New director in Azusa

This just in from Azusa:

The Azusa Unified School District’s Board of Education has selected Vincent Jantz as new Director of Student Achievement 6-12. He replaces Marlene Ministeri who is retiring this summer.

Prior to joining the District, Mr. Jantz was principal at Calabasas High School. He has also served as an assistant principal at Santa Ana High School.  In addition, he has taught grades 6-12 in the Santa Ana Unified School District and at Cal-State Fullerton, Western State University, Santa Ana College and the University of Redlands.

 After completing his bachelors’ degree at Cal-State Fullerton, he received his master’s from Georgetown University and his Juris Doctor from Southwestern University.

The position was approved at a June 24 board meeting. The salary for the Director of Student Achievement 6-12 is $111,907, according to district spokeswoman, Kathy Miller.

Group asks students to return yearbooks

This just in from the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable concerning the yearbook fiasco at Charter Oak High School:

“Civil Rights Leaders Call on Black Students at Charter Oak High School to Turn Racially Offensive Yearbooks” In to School Officials


Rights Leaders Will Also Turn in Books for Students and Parents


Press Conference:

When: Lucy Florence Coffeehouse, 3351 W. 43rd St., Leimert Park, L.A. 90008

When: Thursday, July 3, 10:00 AM


Civil rights leaders  called on African-American students at Charter Oak High School to turn in all racially defaced Yearbooks. School officials have not told when or if the yearbooks will be replaced. “Charter Oak school officials have made a vague promise to replace the yearbooks. They have not said when that will happen. Therefore we will call on black students to turn in their defaced yearbooks to the school district office,” says Earl Ofari Hutchinson, President, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, ” The action sends the message that the offensive year books must be immediately replaced and a formal apology issued to the parents and students by Charter Oak District school officials.”


More yearbook news

News of Charter Oak High School Yearbook replacing Black Student Union member names with fake names such as “Tay Tay Shaniqua,” “Crisphy Nanos” and “Laquan White” has spread all over the country.

Local leaders are starting to get involved.

President of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable Earl Ofari Hutchinson sent a letter to the school board president demanding an apology.

School officials still have not determined a solution but plan on meeting with BSU parents and students.


No talking for teens

Teen drivers under 18 can no longer talk on the phone while driving.

The new wireless law that will go in effect July 1 forbids teens under 18 from talking on the phone regardless if they have a wireless device.

Initial fines are $20 and $50 thereafter. 

Here is a press release from the State Superintendent on the new law:


SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O”Connell and California Highway Patrol Valley Division Chief Stan Perez held a joint news conference today at McClatchy High School to remind teenagers about the new wireless device laws that go into effect next month.

“Technology rules kids’ lives, but it should never take their lives,” said O”Connell. “I want to remind young drivers under 18 years old that starting on July 1 they are forbidden from using their cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. This is not a frivolous law. It is a law that will save limbs and lives because cell phone use is the number one cause of distracted driving accidents in California.”

“New drivers especially need to concentrate solely on driving the vehicle. It is not the time to be dividing your attention with a phone call,” said CHP Chief Stan Perez.

l Senate Bill 33 (Simitian) was signed into law last year banning the use of wireless telephones, pagers, laptops, or any other electronic communication, or mobile service devices to speak or text while driving in any manner by drivers under the age of 18 in California. This ban includes even the use of hands-free devices. A companion measure, Senate Bill 1613 (Simitian), was signed into law in 2006, making it illegal for adult drivers to talk on a hand-held cell phone while driving a car in California unless they use a hands-free device. There are exceptions to these laws in emergency situations. Initial fines are $20 and $50 thereafter. New legislation is being proposed to ban adult drivers from text messaging while driving.

“All it takes is one mistake to change a young life forever,” added O”Connell. “I cannot stress enough how important this new law is, to help students stay safe and healthy, so they will be ready to learn when they go back to school.”


Reaction to yearbook slap

This story about a prank in Charter Oak High School’s yearbook has been getting much reaction from the community. Here is what some people wrote in e-mails to me this morning:

“I just read your story a few minutes ago. I’m wondering how I would go about donating money so that the yearbooks can be reprinted. Perhaps other readers would be interested in donating, as well.
As a mother and elementary school teacher, I am absolutely sickened by this horrible incident. This is not a “prank”, but an act of disrespect and hatred. Charter Oak’s administrators need to go the distance in their efforts to right this wrong.”
                                                                                                          Lisa of Sierra Madre
Another reader, Janie, wrote:

“Same thing happened to a page in the South Hills High School Yearbook.  It was on a Parents Senior Dedication Page and someone wrote horrible things to the seniors pictures.

On one photo, the parent wrote “Gorgeous” and someone wrote “Not Gorgeous”…. On the family portrait, the parent wrote “We Love You”… and someone wrote, “We Don’t Love you”.

All the yearbooks were recalled and a huge sticker of the Seniors Dedication Page was placed over top.  Some people ripped the stickers off out of curiosity.  The sticker photo is not clear and parents pay big bucks to do the Senior Dedication Page.

How sad that these few students have to ruin everything.  I think Charter Oak should kick the student out and have the parents pay for damages.”


New principal in Azusa

This just in from Azusa:

The Azusa Unified Board of Education has selected John Steven Coke as the new principal of Azusa High School. Mr. Coke will join the District on July 1.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, he completed his teaching credential at the University of California at Riverside and master’s
at National University in San Diego.

He began teaching in 1987 in the Colton Joint Unified School District. He has also served in
Colton as an assistant principal at the middle school level and principal of the continuation high school. Since 2005, he has been the principal at Colton High School.

District spokeswoman Kathleen Miller said the current principal resigned earlier this year.


Cota article gets mixed reactions

I have received both positive and negative reaction from an article that ran today titled Montebello School Officials Plan to demote Principal Cota.

Many parents left me messages saying they are grateful the article ran and they only wish an article could be written about each teacher and administrator that might be let go.

A handful of other parents said they do not support Cota and they do not feel he is a good principal.

On a side note, while writing this article I once again found members of the Montebello School Board nearly impossibly to get a hold of. Board President Marcella Calderon did not return numerous phone calls.

The only board member who commented and proved to be helpful was Vice President Gerri Guzman.

Rally in Montebello

Word has been going around that parents are expected to rally at a Montebello Unified School Board meeting on Thursday.

A parent I spoke to today said they are upset because the school principal at Fremont Elementary school was given a pink slip.

Montebello gave pink slips to 40 percent of their administrative staff.

According to other parents the board has been very hush-hush regarding proposed layoffs.

Mt. SAC Board to give themselves a raise

The Board of Trustees for Mt. San Antonio College are expected to give themselves a raise at a Wednesday meeting.

Board members currently make $750 a month if they attend all meetings. The student trustee gets $400 a month.

They are slated to vote on 5 percent raise for all members.

It would increase their monthly salary by $207.50 for a grand total of $957.50 a month.

Do you know how much your Board of Trustees or School Board makes?

Montebello may cut 40 percent of administrative staff

This just in from Montebello Unified School District.

“In a response to the massive budget cuts proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger, MUSDs Board of Education recently voted to notify nearly 40 percent of certificated administrators that their positions may be changed, reduced or eliminated. The district is working to keep budget reductions away from classrooms.”

We have all been hearing about massive cuts and reductions but 40 percent of your administrators is quite a hit.