March Highlights

  • TLC 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade students became BizTown citizens for the day earlier this month. Students ran businesses, collected paychecks, contributed to philanthropy, adopted pets, and much more as part of this interactive learning experience at Junior Achievement.
  • The focus was on the Renaissance as TLC Teen Club students and families enjoyed a docent-led tour of the San Diego Museum of Art this month. TLC Chula Vista high school teacher, Maggie Swafford, facilitated this field trip to enhance the learning for her Art History class. As part of the experience, students chose pieces of art to research and create presentations about.
  • A field trip to the San Diego Natural History Museum allowed TLC families the option of attending two Balboa Park field trips in one day. Families explored all the museum exhibits from Fossil Mysteries, the Art of Science, Coast to Cactus, Living Lab, and more as part of a self-guided tour. They also viewed the film, Oceans Oasis, in the giant screen theater.
  • The Flower Fields says, "Remember the important thing is to have fun while learning." TLC families had lots of fun while learning about the flowers, doing art and planting activities, and touring the fields of flowers on a tractor wagon ride.

Social-Emotional Learning

Restorative Practices

According to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Schools Survey on Crime and Safety, charter schools (like TLC) are leading the way when it comes to implementing restorative practices, with 72% utilizing them in their schools.

There is a reason these are becoming so widespread by innovative schools, they have proven to be an effective way to strengthen school communities, relationships, and climates. As the San Diego County Office of Education describes, “Approaching from a restorative practices lens helps to restore a sense of belonging, safety, and importance in the school community.”

Restorative practices aim to resolve, repair, and heal relationships, instead of only relying upon disciplinary action. They also strengthen the underlying bonds of the community to mitigate potential issues like bullying or behavior before they take place.

Examples of restorative practices include community circles, peer-led groups focused on inclusion, and well as conflict-resolution strategies.

When practiced regularly, circles for instance can increase students’ empathy and understanding of one another. They also give students practice with showing up as their authentic selves and being accepted by others.

To learn more about restorative practices, you can visit the website of the San Diego County Office of Education for additional resources and information. You can also watch the video below for a good overview of restorative practices.

Student Work Spotlight

Academic Growth at TLC San Diego

This month we’re celebrating academic growth! Specifically the amazing progress of students in Ms. Gray’s 4th and 5th grade class at TLC San Diego, who made substantial strides in their testing scores.

Ms. Gray attributes the gains her students made in part to them doing iReady Math MyPath for 40 minutes each week, which she credits for being highly individualistic.

As part of taking a personalized approach, Ms. Gray has also implemented “data folders” with her class this year, where they are able to set their own goals that they try to reach. Many students set goals related to growing on their assessments.

In addition, Ms. Gray acknowledges the support of her fellow teachers and school, saying:

“My Professional Learning Community group’s focus has been multiplication fact fluency and I think that has been a huge help this year to my student’s growth in math. We are also fully implementing the new ELA curriculum, Amplify, which has helped my teaching with language arts and reading. We also have worked really hard as a class on shifting to a growth mindset, which gives them the confidence to attempt all kinds of problems. I also worked with families to set up testing sessions that were comfortable for the student.”

Congratulations to Ms. Gray and all her students on their hard work and growth.

Our Spelling Bee Keeps Buzzing

This month, TLC's 8th grade Spelling Bee Champion, Nissi Shalom Bautista, from TLC Chula Vista, represented the school at the Countywide Spelling Bee competition. Read below to see what Nissi said about her Spelling Bee experience.

What made you want to participate in the Spelling Bee?

What made me participate in the Spelling Bee was seeing other kids participate, which made me want to give it a try.

What was the experience of going to the County competition like?

My experience in the County spelling bee was amazing because I got to show my talent in spelling bee and I felt like I was being included in something that I loved.

What did you learn from taking part in the Spelling Bee?

What I learned was that I could be a part of the Spelling winning or not winning and showing an accomplishment that occurred that day.

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was speaking in front of a group of people made me really anxious but knowing that I got it over with, it felt good.

What is your advice for other TLC students who would like to participate in a Spelling Bee?

To not give up, if you win or not, you tried your best and that's what matters.

National Reading Month

In honor of National Reading Month, we're celebrating reading and books throughout our school community. Our partners at Reading Is Fundamental put together this helpful tip sheet about how to encourage a love of reading in yourself, or your student. A few examples are listed below.

  • Use grocery shopping to encourage reading and writing
  • Cook with your child to develop literacy
  • Point out environmental print to children
  • Tell stories together
  • Sing and rhyme with your child
  • Write with your child
  • Visit the library (and/or bookstore) often

Student Authors

One TLC teacher, Ms. Wilson, from TLC La Mesa, celebrated both reading AND writing this month by supporting her students in writing their own book!

These first grade students co-authored a book called Kindness Matters. It is about what kindness means to them and recounts times they were kind or someone was kind to them.

The writing process took about six weeks, as students started by first brainstorming ideas, then writing rough drafts, and completing their illustrations. Finally, they put a final draft together and sent it to student treasures to be published. As Ms. Wilson describes,

“The students really enjoyed making it, and they loved learning about the process of publishing a book.”

The class celebrated with an author party once the book came out, giving families the chance to congratulate all the first grade authors.

