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The Pony Express

Trabuco Hills High School PTSAPony Express 27501 Mustang Run, Mission Viejo, CA 92691 (949) 768-1934 Trabuco Hills High School PTSA Saddleback Valley PTA Council 4th District PTA www.thhsptsa.org California State PTA National PTA

Volume 1 Issue 3 Nov 2010

Craig Collins Principal

Cindy Ashley Editor

Andrea Padian President

Principals Message: PSAT, SAT, ACT & Test Preparation


By Craig Collins, Craig.Collins@svusd.org
A lot of questions come up this time of year about testing for college and test prep classes. To help alleviate any confusion and to answer questions you, as parents, may have, here is a brief description of the options available to your students. The PSAT is the Preliminary (or practice) SAT. It measures critical reading, mathematics and writing skills. The test takes 2 hours, and 10 minutes. The PSAT/NMSQT gives you feedback on your academic skills to help you get ready for college. It is a great way to preview the SAT, as it is an abbreviated version of the SAT. The PSAT/NMSQT is also the qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Typically our juniors and some honors level sophomores take this test offered once a year in October. The score a student receives on the PSAT is predictor of the results of the SAT. To estimate your student's score on the SAT you simply add a zero to the end of the PSAT score. For example a score of 140 on the PSAT translates to a 1400 on the SAT.

Please join us for our next MEETING Monday, Nov 15th 7 pm


In the Library
The official SAT measures developed reasoning skills important to college success. There is a verbal section called critical reading which includes short reading passages. The math section includes topics from third-year college preparatory math. There is also a writing section with multiple-choice questions and an essay. Each section is scored out of 800 for a possible 2400 total. You may take the test multiple times for either the best test date total, or to super score (combining the best score from each section) which some college allow you to use. For example, if you get a 700 in math the first time you take the test and a 600 the second time. And you get a 600 in reading the first time but a 700 the second time, some schools let you take the two 700 scores for a combined 1400 score. Other colleges require you to take the total score for a single sitting so be sure to know the policy for (continued next page)

A Message from Andrea


By Andrea Padian, PTSA President, Apadian@aol.com
Seems school has barely started and already were about to get a week-long Thanksgiving Break shortly followed by another two weeks off for Winter Recess! Where does the time go? (Not that I dont enjoy a nice break!) When I decided to take this position, I wondered what things a high school PTSA might do. Over and over, I kept hearing, It wont work here, or Not at Trabuco, were different. What does that mean? It seemed an unmet challenge. Do we settle for the least we can do or do we dream of something more? Do we move forward with a can-do attitude or an attitude of no? Do we make goals or set limitations? I know we care about our kids all the kids, as well as our teachers and parents - were a community. So, why would Trabuco be so different? Are we so me driven that something like PTSA doesnt mean anything anymore at a school this size, in this location? Dont we all want the best for our school, our community? What would prevent us (continued on pg. 3)

Inside this issue:


Restaurant Week R Word, Grad Night, College Fair Mini-Grants, ASB News 3 4,5 6,7

Dennis Walsh, Absentee- 8, 9 ism eScrip, Thank You 10, 11

Education Funding, PTSA 12, Senior Scholarships 13 Calendar 14

Trabuco Hills High School PTSAPony Express

Principals Message (cont. from page 1)


your school of choice before focusing on one section at a time. If you are a student that struggles in a particular area, and your college allows it, taking multiple tests and combining scores may help to get you to the college for which you are striving. When trying to decide on prep classes, many students fail to take simple, logical steps. First, if you have a good idea of what colleges you want to attend, look at the profile for the previous year's freshmen. This is usually posted on the school's web page under Admissions. The profile will have an average or a minimum SAT score. Look at your projected SAT score and if it is higher than the score required for the college you are looking at, you don't need a prep class. If you are just a few points from the score you need, or too close for comfort, you can probably get by with just a weekend prep class. If you are a hundred points away, you might benefit from a full class. Should you be more than two hundred points away from the target, you might need to reassess your college choices. The SAT is a reasoning test and it does not measure content that students have learned from their classes in school. Instead, it measures the way you think through problems. Some colleges in California require at least two SAT Subject tests. These are specific to the subject matter. You should check with the colleges you are considering and find out which tests they require and which tests they will accept. If they give you a choice, make the obvious choice to take the tests in the areas in which you do best. The ACT is an achievement test. It tests specific knowledge that the student has acquired. The SAT and ACT used to be very regional in terms of which schools would accept which test. Now most schools will accept either. Again, check with your school of choice to be sure which tests they will take and whether they have a preference. There is a practice ACT test and it is known as the PLAN. Unlike the SAT practice classes, the best way to prepare for the ACT is the students regular courses in school. Having a well-rounded experience in all subject areas will best prepare you for a high score on the ACT. Every student is different and while they might struggle on the SAT, they could excel on the ACT, so dont be afraid to try them both. If your college of choice will accept either, send them the one on which you have done the best. While stressful at times, the process of choosing colleges and getting ready for this next great step in your lives can be very enjoyable. Keep perspective and understand that the college is making choices based on your test scores and not on you as a person. Not being accepted to a particular college at this time is not the end of the world. You will likely find another college that you like better or, you may save yourself thousands of dollars by being a Community College transfer student. Regardless, stay positive and enjoy shopping for colleges, I guarantee you that there is a school out there that wants you!

