Weekly roundup: Brea third-grader overcomes learning disability to author six books; Fullerton teacher awarded classroom makeover; and more

BOUSD Fox 11

A Brea third-grader is proving to the world that nothing, not even a learning disability that makes it difficult for her to read and write, can stop her from spreading joy through the written word.

Kiara Smith, a student at Mariposa Elementary in the Brea Olinda Unified School District, recently authored six books that teach lessons about friendship, self-love, and when to say “I’m sorry.” Each story, created and written by Kiara, undergoes a process that allows the young author to design everything from the fonts to the illustrations and even the background of each page.

“Kiara is a shining example of making challenges into learning opportunities,” said Mariposa principal Rick Torres. “Her stories certainly bring joy into not only our school but the entire community around us.”

A Fox 11 news crew recently highlighted Kiara’s inspiring story, reporting that although she is a bright a bubbly third-grader, her dyslexia diagnosis has made it hard for her to fit in.

“Sometimes I felt left out and scared that I couldn’t be any reading level,” Kiara told Good Day LA reporter Brooke Thomas.

And when challenges related to the pandemic made it even more difficult to learn, Kiara’s family decided to empower her with support in publishing her stories. Kiara’s mother created the Kiwi Cares Collections website to not only spotlight her daughter’s work, but to honor desire to give back to others. All of the proceeds from her books are donated to a different charity of Kiara’s choice.

Here are some of the other stories we’re tracking this week:

  • A teacher at Richman Elementary School in the Fullerton School District recently beat out more than 5,000 teachers to win a $15,000 makeover for her classroom. Sponsored by Lakeshore Learning, the makeover provided students with new tables, various seating options, an art station and a reading area.
  • In related news, the Los Angeles Times reports that a surge of parents seeking remote learning for their children has overwhelmed public school programs in Los Angeles, causing teacher shortages, administrative snafus and enrollment delays that in some cases have kept students out of school for weeks.
  • The Brea Olinda and Tustin unified school districts brought their communities together to highlight recent accomplishments and challenges during separate state-of-the-district events.
  • And finally, Santa Ana Unified Superintendent Jerry Almendarez issued an apology to teachers and other employees for a paycheck delay that left more than 100 new educators without their wages and many others waiting for their overtime income, the Orange County Register reports.

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