Rowland students move back to remodeled schools


If you think moving is hard, try moving an
entire school. Rowland Unified accomplished this monstrous task twice
over the winter break.

Northam and Jellick elementaries moved back into their newly
renovated campuses. And everyone is excited to see their sparkling new

“I love my new classroom,” said Northam teacher Araceli Gamboa. “They’re very comfortable.”

As well they should be with new insulated walls and windows. There’s also energy efficient lighting and heating.

Gamboa’s kindergarten students scampered across the new
carpeting. Brightly colored posters decorated the tackable walls at the
La Puente campus.

“The move back went pretty smoothly,” said Northam Principal
Gerardo Yepez. “This is one of the reasons I took this job, because of
the significant support the district gives our schools.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story MOVE

Cedarlane Academy celebrates API success

Just got back from Cedarlane Academy in Hacienda Heights, which is celebrating its API score of 800. The elementary element of the K-8 school raised its API scores by more than 50 points in one year.

So we thought we’d go out and see what’s changing at the new academy that has absorbed the students and staff from the closed Glenelder Elementary School. Read our report in an upcoming story.

Mathapalooza set for Saturday in Hacienda La Puente Unified

Los Altos High School and the Chinese American Parents Advisory Council will hold the Sixth  Annual Mathapalooza Competition on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Last year’s event had 350 participants. They expect the same amount of participants this year. 

Hacienda La Puente Unified schools competing will be Baldwin Academy, Cedarlane, Fairgrove, Lassalette, Mesa Robles, Newton, Orange Grove, Sierra Vista, Sparks Elementary, Sparks Middle, Sunset Elementary, Valinda, Torrance Chinese School, and Workman Elementary. 

Parents appeal early school year in Hacienda La Puente Unified

A group of parents has appealed a recent
decision by the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District that
radically changes the start and end dates of the school year to a county
agency that oversees public education.

The parental group, long opposed to the “early start
calendar,” has asked the Los Angeles County Office of Education to
review the program. The parents say the new calendar will negatively
impact the district’s budget and student academic performance.

But the appeal could be to no avail.

Although the county education office does have regulatory
authority over 93 school districts, it mainly adjudicates disputes over
inter-district transfers and expulsions.

“I can say our office would have no authority to override a
school district’s action on a calendar situation,” said Margo Menecki, a
spokesperson for the County Office of Education.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story Calendar.

Seadevils Youth Water Polo offers free training

To tackle childhood obesity by offering San Gabriel at-risk
youth the chance to participate in team sports with no fee, the successful Seadevils Youth Water Polo program will hold registration for the winter session on Monday, January 23 at 6 p.m. at the Nogales High School Pool (returning athletes must arrive at 5:45 p.m.)
The program is open to the first 50 boy and girl athletes in grades 5th – 8th. Students must be able to swim 25 yards. It is free with 3 volunteer hours to the program. Parents must attend registration. Session Dates: January 23 – March 14, Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Athletics is also seeking community sponsorship and encourages everyone
to come see the program in action.

The Nogales High School Pool is
located at 401. S. Nogales Street in La Puente. For more information,
please contact Coach Timothy Tobin at (626) 965-3437 or at

Hacienda Heights author follows “Crossroads” to Fullerton

Do you believe in angels? Mary Ting of Hacienda Heights does. In fact, the kindergarten teacher has written two books about the heavenly creatures. The Los Molinos Elementary instructor has become something of a celebrity among her young students.

“I wrote the book as an outlet of grief over the death of my grandmother,” Ting explained. “She was always an angel to me, she was a great role model.”

Her first book “Crossroads” is the story about a forbidden love between a young woman and her guardian angel, who half mortal. They meet at a place between heaven and Earth called the crossroads.

Her teen novel has ranked as a top seller on The romance can also be downloaded in Kindle and Nook formats.

On Saturday, the budding author will hold a book signing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Fullerton. The former PTA president will donate a portion of her sales to Los Molinos school.

