Flower Hill Primary School Principal Lucia Laguarda’s long association with the Los Angeles based not-for-profit Cotsen Foundation for the Art of Teaching has resulted in a $7,000 grant to the Huntington School District.
Flower Hill’s principal since December 1, 2017, Ms. Laguarda obtained a BA in sociology with a minor in Spanish at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May 1992. She also studied as an undergraduate at Universidad de Sevilla in Spain and went on to earn an MA in Education with a multicultural emphasis at California State University-Dominguez Hills in May 1996.
“I have been on the board of directors of the Cotsen Foundation for about 10 years,” Ms. Laguarda said. “The Foundation has worked with hundreds of schools in Southern California, where I first started my career in education through Teach For America. Their whole philosophy is supporting good teachers so they can become great teachers. The Cotsen Foundation provides mentors for selected teachers to get even better at their art of teaching. When I was a principal in Los Angeles, I was able to get the Cotsen Foundation to support eight of my 25 teachers and we turned the whole school around to become a great school that staff wanted to bring their own children to.”
The Cotsen Foundation was created by Lloyd Cotsen, the former president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of the Neutrogena Corp. He passed away at 88 in May 2017, but the Foundation’s work continues.
“The work that the Cotsen Foundation does with teachers is like nothing else out there,” Ms. Laguarda said. “The level of support, professional development and coaching that teachers receive really changes their whole way of teaching. As a board member, I receive funds that I can give to non-profits of my choice. I am able to donate to the two schools that I have been a principal at in Los Angeles and in Massachusetts and now I will be donating to Flower Hill in Huntington. There are many things that teachers need in order to go from good to great and budgets don’t always cover all of those items.”
The Cotsen Foundation’s $7,000 grant to Huntington UFSD and Flower Hill will be put to good use during the 2018/19 school year.
“One of the things that we will be purchasing for every classroom at Flower Hill is a classroom rug so that all students can come forward, close to the teacher and to each other for mini-lessons and interactive technology lessons as well as to have more opportunities for ‘turn and talk’ and student interactions and student engagement,” Ms. Laguarda said. “These are all research proven teaching strategies that help all teachers and classrooms go from good to great.”