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Alhambra school board to recognize outstanding occupational therapy and counseling staff members

Photo by David Muñoz.


Alhambra , CA United States

The Alhambra Board of Education will recognize two employees during Tuesday’s school board meeting with their Game Changer Employee Recognition Award. Michael Ramirez, an occupational therapist at the Moor Field Early Education Center and the Learning Independence for Transition programs, and Tam Lai, a Gateway intervention advisor at Granada Elementary School, will receive this recognition.

Ramirez works as an occupational therapist with special education preschool students at Moor Field and with disabled young adults in the LIFT North and LIFT South programs, which help them gain life skills and job training and is also on the Moor Field campus. Ramirez was nominated by school psychologist Kathleen Wright, who praised his work in helping students regulate their emotions and improve their fine motor skills so that they could better participate in school instruction. “He helps AUSD educators create an educational environment that students can be successful,” she wrote.

As an intervention advisor through the district’s Gateway to Success mental health program, Lai works as a counselor with students, staff and families on any social, emotional or behavioral problems that arise at school. “Quite often, you will find her engaged in meaningful conversations with students who might be having a hard time or supporting students as they build interpersonal skills, or teaching students how to make stress balls,” wrote Lindsay Gilbert, an instructional specialist who supports kindergarten through 8th grade classrooms at Granada.

Lai is an instrumental part of the Positive Behavior Support team, which helps students and staff strengthen relationships as a school community, often coming in early on her work day and staying into the evening to help her team implement strategies. Gilbert said that Lai has gone out of her way to create a positive community for Granada students, putting together field trips and helping 7th and 8th grade hard-of-hearing students organize a scavenger hunt for younger Granada students. As the advisor for Granada’s student government, Lai has helped run bi-monthly meetings and school spirit assemblies. She organized their Fun Run fundraiser last month.

In other school board business, Park Elementary School students, teachers and Principal Wendy Molina-Solis, will present an overview of their school’s new mindfulness room, which was set up by Lily Lam, the Gateway Intervention Counselor at Park Elementary, for all K-8 students. Park students have been using the room, to practice mindfulness, or awareness of thoughts and feelings in the present moment, to reduce stress and identity, process emotions and to center themselves for better focus, said District Spokesperson Toby Gilbert.

AUSD will also finalize the purchase of a 12,574 square foot building at 701-705 S. Electric Ave in Alhambra. The district has leased that building since the end of 2016 as a warehouse, creating more space for their facilities and transportation departments. The district is now exercising its option to buy the building after three years, as part of their lease agreement terms. The district will determine an appropriate use for the building after the purchase is official.

Read the Alhambra Unified School District Board of Education meeting agenda here. The board will meet on Tuesday, March 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the district office on 1515 W. Mission Road.

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