Eat Out, Support the School!


By Karyn Bower, PTSA Secretary kpbcsr@cox.net
The PTSA has another win-win fundraiser. Simply by eating out or picking up some take-out, you can raise money for our school. Now, through June 2011, the PTSA will be hosting Restaurant Week the first week of every month. Our next Restaurant Week will be December 6-10th so mark your calendar! If you plan to eat out the first week of the month, why not consider dining at one of these fine restaurants? Visit http://www.thhsptsa.org, click on the Restaurant Week link on the left. Scroll down to Attachments and print out the restaurant flyer and present it when you order and earn 15% of your bill (pre-tax) back to the school. Monday/Tuesday: Bravo Avo Mediterranean Grill, Foothill Ranch, In the Staples/CVS Shopping Center next to Bank of the West. Tuesday: Peppinos, Foothill Ranch in food court near
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movie theatre. Wednesday: Oggis Pizza, 23641 Via Linda, MV (off Alicia across from baseball fields) or Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Foothill Ranch, near Walmart. Thursday: Claim Jumper, Mission Viejo in Henrys Shopping Center or Phillys Best, RSM in the Lowes shopping center. Friday: Baja Fresh, RSM, next to Kohls, or Del Taco, Foothill Ranch (near Target).

November 2010, Volume 1 Issue 3

A Message from Andrea (cont. from page 1)


from setting our goals high, dreaming large and achieving great things? I know many of the families at this school.some since elementary school, sports leagues or churchwe all care.we all dream about our kids bright futures.so I asked myself, Why not Trabuco? Then, I started meeting the parents, teachers, administrators and students that make up this schooland I was right why not Trabuco! This school is full of supportive parents, offering big surprises, unexpected victories, and the desire to try. Were just beginning, but were building momentum. Were all on the same page, working together, moving forward and making a difference - one baby step at a time. We will not be discouraged! At the two PTSA meetings weve had this year, parents have shown up to help when Ive least expected it. In October, we were lamenting about the lack of funding needed to support a student program dealing with alcohol abuse that we wanted to present this year. (The first Red Ribbon Week/Month assembly that would have been offered at our school in more than ten years and a very important issue for our teens to address.) Suddenly a parent stood up and asked what we needed so all students could see this assembly. Then, without hesitation, he wrote a check for $1000 to match our available funds. He didnt have much time to attend meetings, but knew he wanted to support this program as a parent. He felt it was worth the investment and because he was able to help, he feels better knowing that one teen or young driver might think twice about getting into a car with a drunk driver, or driving drunk and being involved in an accident or worse. Admittedly we cant all do that, but, what a gift! Then, at our September meeting, we talked about auctioning two paintings to raise funds, done by a well known artist during an ASB assembly at our school last year. ASB was willing to give the PTSA half the proceeds from this auction though the ASB director was disappointed we couldnt keep the painting of Einstein at the school. It was huge with no real space to display it. So, fifty of us sat in the library discussing this. I looked up and suddenly saw a great spot right in front of us that would accommodate such a large canvas. A parent at the meeting stood up and said he would buy the painting for $500 and donate it back to the school to be put on the wall. So again, out of nowhere, a helping hand is extendedworking together for common solutions. On top of that, the same parent donated the first $100 towards our monthly restaurant week account, that will help pay for soft supplies like paper the teachers cant get anymore through the district, as well as ideas to help us promote our Toyota Raffle ticket sales. And then our student board membersso impressive! They understand the value of PTSA as they take on these leadership roles and work togethertaking time from their busy lives for a great causeeducation! Ive talked to teachers and staff that have nothing but praise for our PTSA efforts and I feel their support and appreciation growing. Everyone from the principal, Craig Collins, to Debi Hope, our wonderful receptionist, to PTSA teachers have been there collaborating, helping. I keep meeting more people - all with the same goal- to help our school and provide a top notch education for all. People stepping up to help however they can - be it their membership alone, helping on a committee, donating to help provide a program, a new idea, or participating in the fundraising programs we offer - like the Ralphs community contribution program that has no cost, but benefits the PTSA greatly. Its been a very positive experience and I hope if you have not joined PTSA yet, you will soon. We need the whole community to be part of this effort to help our school do more and advocate for more school funding in Sacramento. Your voice will matter. Everyones talking. Not about limitations, but about potential especially if we all work together, do what we are able to do, and help when we can. PTSA is about opportunity - the opportunity to make a difference. PTSA is about participation, because we will always do more, accomplish more, when we work and stand together. Do what you can. Were not a club for a select few were an organization of millions. And lastly, PTSA is a partnership. We are the Parent, Teacher, and Student Association and we all care about education. Join us. I hope you enjoy this issue of the Pony Express. The next one will be out in February. Please dont miss our last association meeting this year to be held in the library at 7 PM on November 15th. Well be discussing many issues, among them a college fair, our bylaws and well be electing our nominating committee for next years (2011-2012) board. If you are interested in being considered for a board position, please let us know so the nominating committee will have your name. Additionally well have a special presentation by a mom from With Hope, a suicide prevention group. Its a tough subject, but one I think everyone should learn more about. You can also join PTSA, buy a raffle ticket or discount card, and of course meet other parents, students and educators. See you there! Have a wonderful holiday season and as always, Go Blue!

