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California School News Radio

California School News Radio is a weekly podcast focused on education issues at public school districts hosted by Kevin Ausmus and Drew Schlosberg. The podcast airs live at 11 a.m. Tuesdays on wsRadio.com. Peruse our library of clips from past shows.

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Opportunities of a Lifetime: Achievement at Bonita Unified and Whittier Union Adult School

Posted November 12, 2019

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November 12, 2019 Opportunities of a Lifetime: Achievement at Bonita Unified and Whittier Union Adult School Bonita Unified School District Superintendent Carl Coles and Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Matthew Wien discuss the District commitment to student achievement and core values that encompass academics, activities, athletics and the arts.
Whittier Union Adult School alumus Sachin Mishra discusses how taking adult school classes have enabled him to acquire his diploma, find a full-time job at LAX and prepare to continue his education at Rio Hondo College. Mishra is joined by Adult School Assistant Principal Juan Anzaldo.
November 5, 2019 Growing Enrollment: Choices in West Covina, Upgrades in Lynwood West Covina Unified Director of Student Services Devon Rose and Edgewood Academy senior Joel Adell discuss what it means to be a California District of Choice and highlight the academic programs and resources available at the District.
Lynwood Unified Chief Business Officer Gregory Fromm discusses the recent District facilities upgrades made possible by voter-approved measures K and N, and the connection between enrollment, daily attendance and state funding.
October 29, 2019 Star Tech: Cisco Academy in Baldwin Park, AP Computer Science in Buena Park Baldwin Park High School Principal Dr. Gilberto Rodriguez, Asst. Principal Dr. Josefina Steinmetz and freshman Rene Cisneros discuss a school visit to San Francisco-based IT company Cisco-Meraki, where students received career advice from its CEO.
Buena Park Junior High teacher Shelley Andros and seventh-grader Joseph Williams discuss the school’s computer science program, where students learn to code Java and Python and can receive college credit if they pass the Advanced Placement exam.
October 22, 2019 Full Steam Ahead: Sailing Academy in Buena Park and Parent Academy at Bonita Unified Buena Park Junior High program specialist Debbie Clark discusses an ocean conservation program where junior high students learn to swim, sail and build waterproof robots.
Bonita Unified Senior Director of Specialized Services Mark Rodgers and Coordinator Danielle Walker discuss the District’s Parent Partnership Academy, which offers training on such topics as modern technology to individualized services for students with special needs.
October 15, 2019 Preparing for the Future: International Baccalaureate in Fontana Unified Fontana Unified Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Miki Inbody discusses the District’s International Baccalaureate K-12 continuum, which will include a Primary Years Program at Dolores Huerta International Academy and a Middle Years Program at Southridge Tech Middle School.
Jurupa Hills High School Principal Caroline Labonte joins Middle Years Program coordinator Randy Bertok and Diploma Program coordinator David Cambero to discuss 10 years of being an International Baccalaureate World School in Fontana.
October 8, 2019 Excellence in Education: LA County Teachers of the Year in Paramount, West Covina Paramount Park Middle School intervention teacher Felicia Akuamoah, a Los Angeles County Office of Education 2019-20 Teacher of the Year, discusses the school’s acclaimed student support service program, Panther Academy, and the rapport she shares with her students.
Orangewood Elementary School kindergarten and Spanish dual-language immersion teacher Karla Toledo, a Los Angeles County Office of Education 2019-20 Teacher of the Year, discusses instilling the values of empathy and tolerance to her students as part of the West Covina Unified International Baccalaureate continuum.
October 1, 2019 Making Progress: Special Education in Monrovia; Facilities Upgrades in West Covina Monrovia High School WorkAbility and Transition Program Partnership Coordinator Kymberly Hirst discusses the school’s Roasters coffee cart program, which teaches independence and life skills to students in special education.
West Covina Unified Assistant Superintendent Dr. Drew Passalacqua discusses facilities upgrades funded by a $143 million bond measure passed by voters in 2016, including a newly renovated football stadium, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and new performing arts center.
