Baldwin Park Unified Runs e-Textbook, Chromebook Pilot Programs
The first of two electronic textbook pilot efforts at Baldwin Park Unified has returned overwhelming praise for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt materials used on Google Chromebooks. Some 36 eighth-graders at Sierra Vista Middle School and 30 10th-graders at Sierra Vista High School conducted an electronic curriculum trial on the Chromebooks in spring to determine engagement levels. Baldwin Park Unified is one of just two districts in California and four across the U.S. authorized for the pilot by Google and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The pilot was originally scheduled to run nine weeks, but middle school teacher Gabriela Lopez and high school teacher Rafael Marquez received an extension to continue through spring. A second pilot effort will be conducted at four middle schools and two high schools during spring 2016 even as the district builds wireless capacity to support use of additional computer devices by students.
Baldwin Park Unified’s Board of Education will consider adoption of the 2015-18 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 23 at the District Administration Center, 3699 N. Holly Ave., Baldwin Park. The document – available for public review at the administration center – outlines the district’s vision for educational improvements over three years, sets annual goals and lists actions to achieve those goals. The plan was launched this year with a focus on transition to the California Common Core State Standards, providing access to new instructional materials and preparing students for online assessments. The LCAP was updated over the course of the year with input from students, parents, staff and community members. The board is also scheduled to adopt its 2015-16 budget.
Baldwin Park Unified will spend a $593,903 federal award to enhance math and science instruction for disadvantaged youths in grades six through 11 in 2015-16, the first installment of a $1.5 million, three-year California Mathematics and Science Partnership. The partnership, administered by the state Department of Education, provides professional development for teachers in science, technology, math and science, or STEM. Baldwin Park Unified will work with the University of California, Irvine Math Project to provide math teachers 60 hours of professional development, hands-on lessons and other math resources.
Five students from Baldwin Park Unified’s Jones Junior High will each receive a $2,000 Education Trust Award to help defray college costs thanks to California GEAR UP, a program designed to boost higher education enrollment for low-income students. Jones is the first Baldwin Park Unified school to participate in the program. Recipients were Maria Alvarez, Aizza Carrillo, Arturo Escobedo, Shene Martinez and Victoria Sanchez. The scholarship funds will be held in trust by the California Student Aid Commission until the students enter college.
North Park High School Recognized for Project-Based Learning Program
A two-year, project-based learning initiative has sparked new levels of classroom creativity at Baldwin Park Unified’s North Park High School, the only continuation school chosen to participate in a special UCLA program designed to promote teaching innovation. The program led to a school-wide effort that incorporated student-directed, hands-on activities in all content areas, including collaborative projects that artistically documented milestones in student lives. North Park’s innovations, funded with two $20,000 grants through UCLA’s Teacher-Initiated Inquiry Project, were showcased in a 30-minute video that impressed UCLA educators so much during a May 17 review that they have presented the video to the California Department of Education as a model for future efforts.
Play Shows Baldwin Park’s DeAnza Students Ways to Manage Conflict
Students at DeAnza Elementary School in Baldwin Park will learn ways of managing conflict at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 26 through a 40-minute play performed by Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program. The play, called “It’s Stop Time,” is designed for children in grades three through five. The event is part of a program of Mental Health Month activities sponsored by a community partnership that includes U.S. Rep Grace Napolitano, co-chairwoman of the Congressional Mental Health Congress, Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park and the Baldwin Park Unified School District. Parents are invited to attend the event, which will be followed by a workshop for students and parents on Wednesday, May 27.
Two Baldwin Park High Schools Earn Silver Medals in U.S. News and World Report rankings
Baldwin Park Unified’s Sierra Vista and Baldwin Park high schools each claimed a Silver Medal in the annual U.S. News and World Reports ranking of the nation’s top public high schools released this week. The rankings reviewed more than 19,000 public high schools, but only those that outperformed state testing averages for their demographic mixes could be considered for medals. Medal rankings were then determined by success levels on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams as a measure of college readiness. Sierra Vista ranked 1,290 nationally and 261 in California. The school enrolls 86 percent economically disadvantaged students. Baldwin Park ranked 1,888 nationally and 414 in California. The school enrolls 81 percent economically disadvantaged students.
Six Baldwin Park Unified schools were named Tuesday as California Gold Ribbon Schools – the state’s highest award for academic excellence – giving the district a win for every application submitted.
The awards, which have temporarily replaced the California Distinguished School Program, go to secondary campuses that successfully implement new academic content and performance standards for all students, including English learners, as demonstrated through model programs chosen by the schools. In all, the state honored 193 middle schools and 180 high schools. Baldwin Park Unified’s Holland Middle, Jones Junior High, Olive Middle, Sierra Vista Junior High, Baldwin Park High and Sierra Vista High schools were recognized for best practices that ranged from boosting parent and community involvement and STEM programs to closing the achievement gap and reducing absenteeism and dropouts. The schools also earned an additional award for being Title I Academic Achieving Schools.
Two Sierra Vista High Students Win Gates Millennium Scholarships
Diego Hernandez and Timothy Valdez – both seniors at Baldwin Park Unified’s Sierra Vista High – are two of the 1,000 nationwide recipients of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which covers all college costs and possibly all graduate school costs for high-performing, low-income students. Hernandez, who has a 4.56 GPA, will study aerospace engineering at USC in pursuit of a dream to put the first human on Mars. Valdez, who has a 4.22 GPA, will study medicine at Claremont McKenna College en route to becoming a doctor.
Follow-up Story: Kenmore Elementary third-graders on May 20 donated 500 books gathered by the students during an April “book-raising” event to a local church for distribution to neighborhood children. The donation will be made at the students’ Kenmore classroom, 3823 Kenmore Ave., Baldwin Park. The students coordinated the book-gathering event on their own, after being inspired by teacher Margarita Berdeja, who was recently named 2015 Teacher of the Year by LegiSchool in recognition of her promotion of civic learning through project-based activities.