Dear Our Lady of Grace School Community,
I hope this letter finds you well!
We have been very busy this summer at OLG. The various renovations our campus is undergoing will provide our students with a real treat when they return in August! Here is a quick look at what is being done.
+ We have upgraded to a top-rated enterprise grade Meraki network that will allow greater visibility, speeds and control throughout the campus.
+ The first – fifth grade classrooms have been completely refreshed with
- Fresh paint
- Beautiful new flooring
- Brand new classroom cabinetry that should be much more functional for students and teachers alike
- Apple TVs (throughout the campus)
+ The new library next to the first grade classroom (formally the STEP office) has been refreshed with new paint, and will await a complete overhaul with our 2018-19 School Improvement Drive funds over Christmas!
+ The health office has also received a complete refresh with new floors, new paint, and new cabinetry.
+ The bungalows have seen some great improvements:
- New drop ceiling tiles
- The music room has a new designer acoustic wall to buffer the noise level for the art classes
- What was formally the art storage room has been converted to the new STEP room complete with a new window to allow in natural light.
+ The back office has also seen some improvement with the removal of the old cubicles and the addition of new furniture for Laura Schleicher, our office manager, and Marissa Franchino, our new development assistant.
+ The former counseling office has been expanded and converted into a study room that can function as a half-classroom, seminar or meeting space. We are simply calling it “The Study”.
+ Finally, and with much gratitude to Mr. Guy Bans, the “cage” patio structure has been safely demolished. We will be placing storage sheds in the newly cleaned space for storage. With the addition of the carnival storage unit in the south lot, many of the items formally housed in the cage have been moved out of that space and into the storage bin.
+ The former library has been re-created to a classroom that will house middle school Spanish ad social studies. It has received new student desks, a new white board, a new interactive projector, and Apple TV.
In other news, we have been busy hiring new faculty members to join our team for the 18-19 school year. We welcome the following incredibly talented and committed teachers.
Cinthia Rodarte has been hired to be our new first grade teacher for 2018-19 school year, and she is proud to call Our Lady of Grace her new home. She has over 10 years of teaching experience in Catholic schools, a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in the Arts, and a Masters in Education and a Clear California Multiple Subject Credential. She is an exuberant and passionate educator that believes in creating a classroom environment that’s inviting, and where Christ is the center of the day. She has been a remarkable kindergarten teacher for the past 12 years, and she cannot wait to begin her 13th year teaching 1st grade at Our Lady of Grace!
Catherine Batarse has been hired as our new third grade teacher for the 2018-19 school year. Mrs. Batarse is a current parent at OLG—with one child in first grade and one coming into TK this year. She is a veteran educator within the Catholic school system, having served 14 years as a teacher. She has an outstanding track record and comes highly reviewed and recommended. She will be one of the newest additions to what is surely an all-star cast!
Miss Catherine Lamb has been hired as our new fifth grade teacher for the 2018-19 school year to replace Miss Louisa Marasco who resigned late in the summer. Miss Lamb is excited to join us at OLG. She comes to us from Archer School for Girls in Brentwood, and has an outstanding energy and passion for excellence in education. Our fifth grade students are in for a real treat with Miss Lamb. Please join me in welcoming her to OLG!
We welcome Ben Weiser to the middle school team. He will be teaching Literature and English Language Arts/Grammar. He grew up in North Hollywood and attended high school at Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks. He attended Arizona State University, graduating with a degree in English, emphasizing Creative Writing, and started working at Laurel Hall School full time. He started as a PE teacher and coach, and more recently made his way into the middle school program as the 7th Grade English/Language Arts teacher. He couldn't be more excited to start his new journey here, at Our Lady of Grace. Anyone who knows him knows how important sports are to him. When he is not busy teaching and planning, you will find him reading a compelling book, kayaking the coast, or hiking in Griffith Park. Let's give Mr. Weiser a BIG OLG welcome!
I am also happy to note some appointments and re-assignments among our returning staff. Marisa Franchino has been appointed part-time development assistant to Pat Baker. Mrs. Franchino will continue to teach all three sections of middle school science. Miss Kelly Iannuzzi has been appointed to teach art classes part-time for first through eighth grades and to coordinate STEP services at OLG. Michelle Roberson will be moving from third grade to fourth grade in the new year.
As the school year is in it's dawn, we pray to our Lady of Grace for her guidance and protection so that this new school year will be fruitful in learning, loving, and growth in faith in the risen Lord!
Let's make it the best school year yet!
Thomas A. Ambriz, MA, MBA