La Jolla Cluster back to school updates
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 08/26/18 - 09:06 AM | 3135 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
All five schools in the La Jolla Cluster Association — Bird Rock, La Jolla and Torrey Pines elementary schools, Muirlands Middle School and La Jolla High — are teaming to ensure the 2018-19 school year beginning Monday, Aug. 27 will be successful for all.

LJCA serves the five La Jolla public schools with an executive board of 10 parents (two from each school), 10 teachers (two from each school), and five principals.

The LJCA’s mission is to promote and support excellence in education in all La Jolla public schools by:

• Working collaboratively to meet the needs of a diverse student population through K-12.

• Preparing students for college, careers and life by providing a rigorous, comprehensive, standards-based curriculum that includes technology, the visual and performing arts, physical education and character education.

 There are two new principals in the La Jolla Cluster this year: Andrea (Andi) Frost at Bird Rock and Geof Martin at Muirlands. 

There is presently a principal vacancy at Torrey Pines Elementary, as former principal Sarah Ott has been named executive director of special education for San Diego Unified School District.

Comprehensive La Jolla High School, serving grades 9-12 opened in 1922. Located in the heart of La Jolla with its approximately 41,000 residents within the San Diego City limits, LJHS encompasses 12 acres with 14 permanent buildings. One of 16 high schools in SDUSD, LJHS is the district’s second-oldest campus.

LJHS principal Chuck Podhorsky is excited about the coming year.

“I know this is going to be an incredible school year,” he said ,adding, “We need to remain focused on student data as a way of helping us better understand how we can build systems and structures of support at our school... Our path to being the top school in the nation will be paved by ensuring the highest levels of academic success for all students.”

Referencing what’s new at La Jolla Elementary, principal Donna Tripi said new turfing on Girard Avenue was put in over the summer, with new projection and sound systems installed in the school auditorium.

“Flexible seating for all classrooms through foundation funding allows more movement for students, gives them choice for work areas, and helps them learn what they need as learners,” said Tripi. “Classroom teachers purchased bean bags, yoga balls, standing desks, wobble seats, etc.”

Added Tripi, of La Jolla Elementary, “We’re always refining our work with the new Common Core standards in literacy and math.  We are implementing the Next Generation Science standards in earth, physical, and life science as well. We added an engineering/robotics unit last year in all grades K-5.”

At the end of 2017, Tripi said the elementary school “received our district allocation of laptops for all students in grades K-2” adding “grades 3-5 students already had a one-to-one, laptop-to-student ratio.”

Like other SDUSD schools, La Jolla Elementary is becoming more health-conscious.

“We're all implementing the district's Wellness Initiative and we have increased the amount of PE we offer, in addition to looking at nutrition guidelines for parties, etc.,” said Tripi.

Additionally, Tripi noted LJE added Spanish a couple of years ago, which is being increased to two sessions per week in grades K-2, with grades 3-5 having one session per week.

“We also have full grade-level music through the district, and music, art, technology, dance and theater through our Foundation,” Tripi said.

The second-largest school district in the state, SDUSD serves more than 132,000 students in 223 educational facilities. The district includes 116 elementary schools, 24 middle schools, 26 high schools, 44 charter schools and 14 atypical/alternative schools. 

Besides being one of the largest districts in the state, SDUSD is also one of the most diverse, representing more than 15 ethnic groups and more than 60 languages and dialects.

For more information visit lajollacluster.com.

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