An innovative gardening program at Bellflower Unified’s Ramona Elementary is planting the seeds for hands-on learning about environmental science and healthy eating thanks to a community partnership launched in fall. The program brings in a “Garden Ranger” to work each Tuesday with children from different grades at the Bellflower school’s outdoor garden. School leaders are seeking to raise $2,500 to continue the program for a second year.
Hundreds of Mayfair High students, families, staff and community members waved blue and white flags at Ron Yary Stadium to honor Mayfair’s head football coach Derek Bedell as the Los Angeles Charges L.A. County Coach of the Week during the school’s homecoming game on Oct. 6. The school’s band played a celebratory number as Chargers cheerleaders greeted Bedell on center stage with a $1,000 check. He was recognized for his team’s first victory since 2006 in the annual Milk Bucket matchup against rival Lakewood High School on Sept. 8.
Bellflower High School on Oct. 5 launched a Teen Court program, a new element of the school's award-winning civics program that allows students to explore California's court system. The launch began with a reception that included Bellflower Unified Board of Education members, City Council members, judges, attorneys and other dignitaries at the District Office.
Bellflower Unified's Washington Elementary School has received a $5,000 grant from the Barona Band of Mission Indians that will benefit the school's new dual-language immersion program. The school was chosen for the award by state Sen. Tony Mendoza, who delivered the grant during a visit to school on Oct. 4.
Nearly 100 students fill four dual-immersion, Spanish-language classrooms at Bellflower Unified's Intensive Learning Center in Lakewood -- a capacity crowd for the District's latest foray into new educational arenas. The district launched the program in 2013-14 with kindergarten classes and, this year, added first grade. Research shows dual-immersion students not only learn the targeted language, but also gain significant understanding of cultures associated with the language, show overall cognitive advances and earn stronger grades in school. Bellflower Unified Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said the program is one element of a broader effort to increase academic success, cultural understanding and preparation for a global economy.
Follow-up Story: Sixty-one Bellflower Unified students received new shoes and socks on Jan. 31, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Bellflower's 11th annual Payless Shoe Shopping Event. The event was held in conjunction with Caring Connections, a nonprofit dedicated to helping meet the needs of children and families in the Bellflower Unified School District. Also aiding the effort were Encounter Christian Church and Payless Shoe Source. Photos are available.
Follow-up Story: Nearly 100 students from Bellflower Unified teamed up with Mayor Sonny R. Santa Ines, Bellflower school board members, parents and Kiwanis Club members on Jan. 30 to beautify 20-acre Ruth Caruthers Park, removing trash, leaves, pine needles and weeds, scrubbing graffiti, spreading wood chips and sweeping walkways. The cleanup was the idea of students at Woodruff Elementary School, who were inspired by a civic learning project run jointly by their school and Bellflower Middle School.
Bellflower Unified teachers are reaping the rewards this year of an aggressive District policy to reduce class sizes in grades K-3 to 24 students. The effort, which cost $2.85 million and required 38 new teachers, is allowing teachers time for more personal interaction with students and making it easy to work with the clsss as whole. The District – along with all other California schools – was given eight years to reduce class sizes in order to qualify for a bump in state funding, but officials decided to make the improvement immediately.
Follow-up Story: More than 600 Intensive Learning Center students gathered Jan. 12 to help recognize classmates Beman and Patricia Rezkalla’s victory in the 2014 National Blue Ribbon Week Photo Contest. The siblings, who are in third grade and kindergarten, took home one of 10 prizes awarded across the nation in the fourth annual contest. Their prize: an iPad for their family and $1,000 for their school, which was ceremonially given to the students by DEA Special Agent Vijay Rathi during the event. The victory is the first ever for a Los Angeles-area school.