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.”

Marshall Tuck campaign releases new ad against false attack

From Marshall Tuck campaign

The Marshall Tuck campaign has released a new ad in response to the multiple false and misleading attack ads from incumbent Superintendent Tom Torlakson and his Sacramento allies. The new ad, “Instead” focuses on the need for major change to turn around California’s failing schools and calls out Sacramento politicians for playing politics instead of focusing on California’s kids.

Listen here.

Torlakson and his allies are spending millions on radio ads, commercials and mailers full of distortions and half-truths in an attempt to distract voters from the the real issues facing the State Superintendent’s race.

Most recently, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and their California partner CFT, released a blatantly false ad that wrongly accuses Tuck of being a “Wall Street Banker” who would privatize California’s failing public schools.

The truth: Tuck is committed to public education and has spent more than a decade working in, opening, and turning around public schools in some of Los Angeles’ toughest neighborhoods.

Tuck worked in an investment firm when he was 22 and 23. Now 41, he has focused his career in education. This summer, the San Jose Mercury called the ‘banker’ claim a “hacdk cliche.”

The AFT smear ad came on the heels of a dishonest mailer recently sent to Californians by the incumbent himself. Read the fact check here.

It’s no surprise that every major newspaper in California has rejected Torlakson and endorsed Marshall Tuck for State Superintendent. The CTA is also airing false attack ads on the radio statewide.

Suzanne students stand tall at summt in Walnut Valley

The 8th grade Summit field activities focused on team building through physical activities.

The 8th grade Summit field activities focused on team building through physical activities.

By Walnut Valley Unified

Suzanne Middle School 8th graders took a giant step forward in breaking down the walls of stereotypes and learning about the people around them during the 6th annual Summit. The exciting day of activities included workshops, discussions, and a motivational speaker.

About 475 students were divided into three groups to rotate through breakout sessions in classrooms, the field, and the multi-purpose room. The topic of the day was “Understanding and Overcoming Stereotypes”

“Students were mixed up into groups so they could get to know peers that they might not otherwise meet,” explained counselor George Ann Cusson.

The entire 8th grade class participated in a day of reflection and opportunities of personal growth,” said teacher Marla Rickard.

Classroom sessions allowed students to look at the impact of judging people and to reflect on personal impacts on all the parties. Some of the activities included If You Knew Me Well, the Tootsie Pop, and the Playing Card.

The field activities focused on team building through physical activities, a favorite was the Human Pyramid.

During the Stand Tall challenge in the MPR, students learned more about themselves and each other. They analyzed the Iceberg Theory to find ways to drop below the water level to get to know their fellow classmates.

Rickard and Cusson created the event made possible with the help several teachers and staff members, PLUS and PALS service club members, and leadership students. Thirty-one Walnut High School students and two graduates also come for the day to facilitate and lead all the breakout sessions.

“Without them the day would not be as successful. It’s a true team effort,” Rickard said.

“I think the kids are learning more about what they say to each other and to think before they speak,” said WHS senior and ASB president Phillip Silesky,

In one game, students asked their neighbor questions from a bowl. Some were serious  - what would you do if you knew one of your friends was taking drugs? And some were funny – if you were invisible for one day what would be the first thing you would do?

“I probably wouldn’t even know I was invisible and just go to school!” one student replied.

After lunch, WHS graduate and motivational speaker, Dee Hankins spoke to the class about goal setting, rising above any situation, and encouraged the students to live their life with purpose.

Red Ribbon Week icon visits Yorbita Elementary in La Puente

Yorbita Elementary Principal Sylvia Cadena looks to the sky at the balloons with Red Ribbon Week icon Mika Camarena.

Yorbita Elementary Principal Sylvia Cadena looks to the sky at the balloons with Red Ribbon Week icon Mika Camarena.

By Rowland Unified

Students from Yorbita Elementary in La Puente released more than 100 red balloons today with student pledges to be “drug free” in celebration of Red Ribbon Week.

Each year thousands of schools across the U.S. celebrate “Red Ribbon Week” October 23- 31 to promote drug abuse prevention in honor of DEA Special Agent “Kiki” Camarena.

His death sparked a grass roots campaign to reduce the demand for drugs and encourage healthy, violence-free lifestyles. Yorbita Elementary was honored to have the wife of “Kiki” Camarena, “Mika” Camarena, who is president of the Camarena Foundation lead the balloon release today.

 Holding her red balloon, she read to the students her pledge: “My commitment is to continue my work with Red Ribbon until my last breath.” The balloons filled the sky as students cheered.