Rowland Unified holding community meeting on April 30

The Rowland Unified School District will hold a community informational meeting on the Local Control Accountability Plan on April 30 at 6 p.m. at Telesis Academy of Science & Math in the Multipurpose Room.

Community members are encouraged to attend to learn  about the process and the development of the new Local Control Accountability Plan which ensures that funding is targeted to the needs of all students. Telesis Academy of Science & Math is located at 2800 E. Hollingworth Street in West Covina.

California school districts now have the flexibility to prioritize resources in order to meet the specific needs of its student populations with a new funding formula.

The new method — Local Control Funding Formula — has been passed by state legislation to allow local insight and meaningful conversations to take place between parents, employees and the community about their schools.

To view materials and information, visit the Rowland Unified School District website www.RowlandSchools.org under Local Control Funding Formula – Unified for Ed Excellence.

The Rowland Unified School District is proud to serve 16,000 students in the communities of Rowland Heights, Walnut, La Puente, City of Industry, and West Covina.

More than 5,000 adults (16+) are also served by the Rowland Adult and Community Education School. For more information, download the free Rowland Unified School District Mobile App or visit www.RowlandSchools.org or call (626) 965-2541.

Enrollment in Rowland Unified begins on April 7

Enrollment in the Rowland Unified School District for the 2014-2015 school year for Transitional Kindergarteners/Kindergarteners and new students through grade 12 begins April 7. Parents can pick up registration packets at school sites now. Parents who need to find their home school can click on My School Locator at www.rowlandschools.org or call the Pupil Services Office at (626) 935-8203.

Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classes are available at all elementary schools. TK is a bridge between preschool and Kindergarten, giving younger children (students who turn 5 years old betweenSeptember 2 and December 2) more time for hands-on, interactive learning and provides a high-quality Kindergarten readiness at no cost to parents with classes taught by credentialed teachers.

For more questions about Transitional Kindergarten, parents can visit www.tkcalifornia.org or speak with RUSD TK Specialist Annabelle Danneman at (626) 854-8544.

School of Choice Applicants: On April 7, parents of students accepted to a school of choice for the 2014-2015 school year must start the enrollment process. The parents of students accepted through the Choice program must complete and turn in all required enrollment packets and documentation to the schools of choice, by April 30. If the parent fails to submit the required enrollment packet and documentation, Choice is forfeited and the student will need to enroll at their school of residence for the 2014-2015 school year.

For general information regarding enrolling your students in any RUSD program or school, please feel free to call Pupil Services at (626) 935-8203 for further assistance.

Rowland teachers declare impasse in contract talks

By Staff Writer Richard Irwin

Rowland teachers have declared an impasse in the stalled contract negotiations with the Rowland Unified School District.

The Association of Rowland Educators is asking the state to send in a mediator to handle further negotiations. The state steps in when regular negotiations break down.

“We’re filing the paperwork now to declare an impasse with the state,” said ARE President John Petersen.

Union officials say the contract talks broke down during the eighth bargaining session last Thursday. In an email to the teachers, Nadine Loza, bargaining chair, explained what happened.

“The ARE bargaining team was disappointed (but not surprised) when the district presented their counterproposal after lunch. The district’s proposal was not significantly different from their last proposal. Overall, the district has not moved significantly from their initial proposal especially on critical issues like salary, benefits, planning time, adjunct duties and combo classes.”

The teachers’ representatives say they declared a impasse and cancelled the next bargaining session set for Thursday.

“There’s a backlog for mediators, so we don’t expect the state to assign one for at least six weeks,” Petersen said.

This mediator will meet with both sides to try and work out the differences. Petersen insists the bargaining teams will not meet until the state assigns a mediator.

Read more in IMPASSE

Rowland Unified begins new search for superintendent

By Staff Writer Steve Scauzillo

The Rowland Unified school board on Tuesday officially began the process of finding a new leader for the 14,500-student district — possibly the first time in its history such a search has been orchestrated.

Such a move is a reversal from a decision made one year ago to appoint business manager Ruben Frutos as superintendent. The surprise appointment precipitated protests, pickets and demands from teachers, parents and community members to hold a proper search for a new superintendent.

That demand was met Tuesday, when the board directed its staff to bring a list of consultants forward at a special board meeting set for April 17.

At the upcoming meeting, the board will hear pitches from search firms and pick one to begin gathering resumes.

“This is important work. I will cancel what I was to be speaking at. We need to get this done,” said board President Heidi Gallegos, who cleared her schedule in order to attend the special meeting.

At least four executive search firms have already answered a request sent out by the Rowland Unified School District more than a week ago, announced Douglas Staine, RUSD assistant superintendent for human resources.

While he couldn’t guess how many firms would apply for the work, Staine said it could be more than 20. They have until Friday.

