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DEEP DIVE WITH LBHS COUNSELOR

Mrs. Pilon is a school counselor serving students with last names P-Z at Laguna Beach High School. Counselors are available to offer direction as students plan their academic futures. Let's get to know a little bit about her in this Q & A with LBUSD.


Mrs. Pilon is a school counselor serving students with last names P-Z at Laguna Beach High School. Counselors are available to offer direction as students plan their academic futures. Starting in ninth grade, students work with their counselors to create a four-year academic plan that will lead to a career or the university or college of the student's choice. Each year, the counselors help students continue to achieve their short-term goals to support them in meeting their long-term aspirations. Counselors also provide confidential and supportive counseling and intervention to foster independence and help students face emotional challenges. Let's dive right into our Q & A with Mrs. Pilon! 

  1. What is a mantra that you want all students to have for themselves? 
    Never compare yourself to anyone else, because there is no one out there who is authentically just like you.
     
  2. What is something you can never over-invest in? 
    You can never over-invest in love. 
     
  3. What is your favorite song of all time? 
    "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me
     
  4. What is your go-to breakfast? 
    Ezekiel bread and almond butter
     
  5. What are you currently excited about in life right now? 
    I am currently excited about watching my daughter dance! 
     
  6. What do you want to be remembered for? 
    I want to be remembered for loving my children unconditionally.
     
  7. Who would you say was your role model growing up? Why?
    My role model growing up was my sister because she believed in me and pushed me to challenge msyelf regardless of the circumstances. 
     
  8. How do you unwind? 
    I unwind by working out.
     
  9. If you could go back and tell your 13-year-old self one thing, what would it be? 
    Don't stress, love yourself just the way you are, it all works out in the end.
     
  10. If you had a superpower, what would it be? 
    If I had a superpower, it would be the ability to heal.
     
  11. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 
    Life is not a race, it's a journey.  Slow down and enjoy the ride because life happens when you are busy making plans.
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  • Elementary School
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A MINUTE WITH SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST GRACE JONES

In her role as school psychologist at Top of the World Elementary, Mrs. Jones consults with teachers, staff, and parents to evaluate possible learning disabilities in students. Learn more about her in our short interview! 

In her role as school psychologist at Top of the World Elementary, Mrs. Jones consults with teachers, staff, and parents to evaluate possible learning disabilities in students. She also supports staff to develop learning plans for students who need additional assistance to be successful in school. Here's a little more about her!

  1. What is something you can never over-invest in? 
    A sense of humor.
     
  2. What is your favorite song of all time? 
    "Fireworks" by Katy Perry
     
  3. What are you currently excited about in life right now? 
    Seeing kids' faces in person again!
     
  4. What’s your favorite book? 
    Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud
     
  5. What do you want to be remembered for? 
    Helping unique humans achieve goals they didn't imagine!
     
  6. If you had a superpower, what would it be? 
    To go back in time and tell myself and others to enjoy small moments more.
     
  7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 
    "You can't care more about a problem than the person who owns it." I find this helpful because I can internalize others' setbacks as my own and this advice helps me move past that thinking and towards supporting others to dig deep and work towards their own solutions.
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  • Elementary School
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NINE QUESTIONS WITH SCHOOL COUNSELOR JOLENE HAMILTON

School Counselor Jolene Hamilton is currently supporting the students and families at Top of the World Elementary. As a school counselor, Mrs. Hamilton is trained to help students with three domain areas: personal/social needs, academic concerns, and career planning. Here's what we learned about her in our Q & A.

School Counselor Jolene Hamilton is currently supporting the students and families at Top of the World Elementary. As a school counselor, Mrs. Hamilton is trained to help students with three domain areas: personal/social needs, academic concerns, and career planning. Here's what we learned about her in our Q & A. 

  1. What is something you can never over-invest in? 
    Other people!
     
  2. What are you currently excited about in life right now? 
    Seeing my toddler twin boys learn new things - they are just starting to talk! 
     