September 24, 2019 Ready to Go: New Administration in Bassett, Energy Conversation in El Monte Newly appointed Bassett High School Principal Hector Vasquez discusses his first month at Bassett Unified, his initial meetings with faculty, staff and parents, and his goals for the 2019-20 school year.
El Monte Union High School District Facility and Energy Manager Lena Luna discusses the District’s “Go Green” initiative and how to keep students comfortable in class while balancing the costs of energy.
September 17, 2019 The Art of Outreach: Attendance Awareness in Inglewood, Storytelling in Rio Hondo Inglewood Unified Director of Student Support Services Katrina Taylor and LACOE Director of Student Support Services Dr. Michelle Castelo Alferes discuss the District’s “Every Student, Every Day” attendance campaign.
Rio Hondo College Art Gallery Director Robert Miller and Arts Division Dean Dr. Grant Linsell discuss the gallery’s exhibition Cuentista, part of the fifth SUR:biennial, an art show at multiple area venues that explores the geography, culture and art inspired by areas south of Los Angeles.
September 10, 2019 Rules of Engagement: AVID in Lynwood, Parent Link Crew in Fontana Lynwood Unified Assistant Director of Education Services Christine Manson discusses how Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) helps first-generation college-goers prepare for higher education and a new AVID program that aids English learners.
Fontana Unified’s Summit High School Link Crew Coordinator Jennifer Karpinski and Parent Link Crew mentor Heather Mead discuss Summit’s Parent Link Crew pilot program, an adult version of the student mentoring program.
September 3, 2019 Pathways to Success: Athletics, Academies Entrepreneurialism Monrovia High School Principal Kirk McGinnis discusses the District’s renovation of Wildcat Stadium, the school’s math and humanities learning academies and arts conservatory, its Early College Dual Enrollment partnership with Citrus College and its upcoming College Fair.
Dr. Greg Francois, Paramount Unified School District’s director of secondary education and instructional technology, discusses Startup Tech, a career technical education pathway that prepares students to become entrepreneurs while teaching the basics of computer coding. Francois discusses the array of career pathways available in Paramount and the importance of tailoring instruction to fit student needs.
August 27, 2019 Bright Futures: Dual-Language Immersion and College Preparation Janet Shirley, principal of West Covina Unified’s Orangewood Elementary School, and Mandarin teacher Yuyan Chen discuss the debut of Orangewood’s Mandarin Dual Language Program. Shirley and Chen, a native Mandarin speaker from the Sichuan province in China, talk about the program’s instruction model, the importance of being bi-lingual, and West Covina Unified’s International Baccalaureate K–12 continuum.
Baldwin Park Unified Senior Director of Student Services Noreen Iwai-Ito and Sierra Vista High School Vince Pratt discuss the District’s 13th annual College and Career Day, which will provide families an opportunity to talk to college recruiters and employers, attend workshops focusing on financial aid, the college application process and improving their SAT scores, and Harvard University’s Baldwin Park connection.
August 20, 2019 Creating Greatness: Robotics in Fontana and Performing Arts in Buena Park Randall Pepper Elementary School is one of two Fontana Unified schools to compete in the World Robot Olympiad Friendship Invitational in Aarhus, Denmark. The school combined with German and Nigerian students to win the International Friendship award. Randall Pepper fourth-grader Mariah Torres and her coaches, Jeff Rich and Alice Strout and Engineering for Kids directors Herman and Ericka Kreimann discuss robotics programs within Fontana, meeting new friends and the thrill of competing internationally.
Arthur F. Corey School will increase its commitment to visual and performing arts (VAPA) curriculum this year after being selected for a Disney Musical in Schools grant and Pacific Theater Class Act grant. Corey School Principal LaRonda Ortega discusses providing equity to all students through VAPA, honoring the school’s rich history of performing arts and how music helps students achieve their academic goals.
