January Highlights

The spirit theme of this month was Video/Board games. Students and staff embraced the assignment with their Pac-Man, Overwatch, and Princess Peach-themed costumes, to name a few.

La Mesa staff in their Pac-Man uniforms
Princess Peach visited Chula Vista
San Diego staff as Pac-Man
Overwatch at TLC

Social-Emotional Learning

Resolutions vs. Habits

The start of a new year often brings new year resolutions. While these can be helpful guides about what is important to you, and a great way to set goals, research has found that 23% of new years resolutions fail within the first week and 43% fail within the first month.

An alternative approach to creating positive change or achieving goals is to focus on your daily habits. Author James Clear writes about this in his book, Atomic Habits, which argues that small changes can lead to lasting results.

How to Create Healthy Habits

The following video provides an overview of the approaches one can take to form new habits, as suggested by the Author James Clear.

Student Work Spotlight

Edible Science

This month’s first student work spotlight comes from 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classes at TLC Chula Vista. Teachers Ms. Raiger and Ms. Morris combined their classes for the two weeks before winter break to collaboratively participate in a unit called Edible Science.

As part of learning about how Chemistry and cooking go hand in hand, students dove in and made their own ice cream and butter. Following that, more STEM was incorporated into the classes as students learned about the engineering process through designing and creating their own winter dream houses (as part of the theme, the houses were also edible)!

Edible Science Unit


The next student work spotlight comes from High School Students in Mr. Keene's Aerospace Engineering class at TLC Chula Vista. Last month, these students made a wind tunnel and airfoils. They then conducted wind tunnel tests to see how much lift their airfoils generated at 0, 15, and 30 degrees angle of attack.

Student windtunnel

Youth Symphony Performance

The final student spotlight for this month comes from, Marilynn Roybal, 12th grade student in the Homeschool Program at TLC San Diego. Marilynn displayed her musical talent while playing alongside the Temecula Valley Symphony during their December Holiday concert.

Marilynn and the Youth Symphony

NWEA Testing

Are you hearing a lot about NWEA testing lately? Do you have some outstanding questions regarding what this is all about? Let us share some helpful information!

What is NWEA Testing?

  • The NWEA is a nationally normed assessment tool. "NWEA uses anonymous assessment data from over 11 million students to create national norms, placing your students and schools within a representative national sample. By drawing from an incredibly wide pool of anonymized test records (pulled from millions of test events from over 24,500 public schools in 5,800 districts, spread across all 50 states), we’re able to accurately represent the US school-age population.”

Why is this important?

  • Whereas tests like CAASPP measure proficiency (i.e. is a student meeting grade level standards), NWEA tests measure growth. This means that we can see how a student is progressing individually, regardless of where they are in terms of their proficiency. It lets us know how much their skills in reading and math, in particular, are growing. This also helps us to guide instruction – it gives us a better idea of where the student is academically and what they need to focus on.
  • As NWEA describes, “Norms help you see if students are growing at an expected pace, regardless of where a student started.”
  • This data also helps TLC to make a case for our charter renewal when that time comes. It holds us accountable and ensures we are helping students to achieve academic growth.


  • K-12 students at TLC participate in NWEA testing 2-3 times per year. Tests are computer adaptive to be able to measure student knowledge as best as possible.
  • Results are shared with the student and the parent(s). In conjunction with the student’s Educational Partner, goals are set.
  • All testing is administered on site.

Mid-year testing

  • TLC’s winter NWEA testing window is between 12/4 to 3/22. Actual testing dates will vary from site to site and teacher to teacher.
  • Once a student tests, their results are available within 24 hours. The Educational Partner will share the results with the student/parent.
  • This testing window allows teachers, students, and parents to see growth from the beginning of the year and to reflect on goals before setting new ones.
  • Teachers use mid-year results to guide their planning.
  • Students whose results show little to no growth may receive extra academic support.

TLC San Diego Food Drive

The School Site Council at TLC San Diego organized a food drive to benefit the San Diego Food Bank in December.

