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La Ballona A to Z

Your student will receive art lessons during the school year virtually through our school platforms. The Culver City Education Foundation has donated art kits for all students.

For the 2020-2021 school year, all assemblies will be held virtually unless otherwise noted. All assemblies, whether virtual or in-person, are funded by the PTA.

Parent and guardian assemblies — We will announce these on social media and on the La Ballona school and PTA websites.

Joanna Martinez is La Ballona’s Attendance Clerk. Contact Joanna if your child is sick, late to school or has to take a leave of absence. Click here to email her.

This event typically takes place during the second week of school. Back to School Night is an important event where parents get an opportunity to learn from their child’s teacher what they’ll focus on during the school year. This is a parent-only event.

For the 2020-2021 school year, Back to School Night will be held virtually, via Zoom, on September 2, 2020.

This event has been postponed for the 2020-2021 school year.

Funded by the Culver City Council PTA, the Backpack Program provides backpacks full of food every weekend for families in need. For more information, visit ccbackpacksforkids.com.

Grab some beach towels, pack a picnic, and head to the beach with the La Ballona community! Join us where Washington Blvd. meets the beach in early October for a safely-distanced beach clean-up. This event is a great way to teach our students the importance of keeping the ocean clean.

La Ballona’s PTA hosts a book fair two times per school year. Held in the library, each class gets a chance to visit and then return to make purchases. Additionally, teachers may create a “wish list” for their classroom. A portion of total sales goes to the PTA to support our school.

Stay tuned for our virtual book fair for 2020!

Is it a cafeteria? Is it an auditorium? It’s both! Lunch, assemblies, PTA meetings, student music and theater performances, family nights, and much more are all held in this space.

The California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program measures how well the California education system and its students are performing. These tests measure student achievement in mathematics, English-language arts, science, and history-social science. Teachers, parents and education officials can use the results to identify strengths and weaknesses in order to improve student learning. Students and their parents can compare individual academic abilities against grade-level requirements and the results of other students in that grade.

Traditionally, La Ballona families come together on the weekend before school starts to spruce up and ready the campus for the new school year. This involves painting, gardening, chalk art and more!

We look forward to joining La Ballona families to beautify the school when it is safe to do so.

La Ballona students are introduced to the ins and outs of different career possibilities to connect academic pursuits with professional opportunities. Career Day typically takes place during the spring.

Volunteers for this event are essential! Parents and community members from any and all careers are invited to participate.

CCUSD stands for Culver City Unified School District. Their website is ccusd.org.

The La Ballona Choir, led by Mrs. Gallagher, meets every Friday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 8:35 a.m. in the Cafetorium. Open to 2nd through 5th graders, the choir has two performances during the school year, a Winter Concert and a Spring Concert.

Choir will not take place during distance learning.

CCUSD loans Chromebooks to students who might not otherwise have access to a computer at home. For information on how to apply for a Chromebook, visit CCUSD’s Tech Support page.

Class Dojo is an online program for classroom communication. Your child’s teacher may use Class Dojo to send updates, assignments and more to parents.

Stay tuned!

The annual costume parade coincides with Halloween and is held on the blacktop yard at the end of the day.  Students and staff are encouraged to participate and families are welcome to come and spectate.   

This event will not take place in 2020.

The Culver City Education Foundation (CCEF) is a nonprofit organization that provides funds for all Culver City schools. They help support La Ballona’s Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, Growing Great, and many other programs.

To learn more about CCEF, visit their website, ccef4schools.org.

See Special Needs Community.

For the 2020-2021 school year, students are learning via computers in Synchronous (live with the teacher) and Asynchronous (not live: through online platforms, viewing pre-recorded sessions, reading on their own, handouts, etc.) modes.

Find more information about the Culver City Unified School District’s policies and guidelines for distance learning on their homepage, https://www.ccusd.org/.

Families can donate directly to the La Ballona PTA at any time to support site-wide initiatives benefiting all students.

School is dismissed at 1:45 p.m. on the following days:

  • Every Wednesday of the regular school year.
  • The Friday before Winter Break.
  • The Friday before Spring Break.
  • The last day of school.

Please note that this schedule applies when students are on campus. For the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, students will not be going to campus to receive their lessons.

ELAC stands for English Learner Advisory Committee. This group of La Ballona volunteers meets every two months during the school year. ELAC volunteers work with Pamela Greenstein from CCUSD to make sure the needs of English-language learners are supported.

At the start of the school year, every student must have a 2-gallon zip-top plastic bag packed with essentials in case of a natural disaster. The PTA sells ready-made kits, or you can make your own with the following items:

  • water bottles/juice pouches/juice boxes
  • non-perishable food (granola bars, crackers, dried fruit, etc.)
  • adhesive bandages
  • pocket pack of dry tissues
  • sealed wet wipes
  • a sweatshirt or warm layer to wear
  • list of emergency contacts
  • list of allergies

You may consider adding a family photo or other item that may comfort your child in an emergency.

For the 2020-2021 school year, families are staying safe at home. We encourage you to check your own supplies and make sure you have what your family needs in case of an emergency.

The La Ballona Fall Festival is an outdoor family event held at the school the first weekend of November. The event features carnival-style games and plenty of fun food options. Each class hosts a game booth and children can win prizes. The Fall Festival, like many of our school events, is possible thanks to the many volunteers who manage everything from set-up to breakdown.

This event will not take place in 2020.

Hosted almost monthly by the La Ballona PTA, family nights feature a variety of themes ranging from bingo, movie nights, a Valentine’s Day dance, open mic night, and stargazing.  Most events are free of charge with food and beverage available for purchase. All proceeds from these events benefit the PTA to support our school.

Stay tuned for virtual family night info!

Every Wednesday morning, visit the La Ballona Farmer’s Market for free fresh produce! Please bring your own bag.

The Farmer’s Market will not be available for the 2020-2021 school year.

La Ballona’s PTA funds at least one field trip per class, per year. Teachers, students and parent chaperones ride in district buses to experience off-campus educational and/or cultural activities.

Field trips will be virtual for the 2020-2021 school year.

Folklorico is an after-school program of choreographed traditional Mexican dances.

This program is TBD for the 2020-2021 school year and may be held virtually.

The La Ballona PTA has a number of fundraising events and campaigns throughout the year. Some of these are:

  • AmazonSmile
  • Online Auction
  • Direct donations
  • Food sales at school events
  • Lions’ Pride Run
  • Ralph’s Community Rewards
  • Restaurant Nights
  • Square1 Art
  • Teacher Treats Raffle

Check our event calendar for more information.

During the summer of 2020, CCUSD offered Grab n’ Go meals for students, and now they will be distributed at ALL CCUSD schools. For complete information, locations and instructions, visit CulverCafe.org.

Fun fact: CCUSD Food Services has a Twitter account! Follow @cclunchlady for the latest news.

La Ballona students benefit from a series of nutrition education lessons from parent volunteers utilizing a curriculum from Growing Great, a non-profit organization that promotes healthy food choices through hands-on education programs. To learn more, visit growinggreat.org.

During the 2020-2021 school year, with distance learning in place, the PTA hopes to provide videos from Growing Great in place of the in-person lessons.

If your child is sick, lease notify the school office by 9:30 a.m. and let them know your child will be absent. If you provide a doctor’s note, the absence will be excused. If your child has a fever please keep your child home after it breaks for 24 hours.

There may be additional instructions for informing your teacher during distance learning. Please check back for more information.

La Ballona’s PTA raises funds to provide one-on-one and small-group Instructional Aide assistance in our kids’ classrooms. 

La Ballona’s International Dance Festival is a celebration of cultures, art and food from around the globe. Every class takes a turn on the stage to perform dances from around the world.

