Guidance Dept Newsletter - LFMS

2019-20 1st Quarter Edition 1

Welcome Bears to a New School Year!

Our Student of the Month awards focus on three qualities - Academic Excellence, Outstanding Effort, and a Leadership focus in the area of our quarterly HERO theme. Teachers and staff will be looking for students who portray excellence in one of these areas. Students of the Month will be recognised during HERO time. The 1st Quarter Leadership expectations, theme and focus are highlighted in this edition's newsletter.

What is HERO?

The Las Flores Middle School PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) team redesigned our school PBIS theme to simplify it for students to remember. We combined the elements of PRIDE into a simpler acronym HERO. HERO means our students strive to be Honest, Engaged, Respectful and take Ownership in their everyday actions at school.

Our Student of the Month awards focus on three qualities - Academic Excellence, Outstanding Effort, and a Leadership focus in the area of our quarterly HERO theme. Teachers and staff will be looking for students who portray excellence in one of these areas. Students of the Month will be recognised during HERO time. Each quarter we will focus on one aspect of the HERO theme.

1st Quarter Student of the Month Focus and Expectations

1st Quarter

HERO: Honest

Honest is defined as being truthful, real or sincere; to earn in a fair way, not disposed to cheat or lie, and to not get involved in activities that are morally wrong.

Theme: The focus for the 1st quarter is to demonstrate honesty with your peers and teachers. This means to be truthful with your words and turn in classwork that is your own.

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Teaching Your Kids to Be Honest

What's the best strategy for teaching your kids honesty? by Joanne Stern, PH.D.

Soft Skills your Middle Schooler Needs to Learn

While grades are important, they should not be the main focus of your middle school child's learning during these years. Middle school is a time when children are learning to become more independent and taking on more individual responsibilities.

Today's youth either have their activities scheduled from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed - completely structured or they have no structure or responsibilities outside of school short of homework. Children who have their entire day structured for them don't know what to do when they actually have free time and suffer creatively and those that have unstructured days aren't sure how to schedule their time to accomplish what they need to get done. A healthy balance between the two is important to allow middle school students to become independent and to develop the soft skills that will prepare them for success later in life.

I was meeting with a student the other day in my office and asking what his/her routine was at the end of the school day. The answer was "I go when home, have a snack and play video games or watch You Tube videos and maybe do some homework. I asked the student if they had any household chores to do during the week but the response was "No, I don't do anything at home to help. My mom does everything." The student had never helped with cooking, washing dishes, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash or any other share of taking responsibility to help his/her family around the house. The entire afternoon and evening was free to do whatever pleased him/her. What do you think this child could learn from helping around the house and how would this help him/her later in life?

Another student answered "I go home for a quick snack, then work on homework for 20-30 minutes before I have to leave for my 2 hour sports practice. I then go with my sibling for their sports practice after mine some nights. If there is time when I get home I practice my music then finish homework before going to bed." This child has little or no free time in his/her week. What do you think this child could learn from having a little more unstructured time?

Hiring managers and executives list the following soft skills they look for in employees as they graduate into the world of work:

  • Ability to communicate effectively vocally
  • Ability to apply knowledge/skills to real-world settings
  • Ability to work well in teams/groups
  • Good and ethical decision making skills
  • Self-motivated, shows initiative and is proactive in problem solving abilities
  • Ability to be creative with ideas/solutions
  • Critical thinking/analytical reasoning skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively in writing

Fulfilling the American Dream, Liberal Education and the Future of Work 2018 Employers Survey May/June 2018

Both examples above leave gaps in the a child's ability to learn some of the above soft skills. If your child has a teacher at school that allows them to develop soft skills listed above, consider this more important than the A or B grade children are pushed to achieve. Developing these soft skills in middle school is a key factor to later success in high school, college and the workplace.

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PTSA Parent Educational Evenings

Mark your calendars for the following parent informational evening events sponsored by our Tesoro Family Schools Parent Teacher Student Associations. All events are open to CUSD families and friends.

Tuesday, October 1st - The Signs of Suicide Parent Awareness Night– Ladera Ranch Middle School MPR 6-7 PM

Tuesday, October 24th - Documentary Screening - LIKE - LFMS Library 6:30 -8:30 PM Free admission for students 10 & up; Adults $10. Purchase/reserve your tickets here.

