The Weekly Roar
August 28, 2021
Caution: Learning Zone Ahead!
As we completed our first full week, a few topics have emerged to share with you.
Fostering Positive Social Skills
Although we are back in school in a more “normal” setting, the stress of the pandemic is still pervasive. Many of our students are exhibiting heightened anxiety and limited coping strategies due to the collective trauma we have all experienced.
More than other years, children are exhibiting reactive behaviors, such as hitting, crying, and blaming because they haven't had the authentic experiences of navigating their social world during the pandemic. For example, in almost two years our children have not been able to practice in a school setting skills such as taking turns, sharing a ball, getting help from an adult, losing/winning a game gracefully, sharing a space, and so on. Last year at this time, most children had more adult attention, fewer peer interactions, and immediate access to their wants at any time. Now that they are back in school, we are working on building their resilience and coping strategies. This learning will take time.
We ask you to be patient with us, as we get to know your children and guide them to make healthy social choices. We ask you to be patient with your child’s classmates, as we teach them these same social skills. We ask you to be patient with yourselves, knowing that this process will take time and repetition. Yes, we are back in school, and it feels really good; but we are still in a pandemic. Our families and staff are still experiencing great loss and stress. We all need to assume goodwill and patiently take one step at a time.
Communication between students, parents, and teachers is extremely important. Often children come home and report an issue that the teacher is unaware of. Please remind your children to seek support and help from the adults at school. On that note, we follow the following chain of communication. Parents should always reach out to the teacher before contacting the principal. The main reason for this is because your child's teacher knows your child and the dynamics of the classroom. The principal does not have the lens that your child's teacher does. If you'd like to email the teacher, their email is firstname.lastname@example.org (Example: email@example.com). You can also call the office and leave a message for the teacher at 310-842-4334.
Back to School Night
Back to School Night is one of the most important nights for you to attend for your child. Teachers have worked around the clock to provide you with every detail about the classroom, curriculum, and daily routines. Back to School Night is virtual and available through Zoom. Please review the flyer below.
In other news, here are some reminders:
- Don't forget to check your child's backpack daily. Your child's backpack is a key way that teachers communicate with you.
- Please pack a water bottle everyday. The students cannot use the faucets.
- Free Breakfast is available beginning at 8:00. We close the doors at 8:30 sharp.
- Lunch Time is Fun Time and it's taking the whole village to remind your children to sit at least an arm's length apart. Please help us with these reminders.
- The front entrance is for students arriving 8:00-8:30 only.
Have a great week!
Dr. Becky Godbey
New Arrival and Dismissal Procedures
Arrival Procedures- Begins Monday, August 30
There are no changes in TK/K.
The Cone Crew (see below) officially begins.
1st-5th will no longer have assigned gates based on their classroom and may enter through Gate 1 or Gate 2.
Gate 3 is closed.
When do the Bells Ring?
1st Bell 8:35- All gates open and students walk to their lines.
2nd Bell 8:42- Teachers pick up students and walk them to class.
3rd Bell 8:45- Tardy Bell. Gates close and instruction begins.
*Students are marked tardy at 8:46*
Dismissal Procedures- Begins Monday, August 30
Dismissal Key Changes
Beginning at 3:10, parents will be allowed to walk onto campus (in a roped off area) to make eye contact and pick up their child.
All 1st-5th Foot Pick Up students will exit out of Gate 2.
All Walkers will exit out of Gate 3.
1st-5th will no longer have assigned gates based on their classroom.
There are no changes in TK/K.
Foot Pick Up- Any parent physically picking up their child is considered Foot Pick Up. Exit Gate 2.
Afterschool Program- STAR or OCD.
Walkers- Any student 2nd-5th grade walking to a meeting place or home. Exit Gate 3
In the afternoons, 1st-5th parents will be allowed on campus in a roped off area near the fence on the blacktop. Parents will enter through Gate 1, find their child, and exit through Gate 2. This means that all 1st-5th will exit out of Gate 2. Think of it as a walking “drive-thru”. We received special permission from the district office to implement this system. Please walk through the roped area quickly. We cannot have lingering, chatting with other parents, or talking with teachers on the black top area. We appreciate your cooperation with helping this new system run smoothly.
All students will be on the blacktop in front of the parent roped off area so that parents can see their children.
Walkers may walk home with parent permission at their dismissal time. They exit Gate 3.
T/K-1st grade students cannot be Walkers unless they are picked up by an older sibling.
Before and After School Care at La Ballona
Historically, our main two Before & After School programs are provided by STAR and OCD. For over twenty years, the STAR program has offered FREE child care to our families through a grant program because we are a Title I school. Children in STAR must attend three hours daily after school. STAR offers child care, homework support, and enrichment. In the past, over 100 children attended STAR daily. Since the pandemic however, STAR had to pivot like the rest of us. Last year, they provided morning supervision during Full Distance Learning to just over 40 families that were especially vulnerable. This year, STAR is back to its normal structure, but has limited capacity due to Covid related issues including distancing regulations and staffing. There is a waitlist to get into the program. Currently, the children in STAR are the same children that attended last year.
