Laguna Beach

El Morro students raise money for Australian wildlife rescue organization

El Morro students came together Sunday to sell lemonade and baked goods in support of WIRES (New South Wales Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service). WIRES has been caring for wildlife in Australia for more than 30 years and is the largest rescue organization in Australia, according to the group’s website.

The students raised more than $1,000 for their first Giving Program project.

El Morro students raise money

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

El Morro students raised over $1,000 for WIRES, a wildlife rescue organization in Australia, on Sunday

It’s estimated by scientists that the hundreds of wildfires have impacted hundreds of millions of animals, including the koala. Over the next two weeks, El Morro kids will be collecting money to donate to WIRES to help them with their rescue and rehabilitation efforts. Kids are being challenged to bring in change to donate and to come up with creative ways to earn money for the cause. 

For more information about WIRES or to make a donation, visit

LBHS student organizes shoe drive to help Soles4Souls fight global poverty

Jessie Rose, a junior at Laguna Beach High School, has launched a shoe drive to collect 250 pairs of new or gently used shoes for Soles4Soul, a nonprofit social enterprise that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. 

Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of new and used shoes in 127 countries, demonstrating that one person’s unwanted shoes can help provide meaningful opportunities for someone else in need in a developing country.

This is the second year Rose has organized the fundraiser; last year, she collected double her goal, around 500 pairs of shoes.

LBHS student

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Jessie Rose has launched a shoe drive to collect 250 pairs of shoes – let’s help her triple her goal!

Every day, children are prevented from attending school and adults are unable to work due to lack of shoes. Walking becomes unbearable. A new pair of shoes provides relief in many developing nations around the globe, in times of disaster, and helps bridge the economic gap in the U.S. and Canada.

There are two drop-off locations: 2925 Mountain View Dr (Top of the World) or 645 St. Ann’s Dr (behind the high school baseball field) – please leave shoes at the bottom of the steps. 

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LBHS surf team wins big at Scholastic Surf Series Event #3

By Coaches Alisa Cairns and Scott Finn

The LBHS surf team won big last Sunday at the Scholastic Surf Series (SSS) Event, held at Ninth Street in Huntington Beach. The day started with the team competition, with LBHS against El Toro. Everyone surfed well and LBHS took the overall win by a large margin, 60-18.

Some members of the team surfed in multiple divisions with great success. Everyone advanced to the individual competition. 

The surf was two to three feet with extreme tides, very high in the morning followed by a minus tide in the afternoon. The weather was nice and sunny, but as the day went on, the wind came up, which didn’t help the conditions. Despite the challenges, LBHS surfers did an outstanding job. 

LBHS surf group

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

(L-R) Cooper Laws, Tyson Lockhart, Bastian Evans, Christian Schenk, Scout Mitchell, Mia Moore, and Coach Alisa Cairns

When the day came to a close, the LBHS team boasted a number of finalists, and took several top positions. In both the Women’s Shortboard and Longboard, Scout Mitchell took her second SSS season win, while Mia Moore did well to take second place in Shortboard.

For the men, Tyson Lockhart led the way with a win in Bodyboard and came a very close second overall in the Men’s Division. Other top finalists included Christian Schenk, who took a third in Shortboard and also did double duty in Longboard, taking fourth place. Bastian Evans had several outstanding heats and took fifth place overall in Shortboard, his first SSS Final. 

LBHS surf twosome

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Scout Mitchell and Mia Moore

Meanwhile, Cooper Laws continued to be a standout all day in the Longboard, and finished the day runner-up for the second event in a row.

Other surfers to do well were Dane Cameron and Tate Warner, who just missed out in the rep. Gavin Pike also surfed well in a couple of heats and helped the team get the win.

The next Scholastic Surf Series event will be on February 9 at San Clemente Pier.

LBUSD Board of Education transitions to electronic agenda system

The Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education has transitioned to an electronic agenda management system, BoardDocs, to improve the governance process, ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and enhance collaboration.

Thursday’s regularly scheduled school board meeting on January 16 at 6 p.m. is the first with an agenda compiled using BoardDocs.

