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).

Mt SAC students of distinction honored on May 17

Mt. San Antonio College will honor 20 Students of Distinction at its annual awards ceremony and luncheon on Saturday, May 17 at 11:30 a.m. at the Royal Vista Country Club, 20055 E. Colima Road, in Walnut. 

These annual awards recognize students for competitive, academic, and personal achievement as well as outstanding service to the college. Recipients of this year’s Academic Achievement award, who earned a minimum 3.75 GPA, are Aldo Hadiwijaya of Corona,  Sijin Yan of Covina, Veronica Chavez of Baldwin Park, andEunice Briët.

Recipients of the Service Achievement award, who earned a minimum 3.0 GPA and provided notable volunteer service to the college and community, are Cinthia Rios of Hacienda Heights, Cynthia Nunes Robinson of Rancho Cucamonga, Edgar Morelos of Pomona, and Melissa E. Candell of Pomona. 

Recipients of Personal Achievement award, who were selected based on a minimum 2.75 GPA and overcame personal hardship, are Alexandra Nina Latorre of Pomona,Chloekae B. Nepomuceno of West Covina, Heather Dawn Melendez of Upland,Jayson Amrit Heyer of La Verne, Jazmin Salgado of Baldwin Park, Nicholas Ryan Lazzareschi of Brea, and Rhonda S. Walker of Chino Hills.

Recipients of the Competitive Achievement award, who earned a minimum 3.0 GPA and earned distinction as part of a competitive student group or team, are Adrian Ramirez of Ontario, Brody Goens of Chino Hills, Edward Isao Sanchez of Covina,Nathan Kenji Pike of West Covina, Tiziana Ruiz Dominguez of Murrieta. 

Tickets for the awards luncheon are $15 and must be purchased by May 6 through the Student Life Office: (909) 274-4525.

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.

New FAA rules stop Mt SAC students from getting jobs

Veteran Chris Schneider worked as an air traffic controller in the Air Force. He went back to school and earned a degree in aviation science from Mt. San Antonio College, carrying a 3.48 GPA. He passed the government’s aptitude exam.

But even though he can guide an F-16 onto a dusty landing strip, he is not a good candidate for air traffic controller and his application was rejected, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and his teachers.

He will have to re-apply in 2015, they said.

Schneider is one of thousands of college students in the U.S. spending hours staring into airplane-control simulators who are being turned away from jobs as air traffic controllers because they can’t pass a biographical questionnaire.

Read more in CONTROLLER

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.

Gourmet food trucks rolls in Walnut Valley Unified on Friday night

Gourmet food trucks will roll in to Walnut on Friday, April 11, for the WHEEL FOOD FEST sponsored by the Walnut Valley Educational Foundation. The family fun night will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

The gourmet food trucks will donate a portion of their profits to the Walnut Valley Educational Foundation. The event will be held at the district office parking lot at 880 S. Lemon Ave. in Walnut.

The Family Food Fest event will now be held monthly. Confirmed trucks for the April 11 event include TSG, Trailer Park, Share Mii, and My Tornado Potato. Plus more gourmet trucks and variety, each month!

No outside food, beverages, alcohol or pets, are permitted.  For more information, visit www.wvef.educ.us  and follow the event on Twitter : WVEF FoodFest or Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Walnut-Valley-Educational-Foundation.

Westhoff Elementary names Sandhu as Super Star Student in Walnut

Bhalpriya Sandhu named Westhoff Elementary School’s Super Star Student. Shown with Board President Cindy Ruiz.

Bhalpriya Sandhu named Westhoff Elementary School’s Super Star Student. Shown with Board President Cindy Ruiz.

Bhalpriya Sandhu was selected as Westhoff’s Super Star Student.

“Bhalpriya manages to be a standout student in a school filled with excellent students,” Principal Denise Rendon shared. The 5th grader serves as a Student Council Member and is an all-around star student who balances club soccer activities with academics.

“Bhalpriya demonstrates strong leadership skills, comes to school every day with a smile and ready to learn. She goes above and beyond to complete her assignments with pride and excellence,” Rendon said.

Bhalpriya also demonstrates great character.

“She models and exemplifies kindness, compassion, empathy, perseverance, and a great tolerance for others who are different. She is definitely a future leader and one who will impact the world positively.  You can be sure we will hear much more about Bhalpriya in the years to come!” Rendon said.

Walnut Valley names new assistant superintendent

Matthew Witmer

Matthew Witmer

The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees approved Matthew Witmer as the new Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. The veteran educator brings 18 years of experience to his new post.

Witmer has a strong background in the area of curriculum and instruction, and has led the transition into Common Core State Standards.

“Witmer possesses the leadership qualities, technical knowledge of the position, and proven ability to perform effectively in this administrative role,” said Superintendent Robert Taylor.

“I look forward to working with Witmer.  He will make a great addition to the Walnut Valley family,” he added.  Witmer assumed his duties on March 3, 2014.

Since 2012, Witmer served as Director of Educational Services in the Corona-Norco Unified School District.  He was responsible for all areas of the division in the 54,000-student district.  During Witmer’s tenure, CNUSD was selected as a 2012 and 2013 finalist district of the Broad Prize for Urban Education.

Under his leadership, as Director of 7-12 Instruction, the Garden Grove USD was named winner of the 2004 Broad Prize for Urban Education.

Additionally, Witmer is an adjunct professor of Educational Leadership at the University of California Irvine Extension and Azusa Pacific University.  Prior to that, he worked as an associate professor, director, interim program director, principal, assistant principal, and teacher.

Witmer received a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University.

“The reputation of the Walnut Valley Unified School District has been outstanding for a long time, and I look forward to supporting our students’ learning and contributing to the district’s future success,”  Witmer said.

Witmer has filled a vacancy in the Educational Services Department