Tuesday, November 12th – Topic TBA - Las Flores Middle School MPR 6-7 PM

Thursday, December 12th – Topic TBA - Las Flores Middle School Library 6-8 PM

Tuesday, January 14th – Topic TBA – Las Flores Middle School MPR 6-8 PM

Tuesday, February 11th -Topic TBA –Las Flores Middle School MPR 6-8 PM

Tuesday, March 10th - Topic TBA - Las Flores Middle School MPR 6-7 PM

Wednesday, May 13th – Topic TBA –Las Flores Middle School Library 6-8 PM

Events may be combined with other local schools with dates and location subject to change. More information on future events will be posted on the Las Flores Middle School website as it becomes available.

District Speaker Series - Vaping

Additional Parent Information Evenings are being offered through the district office this year including a series of events offered in partnership with Hoag Hospital. The next CUSD/HOAG Hospital Speaker Series event is being held on November 13, 2019 from 6- 8 pm at Aliso Niguel High School entitled "Identifying Substance Abuse Disorders and Vaping Dangers". Use the link provided for more information on how to RSVP for this event.

In addition to this event, CUSD is offering Free nicotine vaping presentations monthly to address the increased use of vaping on middle school and high school campuses. Please see the LFMS biweekly principal news notices for a list of dates. The next presentation is October 10, 2019 at the district office from 7 - 8 pm.

Vaping has become increasingly more popular among teens in recent years often tempting children though the use of flavored products. Vape devices come in easily disguised objects and peer pressure is real for students in their middle school and high school years. Often parents are completely surprised by their child's admission to 'trying' it. We strongly encourage all parents to attend one of these educational events to be better informed about this addictive trend. Your child may not be vaping, but one of his/her friends could be. Don't let the fear of 'being seen' at one of these events stop you from becoming better educated about this epidemic. Be proactive and prepared for the temptations your child is or may be facing during these crucial years.

Is Your Child Struggling in School?

There are many reasons why you may find your child struggling in school from adjusting to new teachers, increasing difficulty in subject material, social-emotional concerns including peer pressure, anxiety, changing friendships, prolonged absences resulting in falling behind, learning disabilities or other health related concerns.

Where does a student or parent turn to for help? Depending on the concerns, the first point of contact should be your child's teacher if it's related to academic concerns or other classroom based pressures. Contact your child's teacher directly via email or call the school and ask to leave a voice message. If you've already met with your child's teacher and your child is still struggling, try contacting the academic advisor (for academic or scheduling inquiries) or the school counselor for social-emotional concerns. If the issue is not being resolved through one of these means, your child's teacher, academic advisor or school counselor may reach out to the appropriate Intervention Team Facilitator to facilitate discussion with your child's learning team and if needed set up a conference with your child's learning team including the student, parents, teachers, academic advisor and counselor. The design of a conference is to share parent/student concerns and design an appropriate family school partnership plan to assist your child in accessing an equal opportunity for his or her educational success.

If you have additional questions or concerns about the above, please feel free to contact a member of your child's learning team.


The School Counselor will conduct a minimum of quarterly classroom guidance lessons to all grade levels during the school year.

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In addition to the many classroom guidance lessons provided by our school counselor, a variety of small groups will be offered throughout the year. Students will be screened and identified for specific groups using data collected throughout the school year and through Needs Assessments completed by students, parents, and school staff. Groups may include Coping Strategies, Stress Management, Student Success Skills, Girls Groups, Boys Groups, Self Regulation, High School 101 and other groups as needs are identified.

Guidance Workshops shall be advertised at various times throughout the school year. Previous year events have included Chalkwalks based on monthly themes, College and Career Fair Competitions, Career Exploration workshops, and more.

The Guidance Team may be offering Career Exploration workshops known as 'Career Cafe' periodically throughout the school year. Career Cafe workshops will work with students on identifying their interests and helping them discover career interests. This is the first step in identifying a plan for their future. Discovering possible careers will help them determine the next step in their education whether it be specialty college/trade schools, intern/apprenticeships, 2 year or 4 year colleges or military service. If your child is interested in exploring Careers and College majors, please email your academic advisor, Debbie Miller.

Quicklink Resources

Guidance Webpage Information and/or links on the Academic Domain such as study skills, test taking, tutoring resources, and useful links for help with English writing and Math skills

Counselors Corner Resource Personal-Social Domain including stress management, conflict mediation, grief, and social skills

College and Career Guidance Information about high school graduation requirements, college admissions, and career choices.

Lindsay Depass - School Psychologist

Karen Weston - Registrar, Guidance Secretary

Non-Discrimination Statement

The Board of Trustees desires to provide a safe school environment that allows all students equal access and opportunities in the district’s academic and other educational support programs, services, and activities. The Board prohibits, at any District school or school activity, unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying of any student based on the student’s actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, national origin, nationality, ethnicity, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.