CA School News

Coming This Week

January 20–28, 2017

South Whittier Superintendent to Retire after 27 Years in District

After dedicating nearly 27 years of her education career to the South Whittier School District, Superintendent Gail Baxter has announced she will retire in June 2017. Baxter, a longtime teacher and administrator in the District, announced the decision to the Board of Trustees in a Jan. 17 closed session meeting. She praised the team of teachers and staff for instituting a culture of high-quality education for students, lauded the increase of learning opportunities afforded to parents, and thanked the Whittier community for passing a $29 million bond to repair campus infrastructure and upgrade classroom technology. Media Contact: Juliette Funes, 909-447-2404 (office)Read More Photos

Los Nietos to Host Educators from China for International Exchange

Los Nietos School District will host nearly 20 educators from Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province, for lunch, a school tour and exchange of educational practices on Monday, Jan. 23 as part of an international partnership. The District’s new curriculum, technology and Safe and Civil Schools behavioral practices will be on display. Also, two Chinese teachers will teach a lesson to fourth-grade students at Aeolian Elementary School. The group from China will conclude the visit at the Los Nietos District Office, where they review the day’s events with Superintendent Jonathan Vasquez and other staff members. Media Contact: Jahmal Corner, 909-445-1001 (office)Read More

Bassett Unified’s Edgewood Academy Named an AVID Highly Certified Site

Bassett Unified’s Edgewood Academy has been recognized as an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Highly Certified Site for its expansion of AVID programs to third- to eighth-grade students. The program builds a foundation of college-level, independent learning skills. Students learn the building blocks of WICOR – writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading – and visit colleges. Media Contact: Nancy Yeang, 909-445-1001 (office) or 909-331-6646 (cell)

Bellflower Unified Superintendent to Give ‘State of the District’ Address

Bellflower Unified Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs will give a State of the District address at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 27 at Bellflower High School, 15301 McNab Ave, Bellflower. The purpose for the address is to reinforce the successes, celebrations and supported directions for BUSD moving forward. In 2016, seven campuses were named California Gold Ribbon Schools, Bellflower High was recognized as one of three state Award of Excellence winners for civic education and Esther Lindstrom Elementary was named a 2016-18 National PTA School of Excellence. The District also created early learning programs, piloted an elementary art-and-STEM program, expanded an innovative home studies program to include high school, launched a Pathway to Biliteracy award for elementary students and opened a state-of-the-art science lab. Media Contact: William Diepenbrock, 909-206-5304 (office) or 909-214-6909 (cell)

San Ysidro School District Offers Students Unique Career Day Opportunity

Eighth-graders from San Ysidro School District’s Ocean View Hills School (OVHS) will be joined by state Sen. Ben Hueso, Superintendent Dr. Julio Fonseca and San Diego chef and restaurant owner Jeff Rossman for a college- and career-focused lunch and assembly at 11:40 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 26. Guests will share their academic and professional journeys with the students, who will be dressed in the career apparel of their choice. The event is part of California Thursdays Collective Action Day and OVHS College and Career Readiness Day. The assembly and lunch will take place in the OVHS Multi-Purpose Room, 4919 Del Sol Blvd. Media Contact: Marika Bastrmajian, 909-445-1001 (office)

Azusa Unified Launches Mobile App to Boost Student and Parent Communication and Engagement

Azusa Unified School District has launched a mobile app that displays the latest news, events and information surrounding its elementary, middle and high schools. Available for free in Apple’s App Store and Google Play, the Azusa Unified App provides parents with a direct line of communication to their children’s schools, offering customizable displays that deliver pertinent information. The app offers easy access to the District tip line and delivers notifications of get breaking news about school closures, calendar changes and more. Media Contact: Mark Vidal, 909-447-2406 (office) or 626-203-8167 (cell)Read More Photos

South Whittier Schools to Provide Free Counseling Services

In partnership with Spiritt Family Services, South Whittier School District will begin providing families with free counseling services on a weekly basis for eight weeks starting Wednesday, Jan. 18. Spiritt delivers family-focused education, case management, support and counseling services. Its Windows Family Communication program focuses on building trusting relationships between parents and children through skill-building and activities that strengthen communication within the entire family. Services will be offered from 8:45 to 11:15 a.m. every Wednesday through March 8 at the South Whittier School District Office Professional Development Center, 11200 Telechron Ave., Whittier. For more information or to enroll, call Daisy Rios at 562-903-7000. Media Contact: Juliette Funes, 909-447-2404 (office)

NASCAR Recognizes La Mirada High Sophomore for Racing Skills

La Mirada High School Sophomore Ryan Vargas has been racing across the country since he was 11, and has tied for national championships in the Bandolero division in 2014, set five track records in Nevada, California and Arizona, and earned Rookie of the Year in 2015 at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In 2016, he competed in 27 races, placing 12 times in the top five and 25 times in the top 10, along with reaching fifth place in the California state standings. Most recently, he was awarded the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award by NASCAR, which recognizes a high-performing minority or female driver contributing on and off the track in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Photos are available. Media Contact: Nancy Yeang, 909-445-1001 (office) or 909-331-6646 (cell)

