The first in a series of monthly Superintendent-Parent Forums was held last week at Gardenhill Elementary School in La Mirada. More than 30 parents from schools in both La Mirada and Norwalk attended the event where they gained an understanding of the District’s key focus areas. Board of Education Vice President Karen Morrison and Board Member Chris Pflanzer also attended.

Audience members nodded in agreement as Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian elaborated on three key District priorities:

  • High quality teaching and learning everyday inside and outside classrooms;
  • Research-based practices for academic and social success of all students; and
  • College and Career Readiness – Pre-k to Adults.

In addition to an open Q&A, each forum will feature a specific topic of discussion. This month’s meeting focused on cyber-bullying.

NLMUSD Instructional Technology Coordinator Ernesto Centeno opened the discussion, saying “cyber-bulling is one of the most common dangers the internet poses for students,” and explained the work the District is doing to support safe internet use.

NLMUSD has built a resource library for teachers on its new website ( with a series of links, including suggestions for setting rules for mobile phone use and “myths and truths about internet safety” supporting the concepts of digital citizenship.

A comprehensive webpage with additional resources for parents is planned for early December in partnership with Common Sense Media – a nonprofit group whose mission statement describes the organization as “dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology.”

At the forum, Danielian floated the idea of a training workshop on internet safety for adults after several parents expressed a desire for the kind of technical skills needed to help them monitor their children’s online behavior and set parental controls. The idea was met with great enthusiasm.

When newly appointed Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian reached out to Norwalk-La Mirada PTA Council President Jennifer Erwin at the beginning of the school year, she was looking for the best way to partner with PTA and with parents in their children’s education.

“She was interested in hearing parents’ ideas, answering their questions and addressing any concerns,” Erwin said.

Erwin was thrilled with the interest the District’s new leader expressed in understanding parent perspectives. She proposed a platform to dialogue directly with parents in the form of the monthly gatherings at schools around the District.

NLMUSD Board of Education President Jesse Urquidi is not surprised the new Superintendent makes this type of outreach a priority. “Dr. Danielian understands the importance of parents’ voices to our Board. One of the reasons we are excited to work with her is her strong commitment to meaningful collaboration with all stakeholders,” he said.

“We have wonderful parents in our District, and they have great ideas!” said Danielian. “Through these important conversations, I look forward to empowering our parents to further engage in their students’ education, as we know that is a key element in student success.”

PTA Council President Erwin is pleased that parents from both Norwalk and La Mirada attended the first forum, and is considering a prize-incentive for parents who attend the most over the course of the school year. “These forums are a great way to become informed and gain confidence as parents,” Erwin said. “I encourage everyone to come to each monthly meeting, and to bring more parents with them.”

Schedule for subsequent forums:

Thursday, December 10, 6-8 p.m., Los Alisos Middle School
Tuesday, January 12, 9-11 a.m., Hutchinson Middle School
Tuesday, February 23, 9-11 a.m., Norwalk High School
Thursday, March 17, 3-5 p.m., Los Coyotes Middle School
Tuesday, April 12, 9-11 a.m., Norwalk location (TBD)
Tuesday, May 10, 9-11 a.m., La Mirada location (TBD)
Thursday, June 2, 3-5 p.m., Norwalk location (TBD)

Photo captions:

NLMUSD Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian discusses District’s key focus areas with parents at Gardenhill Elementary.

NLMUSD Instructional Technology Coordinator Ernesto Centeno discusses ways parents can combat cyber-bullying.