Photos: Students at Dalton Elementary in Azusa dress up as historical people for ‘Wax Museum’ event

Above, fifth grader Ricardo Quitl, 10, takes his position as George Washington.
Above, fourth grader Jazmin Davis, 10, as Tamsen Donner.
Above, fifth grader Erick Miller, 11, as Patrick Henry.
Above, Raymond Lopez, 10, waves his friend’s flag in a fifth-grade classroom at Dalton.
Students, above, pack up after the Famous People Wax Museum event.

Arcadia teachers vote to roll back pay, save jobs

The Arcadia Teachers Association voted last Thursday on a tentative agreement that would approve a 1.25 percent pay rollback, effective for the next school year. The announcement was posted by Superintendent Joel Shawn on a budget discussion blog entry dated June 12.

The move would allow the administration to rehire all the probationary and permanent teachers who were given layoff notices in March, said Board of Education President Joann Steinmeier in an e-mail.

Shawn said some teachers may be reassigned to different schools.

“In light of horrible economic times, and equally horrible resource cuts by the state, the Arcadia Unified School District family has done everything possible to protect the programs we provide for our students,” he said.

Sister’s Closet project outfits local teens for prom


Volunteers from the Azusa Unified School District, Azusa Pacific University and the Azusa/Glendora Soroptimists have teamed up to put on the second annual Sister’s Closet, which provides free prom gowns to teens from area high schools.

Sister’s Closet will host the no-cost boutique on Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Azusa Pacific University’s east campus, 901 E. Alosta Ave., in the Los Angeles Pacific College Banquet Room.

Students from any San Gabriel Valley-area school district are invited to attend.

Project coordinator Silvana A. Cavazos with Azusa Unified said the program aims to help teen girls participate in all the activities that are hallmarks of the high-school experience, without the financial stress of having to buy an expensive dress.

“I want the girls to feel that this is something they are sharing with a sister,” she said.

Click here for the full story on Sister’s Closet that ran Monday on the Tribune Student Life page.

Pictured: Stephanie Orona, an intern with the Department of Social Work at Azusa Pacific
University, arranges the dressing room area for last year’s Sister’s Closet

San Gabriel Valley school districts facing massive budget cuts

Azusa Unified School District could be facing $16.8 million in budget cuts over the next three years, officials said in a statement today.

The district’s Board of Education met Thursday to discuss the looming budget cuts.

“There are no easy solutions,” said Brad Frick, assistant superintendent of business services for AUSD. “Under the governor’s current budget proposal, Azusa Unified would be required to make draconian cuts.”

Frick said the cuts would require reductions in staff, programs, services and supplies.

“When more than 80 percent of your budget goes to salaries, there is no way to balance the budget without reductions in staff,” he said. “Every program and service must go under the microscope for reductions.”

The longer the state Legislature stalls on the budget, the harder it will be for the district to make cuts, Frick said.

In a similar statement, the Temple City Unified School District said it is facing $4.2 million in budget cuts over the next two years. The cuts would have a drastic impact to educational programs and staffing levels, officials said.

Superintendent Chelsea Kang-Smith urged parents to voice their support for public education funding by writing to the governor’s office and to local representatives in the Legislature.

“It will not be possible to make up the budget shortfall without impacting our award-winning schools,” she wrote on the district’s Web site.

In Azusa, the Board of Education is already reviewing layoff procedures for certificated staff. Under the California Education Code, these staff must be notified by March 15 of possible layoffs, said Assistant Superintendent Corey James. That deadline does not apply to classified employees, who have a 45-day layoff notice period.

If the state budget isn’t resolved in the next two weeks, James said the district will need to send layoff notices.

AUSD Board President Rosemary Garcia also urged parents to write their legislators.

“When balancing the budget, we must insist on protecting our children and the future of our state,” Garcia said.

Click here for a report by Staff Writer Caroline An on the impact of the budget crisis on local schools.

Azusa middle schoolers sending valentines to vets

Sixth graders at Center Middle School in Azusa are busy making valentines for veterans at the VA Medical Center in Long Beach.

Teacher Peggy Hill said the students are making the Valentine’s Day cards to express appreciation for all that the military does for the country.

Pictured: Students Vanessa Peralta and Karyssa Rodriguez work on their valentines. (Photo courtesy of the Azusa Unified School District)

Azusa Unified parents to swap places with students for a day

When the bell rings tomorrow at Azusa High School, there won’t be any teenage students rushing to class — just their parents.


That’s because Azusa Unified School District is hosting the annual Parent University on Saturday at the Cerritos Avenue campus.

Instead of classes in reading, writing and arithmetic, the parents will participate in workshops on parenting with love and logic; healthy living for families; and tips to help students succeed in school.

Parent University runs from 9 a.m. to noon, and bilingual classes are available. For more information, call (626) 967-6211.

Check out the Feb. 5 edition of the Azusa-Herald Highlander for more coverage on the event.

Photo: Participants in last year’s Parent University listen to a speaker in the Azusa High School library. (File / Staff)

Azusa private school lowers tuition in response to economy


The economic downturn has led one private elementary school in Azusa to lower its tuition costs for the upcoming school year.

The board of Light and Life Christian School recently made the decision to drop tuition rates from $4,700 to $3,700 for the academic year, officials said.

The school will also make available more need-based scholarships.

Board Chairman Hank C. Bode said the move is an effort to help area families afford the option of private education.

CLICK HERE to read the full story in the Azusa Herald Highlander.

Pictured: Light and Life Christian School principal Rachel McClune holds a financial aid application. (Photo by Raul Roa / Staff)

Azusa Unified to honor parent volunteer who aided choking student


The Azusa Unified Board of Education will recognize Maggie Boltz, a lunch supervisor and parent volunteer at Dalton Elementary School in Azusa, at its Feb. 3 meeting.

Boltz recently came to the aid of a student who was choking on a corn dog, district officials said. When Boltz saw that third-grader Raquel Arias was having difficulty breathing, she immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver.

Dalton Principal Roberta Monaghan said this is the second time Boltz has used the Heimlich to help a student in distress.

“We are so proud of her,” Monaghan said. “Her quick thinking and knowing exactly what to do really made a difference.”

Pictured are Boltz and student Raquel Arias. (Photo courtesy of the Azusa Unified School District)