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Trabuco Hills High School PTSAPony Express

PTSA Mustang Marvels: Volunteer Spotlight!


By Andrea Padian, PTSA President, Apadian@aol.com
Id like to commend everyone that served on the new Mini-Grant committee who worked so hard to put together an application and application process for a new program our PTSA was able to implement this year. The idea behind this program began last year under the leadership of our past PTSA President, Michelle Butterfield. With extra funds raised during the previous two years, the PTSA was able to donate $13,500 towards Student/ Teacher/Departmental needs in the form of Mini-Grants the District is unable to fund at this time under the current budgetary conditions. The members of this committee designed the application and process to be fair and reach the most students possible, and instructed teachers on how to apply for a grant. Read more about the nuts and bolts of these MiniGrants in this Pony Express issue, but the bottom line here, in our Mustang Marvel column, is that these people did an exceptional job and deserve everyones thanks for a successful outcome to a new program. It was important that this process take place as early in the year as possible so the money would begin helping our students and teachers as soon as possible. Their schedules were tight, but the job began over the summer, grant applications went out in midSeptember and most work was completed in mid-October. Please thank committee chair, Mike Padian and committee members Helen Denton, Principal Craig Collins, Senior Student PTSA Representative Maegan Bower, and teacher Kurt Walker for their time and their support of the PTSA and its mission to help all students and teachers at our school. What a great team of devoted, caring PTSA members! This is only one of the reasons you should support our PTSA. Become a member today, come to a meeting, let us hear your voice and get involved! You could be a PTSA Mustang Marvel, too! Go Blue!

The R Word
By Sandra McElwee, Special Education Chair, smcelwee1@cox.net
When you hear somebody refer to the F word, you immediately know the word Im referring tobut do you know the R Word? Parents of children with intellectual disabilities know it, and our children know it too. The word is retarded and its not a nice word. Its frequently used by both students, teachers, and parents to describe stupid situations or behavior and even call friends this heinous word. So why is it so insulting to people with intellectual disabilities and their family members? Because it is never used as a complimentand WHAT WE CALL PEOPLE IS HOW WE TREAT THEM. Last spring our school participated in the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign with Special Olympics and Best Buddies. This awareness campaign educates that the word is hurtful, and prejudicial. Several hundred students signed the pledge posters that read, I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the Rword from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of
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people with intellectual disabilities. But this has gone further than a grassroots effort to change the everyday perceptions and language. Its now a law! From now on, the phrase "mental retardation" will no longer be a part of any federal rule or law,

my sister is how you will treat her. If you believe shes retarded, it invites taunting, stigma. It invites bullying and it also invites the slammed doors of being treated with respect and dignity. I will never forget being told my newborn baby would be mentally retarded. And I will never forget being told that I had to label him that way in order for him to receive services to aid in his development and qualify for Special Education Services. Today I celebrate that he never has to own that label ever again in order to qualify for services. I also celebrate that we can eliminate that word from our vocabularies altogether. I encourage you to be a great example for your children, your students and your peers. Please eliminate the RWord from your vocabulary, and please treat everybody with respect and dignity, and promote the acceptance and inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities.

What you call people is how you treat them.


whether it is related to education, health or labor. It will be replaced with the phrase "intellectual disabilities" everywhere it currently appears. This bill was originally introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). She named the bill "Rosa's Law" . There were several witnesses at the hearing, but the testimony that had the greatest impact was given by an 11 year old boy, Rosas brother, Nick. What you call people is how you treat them, Nick said. What you call

November 2010, Volume 1 Issue 3

Grad Night 2011!!!


By Lisa Bauer, Grad Night co-chair, lisakaybauer@yahoo.com
Plans are underway for the 2011 Grad Night Celebration. Our energetic and creative Grad Night Committee is exploring some wonderful and exciting possibilities that would support the number one location choice that our seniors voted for in the survey in September. This committee will be meeting again in a couple of weeks to discuss our findings to ensure we can move ahead with this option. We should be making an announcement of the Grad Night location and festivities in the next newsletter. In the meantime, if you havent registered for this special night, please do so it will be one less thing for you to be concerned with as you near your graduation date. Download the registration form from the PTSA website (http://www.thhsptsa.org), complete it with both student and parent signatures, and drop off with Debi Hope in the front office at THHS. For your convenience, you can pay for the entire amount up front or pay in monthly installments. And again, we continue to appreciate those of you who respond to our requests for volunteers. There are many ways to do so either in committee work before the night of the event or to assist that night and as a chaperone. Thank you to those who have already contacted me. For those who are interested, please e-mail me at lisakaybauer@yahoo.com. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Bringing Back the College Fair


By Chris Burns
Has the cost of UC schools prompted you to consider other colleges for your son or daughter? Has he or she expressed an interest to study in the mid-west or east coast? What are the advantages of a small school versus a large university? Why a liberal arts versus business degree? Perhaps you are uncertain on where to begin your college search? In an effort to present more options to students and their parents, the PTSA has started planning for a THHS college fair in the fall of 2011. The fact is, the SVUSD hosted a college fair some years ago, but due to the never ending budget challenges facing California schools, the fair was discontinued. Its time to get back to the future. For those of you that have never attended a college fair, picture a gymnasium filled with over 100 college representatives from across the nation, eager to speak with students and parents alike on the wonderful collegiate experience their institutions have to offer. Representatives from various branches of the armed services are also usually present to answer questions. The event is typically held at night, during the week, in the September-October timeframe. Its the best two hour investment of time you can make to explore the many options available! Our goal is to make the fair available to all SVUSD students. If you are interested in assisting with the planning and coordination, please contact Andrea Padian at Apadian@aol.com for more information.

