Compass Chronicle

Compass Charter Schools | November 2020

Tis the Season!

Dear Compass Community,

As we are in the midst of this unprecedented holiday season, I reflect on what an incredible Compass Community we have. I am so proud of our resilience and fortitude during this school year. Our staff and families have come together to help support and uplift each other every step of the way.

Our families have been exceptional in partnering with us at Coffee with Compass, the Parent Advisory Council, Scholar Leadership Council, Learning Coach Support Sessions, and more. Together, we are creating an amazing Compass Experience for all of our stakeholders, and that is what makes Compass the Gold Standard in virtual and personalized education!

It has been a very busy fall at Compass thus far! We started small group tutoring sessions, English Language Live Support Sessions, and our monthly Instagram campaigns! We continue to offer exceptional AVID WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading) Framework sessions with our new AVID Coordinator, Andrea Lomeli. We have continued to enjoy the ride on the Energy Bus every week with our incredible tips of the week.

Our Counseling Services Department has held excellent and timely sessions on Social Emotional Learning, Financial Aid Basics, My Multicultural Self, and more. We had terrific Spirit Week and Red Ribbon Drug-Free Week, October 26-30. And, of course, our virtual scholar field trips, where we virtually visited incredible locations like the Aquarium of the Pacific and Angels Stadium!

We honored our October Scholars of the Month, Nominated our favorite teachers for the 2020 Dewey Awards, and celebrated National Family Literacy Month.

This year, our school-wide WIG (Wildly Important Goal) is that 100% of our eligible scholars will graduate by the end of the 2020-21 school year. This goal has kept our teachers and staff diligently on task and has motivated us towards excellence. We focus every day on accomplishing both small and large achievements with our scholars to work towards this goal. And it is not possible to achieve this WIG without the support of each and every one of you!

The Compass Chronicle is our quarterly newsletter, full of important information and exciting news about Compass Charter Schools. I hope you enjoy learning more about our scholars, our families, our staff, and the fantastic work in and out of the virtual classroom!

Finally, I encourage all of our scholars and their families to be involved in all that Compass has to offer, and if we do not provide it, let us know! (Virtual Suggestion Box for Scholars and Virtual Suggestion Box for Parents). We are always looking for new ideas or ways to build on already existing programs. Compass is a family, and you are an integral part of our family. It is truly an honor that our families, both new and returning, have chosen Compass to guide their scholars on their unique educational journeys!

Forever Loud & Proud,

J.J. Lewis

Superintendent & CEO

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AVID - Advancement Via Individual Determination

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What's Been Happening in AVID?

As a certified AVID site, our goal is to continue to grow a college and career going culture of excellence. With two A-G approved AVID Election sections to offer for Options and Online High School scholars, paired with a goal to grow AVID school-wide.

AVID has been focusing this semester on the AVID’s WICOR Methodology of Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading. Each AVID scholar session has delved into these methods and how to use them in studying and scholar success.

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Counseling Services Department

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What's Been Happening in Counseling?

The Compass Charter Schools (CCS) Counseling Department is off to a running start this year, with some big goals to achieve! In addition to our weekly live learning labs that take place every Tuesday at noon or our High School scholars, and every Thursday at noon for our Middle School scholars, each counselor is now hosting the following:

  • Morning Starter every Monday through Thursday at 9 am

  • Firebird Talk every Monday through Thursday at 3:30 pm

  • College Roadmap every Monday through Thursday at 2:30 pm

These small group sessions are aimed at giving scholars a chance to connect with their counselors here at CCS, as well as with their peers in a no-stress, inclusive, and welcoming environment. These sessions include school updates, motivational videos, fun Kahoot games, and Q&A time!

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Additionally, the CCS Counseling Department has introduced yet another way for us to connect with our scholars and families - Counseling Virtual Offices! Our offices even feature a Calming Corner, where counselors share resources related to Coping Strategies. We are so proud of how our Virtual Offices turned out this year!

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Counseling Staff Spotlight: Gabriela Ayala, Counselor!

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What is your job title and job responsibilities at Compass? How long have you worked for this organization?
I am a counselor and work with scholars in grades 6-12 with last names A-Co. In my role as a counselor, I am responsible for the developmental needs of all my scholars through our comprehensive school counseling program, which addresses a scholar's academic, career, and personal/social development. In collaboration with my colleagues at CCS, we are able to support our scholars' emotional and social growth through our guidance curriculum, individual student planning, and responsive services. I have been a counselor at Compass for five and a half years.

Tell us your “why” for doing what you do here at Compass.
I am here at Compass because I enjoy working with our scholars and supporting them in their educational goals. I do this because it brings me joy to see our scholars reach their full potential and graduate.

As a counselor, is there a piece of advice you’d like to share with learning coaches or scholars?
Scholars never give up. Study, work hard, and advocate for yourself. Remember, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Share one thing about you that very few people know.
Few people know that my first career choice was to be a general surgeon.

What do you and your family like to do during your free time?
My family and I like to be outdoors during our free time. Whether that is playing soccer as a family, hiking at our local trails, or bike riding to the beach. On the weekends, we love to take short trips to San Diego and go jet skiing or Palm Springs to ride dirt bikes.

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Counseling Stories

We always enjoy hearing feedback from our scholars and families. Here is a sample of what you all are saying this year so far!

