Briefly In Education: New moms invited to join MOPS

Mothers of newborns to 6-year-old children, or who are about to become one, are invited to the MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) Welcome Brunch at 9:16 a.m. Thursday in the parlor at Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave. Child care is provided at no cost.

MOPS is an inclusive group for mothers and their young children, a place where moms can socialize, eat, listen to a speaker, learn and rejuvenate while their children are being taken care of.

MOPS is for all women, regardless of race, religion or marital status. Memberships are $95 for a mom and $125 for a mom with child per semester.

Confidential scholarships are available.

Laguna Beach MOPS will start in September and the coordinators are encouraging interested women to attend the complimentary welcome brunch.

To reserve a place for the brunch or for more information, call Lessard at (949) 497-2436 or Sekerka at (949) 415-1501 or visit

Girl Scout enrollment beginsMay is spring renewal for the Girl Scouts, and the troops of Laguna Beach are looking for new and renewing girls in K-12 for the fall.

Anyone interested in joining the Girl Scouts, or any parent volunteers who are available to assist the troops and programs, should contact Stephanie at (949) 454-2913 or

Patrico is Student of the MonthLaguna Beach High School senior Sophia Patrico was recently honored as Student of the Month at a luncheon held by the Laguna Beach Rotary Club.

She was accompanied by her teacher, Gary Shapiro, who extolled her skills in mathematics.

Her excellent qualifications have granted her acceptance at Claremont McKenna College, where she plans to pursue an interdisciplinary major.

Adolescence expert appearsClinical psychologist and author Michael Bradley recently spoke to more than 120 parents at the last Coffee Break about his recent book, "Yes, Your Teen is Crazy: Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind" and to answers questions and concerns about teens in Laguna.

During a 90-minute workshop, the expert on adolescent behavior explained the teenage brain, modern environment and provided parents with helpful information, tools and his own "10 Commandments."

For parents who missed the event but would like to learn more, visit

TOW kids swap books to recycleStudents at Top of the World Elementary School recently participated in a book swap designed to save money and resources by swapping books.

The kids swapped more than 2,600 books and donated an additional 1,200 to the Orange County Literacy Project.

"The 3 Rs are in full force at Top of the World," event Chairwoman Jennifer Baker said.

The book swap is in its third year at Top of the World Elementary after Baker, also a parent, introduced the concept to the school in 2006.

"I saw students participating in a book swap in the Capistrano Unified School District where I teach, and I knew our students would really enjoy and benefit from this opportunity at TOW," she said. "Our book swap has grown from around 1,000 books swapped in the first year to more than 2,600 books swapped this year."

The swap also benefited from a student-initiated community service project.

"This year we had two students from Community Learning Center who wanted to do a book service project. We collaborated with the boys to solicit donations for their cause — True and Jackson's Book Balancing Project. As a result, True and Jackson donated more than 1,200 to the Literacy Project," Baker said.

Kathy Cotton, a kindergarten teacher at Top of the World Elementary, was pleased with the event.

"The kids are so respectful of the books and the organizers are so trusting. The synergy around this event is very exciting. It is a win-win for everyone involved," she said.

At Thurston Middle School, more than 1,000 books were also swapped.

Scouts get docent trainingThe girls from local Junior Girl Scout Troops 1250 and 1440 have completed the training and become tide pool docents, part of the Laguna Ocean Foundation program for educating and informing the public and protecting the tidal habitats of Laguna Beach.

Tide pool docent and trainer Jake Bonus was on hand to ask the girls final questions and to present the girls with their official junior docent training badges.

Junior docents are required to volunteer with a parent or guardian.

Completion of the docent training program was a key component in their effort to earn the Bronze Award, the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn. The Bronze Award is presented to girls who demonstrate a promise to improve their communities and the world.

In addition to the docent training, girls earned their Junior Aide badge by mentoring younger Girl Scouts, earned badges related to marine biology and ecology, water safety and Girl Scouting — goals to make the world a better place.

The girls in these troops, fourth and fifth grades, represent students from Laguna Beach's Top of the World, El Morro and Anneleise's elementary schools.

For more information, e-mail Bonus at

Rotary donates tech lab to clubThe Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach TLC branch, above Bluebird Park, is the recipient of a community grant by Laguna Beach Rotary for a new "tech lab."

Consisting of three new, state-of-the-art computer systems, a network printer and a broadband Internet connection, about 60 children from 5 to 10 years old have access to the tech lab, under the supervision of trained TLC staff.

The kids are required to attend study programs in which they are tutored or given time for homework.

The new systems were needed to allow them to perform their study tasks. A team of Rotarian "network specialists" delivered, installed and launched the tech lab.

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