South Whittier Parent Ambassadors Play Key Role in Marketing Efforts

South Whittier School District has launched a parent ambassador program to engage parents and drive active participation in their children’s education and school programs. Seven word-of-mouth ambassadors – one per school in the District – connect with existing and prospective families and promote the programs available at their schools. The grassroots marketing effort began in November. Media Contact: Juliette Funes, 909-447-2404 (office)

East Whittier City Schools Provide Students with Academic Safety Net

Through a mix of personalized one-on-one instruction, web-based curriculum and a visit from a four-footed friend, East Whittier City School District students are provided with a comprehensive Response to Intervention program to address academic or behavioral support needs. Each of East Whittier’s 10 elementary schools have full-time intervention specialists who oversee the schoolwide RTI in English language arts, mathematics, writing and English language development. Laurel Academy, a six-week program for students at Laurel Elementary, provides students with 30-minute study sessions during homeroom. At Hillview Middle School, students are under “Husky Watch,” in which teachers keep a close eye on students in need of additional support. Occasionally, students receive a visit from the school mascot, Bani the Husky, a neighborhood dog who has become a beloved fixture at Hillview. Media Contact: Marika Bastrmajian, 909-445-1001 (office)Read More

Follow-up Stories

Azusa Unified Students to Display Cyber Security Skills in National Competition

Five Slauson Middle School students – the Cyber Crusaders – took on the roles of information technology professionals tasked with finding vulnerabilities in mock operating systems and fixing them in the semi-final round of the Air Force Association Youth Cyber Defense CyberPatriot competition on Jan. 13. CyberPatriot is a six-hour, after-school contest that seeks to inspire students to develop the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills that will lead to highly lucrative careers. Competing against nearly 600 middle school teams from across the country, the Cyber Crusaders hope to advance to the national finals, to be held in Baltimore, Maryland in March. Photos are available. Media Contact: Mark Vidal, 909-447-2406 (office) or 626-203-8167 (cell)Read More Photos

Volunteers Promote College, STEM at Baldwin Park Unified Elementary

About 40 parents and students of Baldwin Park Unified’s Central Elementary School took part in a Family College and STEM Night on Jan. 19 thanks to a partnership with a group of community volunteers. Parents participated in a workshop on college attendance while students engaged in a STEM activity. The volunteers have shared their talents at Baldwin Park schools for three years, primarily through student assemblies in science, technology, engineering and math. This year, the group began evening workshops to engage parents as well. Two more evening events will be held this spring. Photos are available. Photos are available. Media Contact: William Diepenbrock, 909-206-5304 (office) or 909-214-6909 (cell)Read More

Upcoming Events

Rio Hondo College to Host Cash for College Financial Aid Workshop and Application Lab on Jan. 28

Rio Hondo College will host a comprehensive Cash for College financial aid workshop and application lab on Saturday, Jan. 28 to assist students with funding their higher education journeys. The event will include guidance for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as the California Dream Act, including one-on-one support in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese. The workshop will begin at 10 a.m.; the application lab will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Both will be held in the Rio Café, Rio Hondo College, 3600 Workman Mill Road, Whittier. To register, go to For information, contact Los Angeles Cal-SOAP at Rio Hondo College, Room SS105 or 562-463-7026. Media Contact: William Diepenbrock, 909-206-5304 (office) or 909-214-6909 (cell)Read More

Rio Hondo College Forums to Showcase Stellar Academic Programs

Rio Hondo College will showcase transfer and career pathways, honors programs, financial aid, adult re-entry programs and student support services at a Community Education Forum from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 at the College’s El Monte Educational Center, 3017 Tyler Ave., El Monte. The forum will provide community members with a chance to meet top-notch faculty from Rio Hondo’s academic and career programs, including its popular nursing, public safety, business administration and automotive technology programs. Forums, launched in January, continue across the College’s service area on March 16, April 20 and May 11. For details, call 562-908-3403 or email A light dinner will be served and opportunity drawings will be held. Media Contact: William Diepenbrock, 909-206-5304 (office) or 909-214-6909 (cell)

Rio Hondo College Professors to Serve as Judges in Hillcrest Arts Fest

Rio Hondo College art history professor Sheila Lynch and design and drawing professor Ron Reeder will join four other art professionals to judge the 57th annual Hillcrest Festival of Fine Arts, set for Friday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 26. The juried competition’s categories range from photography and water color to graphics/mixed media, sculpture and religious. More than 200 artists participate annually. The festival is hosted by Hillcrest Congregational Church, 2000 West Road, La Habra Heights. For information, go to Media Contact: William Diepenbrock, 909-206-5304 (office) or 909-214-6909 (cell)