Wedgeworth Elementary does flashmob at Puente Hills Mall

400 students from Wedgeworth School in Hacienda Heights perform an anti-bullying flash mob at Puente Hills mall on Thursday.

400 students from Wedgeworth School in Hacienda Heights perform an anti-bullying flash mob at Puente Hills mall on Thursday.

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Puente Hills Mall rocked out Thursday morning, thanks to a flash mob by 400 students and staff from nearby Wedgeworth Elementary School. The Hacienda Heights school filled the center court of the local mall as curious shoppers gathered around.

Clad in their bright red T-shirts, the school danced Gangnam style as parents and patrons lined the second floor balcony to watch.

“Our students wrote the lyrics and our entire student body learned the choreography to help spread the word about bullying prevention,” explained Principal Paulina Cho.

Cho said the Hacienda La Puente Unified school has been working on a campaign to prevent bullying. Each grade level did a different project based on the theme. On Tuesday, the fourth- and fifth-graders will perform an antibullying skit that they wrote themselves.

“For the younger students, we had them outline their own silhouettes, then write in words that bullies might use,” Cho said. “Later, we had them rip their silhouettes to show the harm done by the mean words.”

But the whole school decided they wanted to spread their message to the general public. And what better place to do that than the big regional mall down the street.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s FLASHMOB.

Plaintiffs join former LA Mayor Villaraigosa to endorse Tuck

By Marshall Tuck campaign

Several student plaintiffs from the landmark education lawsuit, Vergara v. California, joined with family members and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to endorse Marshall Tuck for State Superintendent of Public Instruction yesterday.

The event, part of the Tuck Campaign’s statewide “ School Turnaround Tour,” is the first public with the Vergara Plaintiffs since a Los Angeles County Superior Court found the statutes in California’s education code dealing with teacher tenure, dismissal, and layoffs—laws that handcuff schools from giving every student an equal opportunity to learn from effective teachers—unconstitutional.

“I’m thrilled to have the support of the courageous student Plaintiffs in Vergara, who bravely stood up for all kids in California and challenged the status quo in our education system,” said Marshall Tuck, Candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“For too long, we have defended a broken system that fails to put the needs of our kids first. As State Superintendent, I will be an advocate for our students in Sacramento. I will immediately push to stop the defense of the onerous laws challenged by Vergara and will work with any and all stakeholders who are interested in building a better education future for our state. We owe it to our kids, and they deserve nothing less.”

Earlier this summer, Tuck outlined a plan to address the Vergara ruling based on his experience working to turn around failing schools. Read the whole plan here.

During the press conference, Joe Macias, the father of Plaintiff Julia Macias, delivered the following statement on behalf of the Los Angeles-based Plaintiffs and family members present at the event:

“As a parent, my top priority is to make sure my children get the education they need to thrive in the future – to go to college and to have a successful, rewarding career. But for thousands of families across California, getting their children a good education from our public schools just isn’t an option,” Macias said.

“Vergara v. California achieved a tremendous victory this past summer, breaking down significant barriers to improving our public schools, but the problems and inequality challenged by the case still persist. Kids in California are still trapped in classrooms with highly ineffective teachers. And great teachers are still being demoralized by a system that serves the special interests in Sacramento, instead of the needs of real communities. We are very optimistic that we, the plaintiffs, will prevail on appeal.

“But we need leaders that will start working toward solutions today, instead of just denying that there are even problems. That’s why we’re giving our full support to Marshall Tuck for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. We’ve met with Marshall, and he not only understands the challenges facing our schools, he knows first hand how to overcome these challenges and turn struggling schools into hubs of learning.

“As Superintendent, Marshall Tuck will be the advocate that parents and students need in Sacramento. Marshall knows that there’s no time to waste and that there’s nothing more important than our children’s education.”

The race for Superintendent is quickly shaping up to be one of the most contested on the ballot as both private and public polling indicate voters are ready for change for California’s failing schools. Currently, California schools rank 45th in the nation.

Marshall Tuck plans press conference in Sherman Oaks

Marshall Tuck, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, continues his statewide “School Turnaround Tour” with public events in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Highlights include an event with teachers to discuss the path forward in light of the landmark Superior Court decision in Vergara v. California, as well as an event with former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the five Los Angeles-area student Plaintiffs and their families in Vergara.

The press conference with the Vergara Plaintiffs is the first public event with the Plaintiffs since the Superior Court decision was handed down on June 10, 2014. A full schedule of events can be found below.


-Marshall Tuck, Candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

-Hon. Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles Mayor

-Los Angeles-based Plaintiffs in Vergara v. California, and their families


State Superintendent for Public Instruction candidate Marshall Tuck’s Turnaround Tour is themed around the opportunity to turnaround California’s education system in light of the recent court ruling in Vergara v. California. The media event with the Vergara Plaintiffs and their families is the first public event with all Los Angeles-based Plaintiffs since the Court’s historic ruling in Vergara was announced in June. Tuck will be available for media interviews throughout the tour. Please contact the campaign for media availability or to ride on the bus.