This event is traditionally held in June and is TBD for the 2020-2021 school year. It may be held virtually if possible.

Incoming Kinder and TK families are invited to attend a casual event where new students may meet their teachers and mingle with their new classmates.  This event is typically held a few days before the start of the school year. 

For 2020, this event will be held virtually via Zoom. Parent volunteers are also organizing in-person gatherings for small groups that adhere to current health and safety regulations, ideally to be held in the first few weeks of school.

Our annual event is the school’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Students can earn prizes for fundraising, and classrooms can earn treats like a popcorn party or pajama day for participation.

This event is typically held in spring.

The school staff and PTA are not responsible for lost items. Please mark your child’s name on all items – clothing, lunch boxes, water bottles, etc. Found items are placed in a bin outside the cafeteria.

The La Ballona MakerSpace is an engaging place where students build, explore and discover in a very creative, hands-on way.

Please stay tuned to learn about MakerSpace curriculum during distance learning for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Office of Childhood Development (OCD) is part of CCUSD and provides a variety of preschool, before- and after-school care programs, and summer camps for elementary-age students. More information can be found on their website, ocd.ccusd.org.

The director of OCD is Vanessa San Martin. The office’s main phone number is (310) 842-4230.

At La Ballona, OCD runs before- and after-school programs called KIK and SACC.

KIK is after-school care for students in grades K-2.

SACC is after-school care for students in grades 3-5.

The La Ballona Online Auction is a multi-day online auction where you can bid on sports events, gift cards, art, experiences and many more amazing items. This event is put on by the La Ballona PTA to raise money to benefit our school.

If you have any item(s) to contribute, please contact bfglaballona@gmail.com.

The event takes place in the fall. Check our event calendar or news section for more information.

Held in March, Open House offers an opportunity for parents to visit their child’s classroom to see what they’ve been working on throughout the school year. Students get the chance to give a tour of their classroom and to show off their work. Teachers are present to answer questions. 

That same evening, students from grades 3-5 showcase their science and social studies projects in the Cafetorium. 

This event is TBD for the 2020-2021 school year.

In late January the 5th grade class travels to Pali Institute in Running Springs, California, for three days and two nights of exploration and inspiration. Students hike, practice archery, star-gaze, climb ropes, make art from nature, form deeper friendships, and, hopefully, see some snow. PTA fundraising directly supports this event.

This event is TBD for the 2020-2021 school year.

Parent-teacher conferences are held at the start of each trimester. First and third trimester conferences are on an as-needed basis. Second trimester conferences are mandatory for all students.

These conferences provide an opportunity for parents to discuss their child’s progress, concerns, etc., with their child’s teacher. Conferences are scheduled on days when students are dismissed early, at 1:45 p.m.

The school parking lot is designated for staff and faculty only during school hours. It is normally open for PTA meetings and select evening events.

Street parking is available for school drop off and pick up, however we encourage families to walk, bike, bus or carpool to school whenever possible. 

A group of volunteers called the “Cone Crew” facilitates morning drop-off at the back of the school on Matteson Ave. Simply drive eastbound on Matteson and a volunteer will help your child out of your car so you don’t have to worry about parking.

Cone Crew will not operate during distance learning. 

Scheduled in October, this is the day where student portraits and class photos are taken for the new school year.  A make-up photo day is scheduled later in the year for any students that may have been absent, enrolled after the start of school or for whom a retake may be needed.

For 2020-2021, Picture Day will be spread across three days. Students will come to campus at assigned times and have their pictures taken by a photographer from a safe distance. 

Dr. Rebecca Godbey is the principal of La Ballona Elementary School. She taught at La Ballona before becoming an administrator in the school districts of El Segundo and Compton. Click here to email her.

The 5th grade class celebrates their graduation from elementary school the day before school ends in June with a formal ceremony on the blacktop and a picnic following.

For the 2020-2021 school year, this will take place if we can safely hold a large in-person event.  Otherwise, an alternative celebration will be planned. 