In the past, STAR also offered fee-based enrichment through the STAR Nova program. Programs such as Yoga and Culinary Arts were very popular. The STAR Nova program plans to restart in January. If you would like more information, please email Cynthia Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office of Child Development (OCD) offers Before and After School Care at La Ballona as well. If you've heard of KIK and SACC, these are the programs offered through OCD. Although fee-based, OCD does work with each family to try to subsidize their needs. Like STAR, OCD too had to pivot during the pandemic. Since the summer of 2020, OCD has been running their programs with very strict Covid protocols and limited capacity. OCD is aware that many families need care, and is working to grow their program. They too have struggled with the side effects of this pandemic including staffing shortages and strict protocols that limit the number of families that can be enrolled. If you need more information about OCD, check their website or call 310-842-4230.
Throughout the years at La Ballona, there have been other programs that offered after school enrichment including Folklorico and Chess Tutors. The PTA is working diligently on bringing some of these programs back to our school. They are not necessarily "child care", but do provide families with more opportunity. We are hoping to launch some programs in September. Special shout out to the parents working behind the scene to make this happen!
Finally, I have been asked about the CCARP, Culver City Afterschool Recreation Program which is offered at the other elementary schools in Culver City. Through some research, I learned that CCARP used to be an option here at La Ballona, but was ended due to the school already having two robust programs that were already struggling with space issues. We are in the process of determining if we can bring CCARP back to La Ballona in the future.
I am truly sorry that this has been a struggle for many families this year. This pandemic has taught us all that child care is a huge issue in our society, and that working families need more help. I'm hoping that we can be part of the solution, finding more support for our students and families.
Backpacks for Kids Feeds Families in Need
Culver City Unified School District (CCUSD) believes that no child in our community should go hungry or have food insecurities, especially on weekends when students don’t have access to school-sponsored breakfast and lunch. The Culver City Council PTA, in conjunction with CCUSD, provides students in need with a backpack filled with non-perishable food and snacks each week to ensure that every child can eat on the weekends.
There is no cost to participate and enrollment is 100% confidential. Each week, filled backpacks will be available in the school’s main office. You or your child, simply pick up the backpack and take it home. Backpacks will not be returned each week; your student will receive a new backpack each week. Enrollment is ongoing so any child in need can sign up for the program at any time throughout the school year.
If you would like your student to receive a weekly backpack, sign up here or complete a form in your school office.
Support during Covid-related Quarantine
Meet Arts & Innovation Teacher, Ms. Kimberly Waite!
Hello La Ballona Families,
I am excited to be the new full-time Art and Innovation Lab Teacher. I am looking forward to an exciting year of creating, designing, innovating, and building with your students.
I have taught and lived abroad, and I am inspired by the global community at La Ballona. I have taught English as a Second Language in Seoul, South Korea, professional development for early childhood educators in Guyana, kindergarten in South Los Angeles, and K-12 educational technology and innovation in Compton. I have a Masters of Education from UCLA, and I am currently working towards a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education.
My passions are environmental education and social studies education, and I believe that art and STEM are powerful tools that can help students innovate civic oriented solutions for local and global issues. Social justice, critical pedagogy, and interdisciplinary learning anchor my professional practice.
I look forward to a great year of art and innovation, as we design solutions for a more just and sustainable world.
Look What's Happening at La Ballona. Save the Dates!
- Monday, August 30: Room Parent Informational Meeting, 7pm (Zoom)
- Wednesday, September 1: Virtual Back to School Night (Zoom)
- Monday, September 6: Labor Day Holiday, No School
- Wednesday, September 15: Hispanic Heritage Month Begins
- Wednesday, September 16: Yom Kippur. School Holiday.
- Monday, September 20: Outdoor Book Fair Begins
- Thursday, September 30 & Friday, October 1: Targeted Family Conferences
HOW DO WE STAY CONNECTED?
Please make sure that La Ballona has your most up to date contact information including emails, phone number, and mailing address so we can stay connected!
Regular School Communication:
The Weekly Roar: a weekly email newsletter with upcoming information for families
La Ballona Websites: posts news and a lot of the same info that goes in the Weekly Roar for all to access.
La Ballona Social Media: A page for current families with information about La Ballona.
- Our facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laballonaelementary
- Twitter https://twitter.com/LaBallona
- Instagram https://www.instagram.com/laballonaelementaryschool/
School Messenger Emails & Robocalls: a system for email and phone blasts for major event reminders
Join the PTA!
School has now started and so does our PTA membership drive! Joining the PTA is a great way to get involved and show your support for La Ballona students. Membership dues are just $8 per person and all dues-paying members can vote at PTA meetings, which are held the first Thursday of each month. Member dues are used for programs, resources, and activities that benefit our students. Click below on the link to pay your membership today, thank you so much for your support
Sign up with TOTEM: https://jointotem.com/ca/culver-city/la-ballona-elem/join/register
Sign up with Squareup: https://la-ballona-elementary-pta.square.site/s/shop
FIRST PTA MEETING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR, Sept. 2
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO RUN OUR DIFFERENT EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. CAN YOU HELP?
English - https://forms.gle/SijPWkE9CRuBYyKw8
español - https://forms.gle/T2wzK8TrP22VXaZ98
We are still navigating the unknown and appreciate everyone's patience as we learn the ever-changing pandemic protocols and rebuild our on-campus programs. One thing we're sure of is that we're looking forward to seeing more smiling faces this year.