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Emergency Preparedness: Earthquake Drill Today 10/17/19

Submitted by Antoinette Cass on Oct 17 (last updated Oct 17)

At Open School, safety is a priority. The School Safety Committee supports emergency preparedness at Open School through annual review of the school emergency plan and upkeep of school emergency supplies.

This week, the teachers took inventory and checked supplies in our emergency shed.  We also conducted a school-wide earthquake drill today to go over procedures with both students and staff.  Individual Comfort Kits should have been turned in to cluster teachers by this time.  Note that the Request Gate and Reunion Gate (two separate gates) are located in the large parking lot (bus lot) off Osage Avenue. In the case of a natural disaster, you will request your child at one gate and be reunited with them at the other gate. 

We will continue to hold various drills throughout the year to better prepare for any emergencies.

Important: Charleston Wrap Fundraiser Ending!

Submitted by Shazneen Gandhi on Oct 17 (last updated Oct 17)

Please make sure to turn in all paper orders for Charleston Wrap tomorrow, October 18th.

Online orders can be placed through Monday, October 21st.  However, orders received after October 18th will not be included in the count for prizes.

Questions? (Email Friends).

Volunteer at the Haunted House!

Submitted by Shazneen Gandhi on Oct 17 (last updated Oct 17)

The Haunted House still needs a few volunteers! Kids and Adults!

We could use a few more actors and stagehands, and we could REALLY use a few more adults to help build on October 24th and 25th. We also have a fun key role for an adult or an older kid who’s capable of delivering several campy lines. (What a fun way for a high school kid to get their community service hours!)

Here's when we need you:

  • Oct. 24 & 25: Builders, painters, costumers, please let us know when you can help those days. We’ll be there all day.
  • Oct. 25, 7:00 p.m.: Dress rehearsal for actors and stagehands
  • Oct 26, 11:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m.: Showtime! There are 1 hour shifts, although most actors and stagehands are signing up for 2 hours. 

Please email (Susan Lillestol) to volunteer.

Act Now to Support Open's Fall Family Festival!

Submitted by Shazneen Gandhi on Oct 17 (last updated Oct 17)

Please act now to support our Fall Family Festival.  You can help in so many ways: 

  • Sign Up to volunteer at the festival.  Use tabs to navigate to games sponsored by your cluster, or feel free to volunteer in any spot you see a need.  Tabs appear at the top of the sign up genius  on your computer.  Click on the > to the right side of the tabs to reveal more tabs.  On your phone, the tabs appear as a drop down menu at the top of the sign up genius.  You select the option you want at the bottom of your phone screen. Please see images to the right for further reference.
  • Sign Up middle and high schoolers who may want to help to get community service credit. Use tabs to navigate to different sign up opportunities.
  • Sign Up to donate treats for the Bake Sale.
  • Sign Up to lend items needed for the Festival.
  • (Email Mike Ando) if you can lend any of these items for the Haunted House: 10' table, large glass jars, beakers or similar items, or if you'd like to act in the Haunted House.
  • Buy discounted tickets for the festival today. Prices will go up on October 24th.

We appreciate your help in any amount and in every way!

Reminders / Updates

Submitted by Peggy Lew on Oct 17 (last updated Oct 17)
  • Oct. 18 - Open Hearts Meeting at 12:15 p.m.
  • Oct. 18 - Deadline for Charleston Wrap fundraiser 
  • Oct. 19 - Campus Beautification Day
  • Oct. 24 - Yellow Cluster San Diego Field Trip
  • Oct. 26 - Fall Family Festival (Click to buy tickets now!)

FFF organizers are losing sleep and sprouting grey hair!  Help them worry less: Sign up to help here.  Shifts are only 1.5 hours long! Middle and High School Students welcome! 

We are Listening: What is Open School's Social Emotional Program?

Submitted by Antoinette Cass on Oct 17 (last updated Oct 17)

We are Listening is a segment of Thursday's Backpack that will be published monthly to address some of the information gathered from our May 2019 Program Evaluation Survey. Many families filled out the Open School Program Evaluation Survey, and we thank you for your feedback, as this information helps to guide the work we do to improve and maintain Open School.

What is Open School's Social Emotional Program?

We recognize the importance of teaching not just cognitive skills, but also social emotional learning. As such, after much research, investigation, and discussion, we created our Roots of Respect program. This curriculum provides a literature-based framework for our teachers to create experiences that increase and develop our students’ self- management, social awareness, and relationship skills.

There are ten words that are the foundation of our Roots of Respect curriculum: courage, citizenship, empathy, integrity, optimism, gratitude, perseverance / grit, responsibility, cooperation, and communication. Each year we focus on 5 of those words for 6-8 weeks each and embed a variety of experiences into the classroom and school environment. Teachers plan lessons to engage the students in thinking about and practicing the behaviors represented by each word. 

To help students build a sense of community, teachers give them many opportunities to develop the listening and speaking skills necessary to be able to resolve problems on their own. Both school-wide and in the classroom, members of our community help establish the codes of acceptable behavior. When a conflict arises, students discuss and solve their own problems, either as a group or one-to- one, with adult guidance as needed. At times, the problem may need to be addressed with the whole group where every student is given an opportunity to speak, and every member of the circle is treated with equal importance. This can be in the form of a community circle, Council, or morning meeting. We understand that problems are expected and a part of learning. When those opportunities arise, it's a chance to work through those situations. 