Nominating Committee Members Needed!


By Gayathri Sivadas, PTSA Parliamentarian
In our upcoming meeting on November 15th, we will be selecting five members and two alternatives to serve on our nominating committee to elect officers for the 2011-2012 school year. Only PTSA members may serve on this committee, and members must not have been on the nominating committee last year. This committee is one of the most important in the PTSA so dont hesitate to volunteer! We will meet once in early January to select a slate of nominees to serve as elected officers for the next school year, 20112012. The slate will be announced at the February meeting and elections will take place at the March meeting. The elected board will be announced in April. Please contact Andrea Padian (Apadian@aol.com) if you would like to serve on this important committee!
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The Pony Express is published one week before each General PTSA Meeting. Look for our next issue on January 31st! Happy Holidays!
Cindy Ashley Newsletter Editor

Trabuco Hills High School PTSAPony Express

MiniPTSA Awards $9,000 in Classroom Mini-Grants


By Mike Padian, Mini-Grant Chair
The PTSA has awarded the first Mini-grants to teachers at THHS for classroom equipment & supplies that were previously supplied by the District. Due to budget cuts, the District allocation of supplies has been severely reduced by at least 20% for each of the last three years (now half the budget of 2007-2008). In recognition of this, the PTSA stepped in, solicited equipment needs from the teachers, evaluated the applications, and will be funding $9000 worth of critical teaching tools. Most of the schools departments received funding, including English, Music, Modern Languages, Social Sciences, Math, Health, and Science. The types of equipment include LCD projectors, calculators, Interwrite video tablet systems, lab testing equipment and supplies, and CDs. All recipients of the awards had to be PTSA members. This is a one-time only program, but with adequate fundraising, the PTSA hopes to make this a special annual program that provides a direct connection between parents and the classroom needs for as many students as possible. There are several ways in which you can support the PTSAs efforts, including buying car raffle tickets and discount cards, and signing up for Ralphs and Escrip reward programs. Another way you can directly support our classrooms is by participating in our Restaurant Week dining night fundraisers. All proceeds from this program fund soft supplies, such as paper goods, with special discounts from our partner Office Max. Again, all recipients must be PTSA members, and their requests will be reviewed individually and dispersed to the most critical needs as funds become available.

Help Wanted: Health Advocate


Health Advocate Come up with healthy living programs and write about health issues. This is a new position and can be as much or as little as you like. We have some ideas or you can implement your own. Please contact Andrea Padian at Apadian@aol.com if you would like to learn more about this position.

Recycle!
Just a reminder that you can drop off your used printer cartridges, laptops, digital cameras and cell phones in the PTSA collection box in the office behind Debi Hopes desk! Contact Brenda Hanrath(brendahanrath@cox.net )if you would like a collection box for your business.

Membership Matters!
By Vanessa Braaksma, VP of Membership, v.braaksma@hotmail.com
Hello Mustangs! The time has finally come - our student winners for the $50.00 Membership raffle are: Freshman - Eric Blogg, Sophomore - Destiny Anderson, Junior Sarah Tagger, and Senior - Ashley Brewer. Each student will receive $50.00 from the PTSA - congratulations! The PTSA would like to thank all the students, teachers, staff and parents who have joined the PTSA so far. Your memberships count in so many ways. Already, with membership funds from this year, the PTSA is looking forward to having a very dynamic speaker, Jason Barber, do an assembly for all classes as part of our Red Ribbon Week events, except not during Red Ribbon Week. We hope to hold many more student programs throughout the year with our membership and fund raising efforts. This is what the PTSA is all about - making a difference for all the students at THHS - not just one group. Our membership raffle may be over with, but it is never too late to join! If you would like to join, please visit our website, http://www.thhsptsa.org and click on
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Membership. Download our membership form and have your student turn in the form with dues to Debi Hope, the school receptionist. Our Hills vs. Hills teacher/staff membership competition is still under way but will end at the end of this month. Right now Laguna Hills and Trabuco Hills are tied with 43% of our teachers and staff joining the PTSA. If we have a greater percentage of staff joining our PTSA - WE WIN - and the Laguna Hills' Principal, PTSA president (soon to be new SVUSD School Board Member) and Membership Chair will be serving ice cream sundaes to our teachers and staff. If we lose however, we will be the ones serving ice cream sundaes over at Laguna Hills and forced to wear BROWN. Encourage your teachers to join the PTSA today! If you have any questions please contact me at v.braaksma@hotmail.com.

November 2010, Volume 1 Issue 3

ASB News: Weve Got Spirit!


