EL MONTE – El Monte City School District teachers and administrators rolled out red carpets, clutched colorful signs and cheered on droves of smiling students and parents, welcoming them to the start of the 2019-20 school year on Aug. 20.

The District welcomed students and parents across its 14 campuses, each with information kiosks and orientation meetings to inform the public about new and expanding programs to boost academic and social-emotional growth.

Each school in the District is introducing a new Lego Robotics curriculum, allowing all K-8 students to build and program robots to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning.

The curriculum was created after the District’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program launched a popular robotics team in January 2018. The team won a second-place project award at the Los Angeles Region FIRST Lego League in November 2018.

Columbia School unveiled its new Students Offering Academic Readiness (SOAR) program, which pairs 26 eighth-graders with students from all grade levels to encourage positive behaviors, offer academic support and assist with transitioning from elementary school to middle school.

“Our SOAR program students are prepared to show younger students that they always have someone that will listen to them and guide them during their time at Columbia,” Columbia School Principal Jaime Ortega said.

Wright School is the second school in the District to host a Mariachi Academy to encourage interest in new styles of music and cultural appreciation. Music classes are also linked to enhanced student learning and achievement.

The academy was piloted at Potrero School during the 2018-19 school year, where it was immediately popular, reaching its enrollment cap of 40 with a waitlist consisting of another 40.

“Our hope for the Mariachi Academy is that it is as successful here as it is at Potrero School,” Wright School Assistant Principal Juan Carranza said. “We hope this program gives our musically inclined students a means to pursue their passions.”

Wright School’s Mariachi Academy will begin enrollment in September.

“We would like to welcome our students, staff and parents to yet another wonderful year at the El Monte City School District,” Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia said. “We are excited to start the new school year because we have many new and expanded program offerings that will boost student success and build a stronger community.”


EMCSD_FIRSTDAY1: Two Columbia School students cheer on incoming classmates while hoisting signs of encouragement during their first day of school on Aug. 20.

EMCSD_FIRSTDAY2: Students and parents are ushered onto campus with celebrity treatment with cheers and a red carpet, courtesy of the teachers and administrators of Wright School during the first day of school on Aug. 20.