Class Notes


LBHS Introduces New Assistant Principal, Dale Miller

By Ellie Ford and Carly Rohrer, Laguna Beach High School

Dale Miller and 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. Photo courtesy of LBHS.

After the announced departure of assistant principal Robert Billinger, Laguna Beach High School searched high and low for a replacement. Now, the school would like to give a warm welcome to the new assistant principal, 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,” Miller said. His goal is to support “families and the community to produce students who are prepared for the world beyond LBHS.”

For the past two years, Miller 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. 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.

“I’m generally the guy behind the scenes who wants to support students 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,” Miller said.

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,” King said.

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 beginning with the letters A-M and Miller working with students whose last names begin with the letters 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,” King said.


El Morro Elementary Named 2019 Blue Ribbon School

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Sept. 26 that El Morro Elementary School is among the 362 schools recognized nationwide as 2019 U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Schools award honorees. El Morro is one of 30 schools from California to be recognized.

Now in its 37th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“We are excited and honored to be recognized as an Exemplary High Performing National Blue Ribbon School. It validates the hard work and care that the El Morro staff provides for our students,” said El Morro Elementary School Principal Chris Duddy. “There is a lot of hard work done on behalf of our students each and every day. This recognition confirms that we are doing the right things.”

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools demonstrating that all students can achieve high levels. More than 9,000 schools across the country have been presented with this award. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 312 public and 50 non-public school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. on Nov. 14 and 15.

LBUSD Students Show Growth in CAASPP Math Results 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced last 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 percent 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.

“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.

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. 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.

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