Ryan Seacrest visits Diamond Bar High for Grammy semifinalist

Please join American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest, The Grammy Foundation, KIIS FM, and the Ford Motor Company to celebrate Diamond Bar High School’ Steve Acciani being named a national semifinalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award on Tuesday, November 11.

Come and help support the Diamond Bar High School Music Program!

Diamond Bar High School will be participating in the Ford Motor Company’s Drive 4 UR School national test drive program to help raise money for the school’s outstanding music program.

GRAMMY Foundation Honorary Chair Ryan Seacrest will be on hand to join members of the Diamond Bar community who participate and support DBHS by test-driving a new Ford vehicle.

For every person over 18 who test-drives at this one-day event, Ford Motor Company and Fairway Ford will donate $20, up to $6,000, to Diamond Bar’s music education program.

The event will also feature all 700 DBHS instrumental music students performing, and be hosted by KIIS FM.

The event will take place on Tuesday, November 11, from 11:00am until 5:00pm, with Ryan Seacrest expected to join the celebration from 1pm until 3pm.

Food trucks will be on hand, so come spend some time enjoying an afternoon out with the community.

Diamond Bar High School is located at 21400 E. Pathfinder Road in Diamond Bar.

Los Altos High choirs plan holiday concert in Hacienda Heights

Los Altos High choir performs at opening of Hacienda Heights Community Center.

Los Altos High choir performs at opening of Hacienda Heights Community Center.

The Los Altos High School Choirs are bursting with enthusiasm to announce the performance of their Holiday Concert in the sparkling new Hacienda Heights Community Center located at 1234 Valencia Ave. in Hacienda Heights. The concert will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.

General admission is free but donations are appreciated. If you would like reserved seating for $7, contact Jeffrey Fahey, Director of Choirs via email: jfahey@hlpusd.k12.ca.us 

Visit www.losaltoschoir.org for more information. Come one and all to kick off the Holiday Season. See you there!

Pomona students explore health care professions

High School Biomedical Scholars explore guided displays of human anatomy as part of the Pomona Health Career Ladder’s Forensics Academy at the Western University of Health Sciences campus. (Photo Courtesy of Jeff Malet, WesternU)

High School Biomedical Scholars explore guided displays of human anatomy as part of the Pomona Health Career Ladder’s Forensics Academy at the Western University of Health Sciences campus. (Photo Courtesy of Jeff Malet, WesternU)

More than 400 students and their parents from Pomona Unified and throughout the region delved into the world of forensics and infectious diseases, explored an anatomy lab and learned investigative procedures from the Pomona Police Department as part of the Pomona Health Career Ladder, a pipeline that fosters Pomona youths’ education and aspirations to become medical and health care professionals.

Now in its sixth year, the Pomona Health Career Ladder is a partnership between PUSD, Cal Poly Pomona, California State University, Fullerton and Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU), which hosts monthly Saturday academies for sixth- through 12th-grade PUSD students.

The “Forensic Science and Infectious Disease” Saturday workshop, held Oct. 25, provided middle school students the opportunity to learn investigative procedures from WesternU health professions students while high school students explored real medical specimens in guided interactions. To wrap up the academy, all students learned about real-life crime scene investigation from the Pomona Police Department as they toured the Pomona CSI vehicle.

“The Health Career Ladder is an innovative partnership that provides our students the opportunity to be exposed to the variety of health care professions available at an early age, as well as develop the skills and gain the tools necessary to attain their full academic potential and pursue these careers,” said Fernando Meza, Administrative Director of Pupil and Community Services.

The family-oriented and academic enrichment event, the second in a series, included a performance by the Garey High School Choir, directed by Rafael Duran, and multiple hands-on workshops for students led by dozens of medical, dental, pharmacy and veterinary student volunteers from the three universities.

The program also included presentations by Dr. Maryam Othman, Director of WesternU’s Division of Global and Community Health, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP); Dr. Vicki Wedel, Forensic Anthropologist and Associate Professor of Anatomy at COMP and the College of Dental Medicine.

To encourage family involvement and encouragement, the program included a component in which parents learned about WesternU’s many community outreach efforts and how to encourage their children to achieve their goals.

“Partnering with parents is critical to helping young students succeed,” said Dr. Elizabeth Rega, WesternU’s Associate Vice Provost for Academic Development. “Despite economic, educational and language obstacles, these parents have dedicated themselves to a better career for their children.”

According to WesternU’s Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness, students who attend Health Career Ladder-sponsored events show significantly better school attendance, achieve higher scores on state standardized tests in English language arts and math, and earn higher GPAs compared with their peers.

