My husband and I are both graduates of LBHS, and our three children are the third generation to go through the district as my mother-in-law graduated from LBHS. Our family, and our family foundation, has been a supporter of the district over the past decades.
Laguna Beach is a town different from any other in Orange County, from our art festivals and tourism, to small-town culture. Changing the school calendar will not encourage students to participate in many opportunities our special town offers them. Summer jobs at Sawdust, volunteering in the Pageant of the Masters, junior guards, etc. We should be encouraging our students to participate in the traditions of summer that are unique to Laguna.
Instead, we are pushing them towards AP classes and the feedback from every AP student and teacher has been that the kids are “very stressed out.” AP classes are voluntary and not a requirement for high school graduation. If 10 percent of students want to elect to take advanced placement classes, the majority 90 percent of students should not be asked to change their schedule, summer jobs, family traditions and Laguna community involvement. If you look at the current state of students in our country, they are more stressed out, depressed and acting out. The trend of pushing them, filling their schedules, and putting more pressure on them to excel at a college level, has only bred a state of burnout in our youth.
If you look at the LBUSD logo, it is a circle with four images: a picture of a paintbrush (art), a world map (travel), a picture of our beaches (leisure/summer), and a picture of graduates (academics). These images represent things that are important to Laguna, things the district needs to continue to value and preserve for our students. All four of these pieces of the pie are important to the growth of our students. Yes, academics is a major part of the pie, but so are our art festivals and time off in summer to travel and enjoy our town and beaches.
Students are excelling in the district, graduating and the AP pass rate is very high. There is no reason to change our school calendar, and we have a responsibility to preserve what defines Laguna and sets us apart from every other town in the district. We are not Irvine, we have more to offer our students in the summer and don’t want to be like other schools and change our calendar.
Amber Offield, Laguna Beach