SAN DIMAS/LA VERNE – Bonita Unified students returned to campuses for the 2023-24 school year, which will see new campus administrators and the expansion of career technical education programs, full of excitement and undeterred by rainy weather as they renewed old friendships, reviewed class schedules and met their new teachers on Aug. 21.

At Grace Miller Elementary, many students and parents gathered inside the cafeteria to take “Back-to-School” photos and snack on donut holes and orange juice. Other students went immediately to their homeroom class, eager to find their seat and introduce themselves to their new classmates.

“I’m so excited for the 2023-2024 school year,” Grace Miller Elementary Principal Leslie Sandoval said. “I love seeing the students’ excited expressions as they meet their teacher, greet those they are familiar with and make new friends. Our staff has been working hard to prepare for the school year and we can’t wait to see what our students will accomplish.”
Ramona Middle School Associated Student Body (ASB) and Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) student leaders dressed in school colors and greeted students as they arrived, while Ramona administrators assisted new students and others who needed help with their school schedules. The Ramona Viking also made an appearance, fist-bumping students and posing for pictures.

At Gladstone Elementary, students commemorated the first day of school with pictures against the school’s iconic Griffin mural before heading to their classrooms, where they were greeted by the friendly faces of teachers and staff.

In celebration of “tuning into a new school year,” San Dimas High School ASB leaders transformed the quad into a music festival, playing upbeat music as their peers enjoyed festival-themed foods, Jenga, cornhole, water pong and more. At Bonita High School, the Class of 2024 gathered for the school’s Senior Sunrise – held at Glenn Davis Stadium on Aug. 22 – where they reflected on the start of their senior year and enjoyed the early morning sunshine.

“I came from a private school and didn’t know a lot of the students. Bonita High teachers helped me out so much, introducing me to my classmates. These are the best friends I’ve ever had,” Bonita High ASB President Andrew Watson said. “For senior year I’m looking forward to going to all the sporting events and senior prom. My other goal is to make sure underclassmen are making their connections, and finding their friends.”

Bonita Unified has welcomed new administrators across several campuses this year. Sean Casey takes the helm as the principal of Chaparral-Vista High School, while his former position as the dean of student services has been filled by Kendra Lewis; alumna Nikole Burgess returns to the District to serve as Bonita High School’s assistant principal; Ramona Middle School has welcomed Kaitlyn Trotter as its assistant principal; and Dr. Kim Lawe is the District’s new senior director of secondary curriculum and instruction.

The District will also seek to expand its career technical education program – an effort helmed by CTE coordinator Vanessa Tilford, who is focused on building partnerships with more industry professionals and introducing additional work-based learning opportunities. These experiences will both connect to the District’s 12 CTE programs and extend beyond it – providing students greater exposure to industry programs and helping them make informed decisions about their professional futures.

“We are thrilled to welcome our students back to campuses for what is sure to be another year of exceptional achievement in the classroom, on the field and on the stage,” Bonita Unified Superintendent Matt Wien said. “With the support of our talented educators and staff – and guided by our core values of equity, mastery and a focus on results – we will continue to ensure that every Bonita Unified student is prepared to achieve their full potential.”


BUSD_2023_FIRSTDAY1: San Dimas High School Associated Student Body officers leave their mark on a junior class poster during the first-day festivities on Aug. 21.

BUSD_2023_FIRSTDAY2: Bonita Unified school counselor Maria Bravo embraces her daughter Olivia on her first day of kindergarten at Gladstone Elementary School.

BUSD_2023_FIRSTDAY3: Ramona Middle School’s Where Everybody Belongs student leaders are all smiles on the first day of the 2023-24 school year.

BUSD_2023_FIRSTDAY4: A Grace Miller Elementary school student celebrates her first day of third grade on Aug. 21.

BUSD_2023_FIRSTDAY5: Bonita High School seniors commemorate their final year of high school at Senior Sunrise, held at Glenn Davis Stadium.