I returned to St Bede the Venerable School for the first time this school year, and it was great being on campus again.
Its always fun to meet a group of students for the first time, and this years 4th graders were full of great questions for me. First, I handed out the materials that the kids will need for the year: a STAR folder, a name card, a pencil and an eraser.
After passing out the materials, I talked to the 4th Grade about my life before becoming a deputy, my path to joining the Sheriff’s Department and the different assignments that I’ve worked. I described my experience in the academy, my first assignment working in the jail (along with some pictures), my time as a bailiff in a courthouse and the time I spent out on patrol in Malibu, Agoura, Calabasas and the San Fernando Valley. I also talked about my education at UCLA and my involvement with the LA Grizzlies (the LASD Football Team).
The kids had a ton of questions, like:
- “Is that a real gun?”
- “Have you ever been in a car chase?”
- “Do you have a taser?”
- “Have you ever had an inmate escape?”
- “What’s the food like in jail?”
- “Do you like donuts?”
I tried to get through as many questions as possible. This Q&A gives the kids a chance to get to know me, and it gets the “cop” questions about out of the way so we can better focus on a topic the next time I visit.
My time in 5th grade had a similar structure. After I handed out the class materials, I talked to the 5th graders about what a police officer’s role is in the community and about the different types of peace officers working in California. Do you know the difference between the LAPD, LASD or CHP? Well, now your child should be able to answer that question. Like in the 4th grade, this topic allows us to get all the law enforcement questions out of the way so we can focus on the STAR lessons going forward.
There is a lot of logistical work to do with the 6th and 7th grade during the first visit, and we had to be very efficient with our 45 minute sessions. After a brief review of the 5th grade STAR Program and a brief intro into the 6th grade content, the students took a short survey. While the kids were completing the survey, I passed out their materials for the year.
Once the students finished my online survey, I had them complete the Time Capsule activity. Each student writes down a list of their favorite things on a worksheet I hand out, and then they fold and staple it shut until the end of the year. When the students open the capsules in the spring, they see how much their preferences change even over just a few months. At this point in their lives, everything is changing all the time for these kids; their bodies, minds and abilities are all still developing at a crazy rate. They might feel awkward or clumsy because of it, but the good news is that all of their peers feel the same way too (although they might not admit it to each other).
The 7th grade students also completed the survey mentioned above. After getting their materials and completing the survey, I talked to them about some of the upcoming topics for the 7th grade, and I answered some questions from the students.
I’m already looking forward to my next visit to St Bede. It always such a great time on campus.