Welcome Back to Campus!

By TECS News Team

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Welcome Back to Campus!
PHOTO BY KATHLEEN BEEGLE From left: Second graders, Ella, Roma, and Georgia are excited to be back on campus.
It has been a long wait for the Return to Campus. In-person instruction ended over a year ago but on April 20 and 21, there was a staggered re-opening of Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS) with two cohorts of students joining afternoon sessions and all our dedicated faculty back in their classrooms. It has been a heavy lift. A small group of parent volunteers gathered over the weekend to make signs and post decorations at the school to give our children a warm and colorful welcome back to Topanga Elementary. Children gathered before being let onto campus, surrounded by garlands of flowers and signs of love and cheer. A special shout out to those committee parents, Kristy, Gabbi, and Paul Beauvais, Erin Cullen, Ashley Scott, Jill Williams, Noelle Hettlinger, Jessie Samedi, Kathleen Beegle, and members of Topanga Enrichments Programs (TEP). One of the first families to arrive were the parents of twins, Jonathan and Myles. This was the first time they dropped their children at Topanga, ever, and they both came to the school gates to wave off their boys. The momentous moment was not lost on Jonathan; although he has been part of Zoom instruction, this was the first time he would be interacting with his friends in person, on campus, and he was certain he wanted to make a good impression. “I am really excited about school and I am excited to make new friends,” he said, and was sincere about it. “I’m not going to act shy; I’m going to act normal, just like I did at my old school.” His twin brother added, “My name is Myles and I am excited too.” Principal Kevin Kassebaum (known to the children on campus as “Principal K”) came out to the gates to greet new and returning parents. “We are so lucky to have such a dedicated staff to usher in this new phase. “I am excited to go to school because we have been Zoom schooling for more than a year, and I am excited to see all my friends in person,” said second grader said Roma Rodan. “It’s not going to be the same, because there’s apparently a morning group and an afternoon group; I am in the morning group and I am really excited to go to school.” Roma was warmly greeted at the gate by her teacher Ms. Galindo, who said, “It’s great having my little nuggets back!” Ms. Chatham shared her thoughts on being back in person with five children in each cohort class, “It’s a dream,” she said. Compost Stars On April 12, in recognition of Earth Day, the Topanga Elementary science program arranged a presentation and discussion for the school community with environmental educator and activist, Cecilie Stuart. Cecilie runs Full Circle Compost, which is one part of her non-profit organization, Move the World, dedicated to combating climate change through sustainable living. She discussed the value and impact of sustainable approaches for conserving resources and reducing output of environmentally damaging waste products. Cecilie’s focus for the children was on actions they can take directly, emphasizing that we all have agency in shaping our world. She discussed and demonstrated how to establish a simple compost at home. Students were engaged in the discussion, asking many questions and sharing their own experiences. The topic resonated with a recent unit on sustainable farming developed by fifth-grade teacher Dr. Amenta-Shin, and reflects a focus on environmental stewardship that is a long-standing foundation of Topanga Elementary School’s charter. We ultimately hope our school will be able to engage families and staff in building a campus composting program as an important step in pursuing conservation. The Magic of Music SAVE THE DATE! Calling all local music fans and performers. Over 1,000 cities around the world are expected to throw citywide music celebrations on Monday, June 21, as part of the international “DIY” music event called Make Music Day. This year, Topanga will be one of them for the first time ever. Make Music Topanga is presented in part by TEP, the non-profit fundraising arm of TECS that raises funds for enrichment programs (such as art, science, and technology) that benefit the students. This will be an entirely volunteer event, run by the community for the community. A true “DIY” celebration of music in a safe, decentralized way! How To Get Involved? If you want to host or just want to grab your ukelele and play, visit makemusicday.org/topanga and select “Participate.” Performers and locations interested in hosting should create a profile now to be matched up for this day of music across the canyon. Sponsorship opportunities from $10 - $1000 are available, via the “Support” button on the website for businesses and individuals who want to cover the costs and support the arts enrichment at Topanga Elementary.

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April 30, 2021

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