By Aiko Mackus, Senior Class President, Monica Ukah, Junior Class President Henry Yin, Sophomore President
Our first full month has come to a close. The students at Trabuco Hills have been hard at work with being involved in school activities! One way ASB has kept the student body informed is through our monthly Senate Meetings. One representative from every homeroom comes to the MPR to get details and information about upcoming events. Then the student representatives go back to their homeroom classes and relay the information back to their homeroom classes! Recently we have discussed clubs. Clubs are really big on campus this year! The German Club is a good example of a popular curricular club on campus. The German club works to foster a sense of appreciation for the wonderful German culture. One of our non-curricular clubs is the Pink Ribbon Club. Pink Ribbon Club members raise funds for the Pink Ribbon Foundation, and awareness for breast cancer and walks for the cure. They even organized the Pink Out game a few weeks ago at which they had everyone come dressed in pink to show support for Breast cancer patients. Tailgate The atmosphere on Friday, October 22nd, was astounding! The annual tailgate was held on this Friday before one of Trabuco Hills home football game. During this festivity, over 15 clubs signed up to be part of this wonderful event by selling foods such as ramen noodles, popcorn, churros and much more, collecting money for their clubs. From beginning to end with the help of ASB, a dancing phenomenon ensued; students who attended joined in, in the end a two-hour dancing party ended and everybody left for the game pumped up! Overall, the tailgate was a success for all clubs and was a splendid time. Red Ribbon Red was everywhere; from the trees entwined with red ribbon to the staircase to places you would never see red. Monday, October 25th was the start of Red Ribbon Week, in which students took the pledge to stay drug free. Throughout this week, PAL was in charge of wear Red Day, and with the help of ASB, students who wore red received Got Spirit Points toward their grade level; this competition got many students to wear red and there was a great turnout! On Friday, October 27th, PAL students distributed Papa Johns Pizza discount certificates to those who wore their wristbands. PAL has done an awesome job and continues to work hard. Freshman elections Man was it a hectic week 10/1110/13! We had our freshman elections during that week and all day we saw the following candidates: Jessica Purnell, Megan Mondt and Natasha Behnam, scampering around campus trying to get their fellow classmates to vote for them. Beautiful posters were plastered throughout the school and each of them gave a wonderful speech to persuade their friends to vote for them! After a week of labor and hard work the results were in, and our new Freshman class president is. MEGAN MONDT! But thats not all; we still had one more seat to fill in our loving family of ASB. So we started to give interviews to find our next Freshman Commissioner. After hours of delegating and arguing about who should be our next Freshman Commissioner we finally decided upon. BEN FIELD! Congratulations Ben and Megan on your outstanding achievement. Homecoming AAARRRGGGHHHHit was a pirates night for me! Our Homecoming dance took place on Nov. 5th. It wouldnt be Homecoming without our royal court. Introducing our princes: 1.Connor Robertson 2.Ben Mullen 3.Daniel Taghidiri 4.Mark Hickey 5.Jansen Oshier. And a king always comes with princesses: 1.Kaiulani Bush 2. Ashley Brewer 3.Aaren Cadieux 4. Dani Franks 5.Kayla Zuckerman. Before the dance we had tons of spirit days: Mon-Bling day, Tues-Beach day, Wed- Stripes day, Thurs- Beards and Boots, Fri- Pirate day. [The Homecoming King and Queen were announced after this article was written.] Horsepower When Trabuco Hills High school students are caught being responsible they are rewarded with a little something called a Horsepower ticket. If a student is seen picking up trash, helping another student, cleaning up after others, being respectful, or something down that road, a teacher or staff member gives them a coupon called a Horsepower ticket. The students rip off a part of the ticket that has their name on it and they put in the black box in the student store. Students keep the other half so they can remember their good deed. Then twice monthly on the morning announcements, students who were picked randomly get to play a game; plinko or spin the wheel for fabulous prizes! These prices can consist of many gift cards for $20.00 iTunes, $15.00 Target, $15.00 at a variety of different restaurants, Knotts Berry Farm tickets, a $35.00 entertainment book or even $25.00 American Express cards can be your reward! So show your mighty mustang character and you may be able to play Plinko!

Go Blue!

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Trabuco Hills High School PTSAPony Express

Meet Dennis Walsh: New SVUSD Board Member


By Andrea Padian, Apadian@aol.com
Dennis Walsh is one of two new school board members who will be sworn in at the December School Board Meeting. We thank him for taking time out for us to get to know him better. In our February issue, we will ask the same questions of our second new school board member, Dolores Winchell. Tell us a little about yourself..... I was born in New York, and came to California in 1974. I moved to Saddleback Valley in 1982, and have lived in Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, and Laguna Hills. I currently live in Lake Forest with my wife Julie. Our three children all attended schools in SVUSD. We have a daughter, two sons, and a grandson. I have a BS in Business Administration and Accounting from CSULB, and an MBA from UCI. Why were you interested in running for this new school board position, especially under our current budget crisis? I have been interested for a long time, but I felt that the current Board of Education members were doing a good job, especially considering the circumstances the state has put us in. With two incumbents deciding not to run for reelection, I thought now was the time. As far as the current budget crisis is concerned, many people could do the job if there was plenty of money. With all the budget cuts it is a much more difficult job now. But that is what makes it so special. I think education is extremely important, and I would like to use my education and experience to continue the excellent education that SVUSD is providing to our community.
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What new ideas/skills do you bring to the table that you think will help our school board/community most? I dont know that I necessarily have new ideas. The current ideas we have seem to be good. But because of the lack of local control, and the state controlling the purse strings, we are extremely limited as to what we can do.

