Suzanne students compete in AMC 8 math contest in Walnut

Fifty-three Suzanne Middle School students participated in the challenging AMC 8 math contest during the 2013-2014 school year.  One student, Colby Chang, earned the gold metal for his school.

The AMC 8 questions covered many different topics, which exceed the normal middle school curriculum.

It is a 40-minute timed competition with 25 multiple-choice questions. The top-ten middle school students will also be taking the AMC 10.

Colby Chang, grade 7, took home the gold medal with a top score of 23 out of 25. He was also awarded an Honor Roll of Distinction Certificate for scoring in the top 1% in the nation.

Aaron Chang, grade 7, was awarded a silver medal and an Honor Roll of Distinction Certificate for scoring in the top 1% nationally.

Tied for bronze medals were Eugene Lo, Christopher Wong, both 8th graders, and Angela Zhu, a 7th grader.

In addition to bronze medals they earned Honor Roll Certificates recognizing their top 5% placement in the nation.

Joining them with Honor roll Certificates were fellow 8th graders Kevin Jensen, Matthew Nguyen and Lydia Chan.  Honor Roll Certificates were also given to 7thgraders Oscar Cho, Ethan Lin and Derick Tseng.

Sixth graders earning Honor Roll Certificates were Darren Chen and William Lin. Darren, William and Jennifer Zhang were additionally awarded Certificates of Achievement for scores above 15 as sixth graders.

Hacienda La Puente Unified offers free and reduced price meals

Hacienda La Puente Unified School District has announced its policy for providing Free and Reduced price meals for children served under the National School Breakfast/Lunch Program.  Each school and/or the central office have a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The household size and income criteria identified below will be used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price, or full-price meal benefits.  Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown on the “ Eligibility Scale” are eligible for free or reduced price meals.

Children who receive CalFresh, California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments (Kin-GAP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits are automatically eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household in which they reside. 

An application with the case number must be submitted for consideration. Foster child(ren) can be included on the household application. Eligibility determination for the household is still based on income and benefits are NOT automatically extended.

Application forms are being distributed to all households with a letter informing them of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for enrolled children.  Applications are also available at the front office of each school and at the Food Services Office.

To apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits, households must complete a meal benefit application at minimum EVERY SCHOOL YEAR and return it to the school or Food Services Office for processing.

While applications may be submitted at any time during the school year; they should be submitted in a timely manner so that benefits are extended as soon as possible avoiding being placed on PAID status.

The information households provide on the application will be used to determine meal eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by the program officials.  Applications can be completed online at www.schoollunchapp.com.

Requirements for school officials to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits are as follows: For households receiving CalFresh/CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR benefits – applications need only include the enrolled child(ren)’s name, CalFresh/CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, and the signature of an adult household member.

For households who do not list a CalFresh/CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, the application must include the names of all household members including the enrolled child(ren),  the amount and source of the income received by each household member, and the signature and corresponding last four digits of the Social Security number of an adult household member.

If the household member who signs the application does not have a Social Security number, the household member must indicate on the application that a Social Security number is not available by checking the appropriate box on the application.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced price meal policy, the determining official(s), as designated by the Food Services Dept., shall review applications and determine eligibility.

Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the eligibility ruling may discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis.  Parents may also make a formal request for an appeal hearing of the decision and may do so verbally or in writing with: Food Services Office, Hacienda La Puente USD, 15959 E. Gale Ave. P.O. Box 60002, City of Industry, CA. 91716-0002, Telephone (626) 933-3901.

If a household’s meal benefit application was denied and the household status is PAID the household may re-apply at any time during the school year in the event that circumstances have changed possibly qualifying the household for free or reduce price meals.  For instant if a member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should

Submit a new application with Food Services directly.  Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the levels shown above.

CalFresh/CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, and FDPIR households must complete a meal benefit application every year. While households that receive CalFresh/ CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR benefits typically have not had to complete anApplication for Free or Reduced-Price Meals or Free Milk it is now required so that there is no interruption or delay of meal benefits.

