Youth Science Center offers summer classes in Hacienda Heights

The Youth Science Center has pulled up stakes and moved down the road to Bixby Elementary in Hacienda Heights this summer. But the science circus is still offering three rings of fun.

The summer session began June 9, with weekly courses spread over the next five weeks. Many of the classes were already full of inquisitive kids.

“It took a couple days to move all our equipment from Wedgeworth Elementary, but we’re up and running,” said Ron Chong, chairman of the board of directors.

Chong and his wife, Judy, were busy shuttling students to their new classes. Many kids return every year to study new subjects.

This year, the science center is teaching 3D printing with its new digital printer. The cool machine builds three-dimensional objects by building up layers of plastic.

“The 3D printers used to cost thousands of dollars, but now you can buy them for $600,” explained teacher Kim Bach.

Her 25 students were using a computer assisted design program to construct their own brightly-colored name tags. Bach’s son, Steven, had just finished building a tiny little billiards table that uses BBs as billiard balls.

The Bachs say 3D printers are the wave of the future in manufacturing. “They’ll probably land up in everyone’s home so they can make their own products,” the science teacher predicted.

Next door, young sleuths were investigating chromatography in their makeshift crime lab. They were learning how to discover whodunnit before their crime scene final on Friday.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story SCIENCE.

New teachers finish credentials in Walnut Valley Unified

Each induction candidate created presentations that featured professional development and student achievement that resulted from the BTSA experience. (Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified)

Each induction candidate created presentations that featured professional development and student achievement that resulted from the BTSA experience. (Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified)

By Walnut Valley Unified

Area educators recently gathered to celebrate a new crop of teachers that have successfully completed their credential program. Fifty-six beginning teacher induction candidates who wrapped up the two-year curriculum were recognized during the Walnut Valley BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment) Colloquium held May 15 at Royal Vista Golf Course.

The 15th annual year-end event celebrates teachers who have completed the state’s induction requirements and earned their clear credential. BTSA teachers, support providers, along with many district and site administrators were in attendance to support the new teachers.

Each induction candidate created presentations that featured professional development and student achievement that resulted from the BTSA experience.  The Walnut Valley BTSA Consortium is comprised of seven districts: Walnut Valley, Covina Valley, East Whittier, South Whittier, Whittier City, Los Nietos and Lowell Joint.

In addition, the consortium partners with several local private and charter schools and teachers whose programs do not offer a BTSA Induction program.

During each new teacher’s two-year induction program they are matched with a trained mentors, known as support providers, to engage in inquiry-based effective teaching practices.

New teachers meet weekly with their support providers, and also engage in regular professional development and collaboration with other new teachers in similar assignments across the seven districts.  Director Julie Sheldon credits the 130 support providers for the success of the program.

 “These veteran teachers are unsung heroes and the key to the success of our BTSA program.”

The program strives to continually improve the quality of education for every student within the partner districts.

Rowland Basketball Camp has spots open for June 16-20

Looking for a fun summer program for your kids? Rowland Basketball Camp held at Rowland High School  is seeking boys/girls ages 7-14 interested in developing a solid foundation in the fundamentals of basketball for players of all levels.

There is still space left for the second session, June 16 – 20, Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Early drop-off at 8 a.m. and late pick-up at 1 p.m. available free of charge.) The cost is $100 for the week.

Beginners will be given an opportunity to grow in a positive environment, while advanced players will be challenged to improve their skills in a more competitive environment.

Camp Directors are Jason Villanueva, the new head basketball coach at Rowland High School, along with Lindsey Brewer and Matthew Tumambing. They will provide instruction in the areas of Ball Handling, Passing, Shooting, Individual Moves, Footwork, Defense, and Rebounding.

In addition to on court skills, an emphasis will be put on Team Work, the importance of Positive Interaction, and Work Ethic. Shooting Contests, Free Throw Contests, Team Games, and 1 on 1 Championships will also be conducted. Players are asked to bring basketball shoes, white T-Shirt, blue or black shorts (preferably, bottled water and a great attitude!

Registration forms are available at www.RowlandBasketball.com or please email  jasonzvillanueva@gmail.com

Rowland High School is located at 2000 S. Otterbein Ave. in Rowland Heights. (626)965-3448

Suzanne teacher joins LearnZillion Dream Team in New Orleans

Helen Papadopoulos, a math and drama teacher at Suzanne Middle School, has been selected to the 2014 LearnZillion Dream Team. She is one of 77 returning members to the elite team.

