Walnut Valley honors 26 retirees with 584 years of service

Walnut Valley Unified honored 2014 retirees  during a reception on May 21.

Walnut Valley Unified honored 2014 retirees during a reception on May 21.

Walnut Valley Unified School District gathered to celebrate the 2014 retiring staff members during a reception on May 21. Twenty-six employees were lauded for providing a total of 584 years of outstanding service to students.

Each retiree received personal tributes, retirement watch, and certificates of special recognition. “Thank you on behalf of the Board of Trustees,” said President Cindy Ruiz. “We appreciate every one of you and you will be missed!”

 Congratulations to the following retiring staff members:

Diana Thorneycroft – Senior Administrative Assistant, Business Services

Bonnie Lee, Instructional Aide, Castle Rock Elementary

Brad Chapman, Teacher, Chaparral Middle School

Sharon Mocho, Food Service Worker III, Chaparral Middle School

Marian Nelson, Attendance Clerk, Chaparral Middle School

Kerry Volkov, Instructional Aide II, Chaparral Middle School

Linda Gandana, Food Service Worker II, Collegewood Elementary

Edith Yu, Food Service Worker I, Collegewood Elementary

Jon Goode, Grade Level Coordinator, Diamond Bar High

Dennis Thomsen, Teacher, Educational Services

Gayle Douglas, Teacher, Maple Hill Elementary

Marsha Dickerson, Teacher, South Pointe Middle School

Jean Fujihara, Teacher, South Pointe Middle School

Claudia Huff, Teacher, South Pointe Middle School

Nadine Aquinaga, Food Service Worker I, Suzanne Middle School

Susan Gilbert, Administrative Secretary, Transportation

Lorraine Meier, Bus Driver, Transportation

Nea Tyler, Bus Driver, Transportation

Sandra Harutunian, Teacher, Vejar Elementary

Patricia Ackman, Food Service Worker II, Walnut Elementary

Tricia Aragon, Secretary II, Walnut High

Scott Cassells, Grade Level Coordinator, Walnut High

Lily Jacquot, Teacher, Walnut High

Christine Nagashima, Office Assistant, Walnut High

Patricia Finn, Teacher, Westhoff elementary

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.

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.

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.

Diamond Bar freshman selected for Math Olympiad program.

Diamond Bar Freshman Benjamin Chen is among a very small group of about 53 students (from the original pool of over 210,000 American Mathematics Competition participants) invited to take part in the 2014 Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program.  This year’s program will be held on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The purpose of the program is to broaden the participants’ view of mathematics and foster their excitement toward further study.  It will better prepares students for possible future participation on our International Mathematical Olympiad team as well as for possible careers involving mathematics.

Walnut High jazz orchestra salutes Sinatra on May 7

The Walnut High School Symphonic Jazz Orchestra will present A Salute to Ol’ Blue Eyes on May 7, 2014 at 7 p.m. in the WHS Theater at 400 N. Pierre Road in Walnut. The Music of Frank Sinatra will feature guest vocalist Luca Ellis.

Tickets are $8 Adults and $6 Students/Seniors and may be purchased online at www.seatyourself.biz/walnutmusic.  For further information, please call (909) 594-BAND (2263).

Evergreen Elementary celebrates Earth Day in Diamond Bar

Recycled art was on display at Evergreen Elementary during the Earth Day celebration held on April 25. (Photo by Kelli Gile, Courtesy of Walnut Valley.)

Recycled art was on display at Evergreen Elementary during Earth Day celebration. (Photo by Kelli Gile of Walnut Valley)

By Kelli Gile, Walnut Valley Unified

Evergreen Elementary kindergarten students celebrated Earth Day during a spring program held April 25. Families gathered in the amphitheater as the children sang about the land and sea and springtime blossoms.

They performed This Land is Your Land, Magic Penny, Baby Beluga, Everything Grows, Springtime Magic, and We All Live Together. Teacher Mona Warren happily strummed her guitar behind the children during the Octopus song.

“Kindergarteners, you did an awesome job today,” said Principal Carolyn Wills.

“Parents you will be hearing a lot more about S.T.E.A.M – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. And here at Evergreen, it starts with our kindergarteners!”

After the music, several Common Core activities were held in the kindergarten play yard. Families posed for a “ Jaws” keepsake photo and estimated the length of a blue whale with yarn, rulers, and wrapping paper tubes.

The head of the giant 100’ mammal was drawn on the playground with chalk, and families with their kindergarten students had to use assorted tools provided to solve the challenge of “How far would this 100 foot whale reach?  How could we measure it with the tools we have?”

Austin Teng, age 6, promised to recycle and pick up trash to help the Earth. Teacher Sam Li gave a science lesson during the Float or Sink Jellyfish demonstration.  The children placed plastic jellyfish into liter-sized water bottles and learned they floated because oxygen is lighter than the water!

Inside classrooms, families worked together to fill in an attribute chart of student created artwork in categories such as vertebrates, invertebrates, and many other terms that showed how much they had learned. They also worked together on an ABC Earth Day word search and make pledges to take care of Mother Earth.  Sophia Tian said she would ride bicycle to take care of the Earth.

Earth Day was also celebrated with creative artwork. Recycled art pieces were on display outside classrooms and recycling pledges framed the playground. Students created a replica of themself as an Earth Kid, holding the planet and creating a personal pledge of how they can take care of our Earth.

“Our dedicated kindergarten teachers, Mona Warren, Kathy Riddle, Melody Fernandez, Julie Jeon, and Sam Li completely revamped the kindergarten spring program to create experiences that foster creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.

This is an excellent example of the new Common Core State Standards and STEAM instruction that our students need to be successful in college, career and beyond!” said Principal Carolyn Wills.

Walnut Valley artists win awards in magazine contest

Walnut Valley’s top winner is Quail Summit Elementary fifth grader Willow Huang with the 1st Runner-Up award.

Walnut Valley’s top winner is Quail Summit Elementary fifth grader Willow Huang with the 1st Runner-Up award.

By Walnut Valley Unified

Twenty-six elementary students in the Walnut Valley Unified School District have been named award winners in the 2014 “Draw a Cover for the Music K-8 Magazine” contest. The Board of Trustees recognized the young artists during the April 16 meeting.

Music Specialist Judy Brunelle introduced the young artists and presented them with keepsake copies of their original artwork. Winners came from Collegewood, Evergreen, Maple Hill, Quail Summit, Walnut, and Westhoff elementary schools.

1st Runner-Up – Willow Huang and 5th Runner-Up Claire Kung.

Top Finalists: Kathryn Song, Emily Chen, Michael Wu, James Wu, Ricky Lambert, Hailey Lim, and Vencionas Kosasih.

Promising Young Artist Finalist: James Wu.

Finalists: Emma Hsieh, Nathan Lee, Jennifer Lai, Matthew Kao, Michelle Xu, Christa Tang, Olivia Hwang, Katie Kim, and Nikki Yip.

Honorable Mention: Jessie Ji, Clarie Wang, Michelle, Wang, Erin Zhou, Srijani Krishman, Kellie Lam, and Arushi Verma.

The results were published in the June/July issue and the artwork can be seen on the magazine website at www.musick8.com.