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.

Hacienda La Puente Unified holds finals cross country meet

Maya Rodriguez of Mesa Robles won gold medal  for sixth grade girl team.

Maya Rodriguez of Mesa Robles won gold medal for sixth grade girl team.

The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District held its annual finals cross country meet at Mesa Robles Middle School in Hacienda Heights.

The first top 3 runners were given a medal (gold, silver and bronze) and runners 4 through 10 were given ribbons. They all competed based on their gender and grade level.


Teachers upset by negative attacks by California Teachers Association

From Marshall Tuck campaign

California public school teachers are speaking out today against their union’s attacks on State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Marshall Tuck by strongly urging the CTA to stop spending teachers’ hard-earned dues dollars on dishonest attack ads that mislead voters.

The union is airing a radio ad statewide that attempts to smear Tuck’s record by distorting the facts. The ad is the latest in a multi-million dollar campaign to bolster embattled incumbent Torlakson and avoid talking about the real issues facing California schools.

The teachers are speaking out in a public letter to California Teachers Association President Dean Vogel, urging him to stop the attacks and work together to find a solution for improving California schools:

These attacks are particularly disturbing in light of Mr. Tuck’s outstanding record improving schools in some of California’s toughest neighborhoods. As you know, Mr. Tuck has led two innovative school systems in high-need areas:

Green Dot Public Schools and the Partnership for LA Schools. Both of these school systems have unionized teachers under the California Teachers Association and serve as national models for parental involvement, effective technology in the classroom, and excellent teaching methods. Mr. Tuck worked successfully with teachers’ unions to improve education outcomes, outperforming similar schools in graduation rates and overall academic achievement. These schools have also been good for teachers; last year a clear majority of Partnership teachers said their schools are headed in the right direction. Our union should celebrate these results, not smear them.

We can all agree that California’s public schools are not adequately preparing students to compete in the 21st Century. While there are surely disagreements about how to improve schools, we strongly urge you to stop spending teachers’ hard-earned dues dollars on dishonest attack ads that mislead voters instead of informing them. Rather than trying to distract the public with mudslinging, let’s work together to demand a substantive debate about how to improve schools and give all children in California the education they deserve.

Read the full letter, here. Listen to the ad here.

Tuck, a Democrat, has spent more than a decade improving education opportunities and turning around schools in some of Los Angeles’ toughest neighborhoods. Tuck has only worked in union schools and supports teachers’ right to organize.

Tuck served as Founding CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools from 2007-2013. Under Tuck’s leadership, the Partnership schools increased four-year graduation rates by over 60%. Over the last 5 years, the Partnership schools have ranked #1 in academic improvement among school systems with more than 10,000 students in the state.

Prior to his leadership at the Partnership, Tuck served as President of Green Dot Public Schools, an organization of unionized charter schools that has grown into a national model.

Diamond Bar High names new dance teacher

 Kari Simonson copy

Kari Simonson is the new dance teacher for Diamond Bar High’s award-winning dance program. Simonson taught dance for two years and coached dance for eight years at Woodbridge High School in Irvine. She comes to us with over 20 years of dance experience.
Simonson is a graduate of Cal State University Fullerton and Chapman University. She has danced for well-known industry professionals like Mike Esperanza (BARE Dance Company) and Leanna Aldenda.
Simonson keeps her dance skills and knowledge current as a teacher and student at Defore Dance Center in Costa Mesa. She also has experience in Pilates and Barre fitness methods.


Westhoff Elementary holds cultural fair in Walnut Valley

Valerie Lu served up Hawaiian-style food. Shown with Luke, Monica Y., Caden, and Joyce N.

Valerie Lu served up Hawaiian-style food. Shown with Luke, Monica Y., Caden, and Joyce N.

By Kelli Gile, Walnut Valley

Hundreds of Westhoff Elementary families and friends enjoyed foods from around the world during a Culture Fair held Oct. 10. Fifteen different countries were represented at decorated booths with music, customs, and lots of delicious authentic food. Students wore traditional clothing to parade around the school while a DJ offered music for dining and dancing.

“This is one of my favorite nights of our school year.  Everyone relaxes during the cool evening, eats delicious food, and chats with other Westhoff families,” said Principal Denise Rendon.

The school’s Community Club hosts the fair where parents, students, and teachers come together to celebrate diversity of the many cultures represented at the school.

“It is an opportunity for our children to learn about their friends’ customs and share about their own, ” said President Melinda Powell.