With WesternU students serving as mentors and role models, the young medical scholars are able to develop a passion for science and health and learn about prospective careers, Superintendent Richard Martinez said.

“Through this pioneering partnership, we have been able to provide our students with engaging and academically stimulating programs that encourage their pursuit of higher education and allow them to explore the possibilities,” Martinez said. “It is my hope that these students, no matter what careers they choose, will return to invest in the Pomona community and be a voice for PUSD.”

Future workshops scheduled include: cardiovascular/diabetes (Nov. 15); disability (Dec. 13); disaster preparedness (Jan. 31); and emergency drills (March 7). An end-of-year awards ceremony and celebration will take place April 25, 2015.

Simultaneous Spanish translation for parents is provided at each event by Carlos Mendez, M.B.A.

More information on the program and workshops is available at: www.westernu.edu/ladder-pomona.

Mt SAC breaks ground for Student Success Center

Mt. San Antonio College will hold groundbreaking ceremonies for the campus’ new Student Success Center and Food Services Building on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 4 p.m., at the site of the new center, just south of the college’s Design Technology Center, building 13. 

The $13.6 million Student Success Center will house the Disabled Student Programs and Services High Tech Center and classrooms, the Veterans Resource Center, the Bridge Program, and a Student Health Center. 

“The new center shows an expansion of our programs to meet the needs of our students,” said Mt. SAC Student Services Vice President Audrey Yamagata-Noji. “It really addresses the growth of our programs and our support for student success.” 

The three-story building will afford 22,800 square feet for classrooms, study labs, offices, and lab. Construction on the project began in mid-September with a completion date slated for December 2015. 

The $12.7 million Food Services Building will replace the current Campus Café. The new 13,500-square-foot facility will seat approximately 90 people for interior dining and over 200 for outside dining on the east, west, and south terraces. The new building will house several food stations, including a deli, a grill station, Asian cuisine, and a coffee shop. 

The new Food Services Building is also expected to be completed by December 2015. 

Chavarria Foundation hold fiesta dinner for scholarships

The Rudy Chavarria Scholarship Foundation is proud to announce our 1st Annual “Fiesta” Dinner to raise funds for the 2015 scholarship awards. Our foundation has no overhead, therefore all funds raised at this, and other events, are allocated 100% to scholarships for students graduating from the five high schools in Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.

 Come join us on November 5, 2014 at the Industry Hills Expo Center from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. You can count on a fun night filled with music, entretainment, live and silent auctions, opportunity drawings and more. You will also be able to meet the 2014 scholarship recipients.

 For information on individual seats and other sponsorship opportunities click here.

Trio of teachers of year support Marshall Tuck

By Marshall Tuck campaign

Three former Teachers of the Year are stepping forward today to announce their support of Marshall Tuck for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. As awarded Teachers of the Year, Bhavini Bhkata, W. Kipp Morales, and Andrew Shean have seen firsthand how current rules and Sacramento bureaucracy hold back their chosen profession.

Despite being at the top of their profession, the three teachers have been pink-slipped nine times between them because of laws like those overturned in the Vergara case that hold back the profession and harm our ability to educate kids.

“As California public school teachers and educators, we have dedicated our lives to helping students learn and achieve. We know firsthand how important it is to have leadership that understands that in order for students to be successful, teachers must be supported and given the flexibility to work with our local communities, with school leadership and with parents to create the best possible experience for every child.

“We entered the profession of teaching to make a difference in children’s lives and ensure that all California kids are given the opportunity to receive a quality education. That is why we are supporting Marshall Tuck. His plan for supporting the profession through better pay, increased training, freedom from crippling bureaucracy and changes to laws like ‘Last in, First out’ are the right steps for California’s kids.”

“We are particularly disturbed by recent attacks on Marshall’s outstanding record improving schools in some of California’s toughest neighborhoods. As you know, Marshall has led two innovative school systems in high-need areas: Green Dot Public Schools and the Partnership for LA Schools.

“These school systems–both union systems–serve as national models for parental involvement, effective technology in the classroom, and excellent teaching methods. These schools have been good for teachers and we welcome Marshall’s leadership in Sacramento.”

About Bhavini Bhkata

School: Bradoaks Elementary School, Monrovia Unified

Award: Golden Apple Teacher of the Year Award

Times Pink Slipped: 6 (pink slipped or displaced based on seniority)

Additional Comments: “I’ve been a public school teacher for 10 years, and have been pink-slipped for 6 of them …. being a Teacher of the Year, and having received 6 pink slips — that doesn’t make much sense to anyone. Marshall understands what makes sense for students, for teachers, and for public schools. He is one of the first people I have come across who believes that teacher quality outweighs a teacher’s seniority. He is 100% for the best outcomes for kids. He believes teachers have the largest impact on students during their school day, regardless of their home environments. He doesn’t give up because students live in a certain zip code, instead, he welcomes the opportunity to provide a supportive and rigorous learning environment while kids are in school. Marshall is behind great teachers, he is behind great principals, and he is absolutely behind the students in our state.”

