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TEXT BOOK FAMILY MOM, DAUGHTER MAKE 5TH GRADE.

Byline: Amy Raisin Staff Writer

VALENCIA - Since her 24-year-old daughter joined her on the Helmers Elementary teaching staff, veteran educator Jo Ann Perdisatt and her pupils are grooving to a new vibe - Mozart is off the in-class CD playlist, replaced by pop hotties 'N Sync.

Fifth-grade teachers with side-by-side classrooms, Kathleen and Jo Ann Perdisatt admit they make the men in the family crazy with their incessant chatting about lesson plans and bulletin board displays.

``She used to drag us to Education Station stores and I'd be bored and bitter,'' Kathleen said of her childhood, when Jo Ann used to purchase her classroom supplies with her three kids in tow.

Today, telling the difference between the two classrooms at the Valencia campus, the women insist, is as simple as walking past their doors.

``She's got me playing good music in the classroom,'' Perdisatt said of her daughter, who is in her second year of teaching. `` 'N Sync, I'm recognizing them now. We share CDs.''

``Her classroom is very quiet,'' added Kathleen, describing her mom's teaching style. ``My class is loud, to be quite honest. Mine's a bit more zany.''

Married for 32 years, Jo Ann used to teach third grade but switched this year to work with Kathleen - they look forward to team-teaching soon, with Kathleen handling the social studies duties while her mom teaches science.

Helmers Principal Bernadette Torhan said the family ties are a perfect fit.

``They're very popular teachers among their peers. And they're always bouncing ideas off each other,'' Torhan said. ``Lots of little kids think we live here (at school), so I think it would be intriguing if I were a kid to see mother/daughter teachers.''

While both of Perdisatt's daughters followed her into teaching - she also has a son - it was Kathleen, the baby, who stumbled upon her love of teaching elementary school.

A Hart High graduate and currently a swimming coach at Valencia High, Kathleen said she planned on becoming a college history professor. But after substitute-teaching younger students, she changed paths.

``You can teach them something every day and at this age they are really engaged and eager to learn,'' she said. ``You can give them a Jolly Rancher (candy) and they'll do anything.''

While Jo Ann's youngest moved out of the house last year, Perdisatt and her daughter/colleague still spend plenty of time together.

``Shopping. We go shopping,'' Kathleen said, raising a giggle from her mother. ``It's family bonding time. The people at Talbots and Eddie Bauer know us by name.''

And just as the younger teacher has embraced an air of professionalism and structure displayed by her mom, the veteran is warming to the traits of the new generation.

``I sent one of my students over to my mom's class the other day to get an 'N Sync CD,'' Kathleen said. ``But I couldn't have it because she was playing it to her class. I was, like, Yes.''

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) Kathleen Perdisatt, left, and her mother, Jo Ann, both teach the fifth grade at Helmers Elementary School in Valencia.

(2 -- color) Jo Ann Perdisatt reads to her fifth-grade class at Helmers Elementary School. Her daughter teaches class next door.

(3 -- color) Students listen to Kathleen Perdisatt as she reads a story to her fifth-grade class at Helmers Elementary in Valencia.

David R. Crane/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 23, 2001
Words:562
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