Amy Weisberg, Topanga Elementary Charter School
Amy Weisberg, our featured teacher this month, is a hardworking, inspirational figure in early elementary education in Los Angeles. With a BA in Sociology from UCSB and a MA in Education with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership from CSUN, Mrs. Weisberg has been teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District for thirty years and in the Kindergarten program at Topanga Elementary Charter School for the past sixteen years. She shares, “I love working with the youngest students and watching them grow and change during the year.”
At Topanga Elementary, Mrs. Weisberg developed the “Developmental Kindergarten Program,” a transitional kindergarten program that is described as a sort of a “half-step” between the pre-school experience and traditional kindergarten classes. The program allows students “caught in the middle”—due to California’s late cut-off date—to advance more naturally to the next grade. For her development of this unique kindergarten program, Mrs. Weisberg received the Lori Petrick Educator Award, bestowed by the Palisades Charter School Foundation. The award honors excellence in education delivery and recognizes best practices utilized in K–12. To learn, more click here.
Mrs. Weisberg also conceptualized and oversees her schools “Garden Villa,” a working garden for the students that was jumpstarted with a grant awarded to the school from the California Instructional School Garden Program. To learn more, click here.
A few weeks ago the Skirball education department received a surprise—a whimsical and beautiful book featuring photographs of Mrs. Weisberg’s students with their own animal creations. The handcrafted animals—a bird, a zebra, a moose, a Very Hungry Caterpillar, and a polar bear, among others—were inspired by their visit to Noah’s Ark at the Skirball and made from recycled and repurposed materials that they brought from home, like pinecones, steamers, nails, and corks. “It was a very collaborative project,” Mrs. Weisberg explained, “which is pretty much the way I run my classroom—utilizing each parent’s strengths to enhance the kindergarten experience.”
Mrs. Weisberg has been married for twenty-seven years and has three daughters, ages 18, 20, and 25. All three daughters are highly involved in the arts: one graduating from UCLA with a theater degree, one at UCSC studying music, and the other beginning her college career as a dance major.