The Messenger

Newsletter for the Monroe Community of Schools

January 22, 2021

Volume 1 • Number 8

Hope for the New Year

As we begin 2021 with new hopes for an end to the pandemic that has completely transformed our community and inflicted suffering on many families, I would like to share with you a hopeful story about a new beginning and righting a wrong.

Linda Hanzlik was a student at James Monroe High School in mid-1960s. Soon after turning 18, in the middle of her senior year, Linda and her boyfriend got married. When she returned to school for what should have been the happiest time of her life, Linda soon learned that not everybody shared in her joy. She ended up graduating in the Spring of 1966, but received a certificate of completion rather than a diploma.

Last year, Linda's daughter reached out to Monroe's Principal, Mr. Mathew Diamond, and asked if he could provide her mother with the one thing she has desired all these years: a diploma from James Monroe High School. After verifying her attendance and fulfillment of requirements, Mr. Diamond proudly produced a diploma and the school staff mailed it to her.

"I called her when she opened the package and it was as though she was brought back to 1966," Linda's daughter wrote to the Monroe staff. "There were tears remembering but also tears of gratitude for how you all came through and helped rewrite history. Thank you for your help - she is so proud."

Safe Steps to Safe Schools

Testing is a Safe Step Back to School

We are doing everything we can to get students back to school safely. There are several Safe Steps we can all take to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and get our students back to class. An important step is COVID-19 testing, which helps us locate where the virus is in our community so we can contain it better.

To schedule a test for a student, staff member, or the household members of students and staff, visit Parents will be directed to the Parent Portal to complete the appointment process for their children. If you need any help with the Parent Portal, please contact your school or our Monroe Community of Schools Assistant, Ms. Sue DeLeo, at (818) 672-4521.

This video shows what happens when you take the District's COVID-19 test.

Community Resources

Free Tax Preparation

The 2020 tax season is upon us and there are numerous organizations that can help you prepare your tax returns for free. Visit Tax Prep L.A. to see if you qualify and to find out how to file.

Virtual Art Contest for Students

Helping Children Through Art

Click here or on the picture below to read the article, "Six Ways to Help Kids Express Their Feelings About the Coronavirus Pandemic Through Art."

Creating Positive Culture

Dr. Alana Burton

Systems of Support Advisor

Monroe Community of Schools

Creating Positive Culture website

How to Have Difficult Conversations

When we are working to create a positive community and culture at home or at work, sometimes we need to be brave and have difficult conversations. Using the restorative circle core guidelines, we can set mutually shared norms.

Watch this 5-minute video from motivational speaker, Mel Robbins, to learn how to prepare for and lead tough conversations:

Mel Robbins: How to have difficult conversations

  1. Take Responsibility - For every event, there is a cause and effect. In order to take responsibility for our role in the event, we need to reflect on our actions, tone, and the impact we had. Someone was most likely offended, felt disrespected, assumed something without clarifying, was overwhelmed, or did not agree with how something was handled. What did you do or not do? How could you have handled it differently?
  2. Plan Outcome - Do you want to make the relationship stronger or better? Do you want to repair something? Think about your intention for having this conversation and plan it out. If you want positive results, you need to try your best to separate any negative emotions from your purpose.
  3. Listen and Validate - This part can be difficult, because it is not always easy to hear what others think about you, but it is important to actively listen to other people’s perspective. When we validate them, we are showing that we care about their opinion, whether or not we agree 100%.
  4. Restate Outcome - Restate your intention. When you have the difficult conversation, celebrate! Celebrate your willingness to be open, to listen and speak with your heart, and to grow!

Positive Culture Zoom Hangouts

Early Education

Our Early Education Center programs are back in full swing. Children are learning through play in online lessons and experiences. It’s not too late to enroll your preschool child in one of our programs. Early Education Centers (EECs) and elementary schools with Expanded Transitional Kindergarten (ETK) and CA State Preschool Programs (CSPP) are accepting enrollment applications. Call our office for more information.

  • To support your child’s reading readiness and enjoyment of good books, check out the great video stories and other free video tutorials at KidLit at Home (part of KitLitTV) Access KidLit at Home. Topics include fun read-alouds, drawing, singalongs, crafting, STEM topics, and videos in Spanish.
  • Be sure to check out the QSLA (Quality Start Los Angeles) January Family Activity Calendar filled with a variety of fun crafts and virtual activities for the whole family. Click the links to enjoy all the fun resources.
  • Especially during these stressful times, take time to take care of yourselves and your families, both physically and mentally. The mindfulness and meditation app Headspace (en Español) is currently available for free to LA County residents. It is the perfect way to pause for just a few minutes to breathe and relax. Be sure to include your child and enjoy!

And finally, some ideas to put into practice. Your child will thank you!
  • Boredom is the gateway to creativity. Allow your child to get bored. Wait it out. Creativity is on the other side if they believe that you will not entertain them.
  • Engage. Look for appropriate times to engage with your child. Read out loud together, even if they can read to themselves. Turn on the music and dance. Enter their world.
  • Spend as much time as possible outdoors, slow down, and enjoy your time together.

The Hill We Climb

Millions of us were inspired by the powerful words and presence of Los Angeles native Amanda Gorman at the Presidential Inauguration ceremony on January 20th. Her message of light, hope, and renewal reminds us that we must never stop working together to build a more perfect union.

The hill we climb

If only we dare

It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit,

it's the past we step into

and how we repair it

Serving Our Community

Los Angeles Unified continues to provide nutritious meals to students and community members who need them. Visit our Monroe Community of Schools Grab & Go site, which is located at Sepulveda Middle School. Meals are served Monday-Friday, from 7:00 AM until 10:00 AM. On Fridays, we include meals for the weekend.