  • Community Roundtable – Inglewood: Tuck will meet with key Inglewood community leaders to discuss the state takeover of the district and how to address state failures
  • Media Event with Vergara Plaintiffs: Tuck will be joined by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles-based Plaintiffs who filed the groundbreaking education lawsuit, Vergara v. California, as well as parents and teachers, to talk about Tuck’s commitment to a more equitable education system in California.
    • When: Tuesday, 3:45pm set-up, 4 p.m. Event
    • Where: 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., Ste. 200, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
    • Additional details: The Vergara Plaintiffs will be making an important announcement. A brief Q&A session with Tuck and Mayor Villaraigosa will follow the formal portion of the press conference.

Tribune looking for students’ help in Scary Story contest

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune is holding its annual Scary Story contest for area kids, and we are looking for the best entries from grades 5-12.

The details:

  • The deadline for submissions is Oct. 24. All stories must be submitted online; a form is posted on our website,

  • Two categories of entries will be accepted: blood-curdling stories and works of art that scream out for attention. You may upload a story or drawing or both online.

  • Stories must be original.

  • Stories must be no longer than 650 words.

  • Artwork must be original (no tracings). Artwork files must be 5MB maximum in size; JPEG format is preferred. Please use the entrant’s name as the filename.

  • Entries will be judged on imagination, creativity and theme.

  • The Tribune reserves the right to revise contest dates and procedures.

  • The winning entries will be published in the paper on Halloween, Oct. 31, and all the entries will be posted online.

The age categories are:

Drawing: Five divisions are ages 5-6, 7-8, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-18.

Writing: Four divisions are ages 7-8, 9-11, 12-14 and 15-18.

Entries must be received through the online form posted on our website; emailed or mailed entries will not be accepted.

If you have any questions, e-mail or call her at 310-543-6136.

Don’t forget to have fun and use your imagination! We look forward to reading your submissions.

Marshall Tuck begins School Turnaround Tour today

Marshall Tuck, candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, is kicking-off his statewide “School Turnaround Tour” today with public events in San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Jose, Contra Costa and Oakland.

The race for superintendent is shaping up to be one of the most contested on the ballot.  Tuck says The Turnaround Tour is themed around the need to turnaround California’s education system, especially in light of the recent court ruling in Vergara v. California.

Marshall Tuck campaign releases new video

The Marshall Tuck campaign released a new video this morning featuring some new endorsers. Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Joel McHale and Adam Scott have thrown their support behind Marshall in a funny new video featuring the four actors lending their political expertise to Tuck’s campaign.

Watch the video, here.

“This election is so important that I sat down with Joel McHale, Adam Scott, and some handsome devil named Dax Shepard to get the facts from Marshall and provide some high-level strategy from today’s sharpest political minds,” said Kristen Bell, actress, parent and activist. “[And] as a parent, I want to make sure we give every child access to a great education.”

While the video provides some much needed humor in the middle of a heated campaign, it does take a serious look at several key issues facing the race, including the state of education in California today,

Walnut honors band boosters at LA Fair

By Richard Irwin, Staff Write

The Los Angeles County Fair honored more community heroes on Friday. Every year, the fair celebrates the volunteers, students and seniors who make their communities a better place to live.

This year, Walnut chose Lou and Joanie Simonelli for their volunteer work. The couple have spent many hours working for the band boosters at Walnut High School.

Walnut’s Community Services Superintendent Alicia Jensen noted Simonelli’s dedication has lasted well past the years in which their own children went to high school.

“The Community Services Department received a letter signed by 134 kids from Walnut High School praising and thanking the Simonelli’s for their efforts,” Jensen said in her nomination.

Dubbed the Bandfather, Lou has driven thousands of miles with a pile of instruments behind him. The couple also build and maintain the play sets and pit carts. Along the way, these community heroes have touched the lives of many students, parents and teachers.

Walnut High drama performs “The Understudy”

The Walnut High School Drama Department is bringing to the stage The Understudy by Eddie McPherson, presented in theatre-in-the round. Drama teacher Joanne Karr directs the talented cast in this murder-mystery comedy.

Acting can be murder!  Dolores Gordon, who loves the stage, has always dreamed of stardom. But the only role she ever seems to land is that of the lowly understudy.

So she decides the only way she is going to land the lead role in an upcoming community theatre production is to murder the lead actress, Guinevere Black. And that is exactly what she does.

To make the murder more fun, Dolores hides Guinevere’s body in a large wooden trunk that is used as the centerpiece of the production. She realizes her worst nightmare when she discovers the body has disappeared.

But who took it? Find out in this comedy that spoofs Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock all in one-keep-you-guessing backstage comedy.

Shows are October 1-4 at 7 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on October 4. General admission tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Tickets may be bought online at or at the door. For information, please call (909) 594-133 ext. 34212.


The Walnut High Performing Arts Center is located at 400 N. Pierre Road in Walnut.

