IDEA Academy @ Cottonwood

IDEA is Innovation, Design, Engineering, & Art!

Hello Innovator Families,

Welcome to the launch of the 2020 -2021 school year. I hope all of our school families are safe and well and have had some quality time as a family during this very challenging summer season. I am so pleased to be returning as your principal at the IDEA Academy @Cottonwood, a 2020 AVID Showcase School and home of the newly WASC-accredited Innovators! Joining me as a part of our administrative team are Shameka Andre, our new vice-principal and Lisa Fiore, returning school counselor. 

While we had hoped to begin the year on campus with all of our Innovators,  all WUSD schools will begin the year in full-time distance learning, in compliance with the governor’s orders for counties on the COVID watch list, and under restrictions from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  I want to thank each of you for your support, patience, and thoughtful encouragement as we have continued to travel through this time of change, uncertainty, challenge and opportunity brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. The WUSD Board of Trustees is monitoring these circumstances closely and will make a decision about our district’s ability to transition to on-campus learning in a hybrid model as soon as it is safe to do so. The safety of our children, families, and staff is always our top priority.

Our staff and I are excited to welcome your children back to school! I also understand that many families are anxious about what this year may bring. Please know that it is our goal to provide all of our students with the best education possible. We are committed to taking these unprecedented circumstances and developing creative new ways to challenge and support your children’s academic and personal growth. We are committed to making 2020-2021 a year marked with memories (the good kind), special experiences and rigorous learning for your children!

Safe Reopening

School Plan for Safe Reopening

Reopening Protocols for K-12 Schools

Please Update Your Back to School Information in PowerSchool for the 2020-2021 School Year

If you have not yet done so, it is imperative that you visit the Parent Portal as soon as possible by logging on to your PowerSchool parent account to update your parent contact and other Back to School information. This is the only emergency and contact information that the school office will have on file for your child and we need to be able to contact you when necessary. You will be able to update your contact information, emergency contacts, and your child's medical information, so that it is current and accurate. See the quick start steps below to get started and refer to this letter for full instructions and frequently asked questions:

Instructions and Frequently Asked Questions Updating Your Child's Information in PowerSchool

From the Parent Portal:

1. Select the student you wish to register along the top.

2. Select "Back-to-School Registration" on the left side.

3. Agree to the terms and conditions.

4. Select Begin Forms.

*Please note, the link above is unavailable in the PowerSchool parent app. You must use a web browser to access this information.

Directions for all Curbside Pick-ups During Distance Learning

  1. You will need to enter the IDEA Academy parking lot from the 2nd driveway on Hubbard and stay in one line curbside, pulling forward to the front of the school.
  2. Please have a clearly labeled sign taped to the inside of your window that includes: Your student’s full name (LAST NAME, FIRST NAME) and grade Level.
  3. Please stay in the curbside pick-up line, in your car. As you pull up to the cone at the front of the pick-up line, staff will bring your child’s items to your car.
  4. For safety reasons, children and family members are not allowed to get out of their cars. You will be asked to pop your trunk and your items will be placed inside.
  5. It is also necessary that for safety and logistical reasons, that each family adhere to their designated pick-up day/time. Do not come earlier or later than your schedule windows. We are still required to meet state mandated guidelines for groups and social distancing standards and your cooperation will be a tremendous help with this.


Teachers will take a daily lunch count each morning. The drive-thru free meal program for all students is in effect at this time. Students may pick up a school breakfast/lunch daily. Breakfast/lunch will be a grab-and-go take home meal, served via a curbside pick-up in the Hubbard Street parking lot (nearest to the cafeteria) daily from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Students who have qualified for free/reduced meals previously should still submit a current free lunch application for the 2020-21 school year so that they will continue to be able to receive breakfast/lunch when the drive-thru free meal program ends.

School Communication

Weekly dialer messages will resume with the first week of school, along with announcements posted on Class Dojo and through the IDEA Academy PTA Facebook group. Please also check the district Facebook page, as well as the district and school website frequently. Please be sure that your email address and phone numbers in PowerSchool are accurate so that you will receive important school news. 

So that you can locate school announcements in your inbox, know that all automated e-mail announcements from our school will come from 

The school office is open Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 3:00 pm for phone service and curbside pick-up/drop-off only. The telephone number is (661) 267-2825.

School Uniforms

School uniforms are not required while attending school during distance learning. School uniform tops (polo or button-down shirts in plain school colors, along with spirit shirts) are always encouraged while participating in live sessions and are a great way to help your child get in “school mode.”

We are a proud AVID school and will continue to promote the wearing of college shirts each Thursday.

Wearing an IDEA Academy spirit shirt on Fridays is also encouraged.

Thank you, families, for your support. We will take these unique circumstances and turn them into a rewarding new year. That is exactly the kind of thing that Innovators do! Take care of yourselves. You continue to be so dearly missed!

Go, Innovators!

Laura Duran




In the upcoming weeks, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will be making visits to our school sites to confirm that we are compliant with the directives we’ve been given.  The visitors will also be ensuring that all staff members on site know what the protocols are, and how to protect both students and staff as they return to the campus.

We seem to be moving slowly into fall. Unfortunately, the heat has continued to make fighting the fires in California difficult, and the smoke has produced unhealthy air quality throughout our state and especially in our Valley. We are approaching the end of our first quarter of the school year, and you should anticipate receiving a progress report for each of your children in the mail following the close of this first quarter on October 9th.

We are especially concerned for our neighbors in the Antelope Valley who have been victims of several fires, and we join others in trying to support efforts to help families safely return home. Congratulations and thanks for many years of dedicated service to members of our staff who are choosing to retire at the end of September.  We will certainly miss our colleagues and our students and families will miss the special ways in which they have supported our students.

Congratulations to Westside Union School District, which was honored by @AVAQMD with the annual William J. Pete Knight Achievement In Reducing Emissions (AIRE) award.The Board will hold its semi-monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 15th. Items on the agenda include recognition of additional retirees, ACSA Golden Apple Award, IDEA Academy Presentation, Unaudited Actuals, Learning Continuity Plan, and current orders from LA County Public Health.

News & Announcements

COVID-19 continues to be a major concern across our country. Los Angeles County has seen the increase in cases over the past week, and while there are no cases identified by Public Health in the Antelope Valley, we are taking additional steps to keep our school safe for the students, staff and community.

The health and wellness of students, staff, volunteers and families is our highest priority. When any alarming incident like the 2019 novel COVID-19 occurs, we all want honest information. I am writing today to update you on the state of the COVID-19 from our perspective. I also want to share information regarding steps that we are taking to minimize the chance of transmission at our school sites.

The novel COVID-19 has garnered extensive attention worldwide. There are only a very limited number of cases in the United States, but we can expect the number of domestic cases to increase over coming weeks.

At this time, the risk of exposure to Westside students, staff and volunteers is extremely limited but caution should, nonetheless, be observed.

College Wear every Thursday
wear spirit wear every friday
College and Career Ready - Avid Certified
Future Ready - Engineering, STEM, Project Lead the Way
Technology Rich school, 1:1 in 3rd-6th; 2:1 Kinder - 2nd
Character Focused - Service projects, Leadership Groups