“Thank you for recording your Morning Starter during the Zoom shut down this year and sending it out. We are really enjoying these inspiring videos!” -The Lyles Family

“I have a new middle school family that just joined CCS at the beginning of October. I recently had a phone conversation with the Learning Coach who said that their scholar is excelling in CCS’s virtual environment. They are very happy with their Supervising Teacher, and overall they are having a very positive experience here at Compass so far! -Kiki Helton, Counselor

Scholar Spotlight: Isabella Ponce

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“Isabella is a sixth-grade Options scholar here at CCS of Los Angeles; she is very committed to attending Morning Starters and Firebird Talks regularly. She has such a positive attitude, great coping strategies that she practices during this stressful time, and always completes her work! Excellent work, Isabella!"

-Mandi Schwartzberg, Counselor

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Engagement Department

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What's Been Happening in Engagement?

Virtual Scholar Workshops!

We’ve been having a blast this year connecting with our scholars through our virtual engagement offerings! Scholars have experienced a variety of workshops, including a visit from a STEAM Team Chemist, Baketivity, iFly, Computer Drawing and Animation, Aquarium of the Pacific, Autumn Festivities Around the Globe, Barnabas Robots, Rock the Vote, Schulz Museum, MoxieBox Fall Themed Watercolor Art, Tech Interactive Design Challenges, Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie, Sawdust Factory, Bilingual Social hour, and Fall Scholar Talent Show. Each workshop has provided a unique hands-on experience, allowing scholars to create a variety of fun projects using their kits.


We currently have 25 active clubs, from Lego Club to Minecraft Club, which have been off to a great start this year! Live club meetings have resumed, and our advisors have been enjoying our scholars' dive into their passions!


Congratulations to the following contest winners for September and October!

September - Back to School Contest: Emmanuel C.

October - Spirit Week Dress-Up Days Contest: Alexa T.

October - Pumpkin Decorating Contest: Avery W.

Our November contest is all about saying “Thank You!” Scholars are encouraged to think of someone they want to thank! It could be a parent, teacher, friend, or even your mailman! Scholars are challenged to find materials around their house (materials can be bought if you'd like, but it is not required) and create a homemade "thank you" gift or poster. Once the gift is complete, it can be delivered (if the person is within your household), or scholars can send a photo of it to the person you chose!
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Spirit Week!

Spirit week began with an exciting kick-off and a Red Ribbon Week inspired virtual scholar workshop where scholars learned about the importance of being vape-free. Scholars did a fantastic job showing their Firebird pride by taking the Red Ribbon Week pledge to “Be Happy, Be Brave, Be Drug-Free.” We also hosted Dress-Up days, including themes like “Save the Day from Drugs,” where we dressed up as superheroes, and “Stay Strong Against Drugs,” where we showed our strong muscles!
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Event Highlight!

This quarter’s Virtual Scholar Workshop spotlight goes to Baketivity!

Our scholars did an amazing job in both workshops learning the basics of cookie creation. Our first Baketivity workshop was “back to school” themed and focused on baking pencil-shaped Biscotti. Scholars also learned the importance of anti-bullying.

In our second Baketivity workshop, scholars mixed ingredients together to create chocolate chunk cookies. They also got to practice their drawing skills with a game similar to Pictionary! At the end of both sessions, we all tried our cookies together; they were delicious!

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Special Education Department

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What's Been Happening in Special Education?

The Special Education team has been busy meeting with families and scholars. We have enjoyed getting to know all of our new Compass families and connecting with our returning scholars and parents.

During the 2020-21 school year, the Special Education team has been utilizing three new programs: Read Naturally, Max Scholar, and Ascend Math, to help scholars meet their goals in fun and interactive ways. Our educational specialists have been seeing amazing results from utilizing these amazing programs!

The addition of our outstanding SPED Clerk, Gabriella Gonzalez, has helped the Special Education Team grow and support scholars in new ways. Gabriella has taken over the communication between Designated Instruction and Services (DIS) and Compass. This support has helped the team operate more successfully in their day to day tasks.

Special Education Work Samples!

Special Education Staff Spotlight: Marki Salcido, Educational Specialist!

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What is your job title and job responsibilities at Compass? How long have you worked for this organization?

I'm an educational specialist, and I am responsible for a caseload of exceptional scholars who need specialized support. I have worked for Compass since August 3, 2020.

Tell us your “why” for doing what you do here at Compass.

I've always known I wanted to be a special education instructor. My aunt has Down Syndrome, and I remember feeling protective from a very early age. When I had children of my own with special needs, my calling was strengthened, and it became clear I needed to be a voice for those who often do not get heard enough. I love working with my scholars, and I am passionate about their ability to progress and be as successful as possible.

As an educator, is there a piece of advice you’d like to share with learning coaches or scholars?

Keep pushing. There are going to be times when you're frustrated, and it feels like an uphill battle, but I promise, the light at the end of the tunnel is worth it! Learning coaches, your strength is amazing, and I am in awe every day of you and your families.

Share one thing about you that very few people know.

I have four children. My 16-year-old had a heart transplant in 2014 at the age of ten, thanks to our donor family's caring act of love. Our donor angel was a young girl who was 13 years old. We are thankful each day for our gift.

What do you and your family like to do during your free time?

I like to listen to music and read when I have time for myself. My family loves to go out on the lake and fish, go to concerts and watch family movies together!

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Giving to Compass

Your donation to Compass Charter Schools helps enhance and expand the Compass Experience for our scholars, learning coaches, and staff.

The easiest way to give is online at

If you can make a gift, the Compass family will benefit greatly.

Do not forget to check if your company will match your donation to Compass. It is an excellent way to SUPER-SIZE your donation! Thank you!

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Are you enjoying the educational experience at Compass? Tell us! We want to hear from you. Why did you decide to join the Compass family? Or, what do you love most about being part of our community? Share you comments and all of your wonderful experiences at Compass with us! Click here to share.
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Compass Charter Schools

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