Robert P. Taylor has been appointed superintendent of Walnut Valley Unified School District. He will take over July 1 in the high-performing district that is facing a difficult fiscal future.
In December, the school board declared a “negative certification” for the district budget, meaning it may not be able to meet expenses next year.
Taylor, who has been deputy superintendent of Corona-Norco Unified
School District, will succeed Superintendent Dean S. Conklin, who is retiring next month after almost 15 years with Walnut Valley Unified.
The school district covers Walnut and parts of Diamond Bar.
“I’m going into a district that has a long, strong reputation for student achievement ” that puts kids first and produces high results in the classroom,” Taylor said.
“The budget has been a concern for districts across California. ” Hopefully, with the state economy, that’ll continue to improve, but it’s something we’ll all have to deal with.
Read more in TAYLOR.
Nogales grads Alberto Jeronimo, Maria Ortiz and Kimberly Cardenas have been named Gates Millenium Scholars. (Photo by Gina Ward, Courtesy of Rowland Unified )
They’re thinking doctorates. While other high school graduates are considering bachelor’s degrees at local colleges, three Nogales grads are planning advanced degrees at the best universities in the world.
The three have been named Gates Millennium Scholars. The program selects 1,000 talented students every year for a scholarship to the college of their choice. The prestigious scholarships pay for tuition, books and meals, as well as travel assistance to visit their families.
“I want to become a doctor – now I can afford to go to college and then medical school,” said Alberto Jeronimo of West Covina. “I’ll be studying premed at Berkeley.”
The 18-year-old comes from an immigrant family. Alberto was inspired to succeed by his father, who came here from Mexico to make a better life.
“We couldn’t have done this without our counselor (Sara) Hall,” Alberto noted. “She wrote our nominations and recommendations, helping us through the scholarship process.”
The Nobles had to write nine essays to become Millennium scholars. They also had to have a minimum 3.33 GPA, though many like Alberto have a 4.5. All three Nogales teens are candidates for International Baccalaureate Diplomas and rank in the top 10 of their graduating class.
“This means more than just going to college for me,” explained Kimberly Cardenas of La Puente. “I will be the first in my family to attend an American university.”
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story GATES.
The athletic fields at Diamond Ranch high school may be a construction zones now but by August it will be the site of football games and the platforms for students to showcase their talents.
Last week, the Pomona Unified School District held ground-breaking ceremonies for what will be modest but much-improved athletic facilities at Diamond Ranch, Garey and Pomona high schools.
Each facility will be improved in two phases. As part of the first phase of work, the schools will have improved fields, tracks, lighting, scoreboards and seating by the fall. Restrooms and snack bars will be added by fall 2014.
The total budget for the fields is $16 million, said Leslie Barnes, Pomona Unified’s assistant superintendent for business services and chief financial officer.
Board President Roberta Perlman said the three construction projects will represent a bit of an inconvenience as the current academic year wraps up, but many people in and outside of the schools are looking forward to the improvements.
“There was so much excitement from parents and community members,” Perlman said of the ceremonies.
Perlman said she has told students that the fields are a way of showing them they are valued by the district and the community.
The improvements to the fields will be made using revenue from the 2008 voter-approved Measure PS.
Revenue from the bond measure must be used for school facilities including replacing out-dated infrastructure.
Diamond Bar and Walnut High School business students competed in the State Leadership Conference in Santa Clarita on April 18-21. They’re members of Future Leaders of America (FBLA). They qualified for the competition during regional Inland Section contest in February.
Both high schools brought home many awards. Seven students also qualified for the national competition: Crystal Chang and Sachin Vernin from Diamond Bar High; Jefferey Huang, Hana Haideri, Annie Liu, Howard Chen, and Vivian Huang from Walnut High.
Read more in BIZ.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” offers lots of singing and tap dancing at Diamond Bar High School this weekend and next.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” is a really big production at Diamond Bar High. It has three different casts with more than 50 actors and actresses, plus twin directors.
No wonder, the drama department is adding two more shows, offering a total of six different performances this weekend and next.
While the students may be thoroughly modern with their iPhones and iPods, the play takes us back to 1922, when these gadgets were the stuff of science fiction.