BoardDocs is a Cloud-based technology board management solution that provides the tools and resources needed to manage a diverse committee structure with features that improve collaboration and incite better decision-making. 

BoardDocs uses a structured, collaborative workflow that is specifically designed to meet the unique needs and legal requirements of public school boards, county commissions, municipal governments, and a wide variety of other types of governing bodies.

Additionally, through the MetaSearch feature, members of the governing body will also have access to best practices from other organizations that are using the system, allowing them to gain important knowledge about initiatives other governing bodies have considered and implemented.

By accessing BoardDocs, interested district constituents can view meeting agendas and associated supporting documents, as well as print the information. All documents associated with the meeting are automatically archived and can be accessed by meeting date or by using the comprehensive search feature. 

The new board management features can be accessed via the district website at

LBHS girls water polo teams win big

This past weekend the current CIF-SS D1 Champion LBHS girls water polo varsity team, as well as the JV team, finished up successful water polo tournaments. 

On Thursday, the Laguna JV team won two games in the Brahmas Varsity Tournament against the Canyon HS varsity team, 12-5, and the Palos Verdes HS varsity team, 11-9. Meanwhile up in Goleta, the Laguna varsity team won its first game in the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions against Wilson HS from Long Beach 16-2. 

On Friday, the varsity team had another win, this time 12-3 against Carlsbad HS. On Saturday, the Laguna JV team won its semifinal game against the La Jolla HS varsity team, 7-4, while the Laguna varsity team battled Foothill HS from Tustin in their semifinal and came away with a 9-8 victory. 

LBHS girls JV

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

LBHS JV team – Back Row (L-R): Cleo Washer, Isabel Foley, Marie Audebert, Lauren Smith, Tasha Denny, London Boyd, Carly Rohrer, Lauren Short, Jordan Schneider, Ryley McDennon, and Coach Bridgette Alvarez; Front Row (L-R): Emily Shabunov, Nicole Brown, Myha Pinto, Mac Jenal, Lexi Parness, and Eleanor Ramsey

Later in the day, the JV team had a close game in the Brahmas final, losing 12-13 to take second place against the CIF-SS D1 Santiago HS varsity team from Corona. The Laguna varsity team’s final was against Surf League rival Newport Harbor HS. The Laguna girls took first place with a 8-3 win. Juniors Molly Renner (MVP) and Emma Lineback were selected for the All-Tournament Team.

“I’m very happy for both of our groups and the way they performed this past weekend,” said Head Coach Ethan Damato. “It’s truly a by-product of the hard work and commitment put in by all the athletes in our program.”

LBHS girls Varsity

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

LBHS varsity team – Back Row (L-R): Coach Nolan McConnell, Rachael Carver, Morgan Van Alphen, Mikayla Lopez, Ava Houlahan, Grace Houlahan, Lela McCarroll, Imani Clemons, Ella Baumgarten, Nicole Struss, Coach Ethan Damato, and Coach Erich Fischer; Front Row (L-R): Jessie Rose, Molly Renner (MVP), Emma Lineback (All-Tournament Team), Charlotte Riches, Hannah Carver, Skyler Kidd, Haley Parness, Emma Singer, Kenedy Corlett, and Lauren Schneider

This was the Breakers’ 16th “Big 3” in-season tournament title in 19 attempts since 2014. Last month the team won the Bill Barnett Holiday Cup for the seventh straight year, and later this month they will defend their title at the Irvine Southern California Championships.

School Board meeting agenda for Thursday includes upping legal budget to $100K

The agenda for Thursday’s (January 16) regular LBUSD Board meeting has been posted online here. Please note that LBUSD has transitioned to an electronic agenda system called BoardDocs.

Open session will begin at 6 p.m. at the District office, at 550 Blumont St, with closed session occurring beforehand at 5 p.m. Staff will provide an informational report to the Board on the 2020-21 LBUSD Comprehensive District and School Safety Plan. The Board will also conduct a second reading and consider the approval of several Board policies and bylaws.

Also on the agenda, on the consent calendar, is an amendment to increase the agreement with Rutan & Tucker by $50,000 for a total of $100,000. The law firm is representing four board members and the Superintendent in a lawsuit filed by board member Dee Perry.

For past agendas, minutes, and videos using the previous navigation menu, visit

Thurston teacher awarded Cox Communications “Innovation in Education” grant

Cox Communications has awarded $50,000 in “Innovation in Education” grants to 20 schools throughout its Orange County service area to fund innovative programs from students in grades K-12.

LBUSD’s Michelle Martinez, a teacher at Thurston Middle School, was among the recognized recipients for her “Forensics at Ford’s Theatre-#InnovationOC” application. 

The annual grant program invited applications from educators at eligible schools for projects that provide creative, technology-based curriculum and enhance the traditional classroom experience by supporting one of the following areas:

--Skills Based Learning

--STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, and Mathematics)

--Digital Literacy

--Cyber Citizenship

Cox Communications Martinez

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Michelle Martinez and Harbor Patrol Sgt Larry Packard with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

“The Innovation in Education program is part of the investment commitment Cox has had to education since our founding.  The program provides us the opportunity to bring innovative technology and skills development into many classrooms throughout Orange County,” said Sam Attisha, Senior Vice President and Region Manager for Cox Communications. 

“These grants allow students to be introduced to new technology, innovative teachings, and critical thinking skills which better prepare them for careers of the future.”

Community leaders from throughout Orange County review applications, provide scores, and reach a consensus on the applications that will receive funding. 

“Every year, Orange County Business Council releases our Workforce Indicators Report, and every year, the report shows Orange County outperforming the state of California in higher high school graduation rates, UC/CSU Eligibility rates, Advanced Placement scores, SAT scores, and college going rates,” said Jesse Ben-Ron, Director, Workforce and Economic Development for Orange County Business Council. 

“The commitment and passion of Orange County’s education professionals is a major reason for this, but it is also because of private sector leaders such as Cox, who make that extra investment that allow our classrooms to flourish. By funding STEAM programs throughout our K-12 system, Cox is giving Orange County the extra edge it needs to have a world class workforce.”

The 2020 Innovation in Education grant recipients are:

Laguna Beach Unified School District:

--Michelle Martinez, Thurston Middle School, “Forensics at Ford’s Theatre-#InnovationOC”

Capistrano Unified School District: 

--Avery Arman, San Juan Hills High School, “Ipad Art Lab: Increasing Digital Literacy for Our Future Designers”

 Irvine Unified School District: 

--Kaitlynn Cooper, Cypress Village Elementary, “Osmo For the Classroom”

--Kelley Hedstrom, Loma Ridge Elementary, “Podcasts in the Classroom InnovationOC”

--Gina Bowlen, Turtle Rock Elementary, “Help Build a Social-Emotional Learning Library”

--Frances Hernandez, Portola Springs Elementary, “InnovationOC-Give Our Students a Voice Through Technology”

Karen Sposato, Cadence Park School, “Let’s Jam!”

Ruthy Fong Loi, Cadence Park School, “InnovationOC-Fostering Big Imaginations, One Cubelet at a Time”

--Kathie Wilhelm, Santiago Hills Elementary School, “Creating Thinkers and Tinkerers”

--Korinne Kornmann, Loma Ridge Elementary, “First Grade Wants to See in 3D!”

Kathryn Scholl, Brywood Elementary School, “InnovationOC Jump Into a Good Book”

--Lorelei Fabro, Woodbury Elementary, “InnovationOC-Lights, Cmaera, Action! Empowering Students with Video Production”

Saddleback Valley Unified School District:

--Darin Petzold, Serrano Intermediate School, “Exploring The World Through Data Acquisition!”

--Sean Fletcher, Serrano Intermediate School, “Making Waves and Electricity in the Classroom”

--Mrs. Healy, Foothill Ranch Elementary, “Easy Access to Computer Programming on Raspberry Pi”

--Tammy Strand, Melinda Heights Elementary, School “Rolling into InnovationOC”

Tustin Unified School District:

--Erin D’Arcy, Hicks Canyon Elementary School, “Digital Storytelling for Newcomers!”