What is your philosophy about education in our public schools and its future in our state? The purpose of government is to provide for the general welfare of its citizens. If education and health are not the two most important things, then I do not know what are. School should be incredibly expensive for government and should be absolutely free of charge for its citizens, just like national defense. But we continue to cut education while spending billions on wars we have started. Since 2001 we have spent over a trillion dollars on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just think what we could have accomplished if we had spent that money on education. The educational system in California was once considered the best in the United States. That is no longer true. If we do not make education in California a higher priority, I believe we face a challenging future. We have to make our representatives in Sacramento and Washington back up their words with actions. They all say education is their top priority, but they do not back that up with the financial support we need. California is one of the few states that funds education at the state level. Our property taxes in Saddleback Valley are not enough to cover the cost of education, so the state provides most of our money. Unfortunately that means that we spend less per student that about 40 other states spend. There is no good reason why the state of California, with all our resources, cant provide for the needs of a world class educational system.

What would you like most to see change, if you could change anything in our district? I would like to see the restoration of the programs we have had to cut over the past few years. We continue to improve our API scores, but there is more to education then just test scores. I believe that in order to best prepare our students, they need to be well rounded. That means arts and music and sports and theater among many other things. Most of the changes we need are not from within the district, but from the state and federal governments. What do you see as your biggest challenge and how do you plan to face it? I feel the biggest challenge is money, or lack of it. Since we have to work under the assumption that we will not be getting any increases in our budget for the near future, we need to make sure we make the best of what we have. With declining enrollment added to the equation, that makes it even harder. I believe we need to continue to look at our elementary school capacity levels. It does not make sense to have 24 schools open under capacity. Although no one likes to close a school, we need to look at that option. We also need to continue to apply for grants, and seek donations and build partnerships with businesses in our district.

November 2010, Volume 1 Issue 3

Absenteeism and Its Consequences: It Hurts More than you Think


By Andrea Padian, Apadian@aol.com
Did you know that the day after Halloween our school had one of the top absentee rates of the year? Why? Too much candy? Too much fun? Did you know when three furlough days were added to our Thanksgiving break, it wasnt just to give the students a week off, but to help stop the practice parents have made of turning 4 day weekends into 5 or 9 day weekends? School began on a Monday this year because so many students miss the first days of school when school starts midweek. Most of us have done it, but do you really understand the cost of doing that kind of thing to our school and district? For instance, did you know that schools dont get paid for students on days when they are absent? It doesnt matter whether they are sick or taking a vacation day. We do not encourage you to send sick kids to school, but when they are gone and they are not sick, the financial impact on our school can really add up and it hurts everyone especially our students. Payrolls still need to met, electric bills still need to be paid and life goes on. The school and district still has to spend the money, but they receive less from the state. School funding is based on something referred to as ADA (Average Daily Attendance). Our district and schools lose well over a million dollars annually in funding due to absentee rates $37/day/student - GONE. Last year, Trabuco Hills lost $772,520.00 alone in funding because of our absenteeism. Generally, 5% of our Trabuco students are absent each day at our school and more than 6% of our special ed students. We have almost 3300 students. Do the math. We simply cant afford these losses on top of the cuts we are already enduring. If you are taking a vacation this year, make sure it falls within the official school holiday schedule or consider writing a check directly to the school to cover the funds lost for the days your students are vacationing. The best answer to this problem is to stick to the school schedule. Please dont make your own special non-school days. And, if your student needs to leave school, schedule their appointments for the end of the day. That way, their absence will not result in a loss of funds. Enjoy the upcoming holidays, but remember to be back at school on time ready to start again. Being in school matters in many ways stay home if youre sick, but otherwise, please be at school.

Support the PTSA and Win a Car!!!


For just $50, you can purchase a raffle ticket to win a 2010 Toyota Corolla LE 1838 from Capistrano Toyota. Only 600 tickets will be sold and every ticket purchaser will receive a coupon for 50% off an oil change at Capistrano Toyota. When will you ever have these kind of odds? Dont let this chance slip away. For more details and purchase information, visit thhsptsa.org.

(must be 18 to purchase a raffle ticket)

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Trabuco Hills High School PTSAPony Express

Sign up or renew your participation in Ralphs and Vons/Pavilions Value Customer Community Support Programs ITS EASY! ITS FREE! ITS POWERFUL!

www.ralphs.c om Org. Number 92164 Or Name: Trabuco Hills High School PTSA

Register your grocery club card(s) and the rest is done by Ralphs and eScrip. The instruction for how to sign up for these great fundraising opportunities are posted at http://www.ptsa.org. Click on Ralphs Club Card Instructions. The icon for each program on the above mentioned website will lead you directly to a Sign-In screen for that particular program. Then just follow the prompts and use the group/organization numbers from this ad. Even if you sign up for these fundraisers in the past, you HAVE to renew your participation every year.
The Ralphs program runs from September 1 to August 31. eScrip (Vons/Pavilions) program runs from August 1 to July 31.* DONT WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW. LET OUR SCHOOL EARN MONEY TOO.

www.eScrip.c om

Group ID 10482514 Or Group Name: Trabuco Hills Ptsa

*Starting January 1, 2011, our school must earn a minimum of $100 annually (January 1 - December 31) to continue to receive contributions through the Safeway eScrip program

Our friends at Office Max are working to get supplies for us at significant savings! We have a wonderful coupon to pass on to you on our website. Get $10 off any $30 purchase through 11/24/10! Visit http://www.thhsptsa.org Click on Restaurant Week and scroll down to the yellow HERE to print the coupon.