Some would say a simpler time, but whenever it comes to love and life, do things ever really change? The zany musical opens with our ingenue from Kansas moving to the Big Apple to take a bite out of life.
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story MILLIE.
Hacienda La Puente Unified students came away with many medals in the Science Olympiad this year. In April, Mesa Robles Middle School took third in the Southern California State Science Olympiad competition in Anaheim. Earlier in the year, they came in second place overall out of 40 teams in the regional contest.
Grazide Elementary came in first overall out of 51 teams in the region, according to teacher Andrea Brown. Los Molinos and Los Altos Elementary Schools also won gold medals.
The district’s 22 schools did so well, that the school board held a special meeting at La Puente High School to recognize the students and their coaches.
Brown said the district had a total of 27 teams entered in this year’s Science Olympiad. Each team had 15 students and 2 alternates. Which meant, the district had almost 400 students involved in this year’s competition.
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story Olympiad
Grazide Elementary came in first place overall in the Science Olympiad. (Photo courtesy of Grazide Elementary)
Autism walks. It talks. It feels. Lessons learned by the kids at Los Molinos Elementary during Autism Awareness Week. A week that ended with a better understanding of a disorder that affects 1 in 88 children, including 1 in 54 boys.
From left, Brandon Bravo, 11, Elijah Hernandez, 9, and Alexia Cota-Montoya, 10, and their classmates at Los Molinos Elementary School in Hacienda Heights complete their autism awareness week with a walk for autism on Friday. (Staff Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz)
The students even staged their own autism walk Friday, marching in the bright noon day sun. The line of 300 students curved around the athletic field like so many soldiers marching into battle in Hacienda Heights.
In this case, they were raising money to battle a disorder characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
They were coaxed on by JACK FM, a radio station supporting the cause by lighting it up “blue” for Autism Awareness Month. Many students and parents took the time to sign up for the LA Autism Walk on April 20 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story AUTISM.
After evaluating the viability of what has quickly become a costly after-school enrichment program, La Puente city officials have decided to slash the club from a second area location.
The City Council in December eliminated its STARS after-school program at one of its three active sites, the La Puente Community Center, because of its dismal participation rates and increasing operational costs.
In an effort to further reduce expenses, city officials recently voted to cut the program at its Hurley Elementary in Rowland Unified site once the school semester is over.
Officials said the move will allow for the money the city spends to run the program to be used elsewhere in the community.
The money that “we’re spending is for a very small population,” Mayor Dan Holloway said. “We can use that money for (recreational) programs to serve for the entire community, whether through the community center or special events we have for youth. ”
The program’s third and largest site, Fairgrove Academy in Hacienda La Puente Unified, will remain open until other cost-effective options are available.
Read more in Juliette Funes story STAR.
Want to explore if the ACT or SAT is right for you? Kaplan Test Prep will hold an ACT/SAT practice test on Saturday, April 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Rowland Heights Library.
The test will have a sample of both tests. The results of the tests will be explained by a representative from KAPLAN on Tuesday, April 23, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Bring two No. 2 pencils and a calculator to the program. Sign-up at the information desk.
The library is at 1850 Nogales St. For information, call 626-912-5348.
Being stranded at the Los Angeles International Airport wasn’t a part of the educational trip to Washington that 27 local eighth-graders spent weeks talking about.
The 12-year-olds planned to lift off for Dulles International Airport at 9:02 a.m. Monday, but American Airlines overbooked the flight. Frank Loya, principal of St. Benedict School in Montebello, said he and the students were disappointed.
“When we got to the gate, they overbooked the plane, and they wanted me to split some of my students,” Loya told KTLA 5.
But Loya said he refused to leave six students behind, especially since the group would have to pay full price for six more tickets, reported KTLA 5.
Mary Frances Fagan, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, said the airline is working with the group leader to figure out how to get everyone to northern Virginia.
“Unfortunately we were unable to accommodate a group of passengers flying from L.A. to Washington, Dulles, this morning,” Fagan said. “We have worked with the group leader and determined the best way to transport the group to Northern Virginia. ”
Flight 76 left without any of St. Benedict School’s students or staff. Preliminary plans said the students might fly to Dallas Monday night and get to D.C. by Tuesday afternoon, reported KTLA 5.