Thanks to their efforts, and to all those who contributed, TLC’s food drive brought in 290 pounds of food. This will enable the Food Bank to provide 242 meals to those in need.

Hunger is a real issue in San Diego County, with 1 and 4 residents being nutrition insecure according to the San Diego Hunger Coalition.

With the addition of the North County Food Bank, The San Diego Food Bank now provides emergency food to 400,000 children and families, active-duty military, and fixed-income seniors living in poverty every month.

They asked us to extend their thanks to our TLC community members who make their work possible, writing that,

You make it possible for [us] to bridge the gap between [families'] limited income and their dinner table.

Thanks to all those who contributed to this effort!

San Diego students organized the food drive

Founding Staff Spotlight

In celebration of our 20th anniversary, we are shining the spotlight on one of our founding staff members - Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Coordinator, Natalie Granger. Learn more about Natalie below!

How long have you been with TLC? I've been with TLC since we started back in 2004.

What is your current role with TLC? My role at TLC is Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Coordinator. I oversee our curriculum adoptions, help support the implementation of curriculum, coach our teachers with instruction, especially new teachers, use our data to help improve our school, and much more.

What has been your favorite part of working with TLC for the past 20 years? I have two favorite parts of working with TLC... When I was an Educational Partner, I loved getting to know the families, seeing the students grow up, and even the families growing. In my current role, I like the relationships I've built with teachers and staff and the work we do together.

What is one of your favorite TLC memories? One of my favorite TLC memories was the drive-thru senior recognitions we did for the class of 2020 during the pandemic. There was so much comradery, love, and gratitude and families really appreciated how we did something special for their students in the midst of the pandemic. One of the teachers wore a dinosaur costume and two others played live music! It was a much needed celebration in the midst of so much heaviness.

What do you like to do when you’re not at TLC? When I am not at TLC, you can probably find me out hiking, camping, gardening, or reading a book. Since my boys are teenagers now, I have a lot more time for myself.

The Many Benefits of Fiber

We have all heard about the importance of getting enough fiber before, but do we really know why this is important? And what foods to eat? Here is a helpful review about why we should pay attention to fiber and how to make sure we're getting enough.

Eating enough fiber may help to:

  • Aid digestion
  • Keep you feeling full
  • Balance blood sugar
  • Lower cholesterol

It is easy for students to stock up on healthy and fiber-rich foods through the meals served as part of TLC's meal program. TLC consistently serves the following fiber-full foods:

  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Carrots
  • Chickpeas


Include a banana in your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit.

Tip of the Month: Winter Safety

With the weather staying chilly (at least for Southern California) this month, it is important to keep in mind a few tips for staying safe and healthy in the winter months. The following come from Save the Children:

  • Remember the sunscreen. Even if it's cooler outside, children and adults can still get sunburnt!
  • Prevent nosebleeds. If your child suffers from minor winter nosebleeds, use a cold-air humidifier in their room. Saline nose drops can help keep their nose moist.
  • Stay hydrated. In drier winter air kids lose more water through their breath. Offer plenty of water, and try giving them warm drinks and soup for extra appeal. Here's an article  about the importance of staying hydrated in the winter months for more information.

Safety Drills Recap

TLC San Diego successfully completed a lockdown drill in under three minutes this month, with 124 students and staff participating. In addition, La Mesa completed a bomb threat drill, with 312 participants, and Chula Vista completed a fire drill with 278 participants. Thanks to all for their participation!

STAR Student Recognitions

December / January: Fairness

TLC recognizes STAR students each month based on a determined character trait. Continuing from December, January's character trait is Fairness. Students are nominated by their Educational Partners and School Site Administrators. Congratulations to this month's STAR students!

Malak Aabaichi

Lexie Carrillo

Bodhi Doi

Nicolas Garcia

Annalee Hough

Stormie Lampkin

Johnny Marcoux

Carlos Rivera

Alexander Stewart

Charlotte Zuniga-Parra

This month's staff recognitions for Fairness are:

Lucia Garcia

Delilah Kostrikin

Sheala Scavia

Maggie Swafford