TLC NEWSLETTER November 2023

November Highlights

TLC families enjoyed a number of field trips and events this month, including:

  • Family night at Old Poway Park. The Old West came to life with students and parents interacting as suspects and sleuths involved in solving the mystery of the missing horse, Lightning. Awards, prizes, and root beer floats ended the night on a sweet note!
  • TLC families got a chance to go a little wild and "learn by doing" on a field trip to the San Diego Zoo. The self-guided tour allowed everyone to enjoy all the animal exhibits and activities, such as the Skyfari Aerial Tram, Guided Bus Tour, Kangaroo Bus, and Wildlife Explorers Basecamp.
  • A Family Night visit to Skyzone literally had TLC students bouncing off the walls! Families enjoyed an endless sea of trampolines, playing dodgeball, flying into foam pits, high-jumping basketball, and more!
Family night at Old Poway Park
Zoo fun
San Diego Zoo Trip

Mental Health Tips for School and Holiday Breaks

Fall break, winter break, holidays, and traditions can be a joy-filled season, but they can also be stressful and especially challenging for those impacted by mental illness. For some individuals, winter break may create feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation. The “holiday blues” can stem from a variety of sources, such as current events, personal grief, loneliness, illnesses of all kinds, economic concerns, separation from family members and relationship issues like separation or divorce.

Here are some helpful tips from the National Institute of Mental Illness (NAMI) to help with our mental health during this holiday season (nami.org, 2020):

1) Accept Your Feelings. The holidays can bring up a range of emotions for people. Sometimes you can even experience seemingly contradictory emotions all at once. Try your best to acknowledge and accept your emotions rather than place judgment on them. It’s OK to feel happy; it’s OK to feel sad; it’s even OK to feel both happy and sad. Give yourself compassion and allow yourself to sit with whatever you’re feeling.

2) Manage your time and don’t try to do too much. Prioritizing your time and activities can help you use your time well. Making a day-to-day schedule helps ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks and deadlines. It’s okay to say no to plans that don’t fit into your schedule or make you feel good.

3) Set aside time for yourself and prioritize self-care. Schedule time for activities that make you feel good. It might be reading a book, going to the movies, getting a massage, listening to music you love, or taking your dog for a walk. It’s okay to prioritize alone time you need to recharge.

4) Make time for your important relationships. Connection and meaning are critical to our mental health. You can even connect with loved ones who are no longer with you through a family tradition or a personal remembrance ritual.

5) Set boundaries. Family dynamics can be complex. Acknowledge them and accept that you can only control your role. If you need to, find ways to limit your exposure.

6) Eat well. With dinners, parties, and cookie trays at every turn, our eating habits are challenged during the holiday season. Try to maintain a healthy diet through it all. Eating unprocessed foods, like whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruit is the foundation for a healthy body and mind. Eating well can also help stabilize your mood.

7) Exercise can also help, with its known anti-anxiety, anti-depression effect. Even a small amount of exercise, such as parking further from the store, can do much to improve your state of mind. Daily exercise naturally produces stress-relieving hormones in your body and improves your overall physical health.

8) Get enough sleep. Symptoms of some mental health conditions, like mania in bipolar disorder, can be triggered by getting too little sleep. More on getting good sleep.

9) Spend time in nature. Studies show that time in nature reduces stress. (More on the mental health benefits of nature.) Need to break away from family during a holiday gathering? Take a walk in a local park.

10) Practice relaxation. Deep breathing, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are good ways to calm yourself. Taking a break to refocus can have benefits beyond the immediate moment.

11) Write a gratitude list and offer thanks. As we near the end of the year, it’s a good time to reflect back on what you are grateful for, then thank those who have supported you. Gratitude has been shown to improve mental health. In the midst of it all, is there something or someone for whom you are grateful?

12) Volunteer. The act of volunteering can provide a great source of comfort. By helping people who are not as fortunate, you can also feel less lonely or isolated and more connected to your community.

13) Find support. Whether it’s with friends, family, a counselor or a support group, airing out and talking can help. Consider attending a free support group provided by your local NAMI California affiliate. If you or someone you love is experiencing a crisis, you can call or text 988 for the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Line to connect with a crisis counselor.