August 13, 2019 On the Right Track: Summer STEAM and Dual Enrollment in El Monte Potrero School math teacher Elizabeth Torres served as principal of Wright School’s Summer STEAM program, overseeing 300 K-7 students who used the four-week session to learn science concepts and participate in musical theater. Torres discusses the importance of summer school and the challenges of preparing for an administrative role during the final weeks of the regular school year.
El Monte Union High School District students can take college courses for credit during the regular school day through a new dual enrollment partnership with Rio Hondo College. EMUHSD Director of Curriculum and Instruction Hillary Wolfe and Rio Hondo Dean of Student Success Dr. Melba Castro discuss the myriad ways students can earn college credit in high school, including the Early College Academy.
July 16, 2019 Channeling a Legend – Pioneer High School Summer Math Academy and Escalante Program Part 1: In 29 years as Director of the Pioneer High School Summer Math Academy – an accelerated math program for middle and high school students – math teacher Javier Gonzalez has channeled the groundbreaking teaching approach of his friend and mentor, former Garfield High School calculus teacher Jaime Escalante, whose exploits were chronicled in the 1988 movie, “Stand and Deliver.” Joined by Pioneer Class of 2017 graduate and Math Academy tutor Alejandro Vazquez, Gonzalez discusses Escalante’s legacy, making math fun for students and meeting President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office after being named California Teacher of the Year in 1996.
Part 2: In 29 years as Director of the Pioneer High School Summer Math Academy – an accelerated math program for middle and high school students – math teacher Javier Gonzalez has channeled the groundbreaking teaching approach of his friend and mentor, former Garfield High School calculus teacher Jaime Escalante, whose exploits were chronicled in the 1988 movie, “Stand and Deliver.” Joined by Pioneer Class of 2017 graduate and Math Academy tutor Alejandro Vazquez, Gonzalez discusses Escalante’s legacy, making math fun for students and meeting President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office after being named California Teacher of the Year in 1996.
July 9, 2019 Driving Change in Education – Whittier Union Adult School Part 1: Whittier Union Adult School Principal Dr. Margie Moriarty discusses career technical education opportunities (including its acclaimed bus driver training course), Love and Logic parenting classes, the school’s partnership with Rio Hondo Adult Education Consortium and her dual role as the top administrator for Frontier High School.
Part 2: Whittier Union Adult School Principal Dr. Margie Moriarty discusses career technical education opportunities (including its acclaimed bus driver training course), Love and Logic parenting classes, the school’s partnership with Rio Hondo Adult Education Consortium and her dual role as the top administrator for Frontier High School.
July 2, 2019 Bassett Adult School Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence Part 1: Bassett Adult School Principal Albert Michel discusses the school’s new GED testing center that will open in the fall, its three high school options that can lead to a diploma, its seven career technical education programs (which include the acclaimed electrician certification program), the major facilities upgrades underway at the campus and the thrill of seeing former students in the community.
Part 2: Bassett Adult School Principal Albert Michel discusses the school’s new GED testing center that will open in the fall, its three high school options that can lead to a diploma, its seven career technical education programs (which include the acclaimed electrician certification program), the major facilities upgrades underway at the campus and the thrill of seeing former students in the community.
June 25, 2019 The Sky is the Limit: Adult Education in Baldwin Park and Drone Pilots in Fontana Baldwin Park Unified Senior Director of Adult and Community Education Dr. John Kerr is retiring after a distinguished career at the District spanning 39 years. Kerr discusses the changing nature of adult education, the value of providing personalized student services, the importance of a well-trained staff and District partners and the joy of serving the community he grew up in.
Fontana Unified is one of the only school districts in the country to offer an elective that trains students to pilot an unmanned aircraft system. Kaiser High School graduate Rodrick Reed and senior Angela Alanis discuss the fundamentals of working with drones and the training that prepared them to receive Remote Pilot Certificates from the Federal Aviation Administration.