The Food Services Department will determine eligibility for free meals based on meal benefit application and/or documentation obtained directly from the CalFresh/ CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR office that a child is a member of a household currently receiving CalFresh or FDPIR benefits or an assistance unit receiving CalWORKs or Kin-GAP benefits.

Those who do not want their child(ren) to receive free meals must contact the Food Services Office and complete a form declining participation in the program.  CalFresh/CalWorks, Kin-GAP, and FDPIR households should complete an application if they are not notified of their eligibility.

 

In accordance with Federal Law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call 800-795-3272(voice) or 202-720-6382(TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online athttp://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call(866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or by fax (202) 690-7442or by email at program.intake@usda.gov. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at(800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Note: The only protected classes covered under the Child Nutrition Programs are race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

 

Four Diamond Bar students earn rank of Eagle Scout

Four members of Diamond Bar High School’s Class of 2014 earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America organization. Congratulations! The new Eagle Scouts are Matthew Kim, Nathaniel Rodriguez, Darren Wijaya and Samuel Hwang.  All of them are members of Troop 730 that meet at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). A Scout who attains this rank is called an Eagle Scout or Eagle. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men. The title of Eagle Scout is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle”.

Walnut High’s Garrett Lim joins All-Star Teachers at All-Star Game

Walnut High teacher Garrett Lim waves from All-Star Teachers trolley in All-Star parade.
Walnut High teacher Garrett Lim waves from All-Star Teachers trolley in All-Star parade.

Walnut’s very own Garrett Lim took to the field Tuesday for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis. Kim doesn’t play for the Dodgers, the Angels or even the Pittsburgh Pirates.

But still, the 34-year-old marched onto the field to the cheers of thousands of fans. Lim was one of 30 All-Star Teachers selected by Target, People magazine and MLB.

The campaign honors outstanding teachers who make a real impact in the lives of their students.

“This is an awesome tribute to Garrett as he represents all educators at the Midsummer Classic,” said Walnut High Principal Jeff Jordan. “Garrett is truly one of Walnut’s finest.”

Lim was treated as a VIP during the All-Star activities. He and his wife enjoyed a four-day trip to Minnesota, with all expenses paid.

“We were part of the pre-game parade, too,” Lim said. “It was overwhelming to see so many people lining the streets and cheering.”

They even stayed at the same hotel housing the baseball players. Lim met several in the elevators and lobby.

“I got to meet Cal Ripken at a special reception held for the teachers,” Lim said. The Walnut resident even had his photo taken with the Baltimore Orioles legend. He also met Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.

All of which was great for a big baseball fan like Lim. A passion that he shares with his students at Walnut High.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ALL-STAR.

Diamond Bar couple engaged where it all began, Quail Summit

Sometimes, you know from the first dance, the first kiss, that she is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Sometimes, it takes 17 years.

Michael Siacunco and Sarah Lin of Diamond Bar became engaged Friday night at Quail Summit Elementary. Not something you see every day in a public school.

Siacunco, an airman who works in systems engineering at Buckley Air Force Base outside of Denver, recently returned home for leave. He thought it was time for the next step in their relationship. His younger brother, Cody, pushed Michael to ask Sarah, now a cardiac unit nurse at UCLA Medical Center, to marry him.

“I thought it was time for all or nothing, the title of our first dance,” Michael said.

So the young man began his campaign to win over Sarah’s heart. Gathering his friends, Michael planned a special night that would remind her of their time together.

He recruited her friend to “hang out” with Sarah last Friday. The friend took her on some “errands.” They stopped at Chaparral, where friends held up a sign reminding her of the first kiss.

They stopped at Diamond Bar High, where other friends reminded them of their shared past, then the Diamond Bar Center, where the couple had spent so many hours talking about life.

Arriving at Quail Summit, Sarah started crying when she saw rose petals on the sidewalks lit by candlelight, with strings of lights on the railings. A movie screen showed a special video made by Michael.

