Back to School!

TECS News TeamBy TECS News Team      October 1, 2021

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Back to School!
PHOTO BY TEP Kids and parents celebrate being trash warriors on Coastal Clean-up Day at Topanga Beach. It was the high point of back-to-school activities for Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS).
Kids, parents, and teachers were geared up and ready for the start of the school year at Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS) when the front gates opened on August 16. Carrying backpacks and with a keen eye towards a safe return, kids lined up with masks in place. Protocols, including LAUSD weekly COVID testing, are helping to keep kids and teachers in the classrooms safely. Topanga Elementary principal, Kevin Kassebaum (aka “Principal K”), remarked that the teachers and school staff worked hard to be ready for this school year. “It’s great to welcome kids back and greet many new younger students, joining us for the first time. Kids have been so positive and excited to be back,” he said. Nothin’ But Sand September is California Coastal Cleanup month and TECS took part in Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 18th. About 50 Topanga Elementary students were joined by parents and friends from the community for a Topanga Beach cleanup. The event was spearheaded by Ms. Welch (third-grade teacher) and Dr. Amenta-Shin (aka Dr. A, grades 3 & 4) with the enthusiastic support and participation of their students, who plastered the campus with posters announcing the event. These trash warriors showed up with buckets in hand. Kids and parents searched the sand and scrambled up hillsides and into boulders lining the beach to find trash—there was plenty to find. They collected hundreds of cigarette butts and beverage bottles, thousands of plastic wrappers, countless Styrofoam pieces—hundreds of pounds of trash! Third grader Wylie Burke said, “It was fun to come out with my friends from school to make our beach and ocean cleaner.” The beach clean-up is part of the science enrichment program. Ms. Welch said, “What a great day! We are planning more beach-cleanups this year, linking the efforts to lessons in class about reducing, reusing, and recycling.” The trash collected was recorded in the Clean Swell App, which is uploaded to the Ocean Conservancy’s global ocean trash database. It will be counted towards the trash total tracked by Heal the Bay. The data will also be analyzed by students in class. Dr. A shared her plans for how the clean-up will come into the classroom. “My students are analyzing the data and studying the wider implications of trash in our environment on the health of our oceans and for marine life,” she said. The beach clean-up and related activities are examples of how Topanga Elementary Charter School supports its mission as a science and arts school with engaging and inspiring exposure to the science that is all around us. Run Run Run. Topanga Elementary kids will be gathering pledges for the school’s annual Coyote Run! Last year, the activity took a twist due to the pandemic with students fulfilling their activity hours off-campus in a number of ways, such as skating, skateboarding, dancing, hiking, twirl, horseback riding, swimming, soccer…. This year it’s back to running laps in the school’s upper yard to the cheers of classmates and teachers. Some teachers will come with sneakers on and run alongside their classes. Parents and friends pledge to the Run to raise funds for the enrichment programs. The Coyote run will take place in early October. Save the Date for Halloween Fun. We are thankful that the TECS Annual Halloween Carnival & Dance Party is back this year with the live band Kummerspeck, plus food trucks, costume contest, dance content, and more. Funds raised will support the arts enrichment at Topanga Elementary. Details will be posted on the school website: topangaelementary.org/halloween-carnival.html. There are many ways to support the school. Whether you are a parent at TECS, or a community member who believes in the importance of public education, TEP (Topanga Enrichment Programs), the TECS booster club, has an easy way for you to live well and support our school throughout the school year. Participate in “Farm Fresh to you,” an organic produce delivery service that delivers to your home or office. When you visit farmfreshtoyou.com, order with the code TOPANGAFRESH and 10% of your purchase will be donated to Topanga Elementary Charter School. Our children thank you! n
TECS News Team

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