Our school is a place where we are teaching students to "respect themselves, respect others, and the environment."


October 18th: Open Hearts Meeting

Submitted by Shazneen Gandhi on Oct 17 (last updated Oct 17)

Tomorrow's Open Hearts meeting will be all about Operation Gratitude! In the coming weeks, we will have a Halloween Candy drive to send some sweetness to military personnel all over the world.  Tomorrow, we will make signs to promote this project, and decorate boxes that will be used to collect the candy in every cluster and in the office.  As always, our meeting will be during lunchtime. Ask your students to listen for a reminder announcement.  

We will also be distributing Trick or Treat for Unicef boxes to those who are interested in participating. 

A Big Thank You to Photographers - Coral and Max!

Submitted by Peggy Lew on Oct 17 (last updated Oct 17)

Thank You to Coral von Zumwalt and Max Gerber for giving your time and talent in support of our Annual Giving campaign.  We know the families who donated generously to Open School will appreciate these precious photos.

Together, Coral and Max donated equipment for the photo shoot, organized sets, and spent an entire weekend helping Open School families capture memories with good humor and patience.  In the weeks to come, they will spend countless hours editing and curating these images.  We greatly appreciate the both of you for providing this amazing donation incentive.

Fall Family Festival - All Hands on Deck!

Submitted by Shazneen Gandhi on Oct 10 (last updated Oct 10)

The Fall Festival planning is in full swing and it is time to lend a hand. Many volunteer opportunities are available and very much needed for this very special day. Please sign up on our Signup Genius and make sure to navigate between the tabs (or drop down menu on mobile devices) for all our various needs: donations, items to borrow, set up and break down helpers, game booth supervisors, food booth helpers and more. You are not required to volunteer only under your child’s cluster(s).

Thank you to our Premier Pumpkin Festival Sponsor: The Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation and to our Golden Ghoul Festival Sponsors: Gerez Real Estate TeamI do Love Math and Nairn Constructions Inc.

Pre-sale discounted tickets for the Festival are now available online: $20 for 25 tickets! (Day of Festival tickets are $1 each.) Click here to purchase yours! Not sure how many tickets to get? Here is a general idea: Games & Crafts booths: 3-6 tickets, Food Booths: 4-10 tickets per meal, Snack items: 1-3 tickets. An off-line ticket order form will be sent with student in the few days. 

For more information, please (email Friends).

ISO Little Ghouls for the Haunted House!

Submitted by Shazneen Gandhi on Oct 10 (last updated Oct 10)

The Haunted House at the Fall Family Festival has roles available for kids! We are looking for everything from groaning background fiends to verbose tour guides. The actors rotate in shifts, so this is a great chance for Open kids to be involved, while still having time to run around at the FFF. There are also a few spots for adults, so come join us!

Please be aware the actors must attend a run through, a day or two before the FFF.

Don't want to act, but still want to be involved? We need adults to help setup and teardown the Haunted House.

Please email (Susan Lillestol) to volunteer your child or yourself. Scheduling and other details to follow. 

Principal's Message: Leadership is in Everyone

Submitted by Antoinette Cass on Oct 9 (last updated Oct 10)

Leadership!  What a wonderful way to start off our Roots of Respect (Social Emotional) Program, with our Student Council Officer speeches today at assembly. Our students showed such an amazing sense of both Courage and Leadership!

Our Roots of Respect Program looks at 10 core values over a two year span of time, in which we take approximately 7 weeks per word to give our children strong values. The five words we are diving into this year are as follows:

  • Courage 
  • Leadership
  • Integrity
  • Empathy
  • Optimism

Our children must know that as a member of our community they have so many opportunities to cultivate themselves as leaders. We encourage their innovative ideas and we see leadership as deep and full of endless possibilities. Our children are our current and future leaders, and we are working with families to teach them these qualities. I am honored to partner with the families, staff and teachers of Open School to build a bright future of caring leaders!

"Have big dreams, you will grow into them." -Unknown

In partnership,


October 19th: Red's Outdoor Space Work Day Part 2

Submitted by Shazneen Gandhi on Oct 8 (last updated Oct 8)

Red cluster is getting their own outdoor classroom space! We are building a live edge outdoor table, a small patio and some landscaping for Red Cluster to spread out outside and enjoy our amazing SoCal weather. In September, we did the clean-out and first steps.

This time - on October 19th from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. - we will compress DG, plant and finish the raw edge table. Hopefully with enough help we will finish the space and have it ready for the kiddos to use soon after.

Please bring a water bottle, snacks, hats/sunscreen and kids. We will have tools and water on site.

Questions? (Email Anne-Marie Cziko).

LAUSD Snacks for Sale During Recess

Submitted by Peggy Lew on Oct 7 (last updated Oct 7)

Beginning Monday, October 14, the cafeteria will be selling snacks such as, juice, milk, crackers, and cereal snacks. Please have money on students' accounts to purchase items.