Mt SAC art exhibit explores ‘Way of Flesh II’

The Mt. San Antonio College Art Gallery begins a new season with “The Way of Flesh II,” which runs Sept. 18 through Oct. 16. This exhibit is free and open to the public.

“The Way of Flesh II” displays the legacy of figurative art through the eyes of three generations of contemporary artists. This exhibition offers inventive approaches to rendering the figure in the classical tradition.

“The Way of Flesh II” picks up 20 years after the original “The Way of Flesh” exhibit at the Mt. SAC gallery in 1994. A special opening reception will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 18 in the Art Gallery, building 1B.

Participating artists are Sigmund AbelesSharon AllicottiJuliette AristidesSteven AssaelRon Brown, Dawn Butler, Thomas Butler,Wes ChristensenDomenic CretaraDirk HagnerF. Scott Hess, Jared Linge, Pamela Diaz MartinezDaina MattisJohn Nava, Odd Nerdrum, Ryan SchroederRobert SchultzLuis E. SerranoBetty SheltonRichard Shelton, Cynthia Sitton, Thomas StubbsRuth WeisbergJerome Witkin, and Peter Zokosky. 

An artists’ panel for the exhibit will be held 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 28. 

Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesday nights, 5 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call the Art Gallery at (909) 274-4328. 

Rowland Unified names new superintendent

Dr. Julie Mitchell has been named the new superintendent of Rowland Unified.

Dr. Julie Mitchell has been named the new superintendent of Rowland Unified.

By Rowland Unified School District

The Rowland Unified School District Board of Education announced at tonight’s meeting that Julie Mitchell, Ed.D., Chief Personnel Officer from Tustin Unified School District, has been appointed as the new Superintendent of Schools for Rowland Unified.

After an extensive five-month search process, the Board chose Mitchell for her broad and established instructional leadership roles across all grade levels, strength in collaboration and focus on increasing student learning and achievement. Her start date is October 1, 2014.

“The Board looks forward to welcoming Mitchell to our organization and to the families that we serve,” said Rowland USD Board President Heidi L. Gallegos. “Dr. Mitchell stood out among the highly qualified field of candidates for her passion and proven track record in making student-focused decisions that support academic success.”

“She has in-depth expertise in instructional strategies and models using technology, innovative professional development programs, and breadth in curriculum,” Gallegos said. “Her strength as a communicator and a collaborative leader focused on building positive relationships will continue Rowland’s successes. We want to thank our entire community who played an active role during this very public process, and we believe that Mitchell will be a visionary leader and a great match for our staff, students and community.”

Mitchell has 26 years of experience in public education. She has served as an instructional aide, middle and high school teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent of human resources in school districts including Anaheim Union, Capistrano and Irvine.

For the past seven years as the chief personnel officer – a top-level district administrator in Tustin Unified – Mitchell was involved in the development of programs focused on curriculum, student learning and achievement, personnel leadership, professional learning communities, technology, college preparedness and signature instructional practices, such as Reader’s Workshop, Writer’s Workshop and Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI).

She also assisted with the passage of two bond measures: a $95 million school facilities modernization bond and a $135 million new technology bond for K-12 students and 21stcentury classrooms throughout the school district.

Mitchell has a strong personnel background with extensive experience in employee relations and contract negotiations and the creation and implementation of comprehensive professional development and leadership programs for teachers, classified support staff and management.

She also established a partnership to implement the Cotsen Foundation Program transforming capable educators into gifted teachers at schools throughout Tustin USD.

Her leadership has been recognized at the local, regional and state levels as the 2011 Orange County Personnel/Human Resources Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), Region 17, and as the 2012 State Negotiator of the Year by ACSA.

Mitchell has a bachelor’s degree in social science from San Diego University, a master’s degree in education from the University of La Verne and received her doctorate in administration/management from Pepperdine University. Mitchell is married with three children.

“I am excited and honored to have been chosen as the new superintendent and look forward to working collaboratively with the school board, staff, parents and community,” Mitchell said. “I’m committed to providing all students with an exceptional educational experience which will assist them with becoming productive members of an ever-changing global society.”

The Rowland USD Board was committed to a rigorous superintendent search process and with providing the community clear and comprehensive information and input that began last April.

The firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates was hired and conducted focus groups, community meetings and an online survey to provide extensive input on the desired qualities of the next superintendent.

Consistent themes shared included a person who held a deep understanding of the teaching/learning process and the importance of educational technology, a leader who was approachable/accessible, a leader who could articulate a clear and consistent message, who believed in public education, who was collaborative and someone who could build trust. More than 50 applicants applied for the position.

During the superintendent search process, the Board appointed John A. Roach, Ed.D, as Interim Superintendent in June.  Roach will continue to serve until the end of September and will work with Mitchell for a smooth leadership transition.

The Rowland Unified School District is proud to serve 15,000 students in the communities of Rowland Heights, Walnut, La Puente, City of Industry and West Covina at our award-winning schools.