Reading is Fundamental - Book Fairs

At the end of last school year, TLC received a grant from Reading is Fundamental to promote literacy activities throughout the 2023-24 school year. As part of this grant, TLC received books to add to our classroom libraries, resources to help our teachers facilitate read-alouds, and the chance to host a book fair for our K-5 students at each of our school sites.

As part of these book fairs, K-5 students were able to browse a large selection of diverse books and pick out five of their own choosing to take home and keep. In addition, students were provided with a backpack and journal to help them reflect on what they were reading. Students beamed at all the book options and the chance to take the books home with them.

We’re grateful to Reading is Fundamental for making this possible and helping to nurture the love of reading in our students!

Book fairs at all TLC school sites

Alumni Spotlight:

Joshua Zingale

What year did you graduate?


What school site did you attend?

Scripps Ranch

What was your favorite part about attending TLC?

Small class sizes, that I could learn more precisely from teachers, and the ability to take community college courses during high school, that I could enter college with a sizable amount of units.

What are you doing now?

I am in my final year at SDSU for computer science, applying to graduate programs for pursuit of a Ph.D. I am president of the Artificial Intelligence Club at SDSU (which anyone planning on addending SDSU for CS or CE should join.) I am working in a bioacoustics research lab analyzing dolphin sounds for a professor at SDSU. I am musician for Barabbas Road Church.

How did TLC help prepare you for life after graduation?

The college-style schedule readied me for classes two or three times a week.

Do you have any advice for current students?

Take community college courses during high school if you plan on attending college after.

SDSU Campus Tour

This month, a group of TLC families visited the campus of San Diego State University to start thinking about options for higher education once they graduate. During this visit, four TLC alumni -- and current SDSU students -- spoke to the group of families about their personal experiences. They all spoke highly of the matriculation process from TLC to SDSU. By taking dual enrollment classes during their TLC years, they were able to skip a full college year at State! We are so proud of them!

TLC families and alumni and SDSU

TLC Staff Through the Years

To help celebrate TLC's 20th anniversary we're taking a look back -- at some staff photos! How many current TLC faces can you recognize?

TLC staff through the years
TLC student and now staff, Ben Coppersmith (joined by Debi Gooding and fellow student turned staff, Taylor Cunningham)

Tip of the Month: Students Speaking Out

TLC encourages students to utilize the Students Speaking Out resource to help keep our schools safe. Students Speaking Out is a program developed by the San Diego County Crime Stoppers, a community-based non-profit. The mission of Students Speaking out is to empower young people to use their voices to make schools and communities safer. If you have information about a crime, serious school violation, or dangerous activity at school, you can call Students Speaking Out completely anonymously. You can refer to their website to find out how.

Our message to students is that your voice can make a difference. When you know about illegal or dangerous activity taking place; tell someone. Your voice might save a life, stop a crime, or get help for someone in need.

Safety Drills Recap

So far in November we conducted an earthquake drill and a fire drill across our three school sites. 443 students and staff participated in total. At least one more drill will take place by the end of the month to ensure all school sites participate in safety drills.

Food for Thought

There are many great fall foods to choose from. The below list comes from myfitnesspal blog and includes some seasonal favorites that are loaded with nutrients to keep you well fed and healthy this season.

STAR Student Recognitions

November: Responsibility

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

Elija Arellano

Eve Burleson

Seth Burleson

Aria Carbone

Ziyah Castaneda

Kian Diniega

Coral Doi

Isabela Gonzalez

Luna Jenner

Isabelle Johnson

Alex Johnson

Brady Kurtz

Zoey Mickelsen

Dean Modica

Chiara Muscarella

Sebastian Olson

Amani Omar

Lilian Parman

Carter Pasol

Xiemena Pedraza

Mathew Pedraza

Marilynn Roybal

Sebastian Stenton

Faith Tejeda

Kayla Wheatley

This month's staff recognitions for Responsibility are:

Carli Anderson

Erika Delgado

Kacie Desmond

Faith Galbadores

Adrianna Gray

Rosie Moreno

Gloria Pena