Eagle Rock/Highland Park CoS News

March 2023

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Words from Eagle Rock/Highland Park Community of Schools Administrator (ERHP CoSA) Tony Cortez

March is here, and our schools are working diligently to ensure that all of our students continue receiving the support and instruction for their academic and social/emotional growth and success. This month, ERHP CoS had a Town Hall.

Our second report card grading period is here, and this is the perfect time for parents and teachers to have discussions about student progress and needs. Parents should be asking when and how to support students at home. Remember that we have tutoring services available for all students to support them with challenges.

Acceleration days will be here soon, and our children will have the opportunity to get two additional days of instruction on April 3rd and April 4th. Please attend one of the various meetings to inform parents about this process as school site principals will be hosting meetings to share information.

Getting to Know Kindergarten Readiness Specialist Christina Ramaya

I thought it would be helpful for the community and me to get to know Kindergarten Readiness Specialist, Christina Ramaya. Through the interview, I learned the many ways that Ms. Rayama and her team support administrators and teachers throughout LAUSD in helping the youngest learners learn. -Region East Community Representative So Noh.

How long have you been working at LAUSD?

I have been working at LAUSD since 1997, so it has been 26 years!

What is your LAUSD Background prior to being involved in Kindergarten Readiness?

My journey in LAUSD began as a bilingual kindergarten teacher in the city of Cudahy. I also taught adult education in the evenings. My life led me back to the classroom where I taught first, second, and third grade, as well as intervention for K-5th grade. I have been an Instructional Coach, a Data Coordinator, and an English Language Coordinator. With a grant for reading, I have been one of the Literacy Experts who supported Instructional Coaches for literacy and helped plan lessons, demonstrate, and support teachers. I also worked at Franklin Elementary School for nine years, where my own children attended. There, I was the Instructional Coach/Intervention and Data Coordinator, overseeing mathematics and literacy and English Language development, supported the Learning Center (a school-wide intervention program), and led small group instruction for the students. Later, I became a Title III Coach, where I supported English Learner instruction with teachers and administrators across what was formerly Local District Central.

Please describe Kindergarten Readiness and your work in supporting teachers with the very youngest of learners.

Kinder Readiness started in 2018 as a collaboration between LAUSD, UCLA, and First5 LA. The goal of our program is to provide information on the school readiness levels of kindergarteners and support teachers with the Early Development Instrument (EDI) data. Using the EDI reports as our guide, we have teams of instructional coaches and psychiatric social workers who go to school sites to model and co-teach lessons for teachers in all academic areas, including the integration of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). This supports students’ ability to feel safe, seen, and ready to learn! We also model cozy corners, do read-alouds and help children build vocabulary around school experiences such as identifying and managing emotions. Our teams provide district-wide parent workshops, as well as a series of parent academies that are customized to the needs of school-sites. Another primary goal of our program is to focus on building teacher capacity at Early Education Centers to support student school readiness as they transition to Kindergarten.

A big event we hold yearly is “Bright Beginnings Kindergarten Readiness Conference,” which is a Saturday conference for administrators and teachers of the youngest learners. The conference's purpose is to reach out to teachers across the district, so they can share their strategies and resources with other teachers. It also serves as a way to make strong connections between preschools and their neighboring elementary schools.

Where did you grow up, and what schools did you attend?

I grew up in Paso Robles in Central California. My father was a radio disc jockey, and my mother was a secretary at a bank. I had 26 first cousins, and I was the oldest girl in the group. I was very close with my cousins as we would see each other often and play together as children. I was the first one in my family to go to college. I attended Sonoma State University, studied abroad in Mexico for one year, received my teaching credential from National University, and my Masters in Education Administration from UCLA. Go Bruins!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am busy for most of the school year, but my free time is really during the school breaks. What I really enjoy about being in education is that I get to have the same breaks as my children. We travel and spend time together during that time. Every summer, we visit Mexico City and spend time reconnecting with family in Mexico. My grandfather is from Mexico City, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Mental Health Corner: "Stress," Written by ERHP Cos Mental Health Consultant Catalina Barrios

“Mom, I’m stressed!!!” You may think, “Stressed?!? About what? You don’t have to pay bills or take care of a family."

