-caked skin and all, in Lloyd's office.
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