  3. What’s your favorite book? 
    The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
     
  4. What do you want to be remembered for? 
    Being helpful, kind, and encouraging! 
     
  5. Who would you say was your role model growing up? Why?
    My big sister. She's always been so considerate and responsible. When my parents divorced, she was protective over me, sometimes acting in a parental role when one parent wasn't around. We now live in houses next door to each other! 
  6. How do you unwind?
    I'm the queen of taking naps! 
     
  7. If you could go back and tell your 13-year-old self one thing, what would it be? 
    Friends, popularity, and looks will change... pay more attention to growing your character! 
     
  8. If you had a superpower, what would it be? 
    Flying! I still have flying dreams... 
     
  9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 
    Don't take anything personally. (I'm a pretty sensitive person!)
  • District
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  • Middle School
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GETTING TO KNOW SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST LUISA MOSSA

School Psychologist Luisa Mossa on a mantra she wants all students to have, advice she would give to her 13-year-old self, and more. 

In recognition of the importance of the role that social-emotional learning plays in the lives of our students, we are dedicating some time to getting to know the staff that support the social-emotional health and wellbeing of LBUSD students. Luisa Mossa is a school psychologist currently serving the school community at Thurston Middle School. 

  1. What is a mantra that you want all students to have for themselves? 
    "I can do this!"
     
  2. What is something you can never over-invest in? 
    Time with family. 
     
  3. What is your favorite song of all time? 
    "Amazing Grace"
     
  4. What is your go-to breakfast? 
    Oatmeal with berries or a banana
     
  5. What are you currently excited about in life right now? 
    Decorating my new home and seeing my grandkids in October.
     
  6. What’s your favorite book? 
    The Old Man and the Sea
     
  7. What do you want to be remembered for? 
    How I helped students feel better about themselves and got them the supports they needed to be successful.
     
  8. Who would you say was your role model growing up? Why?
    My best friend Kelly. She was super social while I was shy.  She was my only friend but that's all I needed because she knew everyone.  She was super determined and like MacGyver (a show from the '80s); she could figure anything out and make things happen. If she said she was going to do something she would.  
     
  9. How do you unwind? 
    I go on a hike, run, or mountain bike ride.
     
  10. If you could go back and tell your 13-year-old self one thing, what would it be? 
    Read the good book and follow the right path, it's as simple as that. It sure makes life a lot easier.
     
  11. If you had a superpower, what would it be? 
    I always loved Aquaman and how he could communicate with sea life. I would love to communicate with animals.
     
  12. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 
    Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
  • District
  • TMS
  • Elementary School
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Q & A WITH DR. HATCHEL

The new principal at Top of the World Elementary on her heroes, who she would share a meal with (living or dead), her go-to karaoke song, and more.

Born and raised in Huntington Beach, the new principal at Top of the World Elementary has served in public education for more than 20 years. 

We sat down for a Q & A to get to know the new LBUSD school administrator.

  1. Who is your hero?
    I have several heroes...the closest to me would be my parents. I’m blessed that they are still close by and that I get to speak with them every day on my way into work.  They are heroes to me because they both faced adversity and challenges as children, including poverty and emotional abuse.  Despite their situations, they exhibited grit, perseverance, and joy to build a better life for my brother and me.  My mom and dad are retired school administrators and profoundly influenced my calling to be a school leader to serve others.   
     
  2. What makes you laugh the most?
    My kids. They are smart, witty, and they enjoy life. They know how to bust out the laughter when I least expect it. 
     
  3. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    So many choices, and I’m way too analytical about this!  I’d say a good cobb salad; lots of flavors while being reasonably healthy if I had to eat it for the rest of my life.
     
