The Sun Valley Scoop

Sun Valley Community of Schools Biweekly Newsletter

Issue #17 May 2021


Dear Sun Valley Community,

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the employees who work the Sun Valley Community of Schools for their work this past year. As you may know this past week was Staff Appreciation Week. Opening schools safely has required the efforts of LAUSD staff members from every job classification. Plant Managers and Building and Ground Workers have prepared classrooms and sanitized campuses. Cafeteria workers have prepared and distributed Grab and Go meals. Beyond the Bell Coaches have organized childcare programs. Bus drivers have transported students to schools. Office workers have answered hundreds of questions from parents. Technology personnel have managed devices. Teacher Assistants and Supervision Aides have greeted students at the gate. School administrators have planned every detail of reopening and teachers have balance the new challenge of teaching cohorts of in-person and online students. I want to let everyone know that all of their efforts are not taken for granted. All of these employees have made a significant contribution to an historic event, the reopening of schools after a once in a century health crisis. Reopening schools in Los Angeles was an important step on the road to returning to our normal lives and ending this pandemic. This year more than ever our staff deserves our sincere thanks and appreciation.

Thank you for all that you do for our Sun Valley community.

John Rome

Community of Schools Administrator

Sun Valley Community of School

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Our Life in the Sunshine

Profiles of Arleta, Pacoima, and Sun Valley Staff Members:

A Special Staff Appreciation Edition

Meet Samuel Perla and Gerald Sparks of the Sun Valley Cos Transportation Department!

We have many outstanding bus drivers in the Sun Valley CoS that deserve our thanks and appreciation. This week we would like to recognize two employees who represent the transportation department in our CoS. Mr. Gerald Sparks(left) is our Area Bus Supervisor (ABS) and Mr. Samuel Perla(right) is his assistant. Together they supervise 42 bus routes that serve 13 K-12 schools in Sun Valley. Each day they make sure buses arrive on time to pick up magnet and special education students and carry them to their various destinations.

Mr. Sparks has worked for LAUSD for 33 year. He was a driver for 10 years before moving into his role as ABS. Mr. Perla has been with LAUSD for 15 years and has worked as a driver for 12 years. We asked both employees what they like most about their jobs.

Mr. Sparks shared, “It’s been a great experience. I loved the children and the parents as a driver. The most satisfying thing as a supervisor is to resolve transportation issues for people.”

Mr. Perla shared about his work, “A lot of times parents want someone to hear them out. They thank you. They are happy that I take the time to listen to them.” We want to thank and honor Mr. Sparks and Mr. Perla for their service to the Sun Valley community. They along with their staff of drivers have been an important part of the effort get schools open again. Their efforts are not taken for granted.

Meet Maggie Parra-Garcia, Health Care Assistant!

Maggie Parra-Garcia has worked with the District for over 17 years. For the past two years she has been assigned to Polytechnic High School as a health care assistant for students with disabilities. For the past month she has been assigned as the site coordinator for the Covid Testing Site at Pacoima Middle School. Community of Schools Administrator John Rome has worked with Ms. Parra-Garcia at the testing site, and he noted that, "Maggie is incredibly responsive to the public and provides excellent support for families as they come through for testing."

Meet Camille Calloway, Psychiatric Social Worker at V.O.C.E.S

Ms. Calloway began working for Sun Valley High School in Fall 2017. When Sun Valley High was closed after spring 2020 , it gave rise to Valley Oaks Center for Enriched Studies in the fall of 2020. She has been honored to serve the V.O.C.E.S. community ever since.

Ms. Calloway says that there is nothing more rewarding than working with the students within the V.O.C.E.S. community. Being part of reducing the stigma of mental health and helping so many families get access to addressing their trauma has made her so proud to work within this community.

A fun fact about Camille is she is currently pregnant with her first child.

