Staff at Westhoff Elementary in Walnut takes hike to Chantry Flats

Staff from Westhoff Elementary School (Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley)

Staff from Westhoff Elementary School (Photo courtesy of Walnut Valley)

By Walnut Valley Unified

Westhoff Elementary teachers, staff members, family, and friends took to the Chantry Flats trails on June 21.

Adventure-seeker teachers Ron Kim and Kevin Curtain organized the two-hour summertime hike in the Angeles National Forest.  The group enjoyed the morning jaunt with beautiful views, a waterfall, lush greenery, and of course plenty of fresh air.

“We had a great time!” Principal Denise Rendon said after the four-mile hike.

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.

Laura Santos is promoting a deal between her two districts

By Jason Henry, Staff Writer

Less than a week after her fellow Mt. San Antonio College trustees condemned her for holding two overlapping offices, Laura Santos appeared before a Baldwin Park committee to convince them to back a Mt. SAC satellite campus on a property owned by the second board she sits on.

The proposal removes all doubt about incompatibility between her dual elected positions on Bassett Unified and Mt. SAC boards, said Doug Johnson, a fellow at Claremont McKenna College’s Rose Institute of State and Local Government.

“It makes it very concrete that there is a shared interest in the decision,” Johnson said. “She’s actually convicted herself.”

In California, an official may not hold two elected positions if there exists even a potential for a “significant clash of duties.”

“By promoting that agreement between these two districts, she has removed any question,” Johnson said.

Santos previously received legal opinions from both of her districts telling her she must resign from Bassett, but has refused to resign before June 30. The former lawyer receives monthly stipends from both organizations.

At the meeting of Baldwin Park’s 2+2+2 Committee, Santos handed out bullet-pointed documents listing the benefits of the Florence Flanner School, an under-used property Santos want to use to generate revenue for the small Bassett school district. Santos also shared building diagrams with the public committee, which includes members of the Baldwin Park City Council, Baldwin Park Unified School District and the Valley County Water District.

Mt SAC Flying Team wins top community college trophy in Ohio

The Mt. San Antonio College Flying Team won the Top Community College Trophy at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s national competition held May 12-17 at Ohio State University. The win marks the sixth time since 2000 that Mt. SAC has won the national award.

“It’s been a phenomenal run this year, and this is a great team that has put in a lot of hard work to achieve this,” said Mt. SAC Flying Team Advisor and Aeronautics Professor Robert Rogus.

With 76 points, Mt. SAC topped second-place Colorado Northwestern Community College with 27 points and third-place Central Texas College with 14 points to win the two-year college trophy. Mt. SAC’s Josh Spolar (West Covina) won second place in the instrumental flight event, and Evelyn Marquez (Pomona) and Spolar placed fifth in message drop event. Manutea Maurin (Diamond Bar) was Mt. SAC top scoring contestant with 32 points.

The airmeet included over 275 competitors from 27 teams that included Southern Illinois University, Ohio State, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Overall, Mt. SAC placed 14th overall against both university and two-year colleges. 

Over the years, the Mt. SAC Flying Team has consistently earned top honors as one of the best collegiate flying teams in the country. The team has won the Top Community College trophy at the regional competition every year since 1991. Mt. SAC has won the Top U. S.  Community College award at the national airmeet in 1984, 1985, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2007.

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).