"The whole point of learning history is trying to prevent the same
thing from happening again," said Ballesteros, a Los Angeles native.
Ballesteros and Erin Ramsden, who teaches 10th-grade English study
skills and SAT preparation, are the two new faces on the Bell-Jeff
staff. The school is Ballesteros' first teaching job while Ramsden
taught for two years at a Catholic school in Patterson, N.J. as part
of the AmeriCorps program.
"I feel comfortable here," Ramsden said of Bell-Jeff. "I feel the
school is why I'm supposed to be here."
St. Finbar School and St. Francis Xavier School join Bell-Jeff in
opening their new school years today. The three schools will be in
session for half-days this week.
The Burbank Unified School District and Providence High School
begin classes Tuesday.
Bell-Jeff Principal Sister Cheryl Milner said the summer break
brought the school a $25,000 grant from a graduate that was used to
purchase 30 new computers for the school's computer lab.
"It was a very nice opportunity to upgrade the lab," Milner said,
adding that the computers that had been in the lab were distributed
to the classrooms.
St. Finbar School Principal Mike Marasco said a new French class
was added for the new year at the kindergarten though eighth-grade
"We've always offered Spanish in the upper grades," Marasco said.
"We wanted to give [students] a choice for when they get to high
Over the summer, work was done on a new fence and parking lot at
the school, Marasco said.
For the first day, the students will attend an assembly before
going to class, while parents can go to a reception in the parish
hall, he added.
At St. Francis Xavier School, a new eighth-grade algebra class was
added, as well as a Spanish class for all classes from kindergarten
through eighth grade.
The Spanish class was added as a result of focus groups to better
prepare graduates for high school.