New Program Rewards Topanga Students

By TECS News Team

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New Program Rewards Topanga Students
photo by Martina Paradiso The new school mascot, a red-tailed hawk, made its debut at the annual Coyote Run fundraiser in October. “The kids love this bird,” said school Principal Kevin Kassebaum.
The first winners of a new program to encourage good citizenship and respectful behavior have been celebrated at Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS). Ten students were invited to a special pizza lunch with principal Kevin Kassebaum and fellow staff member Julie Tobisman, who was behind launching the initiative at TECS, as a reward for their respectful attitude on campus. The program is part of a school-wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program that is supported by LAUSD. The first group of students who enjoyed the pizza party as recognition for their positive behavior were Nico Aguilar-Oliveras, Rylie Applegate, Elia Castanon Cipriano, Aspen Childers, Vianna Crabtree, Hannah Gutin, Cian Kim, Piper O’Connor, Winslow Ramos, and Theo Dorfman. “We want to recognize and publicly celebrate the many students following the rules and demonstrating good citizenship,” Mr. Kassebaum said. “Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is a universal, school-wide program that aims to establish a social culture within schools in which students expect and support appropriate behavior from one another, thereby creating school environments that are consistent, safe, and positive.” The first monthly behavioral focus was “showing respect,” with tic kets handed out to students displaying this quality during the school day. Each Friday the teachers hold a draw and prizes are awarded to those picked out. Then a monthly draw of all those who have earned the tickets determines the ten students invited to the pizza party. Franshesca Oliveras, mom of TK student Nico who was among the first monthly winners, said: “For our family, the core values of respect, manners, and love are extremely important. To see that Nico was recognized for being respectful filled our hearts, and it was especially rewarding for Nico because she was able to see the positive outcome from her actions at a very early age. We couldn’t be prouder.” This program is the latest new initiative which aligns with the school’s mission statement of encouraging children to respect their community and the environment, and has been praised by parents for offering rewards beyond academic achievements. Surprise Guest Swoops in for Coyote Run The new school mascot, a red-tailed hawk, made its debut at the annual Coyote Run fundraiser in October. The hawk surprised the students on the morning of the sponsored fun run, and there was a second sighting at Friday assembly the following week. “The kids love this bird,” Mr. Kassembaum said. We don’t know where the hawk came from, but we were glad they decided to stay.” The new mascot really lifted the spirits of students at the school, and made the Coyote Run — always one of the fundraising highlights of the TECS calendar—extra special this year. Thanks to our students and their generous friends and families, the Coyote Run was another hugely successful fundraiser. The event was organized by Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP), the school booster club that funds resources that LAUSD does not pay for. Money raised by TEP funds instructional aides in the classrooms, the specialist science and art teacher, the physical education and technology enrichment program, and more. None of these valuable resources would be available for students if it wasn’t for these fundraising efforts and the generosity of our school community. ’Tis the Season for Fun and Fundraising As we approach the holiday season there are lots of ways to support and engage with our special school. November is Giving Month, where families are asked to make their contribution to the TEP Giving Fund if they have not already done so. A donation of $1,200 per student is the recommended contribution to help pay for the enrichment activities and resources that benefit every child in the school, although this is just a guideline, and families are encouraged to donate whatever is a feasible and meaningful amount for them. The annual TECS book fair, which takes place the week of November 7, is a school favorite. The auditorium is filled with books for all ages, and students and their families can shop together after school. And this year, we are having our first Movie and Merry Market night at the school campus on December 9, where kids can enjoy a festive movie in the auditorium while their parents shop for gifts at stalls that will be set up on the playground outside. If you have crafts or other goods you would like to sell at the market, please contact the TEP board at Those wanting to donate to TEP can do so at

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October 28, 2022