South Whittier LCAP Calls for Increased Technology, Intervention
South Whittier School District plans to invest $7.37 million to extend library hours, expand intervention programs, increase access to technology and support college-prep programs at its elementary and middle school sites as part of its 2017-20 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). The Board of Education approved the LCAP and its 2017-18 budget on June 27. The LCAP pledges to continue programs that met or exceeded its previous goals, such as hiring additional teachers and staff, including a District nurse, reducing class sizes, expanding visual and performing arts, offering free before- and after-school activities, and increasing parent engagement opportunities.
South Whittier’s Monte Vista Elementary School is the District’s first elementary school to incorporate the learning strategies of one of the country’s foremost college-readiness programs – Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). This is the second year Monte Vista, a fourth- through sixth-grade elementary school, has incorporated AVID strategies such as notetaking and organizational skills into its curriculum.
South Whittier’s McKibben Elementary School has developed and refined a pair of achievement programs that engage students with hands-on projects and individually targeted lesson plans to prepare them for tackling educational challenges on their road to high school, college and beyond. McKibben bolsters student success through its High Achievers enrichment program for fourth- through sixth-grade students and offers intervention and support services for K-6 students and English learners through its Target for Success program.
South Whittier Elementary After-school Programs Buoy Student Success
A pair of after-school programs at South Whittier Unified’s McKibben Elementary bolster student success for those at all academic levels. The High Achievers program introduces challenges that go beyond standard classroom lessons for students who demonstrate exceptional academic capabilities. Target for Success works with students from kindergarten through sixth grade who need extra help with reading, writing and math.
The South Whittier School District Board of Education on May 16 selected Dr. Gary Gonzales, a 30-year educator and longtime administrator at the Alhambra Unified School District, to helm the District as its next executive leader. He makes history as South Whittier’s first Latino superintendent. The selection follows an extensive search by consultant Leadership Associates, an online survey garnering input from District stakeholders, several discussions by the Board of Education on the characteristics, skills and qualities desired in a superintendent, and interviews with highly qualified candidates. Gonzales will assume his new role July 1. Gonzales will succeed Superintendent Gail Baxter, who will retire in June after 27 years as an educator and administrator in the District.
Lake Marie Elementary School classrooms become art studios once a month as students become artists whose creativity, inspiration and cultural curiosity are piqued as they learn about the lives and works of master artists. Over the last five years, students at the South Whittier K-6 school have been exposed to an engaging arts curriculum as part of Meet the Masters, a national arts education program designed to increase students’ performance across disciplines. An Arts for All School, Lake Marie has blazed a trail to increase quality and equity of arts instruction.
South Whittier School District will host its eighth annual Whittier Area Healthy Living and Resource Fair from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 20, providing parents with rich information on the free resources available locally. Participants can expect to receive information on free dental care, youth counseling, mental wellness and health services, early learning programs and child care. More than 30 organizations are expected to participate, including county public health, social services, parks and recreation and Sheriff’s departments. The event will be held at Carmela Elementary School, 13300 Lakeland Road, Whittier.
Following a 52-year career as an educator and administrator in the South Whittier School District, Associate Superintendent Cecilia Laidemitt will retire in June. Laidemitt, South Whittier’s longest-serving employee, has been the District’s associate superintendent of administrative services and personnel management for 10 years. She previously served as a teacher, principal and director.
South Whittier Introduces Middle School Block Schedule
Students at Graves Middle School will attend fewer classes each day but participate in more rigorous learning opportunities as part of the school's shift to a block schedule beginning in the 2017-18 school year. Graves will switch from seven 45-minute daily periods to eight 90-minute class sessions that meet every other day. All students will receive an elective class, a portable device and 30 added instructional minutes daily. Students who need extra support will also have a study skills class for homework completion and academic development.
South Whittier Middle School Named AVID National Demonstration Site
South Whittier's Graves Middle School has been named a National Demonstration Site for AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a college-preparedness program that teaches students habits and skills integral to academic and professional success. It is one of two middle schools in Los Angeles County to earn the designation, an honor held by fewer than 3 percent of AVID schools across the nation. Launched in 2008 with one seventh-grade class, Graves’ AVID program has flourished with expanded sections and strategies that have elevated student learning, emphasized the importance of a college education and supported the academic growth of English learners.