The truth is that life can be stressful, even for our students. Many things can cause stress, and those things differ from person to person. Students may feel stressed about academics, friendships/relationship problems, being bullied, family trouble, traumatic events, or a life change. As much as we dislike it and as much as we try to avoid it, stress is inevitable for everyone from time to time, and sometimes that stress can feel overwhelming. In some situations, stress can be helpful in motivating us to get things done and do our best like studying for a test or preparing for a presentation. However, chronic stress can create a problem as it increases the risk for health and mental health problems, like heart disease, depression, and anxiety.

What is stress? Stress is our body's natural reaction (physical or mental) to an external situation that is worrisome or threatening such as having a lot of homework, or problems with friends. During this reaction, our body releases a chemical called cortisol which activates the "fight, flight or flee response" needed in a threatening or high-pressure situation. During this reaction, we may experience the following: accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, headaches, stomachaches, dry mouth, sleep problems, change in eating, lack of concentration, irritability, tension, and jitters. A stressor may be a one-time or short-term occurrence, or it can happen repeatedly over a long time. Stress goes away once the situation disappears.

It is important to learn what causes or triggers our stress, how we react to stressful situations, as well as what coping strategies work for us so that we can make changes, better manage these reactions, and improve our daily life. It may take trial and error to discover what works best for us. Here are some activities we can try when we start to feel overwhelmed:

  • Keep a journal.
  • Download an app that provides relaxation exercises (such as deep breathing or visualization) or tips for practicing mindfulness.
  • Take good care of your body each day. Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep help your body handle stress much better.
  • Avoid drinking excess caffeine such as soft drinks or coffee.
  • Identify and challenge your negative and unhelpful thoughts.
  • Reach out to your friends or family members who help you cope in a positive way.

Sometimes, the coping strategies may not be enough, and we may find stress creating an impairment in our daily functioning. If this does happen to you or your child, you may need to reach out to a mental health professional like the Psychiatric Social Worker (PSW) on campus or a community-based therapist.

If you would like some guidance on coping strategies for your child or help seeking mental health services, call your child’s school and ask to speak to the school’s PSW.




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Student Health and Human Resources Corner: "Safety Collaborative Meetings, " Written by ERHP CoS Organization Facilitator Isabel Castaneda

Hello! My name Isabel Castaneda, and I am the Organization Facilitator for the ERHP CoS. As an Organization Facilitator, I collaborate with District Operations Administrators and local law enforcement to host monthly Safety Collaborative meetings for the Northeast Division. Participating stakeholders in the Safety Collaborative meetings include:

  • District and School Staff
  • Law enforcement
  • City Officials
  • Community Partners
  • LAUSD Board Member Representatives

School teams have the opportunity to address safety concerns and review current data trends provided by law enforcement, as well as identify solutions and strategies to keep our students and schools safe. My contact information is (213) 725-5600 Ext. 1169 (Amazon Connect), and my email address is mic0648@lausd.net.

New LASAR Mobile App!

Los Angeles Unified has launched the Los Angeles Schools Anonymous Reporting (LASAR) mobile application! The app enables the Los Angeles school community to anonymously report instances of suspicious activity, mental health incidents, drug consumption, drug trafficking, vandalism and safety issues from a smartphone to ensure student safety. https://achieve.lausd.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=45662&ViewID=5a34c2e3-8f9c-41db-86d5-75dba1e91cc2&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=130169&PageID=1

Students and families can download the LASAR app by visiting the Apple app store or Android app store and searching “Los Angeles Unified LASAR.”

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Save the Date!

Region East Family Academy PACE Workshop: Middle School Math Pathways (for Fifth Grade Parents), Tuesday, March 14th, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., at Lanterman Auditorium
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Save the Date!

LAUSD District 5 Jackie Goldberg Presents Cesar Chavez Day of Service, Saturday, March 25th, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Toland Way Elementary School
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Region East Parent and Family Workshops and Events Flyers Folder

Link to Parent and Family Workshops and Events Flyers 2022-2023

Enlace para los volantes sobre talleres y eventos para padres y familias 2022-2023


Please also check out the ERHP CoS website, and follow the ERHP CoS social media accounts links below: