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Laguna Beach

Tonight’s School Board meeting will include special study session at LBHS 

The agenda for tonight’s (Tuesday, Oct 22) regular LBUD Board of Education meeting has been posted online here. 

The Board will participate in a special study session at 5 p.m. at Laguna Beach High School, Room 65. The session will focus on the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards at LBHS and will include a hands-on lesson demonstration. The study session will not be recorded and posted.

Tonight's School palms

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Tonight’s meeting with include a special study session at LBHS 

The regular open session will begin at 6 p.m. Staff will provide informational reports on the California Dashboard local indicators and a monthly budget update to include a special report of post-employment benefits. Action items include a resolution in support of dyslexia awareness month. The regular open session will be recorded and posted within 24 hours here.

LBUMC presents Halloween-themed Messy Church on Sunday

Laguna Beach United Methodist Church presents Messy Church with a Halloween theme on Sunday, Oct 20 between 4 and 6 p.m. 

All are welcome to the joyful event that always offers a meal as well as opportunities for people of all ages to interact, learn, and have fun. Messy Church provides a spiritual community experience for those who are not comfortable at a typical church service.

LBUMC presents pumpkin

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LBUMC hosts a festive Halloween Messy Church 

“Activities will be based on the premise of the Day of the Dead,” says Barbara Crowley, Messy Church leader at LBUMC. “Day of the Dead sounds scary, but it isn’t. Graveyards are not haunted places, but locations filled with memories. We will celebrate life now and in the past because life is sweet.” 

RSVPs are welcome, but not required. A $5 donation toward the meal is suggested. 

For additional information, visit or contact Patricia Reyes, family ministries coordinator at LBUMC, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 499-3088.

 LBUMC is located at 21632 Wesley Dr, up the street from the Gelson’s shopping center. LBUMC is a Reconciling Congregation.

LBHS Theatre presents Our Town, welcomes back special guest Mark Dressler

Laguna Beach High School Theatre invites audiences to a performance of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town at the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre beginning tonight, Friday, Oct 25 at 7 p.m. Performances will continue on October 26, November 1 and 2 at 7 p.m., and October 27 and November 3 at 2:30 p.m. 

Set in the small town of Grover’s Corners, Our Town follows the relationship of young lovers Emily Webb and George Gibbs over the course of 1901 to 1913. Narrated by special guest artist Mark Dressler in the role of the Stage Manager, audiences follow the Webb and Gibbs families through three acts as their children fall in love, marry, and eventually, in one of the most famous scenes in American theatre, die.

LBHS Theatre Mark

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Mark Dressler & Celena Marie DelPizzo-Howell prep for upcoming performance

“Mr. Mark Dressler brought a unique brand of passion to his work as he directed and produced scores of successful classical, contemporary, and musical theatre pieces throughout his 25-year tenure at Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School,” said current Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School Theatre Teacher and Director Alexis Karol. 

“Something special occurs when our alumni artists collaborate with our current students, there is a certain level of trust that falls into place immediately. This year, with an alumnus directing and Mr. Dressler performing, there is a clear sense of tradition being handed down at each and every rehearsal,” she concluded.

LBHS Theatre group

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Dane Hobrecht, Luke Bruderer, & Lila Goldstein get ready for Our Town 

The playwright’s stage directions call for Our Town to be performed on an unadorned stage: “No curtain. No scenery. The audience, arriving, sees an empty stage in half-light.” The play’s narrator is named after an important theatrical crew member: the Stage Manager. This crucial character has the power to communicate directly to the audience but can also interact with the characters. 

“I am excited to perform on stage for the first time in nearly 40 years,” said former high school and middle school theatre teacher Mark Dressler. He continued, “I am especially thrilled to be under the direction of my former student, Celena DelPizzo-Howell, who performed in Our Town the last time I produced it at Laguna Beach High School.”

Tickets are on sale now at The cost is $12 for $17 for adults, and $22 for premium seating.

The Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre is located at 625 Park Ave. 

SchoolPower’s Dodgeball Tournament is a hit for Laguna Beach schools

Photos by Scott Brashier

SchoolPowers in motion

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Wednesday’s Dodgeball X raised over $13,000 for SchoolPower, the nonprofit education foundation that has raised money for Laguna Beach public schools since 1981. The annual competition is fierce and agility and a strong arm are key – many teams play together year after year. Champions from each division win $500 in prize money to designate to a teacher or school program of their choice. 

SchoolPowers in costume

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A high-energy crowd of more than 380 costumed players on 50 teams ducked, dived, and dodged balls at LBHS on Wednesday in front of hundreds of parent coaches, volunteer referees, and cheering spectators. Players in the three divisions are made up of students in fourth grade and up from all four local schools, plus parents, teachers, school staff, community members, and local business supporters.

For more photos by Scott Brashier, see the slideshow below

Boys Basketball League fall sign-ups at Boys & Girls Club now open

Registration is now open for the Boys Basketball Winter League at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach Canyon Branch. Boys & Girls Club Athletic Director Erik Vasquez has an outstanding reputation among both Club kids and parents for making this league a great experience for everyone involved. 

From kindergarten through sixth grade, participants learn basketball skills, enhance their self-esteem, and have a great time being part of a team. The cost for club members to participate is $125 per player for the entire season, which includes, team uniforms, and league trophies. The cost for non-members is $125 plus a $100 fall Club membership. 

Boys Basketball group

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Boys Basketball Winter League sign-ups are now open 

Registration will close on October 31 and a late fee will be applied for all registrations after that date. Practices begin in November and games will start in December. Volunteer opportunities are also available for parents interested in coaching teams. A coaches meeting will be held on October 24 at 6 p.m. at the Canyon Branch. 

Annual sponsorship opportunities, which support Boys & Girls Club Athletic programs, are also available. For $500, your family or business name can be displayed on a colorful banner hung in the Club’s gym for one year. These banners are seen by over 600 Laguna families each year.

 For more information, call Michelle at (949) 715-7584 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach occupies three sites in Laguna Beach: Canyon Branch, Bluebird Branch, and Lang Branch. Together, the Club offers a nationally recognized and award-winning, year-round out-of-school enrichment program that focuses on the whole family. 

From preschool to parenting classes, the Boys & Girls Club offers an array of services that focus on: academic success, good character and citizenship, healthy lifestyles, and creative expression. Being an indispensable asset to the families of our community is a Boys & Girls Club time-honored tradition. 

For over 65 years, the Boys & Girls Club strives to support the youth of Laguna Beach through out of school recreation that celebrates the whole child.

For more information about The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, visit or call (949) 494-2535.

SchoolPower’s Dodgeball Tournament returns for the tenth year

SchoolPower’s 10th annual Dodgeball tournament will be held Wednesday, Oct 16 at Laguna Beach High School. The event is wildly popular and intensely competitive, bringing together the entire community in the spirit of silliness and competition. 

Last year’s event raised close to $13,000 for SchoolPower, the nonprofit education foundation that has raised money for Laguna Beach public schools since 1981. 

SchoolPowers Dodgeball student

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Students enjoying last year’s tournament 

It’s a blast to be a part of the high energy crowd, which includes over 400 costumed players plus hundreds of parent coaches, volunteer referees, and cheering spectators. Players in the three divisions are made up of students in fourth grade and up from all four local schools, plus parents, teachers, school staff, community members, and local business supporters. 

Competition is fierce, and agility and a strong arm are key – many teams play together year after year. Champions from each division win $500 in prize money to designate to a teacher or school program of their choice. Local radio station KX 93.5 joins the fun, broadcasting play-by-play live coverage of the tournament. 

SchoolPowers Dodgeball group

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Last year’s Space Unicorns team 

For court sponsorship opportunities and registration information, contact SchoolPower at (949) 494-6811 or visit

SchoolPower’s mission is to enhance and enrich the educational experience of the whole student as they grow from TK through 12th grade. SchoolPower has contributed over $4,000,000 to Laguna Beach schools over the past five years to help support a wide range of programs, including music, visual and performing arts, digital literacy and STEM, athletics, social emotional support, and teacher grants. 

SchoolPower’s Wave of Giving campaign is on now at

Defending CIF and State Champion LBHS Boys Cross Country team sets a fast pace

The defending CIF and State Champion Laguna Beach High School Boys Cross Country team were at it again this past weekend at the Temecula Twilight invitational. Paced by junior standout Mateo Bianchi, the Breakers delivered a convincing team effort in flat and fast conditions. 

Bianchi played “rabbit” for the race, running a controlled three-mile time of 15:45, while successfully pulling senior Tanner Burton (15:45) and sophomore Mael Metis (15:52) to their best races yet. 

Defending CIF racing

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LBHS Boys Cross Country team at Temecula Twilight

Freshman phenom Christopher Drews was close behind, finishing at an incredible time of 16:06. Drews’ race lands him in the record books, breaking Matt Neev’s 2007 time for fastest freshman in school history. 

The Breakers’ next test comes on October 18 at the famed Woodward Park in Fresno.

Introducing our new assistant principal: Dale Miller

By Ellie Ford and Carly Rohrer 

Laguna Beach High School

At the May 28 meeting of the school board, in closed session by a vote of 5-0, the board took action to appoint Mr. Dale Miller as the new assistant principal at Laguna Beach High School. 

LBHS students Ellie Ford and Carly Rohrer interviewed assistant principals Mr. Dale Miller and Ms. Nikol King to learn more about the new Breaker and the responsibilities they now share. 

After the announced departure of assistant principal Robert Billinger, Laguna Beach High School searched high and low for a new replacement. Now, the school would like to give a warm welcome to the new assistant principal, Mr. Dale Miller. 

“I am truly excited to continue working with our students, staff, and community to collaborate on ways to continue to push LBHS to provide high-level education for our students,” said Miller. His goal is to support “families and the community to produce students who are prepared for the world beyond LBHS.”

Miller appears to be the perfect fit for the job. For the past two years, he was an assistant principal at Anaheim High School. He had previously worked for the Anaheim Union School District for 12 years as a teacher. During his time as an educator, he taught health and science.

Miller has also been an administrative athletic trainer at the University of New Mexico and the University of California, Irvine. Athletic trainers rehabilitate student-athletes behind the scenes and watch them flourish from a distance. Similar to a school’s administrative team members, these trainers play a vital role in the team but aren’t always recognized. Miller hopes to bring his past experiences of being an athletic trainer to LBHS, continuing as a humble facilitator in his role as assistant principal.

Introducing our assists

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Mr. Dale Miller and Ms. Nikol King prepare to welcome parents at Back-to-School Night as they embrace common responsibilities as assistant principals. Previously, the assistant principals at LBHS functioned independently of one another.

“I’m generally the guy behind the scenes who wants to support students to reach their potential and build their legacy. If there is a need, I want to be thought of as someone the students can reach out to when they need support,” said Miller. 

Nikol King, who has been an assistant principal at LBHS for four years, has taken note of Miller’s forward-thinking.

“Mr. Miller sees things that are beyond the great things already taking place and has ideas he shares enthusiastically. He has been a great partner so far, and I see him making a positive impact on our school community. He is highly collaborative and supportive of my work with our school community and eager to get to know everyone,” said King. 

In prior years, one assistant principal would be in charge of the curriculum and the other would be in charge of discipline. Now, all responsibilities are split down the middle, with King working with students with last names A-M and Miller working with N-Z. As each assistant principal will oversee academics and discipline for half of the student body, Miller and King also intend to work together to support all students, regardless of the alphabet.

“We are really focusing on mentoring students, rather than disciplining them. Our goal is to guide students through their decisions so that they make the best choices for themselves and learn from mistakes along the way. We are always looking to refine practices that support our school community,” said King.

Laguna Beach Unified students show continuous growth in CAASPP math results

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced this week the statewide results of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests for English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics, which were completed by students in grades 3-8 and 11 last spring.

The latest data from the CDE shows that the Laguna Beach Unified School District continues to be one of the highest performing districts in California in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. 

Established in 2014, the CAASPP System is California’s academic assessment system that measures California Standard’s achievement for grades 3 through 8 and 11 in English and mathematics. Now in its fifth year, the computer-based tests use California’s challenging academic standards and ask students to write, think critically, and solve complex problems. 

For the 2019 CAASPP test administration, LBUSD students once again maintained a high level of proficiency in ELA test scores and continuous growth in mathematics test scores. Over the last five years, LBUSD has increased the percentage of proficient students in math from 66 percent in 2015 to 78 percent in 2019. Within that same time period, ELA test scores have improved from 76 percent to 82 percent.

Laguna Beach blue chart Laguna Beach red chart

“LBUSD has dedicated additional time and resources in recent years to update curriculum, assessments, and instructional practices,” said Dr. Chad Mabery, Director of Assessment and Accountability. “The annual CAASPP test scores are one of several important student outcomes that we utilize to measure academic growth towards college and career readiness. It’s exciting to see the consistent growth in student learning,” he concluded. 

Academic test scores are part of the California School Dashboard, the new accountability system that replaced the Academic Performance Index, which will be used in conjunction with suspension rates, graduation rates, chronic absenteeism figures, college and career readiness data, and other local performance indicators to determine if schools and districts are making enough progress in support of student success. 

“Our top in the state results year in and year out are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff and students. I am extremely proud of our teachers and staff for their dedication and commitment to LBUSD students,” said Superintendent Jason Viloria, Ed.D. “CAASPP scores are important and, while they are just one piece of a much larger puzzle, we use the results to guide and shape our instructional program to meet the needs of every student, every day,” he concluded. 

Smarter Balanced ELA and mathematics tests consist of two parts: a computer-adaptive assessment and a performance task. The computer-adaptive assessment bases follow-up questions on a student’s answers in real-time. If a student answers a question correctly, they get a more difficult question. If they answer incorrectly, they get an easier question. The performance task challenges students’ ability to apply their knowledge and skills to problems in a real-world setting. The two parts measure the depth of understanding, writing, research, and problem-solving skills.

Because CAASPP tests are given statewide, they provide an opportunity to measure the skills of all students against the same academic standards in the same way. The results provide information schools can use to improve teaching and learning. Administered online, the tests are computer-adaptive, allowing the more precise measurement of individual skills. 

The results are posted annually on the CAASPP results website here. Parents receive a written report of their child’s scores and can compare progress from one year to the next. A guide to understanding the CAASPP student score report can be found on the California Department of Education website here.

Tonight’s School Board meeting will include staff report on safety enhancements 

The agenda for tonight’s (Tuesday, Oct 8) regular LBUSD Board of Education meeting has been posted online here. 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. 

Tonights School building

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Tonight’s School Board meeting will recognize LBHS National Merit Semi-Finalists

The Board will recognize LBHS National Merit Semi-Finalists Kenneth Chu and Kyle Herkins. The Board will also receive a staff informational report on safety enhancements in the district and next steps.

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