New face and familiar friends

By TECS News Team

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New face and familiar friends
Photo courtesy of Ms. Garza Julieta Garza brings a rich array of art projects to her second-grade students.
Fall is in full gear at Topanga Elementary. On campus, we have many returning students and teachers as well as some new faces. Welcome Ms. Garza! The school extended a warm welcome to our new second grade teacher, Ms. Julieta Garza. Ms. Garza is an educator, an artist, and a youth advocate interested in combining art, community building, and instruction as part of her students’ education experience. In addition to her Bachelor’s degree and teacher credential, she received an MFA in Ensemble-Based Physical theatre from Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre this past June. She’s taught math, science, and theater in elementary, middle, and high schools in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago areas. Her passions include making art and sharing what she has learned with youth. When she is not in the classroom, Ms. Garza loves to perform, watch movies, see theater, go to concerts, read, eat popcorn, and cook. She remarked that she finds inspiration in nature. “I think that’s one of the things I love about being here at Topanga Elementary. It is a wonderful space with the ocean and hills surrounding us,” she added. Second grader Wilder Rehm expressed his enthusiasm to get to know his new teacher. “I’m so excited to meet Ms. Garza!” he exclaimed. What does Ms. Garza recall about her own second grade experience? She fondly remembers being her teacher’s helper. Second grade was also the year when she performed a dance for the whole school dressed as a little frog. “I found my love for performing that year!” she added. All in all, she’s a great addition to the Topanga Elementary community! Unconventional art Art classes with Ms. Randy Butler are back in-person at school. The theme for the year is “art is not just paintings on museum walls” and exploring “art in unconventional spaces.” She will be introducing the students to artists who work with nature, design with metals, and create with technology, as well as art created using a variety of materials, e.g., cameras, fabric, wood and glass. Ms. Randy’s first classes focused on three big messages to the kids. First: Comparison is a thief. Students should not compare their work to that of others. Second: Art is a process and you can’t see the final work when you are mid-way through. As they do their art, kids will layer their technique to get to the full picture. Third: She emphasizes that art is an emotional release and outpouring. “Art can come with frustration and needs patience,” she noted. Kindergartener Vylet Laramie noted, “I am learning many new things about art from Ms. Randy.” Pencils or chalk pastels or fabric or wood? She noted that every person needs to find the mediums that work best for them. And to do this, try many mediums and along the way you will discover the medium that is your best fit. Her aim for art class at Topanga Elementary is to nurture each student’s creative ability and discover each kid’s natural and personal gifts. When she is not in the classroom, Ms. Randy does photography, creates her own personal pieces of clothing and painted denim (putting to use her degree in fashion design), and paints and draws “all the time.” She strives to do something creative every day. 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 many ways for you to support our school throughout the school year. One way is to sponsor new student art banners which will be featured in front of the school for the school year, advertise your business to the school community and support the enrichment programs at the same time. Contact: TepBoard@topangaelementary.org for details. Our children thank you!

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