A tutor helps a student out as part of the American Assn. of University Women's after-school tutoring program. (Coastline Pilot / January 24, 2012)

Thurston Middle School named a 'school to watch'

Thurston Middle School was named one of 12 "Schools to Watch" in the state, the state schools chief said Thursday.

State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Thurston as a newly designated model middle school in the Schools to Watch — Taking Center Stage program. Only two middle schools in Orange County received the recognition.

"My congratulations and admiration go out to these schools for continually striving to improve student performance," Torlakson said in a prepared statement. "Their success is the result of effective and innovative practices that motivate their students to learn and excel."

Only high-performing schools that demonstrate "academic excellence, developmental responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, social equity, and organizational support" are chosen, according to a state press release.

As a model school, Thurston will host local and international school officials looking to improve their own schools by replicating its model.

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Tutors needed for TLC program

Help Laguna Beach students with after-school tutoring for an hour or two a week.

The Laguna Beach branch of the American Assn. of University Women is seeking volunteers for The Learning Club, or TLC, an after-school tutoring program for children in second through fifth grade at El Morro Elementary School.

TLC serves children whose teachers recommended they need additional help with homework and basic educational concepts. The program runs on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons through May.

Tutoring positions are open to adults and teens who have an hour or two to give a week and like to work with children. No experience is necessary.

Training will be provided.

To volunteer or for more information, contact Peggie Thomas at (949) 499-1817 or pegthomas@cox.net, or Barbara Antonacci at (949) 241-5139 or anton21@cox.net.

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Support the high school's journalism program

Help support local high school students pursue and enhance their writing, artistic and journalistic skills.

The Laguna Beach High School newspaper, the Brush and Palette, is hosting its second annual benefit concert at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 at the Artists Theatre.

"The students in the journalism class are dedicated, focused and talented writers," said Principal Joanne Culverhouse in a press release. "They investigate and report on important issues and trends related to LBHS. The paper is a significant part of our tradition and school culture and the concert will serve the dual purpose of supporting the efforts of our journalists as well as providing an evening of outstanding music and fun."

The concert will feature both solo and group student acts performing a jazz showcase, hard rock/metal, pop/rock covers by a ukulele soloist, a funk band and hip hop. Your Ugly Sister will also perform.