Friends led her to the amphitheater, where Sarah had chased a little boy 17 years ago. “It was kind of blurred because I was crying so hard,” she said.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ENGAGED. 

Mt SAC VP Yamagata-Noji receives Rice Diversity and Equity Award

Mt. San Antonio College Student Services Vice President Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji was honored recently with the Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award in Sacramento. Yamagata-Noji was named for the award for establishing numerous programs that provide mentorship and tutoring services for underrepresented students.

She has been a champion of diversity and equity programs at Mt. SAC that support student success, including the college’s Bridge Program for first-time college students, the Arise Program for Asian and Pacific Islander students, and the Aspire Program for African-American students.

The award was established to honor community college staff, districts, colleges and programs that have made the greatest contribution toward diversity and equity at community colleges. 

“Dr. John W. Rice wanted all community college students to be treated equally, fairly, and with respect. All he wanted was for everyone to have an equal chance at an education, and the winners of the award today want the same thing,” said California Community Colleges Board of Governors President and Mt. SAC Trustee Dr. Manuel Baca.

The award is named after the former California Community Colleges Board of Governors member and the father of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. 

“For my father, being a part of the community college system was not just a profession, but it was a passion and indeed a mission and a calling,” said former the U.S. Secretary of State, who delivered the keynote address at the 14th annual awards ceremony. “He recognized that education is not a right, it’s a privilege and that someone stood up for him and that he must stand up for others.”

Yamagata-Noji has served as Student Services Vice President at Mt. SAC since 1996. A resident of Santa Ana, she has also served on the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education for over 30 years and is currently serving as board president. 

Rowland Unified passes $147 million budget with $9 million deficit

The Rowland Unified School Board has approved a $147 million budget for 2014-15 with a $9 million deficit. That amount could increase millions more if both sides approve the 8 percent raise reached in Tuesday’s tentative agreement with the teachers’ union.

In March, Rowland teachers declared an impasse in the stalled contract negotiations. The Association of Rowland Educators asked the state to send a mediator to handle further negotiations.

The school district announced the tentative agreement on Thursday. They said it had been reached 8 p.m. Tuesday during the fourth mediation session.

Under the multi-year agreement, teachers will receive a 4 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2013, as well as another salary increase of 4 percent effective July 1, 2014.

The school district’s maximum contribution to employee health and welfare benefits will also increase to $11,000, effective January 1, 2015. And there will be a $1,500 cash-in-lieu payment for eligible employees who elect to opt out of the district’s health and welfare benefits coverage.

“The association is pleased that after a very long struggle that a fair agreement has been reached and can be sent to membership for a vote,” said ARE President Shay Lohman.

“I am thrilled that the teams reached an agreement yesterday,” said Interim Superintendent John Roach. “The school year will begin with all employees focused on meeting the needs of our students.”

During the negotiations, the school board had to approve a budget for the coming school year, which will now have to be amended when the teachers’ new contract is approved.

Ajay Mohindra, Rowland’s interim chief financial officer, pointed out that 82 percent of the revenue next year will come from the new Local Control Funding Formula. Another 10 percent will come from the state, with the federal government kicking in 7 percent.

Total revenues should top $138 million, up from the $133 million received in the last fiscal year. As the new formula kicks in, revenues are projected to grow to $146 million in 2015-16 and more than $149 million in 2016-17.

But Rowland will still have to draw from its ending balance of $52 million to cover the double-digit deficit. That will draw reserves down to $41 million by the end of the next fiscal year, even more depending on the salary settlement.

“Nearly half of our expenditures is for teachers’ salaries and benefits,” Mohindra explained. “When you add the other classified salaries and benefits, that’s 79 percent of our budget.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story BUDGET.

Rowland Unified settles contract with teachers’ union

By Rowland Unified School District

The Rowland Unified School District Board of Education announced today that a comprehensive three year (2013-2016) tentative agreement was reached at approximately 8:15 p. m. on July 8 by the RUSD and Association of Rowland Educators (ARE) negotiation teams after meeting with the State-Appointed Mediator for a fourth mediation session.

As a result, there will be no formal negotiations during the 2014-2015 school year and only limited negotiations during the 2015-2016 school year.

“The tentative agreement reached clearly recognizes the dedicated work of our Rowland teachers while leaving the district in a solid financial position for the future. I would like to acknowledge the hard work done on both sides of the aisle by our bargaining teams,” said RUSD Board President Heidi L. Gallegos

Highlights of the Tentative Agreement include: multi-year agreement (2013-2016); salary increase of 4%, retroactive to July 1, 2013; Salary Increase of 4%, effective July 1, 2014; District’s maximum contribution to employee health and welfare benefits increased to $11,000, effective January 1, 2015; $1,500 cash- in-lieu payment for eligible employees who elect to opt out of District health and welfare benefits coverage; late start to continue at high schools for 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years; and reduced counselor ratios.

“The Association is pleased that after a very long struggle that a fair agreement has been reached and can be sent to membership for a vote. We are very grateful for the leadership provided recently by interim Superintendent Dr. Roach and we are excited about the possibilities that lay ahead for RUSD,” said ARE President Shay Lohman.

The tentative agreement will be presented to ARE members for ratification within the next 2-3 weeks. After ratification by ARE members, it will be presented to the school board at its’ Aug. 12 meeting. As part of the District’s review process, the economic provisions of the Tentative Agreement will also be shared with the Los Angeles County Office of Education.

Each team vowed to work diligently to implement the terms of the agreement once the tentative agreement is ratified/approved by all parties.

“I am thrilled that the teams reached an agreement yesterday,” said Interim Superintendent, John Roach. “The school year will begin with all employees focused on meeting the needs of our students.”

Bargaining team members for the School District were: Ajay Mohindra, Interim Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services; Melissa Neal, Director Pupil Services; Jason Gass, Principal Killian; Sergio Canal, Principal Nogales High School; and Douglas Staine, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

ARE negotiation team members were: Eileen Fetters, Executive Director of ARE; John Petersen, Teacher Rowland High School; Clare Ruesga, teacher

Rowland High School; Gilbert Navarro, Teacher Oswalt Academy; Sharyn Sigler, Teacher Oswalt Academy; and Yvonne Martini, Teacher Hollingworth Elementary.

Walnut High students compete at Future Business Leaders of America meeting in Nashville

Clockwise from top left: Ricci Lam, Henry Ao, Howard Chen, Adviser Neil Jacoby, Kevin Chen, Zachary Woo and Rhea Lin.

Clockwise from top left: Ricci Lam, Henry Ao, Howard Chen, Adviser Neil Jacoby, Kevin Chen, Zachary Woo and Rhea Lin.

By Kelli Gile, Walnut Valley Unified

More than 10,000 of America’s best and brightest youth traveled to the historic city of Nashville to make some history of their own as they showcased their talents as future business leaders and vied for the opportunity to win over $165,000 in cash awards.

Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL), the largest and oldest student business organization, held its National Leadership Conference in Nashville on June 29–July 2.

Four students from Walnut High School received national recognition at the FBLA Awards of Excellence on July 2.

Kevin Chen competed in Business Calculations and brought home 7th Place. Howard Chen, Ricci Lam, and Henry Ao competed as a team in Network Design and took 9th Place in the nation.

“All of the students worked extremely hard, and I am very proud of their accomplishments,” said Neil Jacoby, Walnut High FBLA adviser.

Participants from across the United States and two countries were in attendance for this exciting conference to sharpen their core business skills, expand their networks, and participate in more than 60 business and business-related competitive events.

The awards were part of a comprehensive national competitive events program sponsored by FBLA-PBL that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas.

For many students, the competitive events are the capstone activity of their academic careers. In addition to the competitions, students immersed themselves in educational workshops, visited an information-packed exhibit hall, and attended motivational keynotes on a broad range of business topics.