June 18, 2019 Indispensable Services: Summer Learning in Buena Park and Tackling Food Insecurity at Rio Hondo Buena Park School District’s Kid Connection offers child development and early learning options that include two field trips a week throughout the summer. Corey School Kid Connection lead teacher Merilee Perini discusses why the program remains popular after more than 30 years and the social and educational benefits of field trips.
Rio Hondo College’s RioSource Room serves as a campus food pantry and resource hub, helping students struggling with food insecurity and homelessness. Rio Hondo Director of Student Life Shaina Phillips discusses the changing nature of student services in the 21st century and partnering with local organizations for food donations.
June 11, 2019 History in the Making: Advocating for Arts Education and Bonita Unified’s Time Capsule Turnaround Arts California President and co-founder Malissa Shriver discusses partnering with renowned architect Frank Gehry to create an arts education advocacy organization, the importance of arts integration in classrooms, how art therapy heals cognitive functions of the brain, pairing celebrity influencers with regional arts organizations and making art a foundational part of school curriculum.
La Verne Heights Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Lauren Barnes and Bonita High School junior Spencer Gardner were among the celebrants as students and alumni recently dug up a time capsule buried at the Bonita Unified campus in 1994. Barnes and Gardner discuss what surprised them the most about the contents, what items should go in the next time capsule and the restoration of a historic oak tree slab in front of the school.
June 4, 2019 The Art of Innovation: Music in Inglewood, Tech in El Monte City Warren Lane Academy of the Arts Music Director Claudia Zuniga discusses the Inglewood Unified school’s transition from TK-6 to TK-8, equitable access to music programs for every student, the value of building and maintaining a library of musical instruments and the importance of District partners in arts education.
El Monte City School District Ed Tech Coordinator Jessica Pardini discusses the District’s inaugural Tech Fair, the rollout of Lego Robotics curriculum, training students to become tech leaders in the classroom through Generation YES and the coalition of district personnel, administrators, faculty, tech specialists and community volunteers helping El Monte City students realize their potential in tech.
May 28, 2019 Great Expectations: VAPA in Monrovia and Mora’s Kids in Bassett Monrovia Unified celebrated its visual and performing arts program during Monrovia Days, a three-day annual festival. Director of Performing Arts Patrick Garcia discusses the importance of immersing students and their families in the arts, local partnerships with music and theater companies, and the District’s five-year plan to expand arts curriculum.
Sunkist Elementary School Education Specialist Ryann Mora—Bassett Unified’s 2018–19 Teacher of the Year—helped coordinate the second annual Best of Bassett showcase in May. She discusses Mora’s Kids, students with disabilities who have a 100 percent high school graduation rate, and the thrill of watching her students become scholars.
May 21, 2019 Learning, Literacy and Robotics in Buena Park Buena Park School District Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes discusses learning and literacy, the new Buena Park mission and vision, 1:1 iPad technology rollout, International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, Advanced Placement courses at Buena Park Junior High and the Disney Musical Elementary School program.
Buena Park Junior High STEM teacher Shelley Andros has helped develop a strong robotics and coding program, with beginning and advanced classes for all grade levels. Joined by Buena Park students Veronica Diaz and Edwin Martinez, Andros discusses project-based learning, funding challenges, hosting Robot Nation competitions and preparing students for the jobs of the future.
May 14, 2019 Recipe for Success: Cooking Champions in Bonita, K-8 Schools in Inglewood Bonita Unified School District culinary arts students found the recipe for success during the 2019 California Restaurant Association ProStart Cup, winning awards and scholarships for their innovation, management and culinary skills. Bonita Unified teachers Nick and Laurie Brandler discuss what compelled them to leave jobs in the restaurant industry to become educators, and Bonita and San Dimas High students talk about the ProStart competition.
Inglewood Unified School District is restructuring four campuses into K-8 schools, with facilities upgrades that include new classrooms, playgrounds and libraries. Executive Director of Elementary Education Ugema Hosea James discusses the District commitment to STEAM curriculum, the benefits of community feedback and reflects on her 26 years as a District teacher and administrator.