Only a firm with experience helping a school district pick a new leader will be considered, Gallegos said.

“A professional firm should have experience, particularly with good community engagement,” she said after the two-hour meeting. Once a consultant is chosen, the firm will work directly with the board in gathering resumes and soliciting input from teachers, parents and community members, she said.

She wants to see the community be able to directly email the search consultant with questions or suggestions, she said.

Read more in SEARCH.

NASA’s JPL engineers talk to Shelyn Elementary students in Rowland Heights

JPL engineer Anita Sengupta is talking to Shelyn Elementary students this morning in Rowland Heights.

JPL engineer Anita Sengupta is talking to Shelyn Elementary students this morning in Rowland Heights.

Two engineers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena will talk to Shelyn Elementary  students this morning in Rowland Heights.  The engineers will discuss their work on the Curiosity Mission to Mars.

Dr. Anita Sengupta will explain her work for Curiosity’s entry, descent and landing on the Red Planet.  On Aug. 5, NASA landed its most capable robot on Mars. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission placed 2,000 lb rover, the size of a compact car, on the plains of Mars.

The rover will search for organic compounds, study the climate and geology, and continue the search for life.  One of the most challenging aspects of the mission, from an engineering perspective, was safely landing the rover on the surface.

The entry descent and landing (EDL) system used a heat shield to accommodate its hypersonic entry conditions, followed by a supersonic parachute, and eight retro rockets for the powered descent phase.

For its final terminal descent, a maneuver called the sky crane was used where the rover was lowered on tethers for touchdown. The JPL engineers will  talk about the motivation for Mars Exploration and how the MSL EDL engineering challenges were tackled with computational modeling and cutting edge experimental techniques.

Business and civic leaders become principals for the day in Rowland, Hacienda-La Puente schools

Business and community leaders from across the San Gabriel Valley learned what it is like to be a school principal as they support schools and student scholarships at the annual “Principal for a Day” event today.

Schools across Bassett, Hacienda La Puente, Rowland Unified School Districts, and the La Puente Valley Regional Occupational Program open up their doors and invite community leaders to be “guest” principals that morning.

A luncheon was held at the Industry Hills Expo Center with special guest speakerAlysha Del Valle, traffic reporter for KABC-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News.

Thanks to corporate sponsors, 10 high school scholarships, three Adult Education scholarships and one ROP scholarship were presented at the Principal for a Day Luncheon.

Nogales High grads named Gates Millennium Scholars

Nogales grads Alberto Jeronimo, Maria Ortiz and Kimberly Cardenas have been named Gates Millenium Scholars. (Photo by Gina Ward, Courtesy of Rowland Unified )

Nogales grads Alberto Jeronimo, Maria Ortiz and Kimberly Cardenas have been named Gates Millenium Scholars. (Photo by Gina Ward, Courtesy of Rowland Unified )

They’re thinking doctorates. While other high school graduates are considering bachelor’s degrees at local colleges, three Nogales grads are planning advanced degrees at the best universities in the world.

The three have been named Gates Millennium Scholars. The program selects 1,000 talented students every year for a scholarship to the college of their choice. The prestigious scholarships pay for tuition, books and meals, as well as travel assistance to visit their families.

“I want to become a doctor – now I can afford to go to college and then medical school,” said Alberto Jeronimo of West Covina. “I’ll be studying premed at Berkeley.”

The 18-year-old comes from an immigrant family. Alberto was inspired to succeed by his father, who came here from Mexico to make a better life.

“We couldn’t have done this without our counselor (Sara) Hall,” Alberto noted. “She wrote our nominations and recommendations, helping us through the scholarship process.”

The Nobles had to write nine essays to become Millennium scholars. They also had to have a minimum 3.33 GPA, though many like Alberto have a 4.5. All three Nogales teens are candidates for International Baccalaureate Diplomas and rank in the top 10 of their graduating class.

“This means more than just going to college for me,” explained Kimberly Cardenas of La Puente. “I will be the first in my family to attend an American university.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story GATES.

Foundation holds casino night for Rowland Unified

The Friends of Rowland Unified Schools Foundation (FOR US) will hold its annual “Boots-N-Spurs” Casino Night Fundraiser tonight from 6 to 10:30 p.m. at the STC Center, 18558 E. Gale Ave.
Tickets are $45 at the door and include $200 in casino play money, buffet dinner, silent auction and a grand prize drawing for four Disneyland tickets.
Adults 21 and older are invited to attend.
All the proceeds from this event support RUSD students through classroom grants and high school scholarships.
For tickets, call Danielle Amaya-Martinez at 626-935-8432 or email forusfoundation@gmail.com.
For information about The FOR US Foundation, visit www.rowlandschoolsfoundation.org.