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November 2010, Volume 1 Issue 3

Senior Scholarship Committee Forming Now


By Andrea Padian, PTSA President, Apadian@aol.com
If you are a PTSA member and don't have a senior graduating this year, we'd like to encourage you to help on our Senior PTSA Scholarship Committee. We will be forming the committee this month and will begin looking at ways to publicize these scholarships, set up criteria and a deadline for their submission, as well as a process/form for evaluating them to most fairly determine the recipients. The committee will work with guidance staff during this process. While it seems early to get this started, with the holidays ahead, January finals and all the things that make completing the application process difficult, the due date for these applications will be upon us sooner than one might think. We'd like as many seniors as possible to apply and will try to put out the requirements and instructions for these scholarships before the new year so seniors are able to give it the time they need to - perhaps during the holiday break. So, if you'd like to help on this committee, we're looking for 5-6 people. Please email Heather Gennette at heathergennette@gmail.com or Andrea Padian at apadian@aol.com if you are interested or have any questions. Or, come to our November 15th PTSA meeting at 7 PM in the school library and we'll talk to you then. Thanks for helping!

Bylaw Review Committee


By Gayathri Sivadas, PTSA Parliamentarian
At the last October meeting, a PTSA bylaw committee was formed to review and update the old bylaws. Changes were made and submitted last year so there wont be any major changes to the bylaws this year. The committee will, however, meet and see what needs to be amended and propose these amendments at the November 15th meeting. After thirty days or at the February association meeting, we will vote collectively to approve the changes in order to submit them to the state PTA parliamentarian for further approval.

Wow WowA Big Thank You From the PTSA!!!


By Andrea Padian, PTSA President, Apadian@aol.com
The PTSA executive board would especially like to thank the following dads for their generous donations to the PTSA. First, James Paredo, who donated $500 to help keep a painting of Einstein at our school in lieu of auctioning it off for additional funds. Upon the completion of the library/ administration building modernization, it will be placed in the library for all to enjoy. The Paredo family also kindly donated $100 towards classroom supplies to help purchase items that teachers no longer can order from the district due to budget cuts. James also purchased one of our 2010 Toyota Corolla raffle tickets to auction off at the Mission Viejo Red Ribbon Week Walk in October. Thank you Paredo Family!
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Additionally, we'd like to thank Boudewijn Hanrath for his spontaneous donation of $1000 to help the PTSA fund two assemblies for all students instead of just one assembly for two classes, seniors and juniors. The other alternative was to use money from our Mini-Grant program to fund the two assemblies, but his kindness helped us keep that money for further Mini-Grant requests. That assembly will be presented in the near future and addresses the issue of Drunk Driving: Not an Accident, but a Choice. We look forward to bringing an incredibly powerful speaker to THHS. With the help of our fellow PTSA parents, we are making things happen. Thank you so much!!

Trabuco Hills High School PTSAPony Express

Education Funding: The Current State Budget, How We Got Here and Lawsuits
By Mike Padian, Legislative Representative
Current State Budget Gov. Schwarzenegger finally signed a budget on October 8, 100 days later than required and a new record for tardiness. With spending reductions, anticipated federal funds, some accounting smoke and mirrors gimmicks, and little in the way of new revenues, the budget is supposedly balanced. After $17 billion in cuts to education over the past few years, overall K-12 education funding will remain fairly constant from last years funding level. Although this budget provides an increase in funding of $1.7 billion, or about $275 per pupil, over the Governors May proposals, all of this money is deferred into the 20112012 school year. But there were some educationrelated casualties: $256 million cut from child care, which will terminate child care for about 56,000 children, starting November 1, 2010; $80 million cut from child welfare services, which together with the loss of $56 million in federal matching funds, will continue to constrain services to abused and neglected children in the foster care system; and $133 million cut from county appropriations to fund mental health services for special education students. The California State PTA is especially angry about, and disappointed by, the Governors veto of more than $1 billion from critical programs for children and families after the Legislature had voted to largely protect these programs. How We Got Here There are four important events that changed California school funding, leading to California being in the bottom 10 of the 50 states for per student funding. In the 1976 Serrano v. Priest case, the California Supreme Court declared the local property tax-based system of school funding to be unconstitutional, violating the equal protection clause. It required basic per stuPage 12

dent funding of school districts (within categories of districts) to be equal or within a small margin. This was supposed to eliminate the discrepancy between affluent and lowerincome districts. Proposition 13 was approved by the voters in 1978; it capped property tax rates and limited increases in assessed value. It required a 2/3 vote for new local taxes. Suddenly, local property taxes were no longer the major source of school funding it shifted to state funding. As a result, the governor and the Legislature took over the allocation of property taxes to schools, cities, counties, and specials districts. While it was a popular idea, and remains so today, no one anticipated all of the potential consequences. Proposition 98 was a Constitutional Amendment that was passed by voters in 1988. It guarantees a minimum funding level for K-14 public education, determined by a complex formula based on tax revenue. Originally it was looked at as a minimum, but now is considered to be more like a ceiling or limit. With some more creative accounting, the Governor and Legislature have been able to reduce these minimum funding levels. Lastly, Californias school districts receive the majority of their funding through a formula known as revenue limits While it is commonly believed that this funding is equitably distributed across districts, this is not the case. Revenue limit funding is based on a complex series of formulas reflecting a long and convoluted history. A percentage of the property tax generated by real property located within a district is assigned to the district; state aid makes up the difference between a districts entitlement and its property tax revenue. If a districts property tax exceeds its entitlement, it gets to retain these excess taxes; about 10% of the States schools fall