May 7, 2019 Food for Thought: Culinary Arts and Shakespeare in El Monte Union and Fontana Unified El Monte Union’s inaugural Cooking Showdown was a huge success, with students from Mountain View, Rosemead and Arroyo high schools competing to see who could make the best gourmet dish. Culinary arts teachers Patricia Sahagun and Genevieve Wobrock join student chefs to discuss the fast-paced career technical education pathway.
Kaiser High School senior Kelly Bouslaiby loves theater and has worked hard to perfect her craft. The Fontana Unified senior made a name for herself at the 2019 ESU National Shakespeare Competition in New York with a third-place finish and $500 cash prize. Bouslaiby discusses her first audition, her dream roles and the thrill of performing at the Lincoln Center.
April 30, 2019 Whittier Union Scholarship Winner and El Monte Union’s New Take on Shakespeare El Monte Union High School District’s South El Monte High School will provide a modern take on Shakespearian tragedy when it stages “The Punk Rock Story of Romeo and Juliet” on May 8–10. The production will feature a student band playing live punk rock music, and will challenge gender norms by casting a female in the role of Romeo. South El Monte drama teacher Nicole Wessel and members of the cast discuss the challenges of performing the Elizabethan-era drama.
In April, Pioneer High School senior Ana Cortez received $60,000 in scholarships from Southern California Edison and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. Cortez credits the college-prep program Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, for helping her to acquire the skills to pursue higher education. Pioneer High Principal Lilia Bozigian and AVID tutors Jennifer DeBaca Sandoval and Dyan Acevedo join Cortez to discuss the Whittier Union High School District school’s commitment to first-generation students and Pioneer’s designation as an AVID National Demonstration Site.
April 23, 2019 Celebrating Unity at Paramount High and Creating Lifelong Learners in West Covina Paramount High School held its annual Unity Day on March 30, a day of music, dance and straight talk on issues of importance for LGBT students. Paramount counselor and Unity Day co-founder Ariana Bates joins Paramount sophomore Eneles Vega to discuss the origins of Unity Day, the importance of providing resources for the LGBT community, standing up to bullies, and the joys of silent disco.
West Covina Unified has established a TK-12 International Baccalaureate Continuum where families can enroll their child in one of three IB programs – Primary, Middle Years or Diploma – that will guide them on the path to being engaged, lifelong learners. Edgewood Schools Principal Dr. Roni Maddox discusses IB curriculum, Edgewood Diploma Candidates’ 100 percent acceptance rate into 4-year universities, and being an IB parent.
April 16, 2019 Music to Run By – California Public Schools Excel in Many Ways San Gabriel Unified District was recently recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM) as a Best Communities for Music Education district. Jefferson Middle School orchestra director Esther Minwary discusses the District’s TK-12 pipeline of music education, the Music Immersion Experience program, and what she has learned from students in her classroom.
For nearly 15 years, Monrovia Unified School District has staged the Monrovia Elementary Olympics, a one-day track and field competition that features 150 fourth- and fifth-grade students from all five District elementary schools. Wild Rose School of Creative Arts teacher and event founder Dana Elliott joins Wild Rose students Joshua Menlove and Amirah Sorra to discuss school spirit and how physical education brings out the best in students.
April 9, 2019 El Monte Union CTE Pathway Programs Creates Chefs and Media Stars El Monte Union staged its inaugural Cooking Showdown in March, a TV-style competition in which student chefs from the Arroyo, Rosemead and Mountain View high school culinary arts programs received an hour to prepare a gourmet meal, while being filmed by students from Mountain View’s VISTA Academy. EMUHSD Director of Curriculum Hillary Wolfe discusses how the Cooking Showdown came together and what it means for El Monte Union CTE Pathway programs.
John Mann came to El Monte Union’s Mountain View High School VISTA Academy in October 2017 with more than 20 years of experience as a professional photo-journalist. As VISTA Academy Director, Mann has worked to bring project-based learning to his students and integrate the curriculum into a career technical education pathway. Mann joins VISTA students Zaid Mendoza, Maribel Zavalza and Gisselle Zuniga to discuss the Cooking Showdown competition.