Meet Elvia Pelayo, S.A.A., from Byrd Middle School

Elvia Pelayo has been the School Administrative Assistant (SAA) in Byrd Middle School’s main office for the past 7 years. Ms. Pelayo grew up in the Sun Valley community of schools area, and attended Arminta Street Elementary, Sun Valley Junior High, and Polytechnic High School. Her employment with LAUSD started in 1996 at Arminta Street EL as a parent liaison, facilitating communication between teachers and parents of homeless students. She became a clerk, then an office tech at various schools, before promoting to SAA.

Ms. Pelayo is a big fan of Elvis Presley and of anything having to do with cowboys. She is even a proud member of the Cowboy Social Club! Ms. Pelayo has an adult daughter attending college and is herself going to school to get an AA degree. She has also overcome hardships. As a cancer survivor, she appreciates and values the truly important things in life. Ms. Pelayo says that she loves Byrd Middle School because it feels like home, and that the Byrd community is like a family that is truly supportive of each other. Byrd’s students, staff, and families are very fortunate to have Elvia Pelayo as part of their team!

Meet Monica Flores, from Arminta Elementary

Monica Flores, is an office technician at Arminta Elementary School. She has worked at Arminta for more than 20 years. Monica is a proud Arminta alumni. She has only be away from Arminta throughout her life between her years of middle school and high school; and got hired as a teacher assistant right after high school. Monica has been an Office Technician for about 4 years and loves what she does. One of the things she enjoys about her job is helping our students, parents, and families. Being part of the community brings her satisfaction in providing services, referrals, and resources to families. She is proud of what Arminta does for all our community. We Thank Monica for all her years of dedication to all of the Arminta Community of families and we Appreciate you for making a difference.

Fun things to know about Monica, When she is not working she enjoys spending quality time with her family, traveling and or baking.

Meet Karen Duran, Community Representative at Vena Elementary!

"I have been working at Vena ES as a community representative for 13 years. My favorite part of this position is working with the community, parents, and the students. I applied for this position after collaborating with a group of parents and establishing a strong family connection. It is always nice to come back after a whole year of being away and seeing all the nice, friendly faces daily again."

Happy Mother's Day!

Whether you celebrate it on May 9th or May 10th, the Sun Valley Community of Schools wishes all mothers and others who lovingly raise children a very Happy Mothers Day!

Spotlight on the 2021-22 School Calendar

with Seth Avery, Instructional Director

The LAUSD Board of Education considered calendar options that included extending the school year by 10 days. After seeking input from school communities, the Board decided to continue with a school calendar that is similar to the current one without adding new school days. Highlights include:

  • School begins for students on August 17, 2021
  • Schools will be closed the week of Thanksgiving- November 22-26
  • Winter recess is three weeks from Monday December 20-Friday January 7.
  • Students return from winter recess on Tuesday January 11, 2022. (Monday January 10 is a pupil free day.)
  • The last day of instruction will be Monday June 13, 2022


Instructional Specialist, Eidy Hemmati
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

The month of May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. During this month we recognize and celebrate the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States.

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Click on the link for the You Tube video reading of Dear Juno, a story about a Korean grandmother and grandson who experience some difficulties communicating through letters.
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Parent Educator Coach, Rosy Felix

The library is now open!!

Central Library and 37 branch libraries across the city are offering limited in-person services that may include:

  • quick browsing

  • computer access

  • pick up of holds and mobile printing orders checking out of materials inside libraries

  • Library To Go contactless pick up service


  • Sun Valley Branch Library

  • North Hollywood Amelia Earhart

  • Sunland-Tujunga Branch Library Regional Library

  • Mid-Valley Regional Library

  • Panorama City Branch Library

Central Library Hours

Monday - Friday • 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Regional and Branch Library Hours

Monday, Wednesday & Friday • 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday & Thursday • 12:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Rolling Reopening Locations & Hours Click here

FREE school resources:

  • Borrow books, e-books & audiobooks

  • Homework Help

  • Online Tutoring

Your students can access free resources by using their Los Angeles Public Library Card.

Please click here to view resources flyer for parents and students.

Teens Leading Change!

Have you ever wanted to make a change in the community? Here is your opportunity!