About W. Kipp Morales

School: Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

Award: Teacher of the Year

Number of times pink-slipped: 1

Additional statement: “I support Marshall Tuck’s innovative initiatives that seek to move student achievement, teacher compensation, and…yes…teacher unions…out of the self-created quagmire and into a culture of success like my school has obtained.”

About Andrew Shean:

School: Abraxas High School, Poway Unified School District

Award: Two-time Teacher of the Year

Number of times pink-slipped: 2

Additional statement: “We have to change a system that forgoes merit [and the] difference a teacher makes in the lives of children [during] tough budget decisions. It is time to start questioning the status quo and putting kids first. I fully support marshall Tuck and am hopeful others will too!”

Current role: Vice Provost of Curriculum and Innovation, Ashford University

Quail Summit students mix it up in Diamond Bar

Students stepped out of their comfort zones to connect with other students during Mix It Up Day at Quail Summit Elementary.

Students stepped out of their comfort zones to connect with other students during Mix It Up Day at Quail Summit Elementary.

By Walnut Valley Unified

Quail Summit Elementary students joined the national Mix It Up at Lunch Day on October 28. The event provides students with an opportunity to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new.

And that’s just what they did! As the youngsters came out for lunch recess they visited three stations where parent volunteers passed out conversation starter cards.

“The best thing about today is that they are making new friends!” said parent Vivian Liao.

The cards had prompts like “Find someone who likes to play handball” and “Find someone who has ridden Space Mountain at Disneyland.”

After the boys and girls met a new friend that matched their inquiry, they received a puzzle piece, and a new card. When they earned four pieces to solve the puzzle, the kids received a green Mix It Up Day wristband, frozen treat, and hand stamp. They could also join the Cupid Shuffle dance party hosted by teachers Jessica Cabral and Erin Ruhl.

Several 5th graders volunteered to help with younger students during the primary grade lunch.

“I remember doing this in 1st grade!” recalled Asha Longsworth. She buddied up with second grader Whitney who liked being with her new big friend.

The innovative activity helps to create a school environment where respect and inclusiveness are core values. Quail Summit was designated as a Mix It Up Model School in 2013.

Mt. SAC holding community volunteer fair Nov. 6

The Mt. San Antonio College Student Life Office will hold a Community Volunteer Fair for local organizations that would like to recruit student volunteers on Thursday, Nov. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Student Life Center patio area, building 9C. 

The fair provides an opportunity for students to engage in public service, obtain hands-on learning experiences, and make a difference in the community.

Some of the organizations that will participate in this year’s event include the AmeriCorps, Covina Public Library, Inland Empire United Way, House of Ruth, Inland Valley Hope Partners, Just Us 4 Youth, Parent’s Place Family Resource & Empowerment Center, Rowland Unified School District Family Resource Center, Think Together, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, and more. 

Community organizations that would like to participate should call the Mt. SAC Student Life Office at (909) 274-5953. 

Singer John Legend backs Marshall Tuck campaign

Singer and education activist John Legend announced his support for State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Marshall Tuck by tweeting his support from the road of his “All of Me” tour and releasing the following statement:

“As you know, I believe it’s so important that every kid in the country has equal access to a great education–and I’m dedicated to helping turn around our schools.

“There is nothing more significant we can do for our kids than ensure that every child has a great teacher and a real chance to succeed. Yet in California we are fundamentally failing to provide that opportunity.

“That’s why I am joining thousands of Californians–liberal and conservative–in supporting Marshall Tuck for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Because when it comes to our kids, we need major change, now. A vote for Marshall Tuck is a vote for a ‘kids first’ agenda when it comes to education.”

Beyond his accomplishments as a talented and popular singer, Legend is known for his commitment to education, serving on the boards of Teach for America, Harlem Village Academies, and Stand for Children.

Legend’s endorsement adds to the growing momentum for Tuck, who was most recently leading in the polls and has received the support of every major newspaper in California.

The normally quiet race for California’s top education official is shaping up to be the most heated on the ballot and is seen nationally as a referendum on change vs. the status quo, with leaders like Legend siding firmly with Tuck.

“One-in-eight kids in public school in America is in California public schools, yet our schools rank 45th in the nation in reading and math,” Legend continued. “That’s unacceptable. In Tuck we have the chance to change the lives of the millions of kids in California, and to help lead a nation that must do better by its kids.”