Kindergarten promotion takes place on the last day of school, followed by a picnic at a nearby park. This is an early release day for all Kinder students.

For the 2020-2021 school year, this will take place if we can safely hold a large event. 

La Ballona kicks off every new school year with our annual membership drive. It costs just $8 to become an official PTA member. Membership may be purchased for every member of your family — students, parents, grandparents, etc. Membership in the PTA gives you a voice in the programs and initiatives that help to support our campus. Visit our Volunteer page to learn more and sign up today!

You may also download a membership form or pick up PTA forms in the school’s main office.

If you would like to pay for PTA membership or events using cash or check, the school’s office will be open daily until noon to receive paperwork.

Held the first Thursday evening of every month, the PTA general meeting is open to all La Ballona families who want to learn about what the PTA is working on and how to get involved.

For the 2020-2021 school year, these meetings are held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. via Zoom. Please visit our Calendar page to see upcoming dates.

Sign up for Ralph’s Community Contribution Program and La Ballona Elementary School will receive a percentage of every purchase you make.

You must have a Ralph’s digital account to tie your rewards card to the program. Visit the Ralph’s website for complete instructions.

Ira Proctor is La Ballona’s full-time reading intervention specialist.

The Culver City Education Foundation provides every CCUSD student with a recorder in the third grade as part of the district orchestra program. Recorder concerts take place in the winter and spring.

The National PTA sponsors this nationwide arts appreciation and recognition program for students. To participate, La Ballona students may submit an original piece of their own independent work inspired by the annual theme. The Reflections Art Contest kicks off in the fall and entries are due in mid-October.

If you would like to volunteer to help coordinate this contest, please contact the La Ballona PTA at info@laballonapta.org.

Room parents are a critical part of the La Ballona community and serve as liaisons between teachers and parents. Room parents relay information from teachers to parents, organize social events for families, and spearhead Teacher Appreciation Week efforts. They also help organize a class booth for the annual Fall Festival.

The role of room parent is always an important one, but it is even more so this year. During distance learning, it would be great to have two or three volunteers per classroom to offer IT/technological help to students and families.

If you would like to volunteer as a room parent, please email the La Ballona PTA or talk to your teacher.

La’Keisha Gerome is La Ballona’s School Counselor. La’Keisha supports students with their social-emotional needs through individual, group and classroom counseling.

She is still available during distance learning. Please reach out if your kids are struggling during this pandemic, she is here to provide support.

CCUSD’s Food Services Department serves breakfast and lunch during every school day. For information about prices, menus, nutrition and more, please visit CulverCafe.org.

School Messenger is a program used by CCUSD to communicate with families. La Ballona’s principal may use it to send important school information.

Sandy Aguila is La Ballona’s School Nurse.

Erika Arredondo is La Ballona’s new School Secretary. Erika works closely with Dr. Rebecca Godbey and knows all of the detailed happenings within the school and the District. Click here to email her.

The school site council is a group of parents, teachers and staff that work with the principal to develop, review and evaluate school programs and budgets for Title 1 funds to benefit the school.

The La Ballona PTA sells a variety of items for families to show off their school pride. You can purchase items online and pick them up at a school event or have them delivered to your student’s classroom. Proceeds from the sale of these items benefit the PTA to support our students.

CCUSD’s school calendar, which includes holidays and pupil-free days, can be viewed on their website here.

You can also view a list of upcoming events and important dates on our calendar page.

La Ballona’s annual Science Fair is held on the same evening as Open House, typically in March. Students from grades 3-5 showcase their science and social studies projects in the Cafetorium.

This event is TBD for the 2020-2021 school year.

Social media is a great way to keep up to date with school-related information and connect with La Ballona families. Volunteers from the La Ballona PTA run school pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Additionally, there are Facebook pages for each grade where parents can chat with one another.