 Over 4,000 educators applied for the 200 spots available on the 2014 Dream Team.  Members were selected for their content knowledge, grit and humility,

Helen Papadopoulos

Helen Papadopoulos

these impressive math and English Language Arts teachers represent the best of district, charter and independent schools in 42 states and three countries.

The Dream Team convened in New Orleans for TeachFest, a unique professional development event from June 4-7, where they kicked-off a rigorous summer-long collaboration to create high-quality formative assessment tools and resources that will support teachers implementing the Common Core across the United States.

Following TeachFest, Dream Team members will return to their respective districts and continue to work in facilitated online professional learning communities.

Being on the Dream Team is about more than world-class professional development and creating great content — it’s about being a member of a vibrant and enthusiastic community of educators who are eager to help others and hopeful about the future.

The diverse group brings over 2,300 years of teaching experience, ranging from two to 42 years in the classroom.

Papadopoulos is a 2007 California Teacher of the Year and 2012 Bravo Award winner.

 

 

Vejar Elementary students harvest awards at nutrition fair in Walnut

Students like their two-month-old classroom pet named Number Seven. Their Egg to Chick by Room 26 documented how they cared for the egg until it hatched.  And it earned a blue ribbon. (Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified)

Students like their two-month-old classroom pet named Number Seven. They cared for the egg until it hatched. (Photo by Kelli Gile) 

Vejar Elementary fourth grade students harvested awards during the 2014 Schools’ Agriculture and Nutrition Fair. The Special Education class is celebrating four blue ribbons they received during the springtime contest.

Top prizes were awarded to their Grape Expectations sawhorse display, a Lion farm animal, and Classroom Garden bounty of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  “The kids came up all the adjectives to describe why grapes are good,” said Teacher Jennifer Troudy.

The teacher printed out words including Sweet, Raisins, Dulce, and Jelly that were nestled among decorated vines and bunches of grapes.  The From Egg to Chick by Room 26 entry earned an additional blue ribbon.

The project chronicled the 21-day adventure of the little chick named Number Seven who hatched in the class.  Students love to pet the two-month-old spunky clucker who often flies around the classroom.

“He’s funny because he walks super fast and pecks at our shoes and sandals!” one student said.

Each day, he follows Instructional Aide Helene McDonald down the hallway to the nearby garden. Lucky Number Seven chomps on pesky pill bugs that like to invade the lush greenery.

McDonald credits the successful crop to  fresh coffee grounds provided each day by a local Starbucks and the tender care provided by the students in Room 26. A three-foot tall Tin Man Scarecrow created from empty coffee cans earned a 4th place ribbon.

“I am so proud of my students!  They worked hard all year to make our garden beautiful and I am so impressed with their garden knowledge,”Troudy added.

Nogales High School graduation

Padilla Grad Photo

Former Nogales High School Principal Dr. Nancy Padilla (who retired last year) got a surprise as she was allowed to present the diploma to her daughter, Allison Padilla, pictured with Rowland Unified School District Board of Education Clerk Angelena Pride.

NHS Val Jannette Choi

 

Nogales High School Valedictorian Jannette Choi began her speech with a “selfie” photo of her and her classmates.

 

 

The Class of 2014 at Nogales High School ceremony featured the release of doves over the heads of the 491 graduates in La Puente.NHS Doves at Graduation

Suzanne School teacher picked for Dream Team in Walnut

Helen Papadopoulos, a math and drama teacher at Suzanne Middle School, has been selected to the 2014 LearnZillion Dream Team. She is one of 77 returning members to the elite team.

 Over 4,000 educators applied for the 200 spots available on the 2014 Dream Team.  Members were selected for their content knowledge, grit and humility, these impressive math and English Language Arts teachers represent the best of district, charter and independent schools in 42 states and three countries.

Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified School District

Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified School District

The Dream Team will convene in New Orleans for TeachFest, a unique professional development event from June 4-7, where they will kick-off a rigorous summer-long collaboration to create high-quality formative assessment tools and resources that will support teachers implementing the Common Core across the United States.

Following TeachFest, Dream Team members will return to their respective districts and continue to work in facilitated online professional learning communities.

Being on the Dream Team is about more than world-class professional development and creating great content — it’s about being a member of a vibrant and enthusiastic community of educators who are eager to help others and hopeful about the future.

The diverse group brings over 2,300 years of teaching experience, ranging from two to 42 years in the classroom.

Papadopoulos is a 2007 California Teacher of the Year and 2012 Bravo Award winner.

