Lynwood – Nearly 15,000 students flocked to Lynwood Unified School District campuses on Aug. 22 to start the 2016-17 school year, greeted by eager principals, teachers and new performing arts and college preparation courses.

High school freshmen are now required to take a college preparation elective, which shows them career technical education pathways, how to apply to college, how to seek federal financial aid and more. Students pursuing the District’s biomedical pathway also have the opportunity to enroll in a third-year course that increases their exposure to the medical field and meets college application requirements.

“Expanding these opportunities for our students is so important in preparing them for the ever-changing workforce in our society,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Paul Gothold said. “I want to thank our teachers and staff for helping us evolve these programs so we can provide all students with a high-quality education.”

The District’s emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects is expanding with an elementary robotics course and a TK-2 iPad initiative, which will expose younger students to computer coding through games and robots.

Building upon the District’s robust visual and performing arts programs, additional band instructors and tutors have been hired and additional instruments have been brought in for Firebaugh High and Lynwood High students. Band classes will be added at the District’s three middle schools and Vista High School, the Bridge Theatre program will extend into the District’s middle schools and dance classes will be added for all fifth-graders.

“After all we accomplished last year, I am so excited to see what is in store for Lynwood Unified throughout 2016-17,” Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said. “We strive more than ever to instill in our students that college is no longer an option or choice, but an expectation.”

With the transition to state-funded preschool programs and a $5.3 million expansion grant, Lynwood Unified has added full-day preschool classes at many elementary school campuses, expanding capacity by 200 students.

Some schools in the District also have new leaders this year.

Dr. Maria Pimienta spent six years with the Santa Ana Unified School District and is now principal at Cesar Chavez Middle School.

“I look forward to learning from these students and watching this campus grow,” Pimienta said. “I want all Cesar Chavez students to reach their highest potential and take advantage of the best education and support services we have for them.”

Principal Dawn Green started out as a student in Lynwood Unified, attending Hosler Middle and Lynwood High School. After teaching in the District for 10 years, she has become principal of Rosa Parks Elementary.

“I’m looking forward to building relationships with students, parents, teachers and staff throughout this new year,” Green said. “I can’t wait to see the success of these students and how that will propel them to find their passions.”


082216_LUSD_FIRSTDAY1: Cesar Chavez Middle School students scurry around campus to find their rooms before class begins on the first day of school. Lynwood Unified opened its doors to nearly 15,000 students on Aug. 22.

082216_LUSD_FIRSTDAY2: Rosa Parks Elementary School teacher Helen Tolbert walks her first-grade students through a writing lesson on the first day of school. Lynwood Unified opened its doors to nearly 15,000 students on Aug. 22.

082216_LUSD_FIRSTDAY3: Lynwood High seniors Malik Perkins (left) and Gregory Shelton share a laugh before class on the first day of the 2016-17 school year. Lynwood Unified opened its doors to nearly 15,000 students on Aug. 22.