“We’re all going to be there to support our teacher,” said Principal Angela Lin. “We’ve planned a breakfast as well as activities for families to enjoy.”

Community meeting on Rowland High pool set Monday


Rowland High Principal Mitch Brunyer stands in the closed pool at Rowland High School.

Rowland High School is looking for your input.
It wants to build a new $2.5 million swimming pool. Rowland Unified
will present the plans for the aquatic center on Monday, Jan. 23, at
6:30 p.m. in the Hideout at Rowland High.

The school board previewed the project at a recent meeting. Families
will find a design for a striking center to replace the old pool that
had to be closed for health and safety reasons.

“Last May, we discovered the pool was leaking 6,000 gallons of water a
day,” explained Vice Principal Bob Withers. “There was also seepage
that lowered the water quality.”

The district decided to close the aging pool immediately. It later
learned the leakage had undermined the decking around the pool.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story Pool.

Spring session starting for Rowland Adult and Community Education

The spring session of the Rowland Adult and Community Education begins Jan. 23. Registration for the community education fee-based classes has begun.

Registration for English as a Second Language or Citizenship classes takes place in the classroom on the first day.

Asian cooking workshops will include: Thai Cooking Made Easy, Sushi Made Easy, Chinese Dim Sum Made Easy Japanese Cooking Made Easy and Fancy Sushi Made Easy.

Other classes are Basic Drawing for Beginners, Line Dancing, International Folkdance, How to Become a Mystery Shopper and Other Fun Ways to Earn Extra Money, and Public Speaking.

Also returning are classes on Accent Improvement, Conquering Your Computer Phobia, Conversation Spanish for Adults and Children, Notary Public, Traffic Violator School, First Aid/CPR, Floral Design and Zumba.

In partnership with Boston Reed College, Rowland is offering Clinical Medical Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Veterinary Assistant, Electronic Health Records System Technologist and Billing and Coding Specialist.

For more information, call 626-965-5975 or visit the office at 2100 Lerona Ave., Rowland Heights.

Copper thieves hit five schools in Hacienda Heights

Thieves with a penchant for copper wire have hit five schools in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District since November. In an effort to stop the copper culprits, the school district is
offering a $2,000 reward and partnered with WeTip.

The reward is for
information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thief or

District officials think the thieves are hitting campuses after school hours.

Sergio Cazorla, coordinator of risk management for the district, said
that typically, said the estimated damages per school ranged from
$5,000 to $15,000.

“We’re already strapped for cash and for these people to steal copper
wire from a school. It’s saddening,” he said. “We want to put an end to
the thefts.”

The unidentified suspects struck at Newton Middle School, 15616
Newton St. in Hacienda Heights, Los Robles Academy, 1530 Ridley Ave. in
Hacienda Heights, Cedarlane Academy, 16333 Cedarlane Drive in Hacienda
Heights, Sunset Elementary, 800 N. Tonopah Ave. in La Puente.

School Police Chief Anthony Argott said the most recent theft
occurred at Orange Grove Middle School, 14505 Orange Grove Ave., on Jan.

Cazorla said they have no description of the thieves.

“We have no information so we really needhelp,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME. Tips can also be left

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Red Dragon slays bullies in West Covina

Violence can happen anywhere and school is no
exception. Red Dragon Karate in West Covina has long since recognized
this and the martial arts studio started a program to combat bullying in
schools. It’s called the Bully Proof Workshop – and it’s free.

“We’ve had this program for over five years,” owner Mike
Casamassa said. “We’ve always had parents come in with their kids and
tell us that their kids are being bullied. That’s when we decided to put
together this free workshop.”

These days, it’s hard to find much of anything for free. But
the Bully Proof Workshop is a testament to the fact that some businesses
still care about their community. So far the course has been successful
and made a difference in West Covina’s youth, at least for the ones who
turned to Red Dragon Karate for help.

Read more in Hillary Smith’s story Dragon.