Laguna’s outreach parent mentors make connections

Every Age, Every Stage is a family friendly outreach program designed for parents of children identified eligible for Special Education. The program is committed to providing parents with the information they need at every age and every stage to help them make well-informed decisions on behalf of their child. The components of the program include providing parents with one-to-one and small group meetings, as well as parent education opportunities.

These programs provide opportunities for parents to connect with parents of children who are similar in age and who share similar concerns.

Irene White, LBUSD Special Education-Student Services Director, shares the benefits of this resource program, “As the Director of Special Education, I believe that good communication between parents and district staff is essential in building trusting relationships. It must be maintained as a top priority. Our Parent Mentors are trained parent volunteers who provide parent-to-parent support sanctioned by the District. This support can be initiated at any time and can be limited to only one conversation or can be support that is provided on an ongoing basis.”

Goals of the Parent Mentoring Program include:

Support parents in understanding the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) process

Listen to program concerns

Dissemination of community resources and encouraging parent involvement in parent education opportunities provided by LBUSD

Assist parents with program planning

Encourage parent involvement in their child’s program

Promote the understanding of the role and function of special education staff and how to access services

Parent Mentor Lisa Vanderbeek shares her experience, “Being a parent mentor for Laguna Beach Unified School District allows me to connect with other families of children with ADD/ADHD and autism. While offering support, I'm able to ease some of the fear and frustration parents experience when navigating their child's educational environment, both in the classroom and at home. At some point, each of us needs help, and it's comforting for parents to know that help is available, especially at the District level.”

Parent Mentor Kelly Boyd continues, "It's a pleasure to serve the Laguna Beach Unified School District Special Education Department as a volunteer Parent Mentor coach. Serving unique needs families in the community is an opportunity to provide a lifeline to those parents struggling with a child's diagnosis. It's a frightening time for many families. Many parents may want to brush the issue under the carpet or ignore it completely, especially in the high-pressure, overachieving, academic, and athletic environment that we live in today. If I can help just one family fight the unique needs diagnosis stigma and get the right information to help a child be successful in elementary school and beyond, I've done my job as a parent mentor."

Amy Neufeld, who also volunteers as a Parent Mentor, remarks, "Giving another family the support they need as they navigate through the unknown world of special education is incredibly rewarding. Aside from being a support to families of children with unique needs, parent mentors are able to get a pulse on what needs and wants are out in the special needs community. We relay this information to the District and then in turn the District is able to provide the necessary support. Through this program we are able to make a great system greater. I am honored and proud to be a part of it."

White concludes, “Our program is about providing parents with parent mentors who are compassionate and understanding. It’s about support and friendship during our shared journey.”


Annual Colonial Days return to El Morro Elementary on Monday and Tuesday – for the 20th year

If you see groups of Pilgrims and Indians waiting for the school bus next Monday and Tuesday, you won’t be hallucinating – Colonial Days are back for the 20th year at El Morro Elementary School and students are encouraged to attend school those days dressed as characters from the first Thanksgiving.

“Colonial Days are an opportunity to give El Morro’s students a hands-on, out of the box and classroom experience that brings the ideas of the first Thanksgiving and that time period to life,” Explains Juliana Gambrel, Colonial Days’ chairperson.

New this year is a Colonial Days theme “Living off the Land.” A new storytelling time will precede each class’ visit to Colonial Days. The storytime will be an opportunity for students to learn about Colonial times and will get them thinking about the era before they enter the Colonial and Indian villages.

Activities such as milking a cow, shearing sheep’s woolen fleece to spin into yarn, and shooting turkeys with bow and arrow will be introduced at lunch time to engage the students and carry on the theme.

Sponsored by the school’s PTA and created by hundreds of hours of work by dedicated parent volunteers, Colonial Days lets kids try many crafts of the time period including candle-making, sewing, cross-stitching, knitting and weaving, leatherwork, silhouettes and silversmithing.  Seasonal goodies are provided by parents and include corn bread and apple cider. An American Indian village is created, complete with artifacts that show how life was for our nation’s original inhabitants.

Colonial Days runs Monday, Nov 22 and Tuesday, Nov 23 at El Morro Elementary School.

CIF Playoffs update: Water Polo reaches Championship Round, Volleyball falls to Marymount; Tennis individuals today

Boys Water Polo advanced to the Division 3 Championship Game with a hard-fought 5-2 win over Mira Costa Wednesday. (See Page One for story.)

The Championships will be at William Woolett Aquatic Center in Irvine on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Girls Volleyball lost to top-seeded Marymount Tuesday night in Dugger Gym ending its CIF Playoff hopes for 2010. Down two-games-to-one, Marymount dug deeper than the Breakers and took the last two games, 25-16 and 15-10. The first three games were tight wit the Breakers winning games one and three.

Chanel Stewart led Laguna (21-9) with 19 kills while Allison Palmer was credited with 42 assists. Marina Paul led LBHS with 14 digs.

LBHS will play Brea-Olinda in a semifinal match tonight at 7 p.m. in the LBHS Dugger Gym.

Boys Volleyball Championships are at Cerritos College Saturday at 5 p.m.

Girls Tennis Individual and Doubles first round play is Friday with the singles round at University beginning at 9 a.m. and the doubles getting underway at noon at Balboa Bay Club.

Because they finished one-two in the OCL League finals, Taylor Nederlander and Claire Jaeger will represent LBHS in singles with the doubles teams of Haley Moss/Bianca Sganga and Aislin Elkin/Kate McMahon.

CIF Playoffs update: Water Polo, Volleyball teams advance; Tennis falls in Round One

The Girls Volleyball got Vista Murrieta in Dugger Gym Friday night in a quarterfinal contest, 25-18, 16-25, 25-18, 25-6.

Chanel Stewart had a game-high 16 kills while Caroline Holte delivered 14. Lauren Capobianco had 20 digs for Laguna and Allison Palmer managed to put together 48 assists and 17 digs.

LBHS will play Brea-Olinda in a semifinal match tonight at 7 p.m. in the LBHS Dugger Gym.

Boys Volleyball Championships are at Cerritos College Saturday at 5 p.m.

Boys Water Polo advanced with an easy win over Aliso Niguel, 14-4 Friday night. Erik Henrikson had a mighty 16 saves and Tyler Mancuso led the team with five goals. Nolan McConnell had four goals and Spencer Dodson added a pair. Camron Hauer, Jack Clark and Nicky Brunner rounded out the scoring with a goal apiece.

The Breakers will meet ever-tough Mira Costa in the semi-finals Wednesday at 3:30 at William Woolett Aquatic Center in Irvine.

The Championships will be at Woolett on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Girls Tennis Individual and Doubles first round play is Friday with the singles round at University beginning at 9 a.m. and the doubles getting underway at noon at Balboa Bay Club.

Because they finished one-two in the OCL League finals, Taylor Nederlander and Claire Jaeger will represent LBHS in singles with the doubles teams of Haley Moss/Bianca Sganga and Aislin Elkin/Kate McMahon.

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