MONROVIA – Santa Fe Middle School students drew thunderous cheers as they launched bottle rockets and gave energetic dance and choir performances during a May 25 open house that unveiled a new school name, mission and principal.

Now known as Santa Fe Computer Magnet School, the campus will provide a computer science immersion curriculum called Code to the Future that teaches students programming languages as a pathway to technology degrees and careers.

“Our job is to prepare all of our students for the future and we can’t think of a better way than providing coding to our students throughout their entire time at Monrovia Unified,” Monrovia Unified Board President Bryan Wong said. “These changes at Santa Fe will provide our students with the best opportunities possible to get into the colleges and careers they want.”

The school will be led by Dr. Geoff Zamarripa, a long-time El Monte School District educator. Zamarripa most recently served as principal at Columbia School.

“I’m honored to lead as Santa Fe’s new principal and to be a part of a campus that is making history with the Code to the Future program,” Zamarripa said. “It’s going to bring about fabulous academic results to the children of this community that will carry on through their entire educational career.”

Zamarripa said he’s also looking forward to the school’s new history course writing standards and the new Houghton Mifflin Harcourt English language arts program.

The news of Santa Fe’s new science technology engineering mathematics (STEM) based curriculum has piqued the interest of parents and students, including incoming sixth-grader Lucas Christman.

“I’m currently a Boy Scout and we take trips to JPL and those visits are always interesting,” Christman said. “So it should be very fun to go to a computer science school.”

The open house also featured a host of engaging activities for students, including poetry readings, student achievement awards, robotics club demonstrations and a presentation of a mock Mars Rover by NASA/JPL Systems and Mission Design Engineer Nitin Arora.

“We are so excited for the future of Santa Fe as a computer science magnet school,” Monrovia Unified Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian said. “Dr. Zamarripa will be instrumental in guiding the school’s new direction and will provide our students with a strong pathway to success.”


060717_MUSD_OPENHOUSE1: Dr. Geoff Zamarripa describes his gratitude in being chosen as principal for Santa Fe Computer Science Magnet School during the school’s open house on May 25.

060717_MUSD_OPENHOUSE2: NASA/JPL Systems and Mission Design Engineer Nitin Arora (left) drives a model of the Mars Rover over fifth-grader Lucas Christman, demonstrating the machine’s ability to drive over different terrain during Santa Fe Middle School’s open house on May 25.