“I like going to Culture Fair because I get to play with all my friends.  My dad likes to take me because he really likes the food, “ said 2nd grader Tiffany Fu.

Westhoff Elementary hosted its annual Culture Fair  with  traditional costumes.

Westhoff Elementary hosted its annual Culture Fair with traditional costumes.

“I dressed up in my Indian Clothes.  I like eating other cultures food, but my favorite was my families’ table of Indian food, ” added Priya Kankanala, a 3rdgrader.

Parent Valerie Lu hosted a Hawaiian booth that was a big hit with Kalua pork, spam musubi, haupia, and of course shaved ice.

“Culture Fair is such a unique tradition at Westhoff. The amount of effort put in by all the parent volunteers is tremendous and just as rewarding,” she said. Community Club member Lu serves as the school’s Coordinating Council representative.

There were many delicious dishes from around the world with pad Thai and pineapple fried rice (Thailand), cream puffs (France), tamales (Mexico), stuffed grape leaves (Egypt), chili and cornbread (USA), and more. Parent volunteers at the China table served foods representing its many different regions including Hunan, Sichuan, and Shandong.  Along with sampling tasty treats at the Pakistan booth, the kids came away decorated with beautiful henna designs.

“It’s such a wonderful opportunity to get to meet the families of our children’s new friends, catch up with old friends, all while enjoying amazing authentic food!” Powell said.

Mt. SAC dance company presents fall dance concert Oct. 24-26

 The Mt. San Antonio College Repertory Dance Company will perform a variety of dance styles at its Annual Fall Repertory Dance Concert on Oct. 24 – 26 at the college’s Sophia Clarke Theater.

Performance times are 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with a special 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, Oct. 26. 

The dance company is Mt. SAC’s elite group of student performers who showcase the talent of this award-winning dance department. The troupe performs thought-provoking modern works and entertaining musical theater pieces along with ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance.

Faculty and guest choreographers are highly acclaimed professionals with credits that include major dance companies, film, and television. 

Tickets are $14 for general admission, and $10 for seniors, students, and children age 12 and under. 

For tickets and more information, call the Performing Arts Box Office at (909) 274-2050. Tickets may also be purchased online at 

Tuck campaign demands removal of false attack ads

Today, the Marshall Tuck campaign’s legal counsel sent a letter to radio stations across California, demanding they immediately stop running false radio ads paid for by the California Teacher’s Association.

The ads are part of a large-scale independent expenditure effort the union is running to protect embattled incumbent Tom Torlakon. Unlike ads from candidate committees, TV & radio stations can be liable for airing false or defamatory content from independent committees.

These radio ads continue a pattern from the primary election – when Torlakson and his supporters ran ads called “slimy” by the San Jose Mercury News and “misleading” by the Sacramento Bee.

Amid a series of dishonest statements, the Tuck campaign’s letter points out that there is no evidence to substantiate the following:

  • Inaccurate statement: “Tuck’s management was so poor, federal tax liens were filed against his schools for tens of thousands in unpaid taxes.”
  • The truth: There were no federal tax liens against either school system led by Tuck, the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools or Green Dot, during his tenure according to IRS records.

The letter sent to stations is available here.

A complete fact check is located here.

More falsehoods and distortions from the radio ad:

  • CLAIM: that Tuck “failed as an executive at the Partnership for LA Schools.”
  • TRUTH: During Tuck’s six-plus years leading the Partnership schools, graduation rates were raised by over 60%, while significant improvements were made with school safety and student attendance.
  • CLAIM: “80% of teachers gave [Tuck] a failing grade.”
  • TRUTH: Under Tuck’s leadership, the Partnership schools made significant gains. And the “vote of no confidence” was in the first year of PLAS and was part of a broader political stunt by UTLA aimed at Mayor Villaraigosa, just months after the Partnership took over 17 of LA County’s lowest-performing schools. In fact, after five years of Partnership management, a vast majority of teachers and principals indicated in a year-end survey that they felt their schools were moving in the right direction.

Tom Torlakson visits Reseda High Police Academy Magnet

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson attended the first formal inspection of this year’s cadets at Reseda High School Police Academy Magnet.

The Los Angeles Police Academy Magnet School Program offers a rigorous, police officer-led high school curriculum developed for young men and women expressing an interest in a career in law enforcement.

The program provides a better understanding of law enforcement for students no matter what career path they eventually follow, and also provides a high quality recruiting resource for the Los Angeles Police Department.