Bassett Unified Leadership Students Give Back to Community, Mentor Kindergartners

LA PUENTE, CA – Nueva Vista 11th-grader Barbara Bingham sat down with a group of Edgewood Academy kindergartners, guiding them on identifying farm animals on worksheets and the letter “F”.

“Does anyone know what a farm is?” Bingham asked the students.

The kindergarteners colored farm animals on one worksheet and, in another activity, looked at a group of animals that included kangaroos and bears, and drew a line from the farm animals to the barn.

The mentorship program is part of a project-based learning (PBL) Leadership class in which 14 Nueva Vista students are immersed in hands-on experiences that combine peer mentoring with service projects. Students learn the importance of being role models to younger children and ambassadors for their community through the program.

Bingham taught Edgewood kindergartener Joaquin Partida-Fernandez new concepts and words including fish, frog, firefighter and frost by making him laugh and being patient. Joaquin ran up to Bingham after class was dismissed to give her a hug.

“It is so gratifying when you are able to communicate effectively with others, to have the poise to handle social situations,” Bingham said.

The Leadership class has worked with Edgewood’s Magdalena Aguirre-Meija’s kindergarten class for two years, providing additional support for the teacher’s PBL curriculum. Aguirre’s students strengthened their connection with their mentors by attending a holiday performance at Nueva Vista in Dec.

The Leadership class inspires Bingham to plan for college and career. She aims to obtain a welding certificate at Mt. San Antonio College and study photography.

“Since we began the Leadership class in 2015, the student response has been tremendous,” Nueva Vista English Language Development teacher Jessica Estrada said. “When the students see themselves as leaders, their attendance improves and their confidence increases significantly.”

Peer mentoring is one of several outreach opportunities available to Leadership students. Nueva Vista Principal Gabriel Fernandez provided a PBL challenge to the students called Redesign the Classroom Experience, in which students collaborated to advocate for improved learning experiences in their classrooms.

They pitched their ideas on classroom remodel prototypes to Interim Superintendent Debra French and Bassett Unified Board of Education members. The students persuaded administrators to allow them to take the project from the design stage to implementation.

Nueva Vista is also a member of the WE School network, which encourages students to raise funds for local and global causes. In May 2017, Leadership students put together CARE packages for the military and donated them to the Ontario USO.

“The Nueva Vista Leadership class is transforming the educational experience by using project-based learning to inspire the students to pursue academic goals that teach responsibility and accountability,” French said. “The work that Gabriel Fernandez and Jessica Estrada are doing on behalf of their students is yielding exceptional results.”

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021618_BASSETT_NVMENTORSHIP1: Nueva Vista High 11th-grader Barbara Bingham (left) tutors Edgewood Academy kindergartener Joaquin Partida-Fernandez as part of mentorship program between the two schools. This is the second year the program has been running in collaboration with Nueva Vista leadership students to encourage more community outreach.

021618_BASSETT_NVMENTORSHIP2: A Nueva Vista High student helps Edgewood Academy kindergartners complete classroom activities. Fourteen Nueva Vista students are immersed in hands-on experiences that combine peer mentoring with service projects as part of a Leadership class.

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