Contact your local branch library to join the fun and be the change you wish to see in the world!

These are some of the projects happening now!

Helping Hands for Folks Experiencing Homelessness - Washington Irving Branch Library

Please click on link for more information.

Zoom in with Story book

Coming up on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 10am. Theatre West in partnership with the LA Public Libraries is producing a live-stream event. To get details and how to RSVP to get the Zoom link, go to:

Please click on link
Focus on Parent Portal

Signing up for Parent Portal is more important than ever! Click on the links below to see how your child's school is doing.

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Community Building

Using Restorative Practices

with Restorative Justice Adviser, Charles Ford

7 Steps For Apologizing To Your Child

As parents, we are not immune from making mistakes when dealing with our children. How we respond is important to our children's development. Here are some tips to follow when apologizing to your child(ren).

1) Own your feelings and take responsibility for them.
It’s okay to be frustrated and it’s okay to be upset sometimes – we tell our kids this all the time. Just remember that how we respond to those feelings isn’t always okay. It’s not okay to yell or slam doors.

2) Connect the feeling to the action.
Explain in your apology why you felt the way you did. What happened that caused you to react that way? Just don’t use this as a chance to place blame (“I’m sorry I yelled, but I wouldn’t have hurt my foot if you had picked up your cars.”)

3) Apologize for the action.
Point out which action of yours was inappropriate and explain why. Your kids will learn that they can’t act that way, either.

4) Recognize your child's feelings.
Show them that you understand they were hurt or scared. If your action was sparked by something your kids did or didn’t do, make sure they understand that your affection is not based on them meeting your expectations.

5) Share how you plan to avoid this situation in the future.
This is a great opportunity to teach your child how to learn from our mistakes and improve ourselves. Be specific in what you aim to do to keep from blaming others or yelling, for example.

6) Ask for forgiveness.
This can be as simple as “can you forgive me?”

7) Focus on amends and solutions.
Offer to discuss and work out solutions to the issue with your child.

Put these steps together, and you have an apology that would go something like this:

I felt frustrated when you weren’t ready for school on time, but it was not okay for me to let out my anger by yelling at you. I’m so sorry I yelled. I’m sure that was scary and hurtful for you. I need to work harder to use my calm voice, so I put sticky notes around the house to remind me. Can you forgive me? I’d like to talk about how we can fix this problem and move forward.


Community of Schools Photo Highlights

Polytechnic High School Is Open for In Person Instruction!!

Visits from Superintendent, Austin Beutner

Local District Northeast Superintendent, Andres Chait

Administrator of The Sun Valley Community of Schools, John Rome.

Pacoima Middle School Is Open for In Person Instruction!!

Visits from Superintendent, Austin Beutner

Local District Northeast Superintendent, Andres Chait

Board President, Kelly Gonez

Sharp Elementary

Backpack give away!

Calendar/Upcoming Events

Join us Next Wednesday!
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Stay tuned coming soon June 16th, our Town Hall Meeting.
This Saturday, May 8th Free Covid-19 Vaccinations at Charles Maclay Middle School

Please call to make an appointment.

Resources for Parents of Students with Disabilities

"Unexceptional moms" Podcast

The Unexceptional Moms Podcast is a resource where the hosts invite listeners to a place where they "offer hope and encouragement for special needs parents". They invite listeners to join them as they "navigate the joys and challenges of raising children with disabilities". Consider taking some time to listen and to learn what others have to share about their experiences with raising children with disabilities.

Find it on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify

Resources and Links

Pacoima Family Resource Center
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Our Schools

Sun Valley Complex
Polytechnic Complex
Arleta Complex

Sun Valley Community of Schools Staff

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John Rome,

Community of Schools Administrator


John Rome- Community of Schools Administrator

Seth Avery- Lead Director

Our office is located at 8401 Arleta Avenue, Sun Valley CA 91352 on the campus of Byrd Middle School (at the Local District Northeast office.)

You can contact us by calling the Local District Northeast switchboard at (818) 252-5400, select Option 4.

You can email us at