  4. What would you sing at Karaoke night?
    "Have It All" by Jason Mraz. It's a happy song with a positive message and I am a huge Mraz fan
     
  5. If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?
    I need to cheat on this one and have two separate groups.
    Dinner 1: John Wooden (another hero, Go Bruins!), Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and my dad. I grew up as a huge Lakers/basketball fan with my dad.  
    Dinner 2:  Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, and God.  I’d love the opportunity to entertain a conversation about some of the world’s major religions to seek wisdom, guidance, and answers--it would make for an interesting conversation! 
     
  6. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
    Both.  I enjoy being around people and am energized by others, but I need my “alone time” to be grounded, mindful, and reflective. 
     
  7. What was your first job?​​​​​​​
    I worked for the City of Huntington Beach in the planning department. I had a clerical job and learned about the importance of public service.
     
  8. If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?​​​​​​​
    A “Doat.” A combination of a dog and a cat.  I love both and can never answer the question when asked about my favorite animal.  This way, I wouldn’t feel bad about naming one above the other and picking “favorites” between my pets!
     
  9. If you joined the circus, what would your circus act be?​​​​​​​
    An acrobat...I’m scared of heights, so it would make me conquer that fear.  They look so graceful and have incredible talent!
       
  • Elementary School
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  • Students
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING: SECOND STEP

The Second Step is an evidence-based social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum that helps students develop skills for emotion management, situational awareness, and academic achievement. When LBUSD transitioned to distance learning, Mrs. Hamilton used her growth mindset to step out of her comfort zone and in front of the camera. It was hard and uncomfortable at times, but she made some friends along the way that helped her through. Meet Snail and friends in these SEL video lessons: 

Handling Name Calling

Fair Ways to Play

Solving Problems Part 2

Intro to Solving Problems

The Color Monster (Book about Feelings)

Managing Worries

Positive Self Talk (for calming down)

Calming Down

  • TOW
  • High School
  • Students
MUSEUM AT HOME PROJECT

A viral new Instagram account run by a Dutch woman is featuring do-it-at-home photographic recreations of some of the greatest works of art in history. The account (named @tussenkunstenquarantaine, which means “between art and quarantine” in Dutch) started when the woman and her roommates, stuck at home due to social-distancing measures, decided to recreate Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring using a towel, a placemat, and a clove of garlic.

Hoping to give her students a break from screen time while introducing them to 3D art, Ms. Selway recently challenged students in her classes to take part in the museum-at-home challenge. Interested in a virtual field trip of sorts? Check out the results above, they're uncanny! 

  • LBHS
  • Elementary School
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LEARNING IN THE KITCHEN

One of the most popular items checked out from the library at the Top of the World is cookbooks. Every time a student checks one out Mrs. Romano asks them to write it down, take pictures, or even better, share a sample of what they make and they'll receive Reading Counts points for it. "I love cookbooks for their complete lessons of reading, math & science," said Mrs. Romano. "It is Common Core at it's finest."

When LBUSD transitioned to distance learning, she noticed on social media that a lot of families were cooking together. She even challenged her own teenage boys to learn to cook. She reached out to all students and asked them to send her pictures of them cooking at home; the response has been overwhelming. She receives pictures or write-ups almost every day! These are just some of the examples. 

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LBHS STAFF PRESENTS SHAKESPEARE

“Romeo and Juliet” might be one of Shakespeare’s most renowned tragedies, but this short film featuring some of our Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) staff is anything but. 

Every year, Mrs. Benson asks her ninth-grade Honors English students to recite a few lines from “Romeo and Juliet” for a quick performance in class. This year, they went digital so she extended her casting call out to all staff at LBHS. Hit the play button and watch our new favorite group of thespians!

  • LBHS
  • Elementary School
  • Students
MINDFUL MINUTES WITH MRS. SAND

Change can be a little overwhelming and sometimes we just need to take a minute or two to sit with our feelings to make sense of them. 