 

Eagle has landed at Evergreen Elementary in Walnut

Evergreen 1st grader Elim Jiang won the school-wide design contest.  (Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley)

Evergreen 1st grader Elim Jiang won the school-wide design contest. (Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley)

The eagle has landed at Evergreen Elementary School. A beautiful tile mosaic of a soaring eagle, the school’s mascot, was unveiled during an assembly in May.  For 20 weeks, eight Special Education students worked with artist Robin Bott.

“All the students really loved creating the mosaic and were really excited to unveil it. The collaboration and teamwork they displayed was amazing,” said teacher Ashley Marshman.

The creative project was made possible through the Accessible Arts grant through the office of L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe.  Several months ago, a school-wide contest was held to create the mural design.

Third grade student Elim Jiang was named the winner. She received a certificate of recognition during the assembly. The 4-foot-by 3-foot mural depicts an eagle soaring above the clouds and through a rainbow. A golden sun shines over an apple tree.

 Jiang said her favorite part was the plane with an Evergreen banner flying above the eagle. Bott leads hands-on art projects with students throughout the county.

“First, the class started with paper mosaics and drew some eagles,” she said. Then the class selected one of the drawings submitted for the contest. “And it was so hard to choose because they were all so beautiful!” she said.

Bott then transferred the winning design onto the panel. Her artist father built the frame. And Bott cut hundreds of the colorful tiles.

“And then we started tiling!” she said.

First, students outlined the design with small tiles; then they used larger tiles to fill it in using a water-based glue. Student representatives from several classes also glued pieces of the tile mosaic.

“It has been such a joy to see the mosaic slowly coming to life as students worked diligently and cooperatively on it.  Now it serves as a wonderful vision to everyone that our Evergreen Eagles SOAR!  Evergreen was one of only 13 schools in the state to be named a California Exemplary Arts Distinguished School, and this mosaic project is one of many examples of the beautiful and creative activities that our dedicated staff provide for all our students,” Principal Carolyn Wills said.

Families like Spanish immersion classes in Hacienda La Puente Unified

Habla espanol? Kindergarteners at Valinda Academy and Los Altos Elementary do.

The tykes are just finishing their first year in the new Spanish immersion program in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District. In addition to their ABCs and numbers, these 5-year-olds learned Spanish.

“My son Daniel didn’t speak a word of Spanish when he started,” said parent Daniel Caccam. “And he just won third place in the Spanish spelling bee.”

The proud parent said his son really likes the Spanish immersion class. They’ll continue next year as the school district adds Spanish to a first grade in both schools.

“We use a 90/10 formula, with the class instruction in Spanish 90 percent of the time and 10 percent in English,” explained Valinda Principal Elizabeth Bermejo.

Every year, English is gradually increased until instructional time reaches half English and half Spanish in the fourth through sixth grades.

Sandra Felix’s son, Raymond Anthony Gomez, did even better in the spelling bee, taking second place.

“He loves the Spanish class, now we even watch the news in Spanish,” said the happy mother, who plans to also enroll her 4-year-old daughter Emily in the dual immersion program.

Los Altos Principal Rosie Sinapi thinks so much of the program, that’s she has enrolled her own daughter in the Spanish class.

“The dual language program stimulates a child’s cognitive, social and linguistic development,” Sinapi noted.

The parents’ enthusiasm encouraged school board members Gino Kwok and Jay Chen. Kwok experienced some resistance from parents at first about the Spanish immersion class.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story SPANISH.

Laura Santos is promoting a deal between her two districts

By Jason Henry, Staff Writer

Less than a week after her fellow Mt. San Antonio College trustees condemned her for holding two overlapping offices, Laura Santos appeared before a Baldwin Park committee to convince them to back a Mt. SAC satellite campus on a property owned by the second board she sits on.

The proposal removes all doubt about incompatibility between her dual elected positions on Bassett Unified and Mt. SAC boards, said Doug Johnson, a fellow at Claremont McKenna College’s Rose Institute of State and Local Government.

“It makes it very concrete that there is a shared interest in the decision,” Johnson said. “She’s actually convicted herself.”

In California, an official may not hold two elected positions if there exists even a potential for a “significant clash of duties.”

“By promoting that agreement between these two districts, she has removed any question,” Johnson said.

Santos previously received legal opinions from both of her districts telling her she must resign from Bassett, but has refused to resign before June 30. The former lawyer receives monthly stipends from both organizations.

At the meeting of Baldwin Park’s 2+2+2 Committee, Santos handed out bullet-pointed documents listing the benefits of the Florence Flanner School, an under-used property Santos want to use to generate revenue for the small Bassett school district. Santos also shared building diagrams with the public committee, which includes members of the Baldwin Park City Council, Baldwin Park Unified School District and the Valley County Water District.