An informal, parent-led group that works closely with school faculty and staff to ensure that children of all abilities are visible and supported at La Ballona and within our community.  For more information, email Christine Maitland-Koeh.

Held in March and open to students in grades 4 and 5.

This program is TBD for 2020-2021 school year.

Each year, students are invited to create an artwork which they can then turn into any number of keepsakes, from mugs to mouse pads. These items make great gifts, and a portion of all purchases made through Square1 go to the La Ballona PTA to support our students.

Each May, parents and children create and donate items to show our staff how much they mean to us. Volunteers are needed to help organize a breakfast and decorations. Please contact the La Ballona PTA if you would like to help.

This event is TBD for the 2020-2021 school year.

Star, Inc. offers free and fee-based programs throughout the school year.

Their Star Galaxy program provides free after-school care for children in grades TK-5. Star Galaxy is underwritten by grants and is free for families. Star Nova offers fee-based courses that last eight weeks and focus on one activity or topic, such as skateboarding or basketball.

For further information, visit the Star website at starinc.org. You may also contact the Star Site Director, Ms. Cynthia Perez, at cynthiap@starinc.org.

Students in grades 3-5 may run to be representatives of their class for the school. These elections are typically held November 2 to coincide with state and federal elections. Students fill the following positions:

  • President (5th grader)
  • Vice President (4th grader)
  • Treasurer (5th grader)
  • Secretary (4th grader)
  • Third-grade class representative

The Culver City Education Foundation underwrites this music education program for elementary schools in CCUSD. The program is undergoing a redesign so it offers music education at every grade level. As a result, SJO will shift its programming from grades K-3 to include music education for students in grades 4-5.

CCEF has commited to providing music education programming for the 2020-2021 school year.

The basic principle of Title 1 is that schools with large concentrations of low-income students will receive supplemental federal funds to assist in meeting student’s educational goals. The number of low-income students is determined by the number of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. Title 1 funds can be used to improve curriculum, instructional activities, counseling, parental involvement, and increase staff and program improvement. The funding assists schools in meeting the educational goals of low-income students.

The Toy Loan Program is a free service which allows children to borrow toys weekly in the same manner in which they borrow books from the public library. This program is open to TK and Kinder students only.

This program is on hold for the 2020-2021 school year.

The La Ballona school year is divided into trimesters as follows:

  • Start of school to Winter Break
  • Return from Winter Break to Spring Break
  • Return from Spring Break to End of school

Parents or family members who wish to volunteer at the school during school hours must have their fingerprints taken and undergo a background check before volunteering. Some ways volunteers can help at school are:

  • In the classroom: Help out in your child’s classroom by helping the teacher prepare materials.
  • Math Circles: Teach kids fun math games after school alongside teachers.
  • Gardening: Parents help teach nutrition and gardening to students during school hours.
  • Growing Great Nutrition Docent: Teach kids about healthy eating by imparting lessons from the Growing Great program.

More information on volunteer opportunities during the 2020-2021 school year will be available soon.

As a thank you, the PTA serves a breakfast for all our wonderful volunteers.

This event is TBD for the 2020-2021 school year.

The official website for La Ballona Elementary School is laballona.ccusd.org.

The official website for the Culver City Unified School District is ccusd.org.

The official website for the La Ballona PTA is laballonapta.org.

Every year, a parent volunteer leads the school yearbook project. The yearbook is a wonderful celebration of the year at school, and includes a photo of every child, teacher and staff member as well as pictures of events throughout the year. The yearbook is available for purchase at the end of the school year.

During the 2020-2021 school year, we will get creative about pictures. If you are interested in contributing photos, please contact laballonayearbook@gmail.com.

Young Storytellers is an arts education program that works with students in grade 5 to write short plays which are then performed. Learn more at youngstorytellers.com.


Dr. Godbey, principal of La Ballona, and Mina Shiratori, principal of El Marino, shared information for parents of students in Culver City’s dual language program. You can view their presentation in English and Spanish.