into this category. The sum of the entitlement and any excess taxes are a districts revenue limit funds. There are numerous district classifications, including rural or urban, the number of students, and unified or high school only or elementary only. As a result of all of these factors, districts such as SVUSD receive less overall funding per student than Irvine Unified or Newport Mesa. The Lawsuits On May 2010, a historic lawsuit was filed against the State of California requesting that the current education finance system be declared unconstitutional and that the State be required to establish a school finance system that provides all students an equal opportunity to meet the academic goals set by the State. This lawsuit, Robles-Wong v. California, was brought forth by a broad coalition of students, parents, nine school districts (Santa Ana is one of the litigants, SVUSD is not), and educational organizations, including the California State PTA. The plaintiffs are not asking the court to mandate a particular school finance system, order specific allocation methods, or determine the amount of money that the State should spend on K-12 public education. On Sept. 10, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the state, arguing that all students are entitled to a free education , including all books, materials, and extracurricular and sports related costs. In addition, within the last month, Public Advocates and Californians for Justice filed a separate lawsuit that also challenges the school finance system. In conclusion, it is imperative that the school funding system be revised. And while there are many different efforts to change the funding system, there are strong forces out there that want to maintain the status quo.

November 2010, Volume 1 Issue 3

Holiday PTSA Dinner Celebration


Please join the Trabuco Hills High PTSA executive board members in December as they celebrate the holiday season and the start of a great new year for the PTSA. The date and location of the dinner has not been set yet, but look for more information on the PTSA website, http:// www.thhsptsa.org, in a couple weeks and in Debi Hope's daily announcements soon. Meet other concerned parents, support the PTSA and come ready to have an enjoyable evening. Everyone is welcome; reservations will be required and dinners will be paid for in advance. Go Blue and Go PTSA!

California State PTA Senior Scholarships


Compiled by Heather Gennette from http://www.capta.org
Scholarships to further various kinds of higher education are provided annually by the California State PTA. Scholarships are for use during the fall semester/quarter following high school graduation. The California State PTA will offer graduating high school seniors scholarships in the amount of $500 each to acknowledge the achievements of high school seniors for volunteer service in the school and community. The scholarship does not have a grade point average restriction or requirement. Scholarship funds are available to high school seniors graduating between January 1st and June 30th of the current academic year from high schools in California with a PTA/PTSA Unit in good standing. Scholarships are to be used at an accredited college or university, community college, or trade or technical school. school faculty. Completed reference forms and letters should be returned to the applicant in a sealed envelope to be included with the application packet. Reference form and letter must be written specifically for this scholarship application. Copies of recommendation letters for college admission are NOT accepted. Do not submit more than the requested two reference forms and letters. Reference forms and letters in sealed envelopes, a legible copy of applicants current PTA/PTSA membership card on an 8 x 11 sheet of paper and completed application are to be mailed together in ONE envelope to the California State PTA. Application envelope must be received in the California State PTA office by close of business February 1, 2011. Applications will not be considered if received after deadline date or if any of the required materials are missing. Application and reference forms with letters must be mailed; facsimiles will not be accepted.

Application and Deadline


An application (including two reference forms) may be obtained from the California State PTA office or on the website at http://www.capta.org . References are to be completed by a community volunteer leader with whom the student applicant has served and a member of the high

Selection
Recipients are selected by representatives of the California State PTA Scholarship & Grant Committee. All applicants will be notified of their standing by letter in May. A check for the scholarship will be sent directly to the recipient.

Words to Ponder.
One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes...and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.
Eleanor Roosevelt

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The Pony Express

Mark Your Calendar...


November 11No school (Veterans Day) November 12No school (California Admission Day Observation) November 15deadline for teachers, counselors & volunteers to apply for State PTA scholarships (see http://www.capta.org for details) November 15, 7pmPTSA General Meeting, MPR November 22-26Thanksgiving Break, no school December 3Day of the Special Educator December 6-10Restaurant Week (see page 2 for details) December 8Late Start December 7Freshman Parent Night December 8At Risk Freshman Night December 11ACT (Saddleback College & Capistrano Valley High) December 14, 6:15pmSVUSD Board of Education Meeting, SVUSD Boardroom December 20-31Winter Break, no school January 11, 6:15pmSVUSD Board of Education Meeting, SVUSD Boardroom January 12PSAT Results January 12Late Start January 17Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, no school January 22SAT and Subject Tests (register by December 23) January 26-28Finals, Minimum Days February 1Deadline for seniors to apply for CA State PTA scholarships (see article on page 13 for details) February 7, 7pmPTSA General Meeting, Library, slate of officers for the 2011-2012 PTSA Board will be announced February 12ACT (Saddleback College & Capistrano Valley High) March 12SAT (register by February 11) February 8, 6:15pmSVUSD Board of Education Meeting, SVUSD Boardroom February 17PTA Founders Day February 18, 21February Recess, no school March 12SAT (register by February 11)