A Tiny Home In One Day

Well... almost! TLC hosted a Build Day last month, in which we attempted to install the exterior framing and walls for an entire tiny home in ONE DAY. Thanks to our instructors, students, and many volunteers, we did it!

The walls that we used are made primarily of bamboo, a more sustainable building material than traditional lumber. In addition, the wall systems are specifically designed for our project, making them relatively quick and easy to install compared to doing an entire frame from lumber alone. We're grateful to our partners at Bamcore for making these great materials!

All of this is part of our Energy, Environment & Utilities Pathway, which falls under our Career Technical Education Program. The capstone project of this pathway is to build a tiny home. Students at our Chula Vista and La Mesa schools are currently underway on this project. Stay tuned for other exciting updates about our Tiny Home Project next month.

Build Day from start to finish

Supporting and Celebrating our English Language Learners

TLC is proud to have many English Language Learners in our community. These are students whose first language is not English and who are currently mastering their English language skills.

TLC supports our English Language Learners (ELLs) in a number of different ways. Our Language Arts and English teachers have learned specific strategies through GLAD trainings and other English Development programs to meet the needs of our ELL students. Strategies shared by our teachers include:

  • Checking for understanding
  • Seating ELL students with other students who can assist/translate (intentional grouping)
  • Checking in after class for understanding
  • Offering additional after school support if needed
  • Providing most materials in written form and reading to them
  • Letting students know when they will be required to speak in class
  • When it makes sense, giving students the chance to discuss or speak in their native language

As our English Language Development Coordinator, Gloria Peña, describes:

“I think one of the benefits our program offers is smaller class sizes. This allows teachers to support our EL students with more individualized attention. We also check in with students on a regular basis and offer tutoring for students who are in the process of acquiring the language.”

Just recently, one of our reclassified English Language Learners was accepted to UC Merced! This is just one example of the great strides these students are consistently making. We’re proud of all of our EL students for their hard work and dedication.

Spring Recipes

With warmer weather ahead, we are preparing for Spring with some healthy and tasty recipes to help fuel your longer days.

Luckily, the USDA just published their Breakfast Menu Planner for Children ages 3 to 18. You can find the recipes in both English and Spanish.

Below is one example of any easy and nutritious breakfast idea.

Berry Medley and Quinoa Breakfast Bake


  1. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Spray a loaf pan (8.5x4.5x2.5) with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine quinoa, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, milk, vanilla extract, and berries. Mix well.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until quinoa is cooked. Heat to 140 degrees F or higher for at least 15 seconds.
  7. Remove from the oven and stir carefully. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve 1/2 cup. Serve immediately, or keep warm at 140 degrees F or higher. For cold service, keep cold at 40 degrees F or lower.

Tip of the Month: Spring Safety Checklist

As we spring forward this month, its a great time to review some essential safety checklist items. The following tips are taken from The National Safety Council.

Smoke Alarms

  • It is recommended that you test your smoke alarms every month and replace the battery at least once a year. If the alarm makes a "chirping" sound, replace the battery immediately.
  • Smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and in the common areas on each floor of a home. Mount them at least 10 feet from the stove to reduce false alarms, less than 12 inches from the ceiling and away from windows, doors and ducts.
  • Smoke alarms can be interconnected wirelessly. That means, when one sounds, they all sound. A Consumer Product Safety Commission survey found this is the best way to notify everyone in a home if there is a fire.
  • Be sure to purchase smoke alarms with the label of a reputable testing agency, like Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Anything that burns fuel can potentially become a source of carbon monoxide, an invisible, odorless gas that can kill.
  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each bedroom and on every level of the home.
  • The safety tips for CO detectors mirror those of smoke alarms: change the batteries, test them and interconnect them, if possible.
  • Also, make sure vents for your gas appliances (fireplace, dryer, stove and furnace) are free and clear of debris.

Family Emergency Plan

  • The National Safety Council recommends every family have an emergency plan in place in the event of a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. Spring is a great time to review that plan with family members.
  • Have a home and car emergency kit. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says an emergency kit should include one gallon of water per day for each person, at least a three-day supply of food, flashlight and batteries, first aid kit, filter mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape, and medicines. Visit the FEMA website for a complete list. The emergency plan also should include:
  • A communications plan to outline how your family members will contact one another and where to meet if it's safe to go outside,
  • A shelter-in-place plan if outside air is contaminated; FEMA recommends sealing windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting.
  • A getaway plan including various routes and destinations in different directions,
  • Also, make sure your first aid kit is updated.

Safety Drills Recap

This month, our schools completed the following:

  • Chula Vista - Completed a lockdown drill with 186 students and staff taking part.
  • La Mesa - Completed a lockdown drill, where 323 participating students and staff took part. The drill was completed within 5 minutes.
  • San Diego - Completed a bomb threat drill with 141 participants in 3 minutes and 48 seconds.

Great work, everyone.

STAR Student Recognitions

March: Citizenship

TLC recognizes STAR students each month based on a determined character trait. March's character trait is Citizenship. Students are nominated by their Educational Partners and School Site Administrators. Congratulations to this month's STAR students!

Wyatt Corral

Ryker DeJarnette

Tristen Moore

Marcelo Zamora-Ochoa

Charlotte Zuniga Parra

This month's staff recognitions for Citizenship are:

Ashley Johnson

Rebecca Medina

Esther Racon

Alicia Ruiz

Amanda Sowell