Third-graders at Top of the World took some time for mindful creativity in a virtual coloring party and sing-a-long with Mrs. Sand. Organized by Mrs. Day, students had the option to print a page from a custom Top of the World coloring book or bring a page from one of their own coloring books. They “sat with each other” on Zoom while listening to Mrs. Sand play some of their favorite Top of the World songs. 

  • TOW
  • Middle School
  • Students
THURSTON RIDES THE STAY AT HOME WAVE

Every cloud has a silver lining and Thurston Waveriders have definitely found it. 

In a recent call for photos, Thurston Middle School’s Ms. Leighton asked students to share photos depicting what they’re “stay at home” activities have looked like in the weeks since Governor Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order. Waveriders have been staying busy as evidenced in this feel-good roundup of creative and random activities they are doing while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. In just a few weeks students have learned new instruments, shared the distance learning experience with their favorite pets, taken up baking, made sure to exercise, and so much more! 

  • TMS
  • Elementary School
  • Students
ENGINEERING CREATIVITY

Some of us might find ourselves struggling to channel our inner creativity during these times. 

That’s definitely not the case for third-graders in Mrs. Wong’s class. They’ve been pretty busy hard at work on their engineering projects, even from home! They have designed a playground, a treehouse, a rocket ship, and a dog toy with more projects in the works. 

Check out Destin’s treehouse! He designed and built it using items he found in his own backyard. 

  • EMS
  • Elementary School
  • Students
ROOM 20 ISN'T MISSING STORYTIME

Amidst so much change, one thing remains constant for the students in Mrs. Mays’ transitional kindergarten (TK) class: storytime. 

For students in transitional kindergarten, distance learning is a little different from other grade levels. Most of them are pre-readers that need a lot of support and guidance at home to make it work. At this age, developmentally appropriate work is framed as exploration and play to be most effective. 

Every morning, parents receive a daily email with a link to a read-aloud story featuring Mrs. Mays and an activity to accompany the story. It’s not all fun and games though, students also have a variety of letter and math pages for the week that they can choose from. The wrap up each week with a “Fun Friday” Google Meet that includes “show and tell” and a live Fairy Tale reading. You can follow their adventures at https://mayskinder.wordpress.com/. 
 

  • EMS
  • Elementary School
  • Students
LBUSD STUDENTS CELEBRATE EARTH DAY

Fourth-grade students recognized the 50th anniversary of Earth Day through art. Every Friday, students in Mrs. Bammer’s class gather on Zoom for a “Fun Friday” Zoom call that has a different theme every week. To date, the class has celebrated crazy hair day, share your favorite pet (real or stuffed), and sunglasses day (as a reminder of how bright their futures are). The class meetings always include a minute of mindful breathing and an opportunity for the class to connect with each other. Most recently, they reflected on something they have gratitude towards and shared it with the class. It’s the little things! 

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        District News Logo

        On Wednesday, October 14, the Laguna Beach Unified School District launched a COVID-19 dashboard to provide parents, guardians, and employees with up-to-date COVID-19 confirmed positive case counts among LBUSD students and staff on district campuses.  The dashboard was created to keep stakeholders informed with accurate and transparent information about COVID-19 positive cases in the District.  

        In addition to updated information on the dashboard, principals or school staff will also communicate new cases directly to their communities.  The District will only communicate and provide data for confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.  LBUSD schools and staff will maintain confidentiality and protect student and staff privacy, following all FERPA protocols.

        To access the dashboard, click here or visit lbusd.org/covid19.

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        A class of 2020 Laguna Beach High School graduate has been invited as a finalist to compete for $5,000 at a live virtual event called the Dragon Challenge this Thursday, September 24. Nathan Solomon and his program partner have spent the last seven months completing the Dragon Kim Fellowship Program to launch their project called “The Hip Hop Workshop.”

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        LBUSD will continue to offer student meals at no cost to all students through the end of 2020 to ensure meal options for children continue to be available so children can access meals under all circumstances,

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        Read More about STUDENT MEAL UPDATE