EL MONTE – The El Monte Union High School District launched the 2018-19 school year on Aug. 20, welcoming nearly 1,200 teachers, staff and administrators and over 8,000 students across its schools.

But before students headed back to their campuses, the District kicked off the school year with its annual Opening of School program for staff at El Monte High School, where Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga reminded teachers why they matter and the importance they have in students’ lives.

“The opening of school comes with excitement, a burst of new energy and another opportunity to make a difference in every student’s life,” Zuniga said. “It is up to us to use this influence to remove barriers, support students in their challenges and give them access to the knowledge and information that will prepare them to be successful in their future endeavors.”

This year, El Monte Union is welcoming nine new teachers and three administrators. The District also recognized its 2018-19 Teacher of the Year, Cesar Castellanos.

“We educate children, we care for them, nurture them, foster their learning and watch them grow,” said Castellanos, an English teacher at South El Monte High School and a Rosemead High School alumnus. “It’s part of our job. Your actions and the time you invest in students add up to shape an individual, their future and their trajectory.”

During the program, 49 employees who have reached 25-, 30-, 35-, 40- or 45-year anniversary milestones in the District – a combined 1,380 years of service – were recognized.

The program, which included several student performances – was followed by a week of professional development training, during which teachers received personalized training in various subjects and collaborated with peers on best practices.

Prior to the start of school, EMUHSD schools welcomed approximately 2,162 freshmen for an orientation led by Link Crew leaders. Link Crew leaders will serve as mentors to the first-year students and provide them guidance, support and friendship. During orientation, students enjoyed the bands, drill teams and cheerleader performances, and learned about school policies, clubs and sports opportunities.

Students will have the opportunity to explore a number of career technical education programs, including the new Zoo Crew: Engineers Gone Wild!, award-winning Teacher Preparation Academy and new Early College Academy in partnership with Rio Hondo College.

“We wish the entire EMUHSD family an exciting and successful school year,” Zuniga said. “We look forward to working together in achieving what we collectively want for students – college and career readiness.”


082818_EMUHSD_NEWSCHOOLYEAR1: Link Crew leaders at South El Monte High School welcome incoming ninth graders during a freshman orientation program on Aug. 10 ahead of the first day of school.

082818_EMUHSD_NEWSCHOOLYEAR2: El Monte Union teachers and staff gather for the Opening of School program on Aug. 14 at El Monte High School, where they heard words of inspiration, saw student performances and participated in professional development training ahead of the first day of school.

082818_EMUHSD_NEWSCHOOLYEAR3: El Monte High School students are greeted by cheerleaders, band and Link Crew leaders during the first day of school on Aug 20.