Area schools OK with whooping cough vaccinations


Wilson high student Joselin Pineda, 17, gets a Tdap shot during the last day to get a free vaccination at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights on Sept. 23.

Despite some dire predictions earlier this
year, school districts in the San Gabriel Valley are so far reporting
widespread compliance with state-mandated whooping cough vaccinations.

According to state law, all students in grades 7 through 12
must be vaccinated for whooping cough within the first 30 days of the
school year. Parents who have a personal objection to vaccinations can
request a waiver.

State law originally required students to be vaccinated before even setting foot in a classroom this year.

Read more in J.D. Velasco’s story Vaccinations.

Sprinter wows students at Mt. SAC in Walnut


Mt. San Antonio College’s fastest students got to meet the world’s fastest man on Tuesday.
Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who holds the world and Olympic records for the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, stopped by Mt. SAC to participate in a sprinting clinic with the college’s track and field team.

Despite sweltering weather that Bolt called “worse than Jamaica,” his enthusiasm for the event was obvious, and matched by the crowd of hundreds.

“For me it’s a pleasure being here,” he told the audience to cheers and applause.
With the help of Doug Todd, head coach of the track and field teams, Bolt began the clinic by demonstrating some of his preferred warm-up exercises, but not before making sure the student-athletes knew who was in charge.

“A few of you guys might try to beat me — it won’t happen,” he said with a mixture of humor and bravado.

It was a persona he maintained throughout the event, at times goading the students to improve their skills by comparing them to his own athletic prowess.

Read more in J.D. Velasco’s story at Bolt.

Survey says Rowland is looking for your opinion

Unified School
District is starting a new way to discuss how to improve schools. The first of initiative launches today with a Districtwide Climate
Survey. Rowland parents, teachers, staff, and community members may share their perceptions of the district and its programs.

“We are giving everyone
the chance to provide feedback on how we can improve,” said Superintendent Maria
Ott. “Future initiatives will include
this technology to increase community input. Upcoming studies will provide many
opportunities for public involvement, including an invitation for high school
students to share their perspectives.”

To conserve resources and
include as many people as possible, the school district has
launched an initiative to collect email addresses from parents and
community members. Those who provide their email
addresses will receive email invitations to
participate in the survey. The climate survey
is accessible from Sept. 27 – Oct. 14, through a link posted
on the “Your
section of each school’s website and the
district’s website,
It is also available in Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

Anyone without a computer may visit the district
office (located at 1830 S. Nogales
Street in Rowland Heights)
or the local library to take the survey online. Residents may also call the
school district at (626) 854-8352 and request a paper copy of the survey. The
goal is to ensure that everyone can easily provide input.

“An important part of our job as school administrators is to
listen to the opinions and values of those in our community so we can make
informed decisions,” said Ott. “Partnering with our community
gives us direct access to the unique perspectives of every member of our
district. The engagement process gives everyone a voice in all the critical
decisions we make as we pursue excellence for our children.”

As part of its plan to foster greater transparency and increase its presence in
the community, the district will make the results of the current survey, as
well as all future surveys, available on the district website shortly after the
survey closes. The district also plans to communicate how it will use the
collected data to provide the best education for Rowland USD’s children.

Walnut Valley teachers win literacy awards


Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda
Cindy Giang teaches first grade teacher at Quail Summit School in Diamond Bar.

“Walk to Read” and other innovative reading programs have earned two Walnut Valley teachers literacy awards from the American Literacy Corporation.

They will be among a handful of educators from across the state who will be honored on Nov. 13 at the Victoria Club in Riverside.

The nonprofit group rewards teachers who have significantly increased the literacy levels of their students. It gives $2,000 to teachers in kindergarten through eighth grade. Their schools also receive $500 for a reading related school event.

The group notes that this is the first time since 1992 that two winners have been selected from the same school district.

This year’s winners include Cindy Giang, a first grade teacher at Quail Summit Elementary in Diamond Bar and Kay Hoard, a fourth grade teacher at Vejar Elementary in Walnut.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story Literacy.

Rowland High students headed for Hollywood

This Saturday, a busload of advanced theater and visual
arts students from Rowland High School will learn from
professional improvisational studio musicians and L.A. legendary choreographer, Shirley Martin.

“Our students will get the chance to be exposed to studio
musicians (including Big Black, who has worked for many years with Dizzy
Gillespie and Miles Davis), and choreographer Shirley Martin and her dance
troupe, The Martin Dancers. This
will enable our students to have a greater understanding of movement and
different creative processes and approaches as they begin to work with 75
elementary students this fall in a comprehensive arts education program to
expose elementary students to the arts,” said Rowland High Drama Teacher,
Patricia Doublet De Lion.  

Thanks to two grants from the Art Education Partnership Grant from
L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, and the FOR US Foundation, Doublet-De Lion and Mala Frank-Gavin are bringing Killian Elementary students
to visit the Rowland
High School campus two
days a week for four weeks to learn theatre and visual arts.

Students will
learn selections from “Seussical the Musical” from the instructors
and their advanced high school students. It will culminate in a performance
that parents of the elementary students can attend.

 We aim to give
students, both advanced and elementary, a comprehensive arts education through
the integration of visual art, music, theatre and dance,” said

Walnut Valley teachers win literacy awards

If you’re having trouble reading this, you probably could have used teachers like this.

Cindy Giang, a first grade teacher at Quail Summit
Elementary and Kay Hoard, a fourth grade teacher at Vejar Elementary, have won the American Literacy Corporation “Outstanding Contributions to Literacy Award.”


They are among ten educators in the state that will behonored on November 13 at the Victoria Club in Riverside.

We visited with these outstanding teachers this morning and will report on their wonderful teaching in an upcoming story.


Walnut High places flags as 9/11 memorial

On Sept. 11, 30 Walnut High School students volunteered to place 2,997 American flags on the grassy hill at the front of the school.


The small red, white and blue symbols of patriotism made an impressive 50-yard long display spelling out USA, 911, and a star with a pentagon inside.

The project to commemorate all the lives lost a decade ago was the idea of the school’s Teen Republican Club, said teacher advisor Brett Landis.

The poignancy of the project is roughly the same number of students attend Walnut High as those that were killed in the three locations on Sept. 11, 2001, Landis said.

“Our kids will be reminded on Monday when they come to school,” Landis said.

Read more in Kelli Gile’s report at Flags.

Walnut Valley marks 9/11 anniversary

They were just babies when the attack on the World Trade Center in New York occurred. But these 10-years-old know a lot about 9/11, an event that changed their lives dramatically.

The fourth-graders at Collegewood Elementary in Walnut marked the 10th anniversary with a patriotic assembly on Friday.

“It was a significant event in all our lives, so we wanted to bring the whole school together to remember everyone killed in the attacks,” said Principal Carolyn Wills.

Read all about the 9/11 events in Walnut Valley school in Rich Irwin’s 9/11.