La Colina Junior High School

Skip to main content

Principal's Message for December 11, 2015

Principal’s Message: David L. Ortiz

Happy Holidays: On behalf of the La Colina staff, I want to wish you the happiest of holidays. We are honored to serve such a hard working, caring, and enthusiastic student body and parent community. Each day is a vivid reminder that if one gives their best effort, positive outcomes occur.


Appreciation: Please remember to thank our staff for their ongoing dedicated effort. Their integrity, intentionality, and ability distinguishes them as true professionals.


Progress Reports: You should receive the progress report card this week. These grades should mirror your child’s grades listed in NEO; our online gradebook. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the respective teacher, counselor, or assistant principal. Caseloads by last name are:


  • A-L: Kristi Morris (counselor); Aaron Harkey (assistant principal)
  • M-Z: Athena Sims (counselor); Carole Nevarez (assistant principal)

ParentSquare: We are excited to announce that we are improving our communication efforts with each of you by launching ParentSquare to our school. ParentSquare is a two-way private communication platform for preschools and K-12 schools. It provides a safe way for administrators, teachers, staff, groups, and parents to connect and effectively communicate. Please see the full description posted on our website. You will soon receive an email to activate your account to receive the ParentSquare notifications. We will start regular use after the winter recess.


California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS): The purpose of this survey is to gather information about school climate and factors that affect learning. It deals with such issues as truancy, safety, harassment, substance use, and school connectedness. The survey is part of the Cal-SCHLS, a comprehensive student health risk and resilience assessment tool for students, staff, and parents.


  • Participation is voluntary. It is also very important. The information provided will help guide district and school efforts to promote safety, enhance learning supports, improve student achievement, and reduce health risks that stand as barriers to learning.
  • This is an anonymous survey. It is designed so that participating students cannot be identified from the data.
  • All questions apply to this school only.
  • The results are for the use of your district. California Department of Education/CHKS will preserve data confidentiality and refer any data requests to the district.
  • All 7th and 8th grade students will take the CHKS in their math class from December 2 - January 21. Some teachers will take their students to the computer lab to complete the survey; others will utilize the Chromebooks to administer the survey in their classrooms.
  • If you have any questions or comments or would like to exempt your child from taking the survey, please direct them to Ms. Carole Nevarez (Assistant Principal).

"2016 AXXESS Books Make Great LAST MINUTE GIFTS" : From now until December 18th, get THREE 2016 Santa Barbara AXXESS Books for $75! Don't delay, a limited number are available at this price to benefit La Colina's teachers and classrooms. Single books are $30 and valid through 12/31/16. To purchase, you may:


(1) Fill out an order form available in the LCJHS office OR

(2) Contact PTSA Coordinator Jennifer Davy directly at or (310) 995-6139 (mobile/text) to reserve ASAP."


Parent Engagement: I want to encourage you to get involved in our school. Below, I’ve listed three key committees:


  • Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA; meeting 2nd Wednesday, 7:00, library); exception is December (meeting cancelled).
  • English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC; meeting 2nd Wednesday, 5:45, library); exception is December (meeting cancelled).
  • Staff/Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SSEPAC; quarterly meetings; the next meeting is Wednesday, February 9, 6:00, Staff Lounge). For additional information see Carole Nevarez (assistant principal).

Crisis: Important tips from Santa Barbara Response Network: Many people are still in shock and maybe experiencing strong emotions after the recent shootings in San Bernardino, and our children maybe especially afraid and vulnerable. While media coverage may be informative, it can also be very upsetting and confusing. Media coverage can be especially upsetting for children. As a parent, it is important to help your child minimize their distress as much as possible. Below are tips for Helping Children Cope:


  • The younger the child, the less exposure the child should have. At your discretion, you may even choose to eliminate all media exposure.
  • Ask your child about their thoughts and feelings to better understand their perception
  • Talk to your child about the situation and reassure them of their safety
  • Be mindful of what you say around your child; he/she may misread something you say.
  • Let your child know that many people are concerned and working to resolve the issue.
  • Take care of YOURSELF so that you can better assist your child
  • The key word is CONNECTION -- ask for help, support and opportunities to talk.
  • Santa Barbara Response Network (SBRN) is a volunteer community organization dedicated to offering psychological first aid and support for resilient recovery from crisis and trauma.
  • Santa Barbara Response Network (SBRN) can be reached at (805)-699-5608.

Changes in NEO login:

The SB Unified School District is changing the way we log into NEO. As of Thursday, December 10, everyone will log in at If you have a account at more than one NEO school site or if there are people with the same usernames, you may receive an email from NEO stating that your username has been changed. Follow the instructions in the email to continue accessing that NEO account using the new specified username. No passwords will change as part of this process.


Questions? Contact Amy McMillan at




  • San Marcos High School: Kids Helping Kids is a non-profit organization run out of the senior class at San Marcos High school. They are a group of empowered students striving to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth in our local community and internationally. This year NEEDTOBREATHE with a supporting act of JOHHNYSWIM will be headlining their annual benefit gala at the Granada Theater on January 8th. Tickets are on sale now on! Purchase them before they're all sold out!
  • El Nino: One of our upcoming concerns will be the potentially significant rains produced by El Nino this winter. Please start to discuss with your child ways to maintain safety and good health. For example, dressing appropriately, walking not running, and staying away from saturated and muddied areas. Communication should also be a priority. Know that our school preparation is well under way.
  • High School Orientations: Stay tuned, we are in the process of scheduling the dates. To date:
    • SBHS: March 15, 17, and 24, 3:30, @ SBHS (room tbd): classes, electives, and activities.
    • SMHS: tbd
    • DPHS: tbd

Tutorial Centers: Help for all La Colina students

  • Lunchtime: Room 308, Ms. Womack, Monday-Thursday
  • After-School: 2:30-4:00, Library, Ms. Sillars, Monday-Thursday

Mark Your Calendar:

12-14 Progress Report Cards (to be mailed this week)

12-16 Fire drill (1:40, period 6); Winter Music Concert (7:00, Auditorium)

12-17 After-school sports (ends)

12-21 Winter Recess (start)

1-1 Winter Recess (end)

1-4 School resumes; Transfer window (start)

1-11 Padres Adelante (6:00, Hope School)

1-12 Dr. Ben Drati (Assistant Superintendent) visit (10:00)

1-13 ELAC (5:45, library); PTSA (7:00, library)

1-14 SBUSD High School Academy Showcase (6:00, Earl Warren Showgrounds)

1-18 Martin Luther King Holiday (no school)

1-20 Incoming Parent Orientation and Open House (6:00, auditorium, selected classrooms)

1-22 Semester #1 (end); Minimum Day (school schedule: 8:30-11:56)

1-27 AVID potluck (5:00, Cafe)

2-1 Semester Report Cards (to be mailed this week)

2-12 Lincoln’s Birthday (no school)

2-15 Presidents Holiday (no school); Transfer window (end)


District Website:


District e-News Sign-up Page (English):


District e-News Sign-up Page (Spanish):


District Fast Facts: Http://


La Colina Website: