Lessons in Leadership

By TECS News Team

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Lessons in Leadership
TECS fifth-grade student, Isabel Accomazzo, elected by her schoolmates to be Student Council President for the 2020/2021 school year, says she learned a lot about teamwork.
Additional reporting by Phoenix Rodan School’s out for Summer! As all alumni of Topanga Elementary know, the last year is always bittersweet. Many of the students have known each other since kindergarten and, while they are usually ready to spread their wings and head off to new adventures, the confidence that they get from being part of such a close-knit community will travel with them. The fifth-grade teachers, Ms. Tapper and Dr. Gina Amenta-Shin, have ensured that they are fully ready to embrace middle school. One of the lovely things about attending Topanga Elementary is the rite of passage of transitioning to a larger middle school with a new group of friends, and a world beyond the canyon to explore. While this transition can be intimidating at first, it is one that many students are ready for, because their journey as fifth graders has prepared them so well. Phoenix Rodan, reporting for the TECS News Team, interviewed Isabel Accomazzo, a student in Ms. Tapper’s class, who was elected TECS Student Council President by her schoolmates in the fall semester. The Student Council’s latest initiative is the “TECS News Club” which they are developing and recording to share with students. In addition to answering questions, Accomazzo had some of her own for the reporter. The exchange was a lovely way to share their reflections of TECS, the role of Student Council, and their shared love for their community school. In turn, Isabel shared the interview with the school as part of their News Club. The Student Council is supervised by fourth-grade teacher Ms. Misty Harlow; elected council members come from fourth and fifth graders who run campaigns for specific positions of President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Historian, and are elected by their peers. Class representatives are also elected in the lower grades. Ms. Harlow, who facilitates the Student Council with loving dedication, said, “In my third year at Topanga Elementary, I have the privilege of being the Student Council Advisor. We have a great group of eager, creative kids working together to help out the school, the student body, and the community. They honestly blow me away with their level of maturity and leadership. I love seeing what they come up with when they collaborate.” Accomazzo reflected on how Topanga Elementary has impacted her school experience: “It makes me feel responsible. I get together with a lot of other students to make our school a better place. We try to make all students, friends, and classmates have more fun and it makes me feel, overall, accomplished. We discuss events that we are planning and our latest is how we are going to coordinate this News Club.” She was also enthusiastic about how participating in Student Council has enriched her school experience. “You learn a lot about teamwork and responsibility because you have a specific job. I would highly recommend it because it’s a really fun place to be. My goal is to help my classmates have a better time at school, make them feel welcomed, and make it fun for them. We create activities that get them involved in the school. This News Club is a way to share information with our classmates and let them know what’s going on in the Student Council. I try and coordinate everything and get everyone’s opinions so we can make it into one big idea that will make everyone happy,” Accomazzo said. Asked about her thoughts on the return to on-campus instruction, Isabel reflected, “My personal opinion about going back to school is that at first, I thought that in-person school wouldn’t be as fun as we would’ve all liked it to be, we would have to wear masks and social distance. It then started growing on me, and Topanga Elementary made it really fun. Despite all the rules that we had to follow, I actually quite enjoyed going to school every day, even if masks and social distancing were included.” Isabel summarized her TECS experience. “I’ve learned a lot about teamwork, which will be good for the future. I’ve learned how to work with others and how to make friends. [Topanga Elementary] has been really fun and great, I’ve made so many friendships, met so many great teachers, learned so many new things. I feel like this is a great elementary school; it’s really just magical.” We caught up with Dr. Amenta-Shin, who said that she was still working on her speech: “You did it, you survived and thrived! Whatever you do, never stop learning, exploring, growing, and challenging yourself to be your best!! Congratulations to the entire class of 2021.” The fifth graders held their culmination on June 11, at the reopened TCC. The entire TECS school community wishes them all the best on their journey. 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 a wonderfully easy and healthful way for you to live well and support our school throughout the school year: Participate with “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, to indicate that you want 10% of your purchase donated to Topanga Elementary Charter School! Our children thank you!

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June 11, 2021

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