--Mr. Cooper, Foothill High School, “Workshop Tools”

--Laura Trudeau, Clarence Lobo Elementary School, “InnovationOC for STEAM”

--Liz Holcomb, Heritage STEAM Magnet School, “InnovationOC Growing as Coders”

Cox Communications is committed to creating meaningful moments of human connection through broadband applications and services. The largest private telecom company in America, Cox proudly serves six million homes and businesses across 18 states

For more information, visit

Laguna Beach High School boys soccer hosts Clothes for the Cause fundraiser on Sunday

On Sunday, Jan 12, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., the community is asked to participate in the Clothes for the Cause clothing and textile drive hosted by the Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) boys soccer team. 

Accepted items are: clothing, new and used; shoes, paired only; towels, stuffed animals, hats, drapes, purses, and belts. All items must be dry and clean.

Laguna Beach soccer

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

LBHS boys soccer team

The team cannot accept: glass, breakables, electronics, bedding, pet beds, bed pillows, carpeting, uniforms, hotel linens, fabric scraps and samples, or items previously for sale at a thrift store.

Bags of clothes can be driven by the soccer field on the date and time mentioned above, and the boys will unload the donations.

Contact Kim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

LBHS is located at 625 Park Ave.

LBUSD places on College Board’s 10th Annual AP® District Honor Roll

Laguna Beach Unified School District is one of 250 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 10th Annual AP® District Honor Roll. To be included on the 10th Annual Honor Roll, LBUSD had to increase the number of students participating in AP since 2017 while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. 

LBUSD places outside

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LBUSD honored with placement on 10th Annual AP® District Honor Roll

“For years, our focus on relationships has included concerted efforts to work collaboratively district-wide to ensure that our instructional practices, K-12, are aligned so that students receive the instructional foundation they need to succeed in high school and beyond,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jason Viloria. “I am proud to see an increase in student participation as a result of the ongoing efforts of staff to identify and support students who have not traditionally accessed AP courses,” he concluded. 

In 2019, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admissions process. Inclusion in the 10th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2017 to 2019, looking across 38 AP exams, including world language and culture. The following criteria were used: 

Districts must: 

--Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;

--Increase or maintain the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students taking exams; increase or maintain the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students scoring 3+ on at least one AP Exam;

--Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2018 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2016 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 precent of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.

The complete 10th Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found here.

LBUSD announces Employees of the Year, moves forward with board policy and bylaw changes

LBUSD has announced 2019-2020 Laguna Beach Unified School District Employees of the Year. 

Teacher of the Year goes to Tamara Wong, a third-grade Elementary teacher at El Morro. The Classified Employee of the Year is Durinda Klein from LBHS. Category Winners include: Liz Drudy, Child Nutrition; Gary Ferman, Maintenance & Operations; Megan Weinhart, Support Services & Security; and Robin Lux, Paraeducator & Instructional Assistance. 

LBUSD announces group

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Tamara Wong (middle) is the 2019-2020 LBUSD Teacher of the Year 

On November 25, the Board of Education held a special Board Policy Workshop to review and discuss board policies and bylaws that were brought forward to the Board for a first reading at the December 17, meeting with recommendations to move forward for addition, deletion, or revision.

At the December 17 meeting, the board took action to move forward with a second reading on the following policies (BP) and bylaws (BB): BP 1312.1 – 

Complaints Concerning Employees, BP 3516 – Emergencies and Disaster Preparedness, BP 354 0 – Transportation, BP 5131.2 – Bullying, BP 5142 – Safety, BP 6142.1 – Comprehensive Health Instruction, BP 6142.2 – World Language Instruction, BP 6163.1 – Library Media Centers, BP 6174 – Education for English Learners, BP 6179 – Supplemental Instruction, BB 9270 – Conflict of Interest, BB 9320 – Meetings and Notices, BB 9321 – Closed Session, BB 9321.1 – Closed Session Action and Reports, and BB 9322 – Agenda/Meeting Materials.

For more information on all action items, visit The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan 16 at 6 p.m.

LBUSD records School Board Meetings and makes them available to the public within 24 hours. Visit to watch.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: for questions about advertising


Email: with news releases, letters, etc.


© 2020 Stu News Laguna - All Rights Reserved.