Teacher dodge balls at Diamond Bar High


The Avengers assembled, ready to battle the aliens who had dared to invade their gym at Diamond Bar High School.

Thor, Ironman and Nick Fury strode bravely into the dodgeball
arena, psyched for the impending battle with the teachers who had the
temerity to challenge them in open combat.

“Actually, it’s the championship in the dodgeball tournament
we’ve been holding at lunchtime for the past week,” explained Tim
Woolston, English teacher and leader of the teacher team cleverly called
Staff 1.

“We’ve been charging $5 per person to raise money for the Pathways program at the high school,” the brave instructor said.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story DODGE

Perez stepping down from Hacienda La Puente school board

Anita Perez, a longtime member of the Hacienda
La Puente Unified School District school board, announced Thursday she
is stepping down from her post in the middle of her term. Her last day on the school board will be June2.


Perez, 74, is also retiring from her teaching job at the East San
Gabriel Valley Regional Occupation Program, where’s she’s taught
marketing and retail sales for 13 years.

Perez said she may work as a freelance consultant for the ROP. But
she decided she must step down from the HLPUSD board simultaneously so
she could receive her maximum pension from the California State
Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).

Perez has served on the board for 19 years.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story PEREZ.

Soroptimists offer perspectives on teen pregnancy


Soroptimist International of Puente Hills
offered different perspectives on teen pregnancy at its annual
scholarship luncheon on May 23.

Speakers included a teen father as well as the child of teen parents.
The two addressed pregnant teens from six area high schools, including
Santana in Rowland Unified and Workman in Hacienda La Puente Unified.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story TEA.

Mt. SAC students protest rising fees and class cuts in Walnut

About 75 students and a half-dozen faculty
rallied Wednesday against rising student fees and debilitating community
college cuts at Mount San Antonio College.

In response to an anticipated jump in fees from $36 to $46 per
unit beginning this summer, students shouted “How high are fees? Too
high!” and carried homemade signs that read “Tuition is tax – Keep it
off our backs” and “Stop the cuts.”

About 30 students capped a two-hour campus rally with a march
through the state’s largest single-campus community college, passing by
state Sen. Bob Huff’s Walnut office on Amar Road and Grand Avenue while
shouting “Tell Bob Huff: No more budget cuts.”

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story PROTEST.

Rowland robots ready to rumble at Cal Poly Pomona


Let’s get ready to rumble, robot style. Yes, it’s time for the annual robot rally at Cal Poly Pomona on Friday.

Hundreds of mechanical men will battle it out through four unique challenges in the largest event of its kind in the nation.

This year, 600 students from 12 local schools are expected to bring
their best and brightest robots to the arena. Many will enter, few will
leave victorious.

A tough lesson to learn, even for artificial intelligence. But the
kids at Shelyn Elementary in Rowland Heights believe they’re up to the

Last year, one of its teams made it to the finals, taking second
place in a field of 200. This year, the Rowland Unified school hopes to
do even better with 40 teams from its fifth and sixth grades.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ROBOTS.

Hacienda La Puente Unified superintendent gets PTA award

Hacienda La Puente Unified School District
Superintendent Barbara Nakaoka received an award from the California PTA
for her 42 years of service at the district and for her participation
in a recent blood drive.

But to parents and local PTA members in the audience, it sounded as if the award was being given at the end of her service.

Nakaoka, recognizing the confusion, stood up at the meeting and told the group that she was not retiring.

“No, I am not,” said Nakaoka in an interview. “I was given a
gift from the California PTA and it made it sound like I was retiring.
But they were just thanking me, that’s all.”

Student art exhibition opens Thursday at Mt. SAC in Walnut

The 64th annual Mt. San Antonio College Student
Art Exhibition will open Thursday and run through June 7, in the Mt. SAC
Art Gallery.

The free exhibit is open to the public.

The annual show is a juried event and features the best original work by
Mt. SAC art, photography, and animation students. A special opening
reception with entertainment and refreshments will be held Thursday,
from 4 to 6 p.m.

Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Evening hours are Tuesdays from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Information: 909-274-4328.

Our View of California schools

IT’S hard, and essentially meaningless, to talk about “the California schools” as a monolith.

Students, teachers, parents, administrators and school board
members experience each campus, and each classroom, individually, not in
some educational doctoral degree overview thesis.

Parents – perhaps contrary to what they would have said in
their youth – tend to view the time of their own school experience, with
its ups and downs, in a nostalgic glow. They lament the current system
as if every single change from their own time were bad, everything they
underwent good.


Some teachers are still great, some uncaring. Some schools
still deserve their reputation of excellence – some simply serve
uniformly upper-middle class families with the wealth and the
educational background themselves to demand or pay for the best.

But the public schools here do get studied as a monolith
nonetheless. And when Stanford University professors looked at the
California schools five years ago and said that they were in need both
of major structural reforms and deeper funding, it was hard to argue
with them.

Now, a University of California followup to that study says
that half a decade later, school spending is down, not up, due to the
recession and the lackluster economic recovery, and that educators and
politicians have been much better at talking about reforms than
implementing any of them.

One of the reforms we’ve long advocated is freeing California teachers from being forced to spend quite literally all their time teaching toward the standardized test.

Read more Our View at EDUCATION.

Diamond Bar Library and Walnut Valley schools combat bullying

Diamond Bar library officials are offering options to combat bullying and cyber-bullying.

Jesse Lanz, administrative librarian, created a pilot program to help 11- to
13-year-old tweens and teenagers age 14 to 18 resist bullies.

Steven Angel, founder of the Drumming For Your
Life Institute, and La Puente resident George Martinez, one of six
institute facilitators, recently used percussionistic patterns to
express emotions and teach values which combat bullying.

The drum masters return to the library at 3 p.m. Monday.

Puppeteer Rich Woloski presents a puppet show at 3 p.m. today
to show younger children how to resist being bullies or victims of
bullies. The Theater of Hearts concludes the series with art workshops
at 3 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays May 14-24.

“We did focus groups with our teens and tweens in November
2011 and asked them to brainstorm, then tell us the things they’d like
to see at the library,” Lanz said. “They listed two major concerns:
self-defense and bullying.”

Lanz, parent Bonnie Chow of Diamond Bar and Chaparral
Middle School sixth-graders Hannah Salazar, Tatiana Smith, Clarissa
Ramirez and Amaya Armstead said Walnut Valley Unified School District
educators, particularly Chaparral Principal Ron Thibodeaux, use regular
video presentations and special lessons to educate students about
bullying and teach them how to avoid being victimized.

Read more in Imani Tate’s story BULLY.

Walnut student’s doodle could win $30,000 from Google


Students usually get in trouble for doodling
during class. Unless they’re part of the art club at Suzanne Middle
School in Walnut.

Then it can become very profitable, especially if it’s for the Doodle 4 Google competition.

Just ask 12-year-old Herman Wang, who’s headed to New York City as
the California finalist in the nationwide contest. The sixth-grader
could win a $30,000 scholarship as well as a $50,000 technology grant
for the school.

“There were more than 114,000 submissions this year,” explained
Google’s Chris Wilcox. “Herman’s was chosen from all the entries we got
in California.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story DOODLE.