Lynwood – Will Rogers Elementary School sixth-grader Vanessa Candia has a love for graphic novels, and as she sat alone in the campus quad while awaiting her friends for the first day of school on Aug. 22 she could not wait to get her hands on new reading material. Candia was the first student through the gate, arriving one hour before the start of school, and was eager to return to the classroom.

“I am looking forward to meeting new people, learning new things and getting better at math,” said Candia, who moved to Lynwood with her family in May. “I love to read. I like Percy Jackson, graphic novels and comedy.”

Candia is one of more than 15,000 Lynwood Unified students returning to school, ready to take advantage of the technology upgrades and expanded programs the District is unveiling for the 2018-19 school year to boost student success.

Will Rogers has expanded its Spanish-English dual immersion program to offer a fourth-grade as students continue to develop their biliteracy skills. District-wide, Lynwood elementary schools will adopt the Journeys Reading and Literacy Common Core curriculum. The comprehensive K-6 English language arts program will help students develop mastery of speaking, listening and writing.

Lynwood students will have increased college access through partnerships between LUSD and Compton College, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, California State University Dominguez Hills and the University of La Verne. The partnerships provide graduates with priority registration, guaranteed admission, financial aid assistance and programs to help with college readiness.

“Our college partnerships bring additional resources and opportunities for Lynwood students in their pursuit of higher education,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “Our goal is to see every Lynwood student graduate with an achievable post-secondary plan for college or career.”

The new school year brings new leadership to the District’s two comprehensive high schools. Bambi Smith assumes the post at Firebaugh High School while Ana Gonzalez takes the helm at Lynwood High School.

Smith has spent over 30 years in Lynwood, including 23 years as an elementary school teacher, and was most recently principal of Lynwood Community Adult School from 2016-18. Gonzalez, a Lynwood High graduate of 1994, has been at LHS in a variety of positions for 20 years, most recently as assistant principal.

“Our focus is building positive relationships among students and teachers. We want students to feel comfortable and connected,” Gonzalez said. “We are continuing to increase our enrollment and prep for our Advanced Placement program.”

Lynwood students will have increased access to science and technology this year after the District received a $3.1 million grant from the American Honda Foundation to establish a STEM pipeline. Last year, Lynwood Middle School hosted a $250,000 science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) mobile classroom which was donated by the National College Resources Foundation (NCRF). The lab, which features Mac computers, coding programs and two 3-D printers, will be accessible to students from other schools this year.

“The first day of school is full of excitement and anticipation for students, parents and staff, and the District is looking forward to another amazing year of academic achievement,” Lynwood Unified Board President Alfonso Morales said. “It is important to remember that our children are also the leaders of tomorrow and it is our job to provide them with a world-class education that will allow them to face the challenges of the future.”

082418_LUSD_FIRSTDAY1: Lynwood Unified students returned to school on Aug. 22 with increased college access. The District has partnerships with five colleges that provides graduates with priority registration, guaranteed admission and financial aid assistance.

082418_LUSD_FIRSTDAY2: Lynwood Unified students eagerly returned to school on Aug. 22. The District’s elementary schools have adopted the Journeys Reading and Literacy Common Core curriculum to help students develop mastery of speaking, listening and writing.