April 2, 2019 Dual Enrollment at Mt. SAC and Robotics in Monrovia Accelerate Success West Covina Unified School District’s Mt. SAC Early College Academy opened its doors in August 2018 with 60 freshmen motivated to take dual enrollment classes and earn up to 50 transferable college credits by the time they graduate. Principal Candace Leuthold discusses what the Academy is looking for in a student, what resources are available from Mt. SAC and what it takes to design a school from scratch.
Two Monrovia Unified School District robotics teams – the Kings and Queens from Monrovia High and the Hippie Bots from Clifton Middle School – have advanced to the First Tech Challenge World Championships in Houston on April 17-20. Robotics directors Tom Dobson and Paul Flores, Kings and Queens member Zach Szymkowski and Hippie Bots member Ian Hughes discuss the development of the robotics program and the challenges of high-level robotics competitions.
March 26, 2019 History Day L.A. Connects Youth to the Past; AVID Connects K-8 to College Students from San Gabriel Unified’s Del Mar High school highlighted the discriminatory housing process known as “Redlining” as part of their History Day L.A. efforts. All seven team members advanced to the California History Day finals in Sacramento. Principal Lon Sellers, adviser Kady Kloster and the History Day students discuss the intensive research and preparation that went into their projects and the thrill of going to the state championship in May.
Students from Paramount Unified’s Hollydale School are immersed in a college-going culture that includes regular campus visits to local universities such as USC, UCLA and Cal State L.A. The K-8 school coordinates these trips for its Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students, as well as all seventh-grade students. AVID coordinator Rosa Edwards and Hollydale sixth-grader Alyssa Little discuss the benefits of college preparation for middle school students.
March 19, 2019 Celebrating Scholarship and Sports in So-Cal Schools Through its Black College Expo, the National College Resources Foundation (NCRF) has enabled hundreds of Lynwood Unified School District students to attend college, while securing millions of dollars in scholarships from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. NCRF CEO Dr. Theresa Price and Lynwood High students Mytrece Edwards, Te’yanah Owens and Breanna Farmer discuss turning college dreams into reality.
Powered by Baldwin Park community support, the Sierra Vista High School Dons soccer team capped an amazing season by capturing the CIF Southern Section Division 5 and CIF SoCal Regional Division 4 championships. Dons head coach Jose Rodriguez Negrete, a Sierra Vista Class of 1990 alum, and team captain Omar Jimenez discuss leadership, discipline and coming together as a team.
March 12, 2019 A Circle of Support with Schools and Nonprofits; FuzzFEST and Shoes That Fit Now in its fourth year, the Monrovia FuzzFEST is a pledge-based, head-shaving event to raise funds for childhood cancer research, held on St. Patrick’s Day. St. Baldrick’s Foundation CEO Kathleen Ruddy, FuzzFEST organizer Dominque Strivings and Mayflower Elementary School office manager Tamara Morrison discuss how local schools and communities can join together to promote cures for deadly diseases.
In January, more than 300 Potrero School K-3 students in the El Monte City School District received new athletic shoes through a partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the Claremont-based nonprofit Shoes That Fit. Shoes That Fit CEO Amy Fass and Potrero School Principal Lorraine Torres discuss the socio-emotional lift students feel when they receive new shoes and how community members can support the program.
March 5, 2019 21st Century Learning; Understanding Business, Understanding the World Canyon Crest Elementary School in the Fontana Unified School District is being celebrated as an Exemplar school by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning/Battelle for Kids network. Canyon Crest Principal Dr. Kelly Wilbert discusses growth mindset, the importance of local business partnerships, communicating with parents and staff, and a recent campus visit by students from China.
Orangewood Elementary School in the West Covina Unified School District will launch a Mandarin Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program in the 2019-20 school year. Principal Janet Shirley discusses the value of multi-lingual skills, the International Baccalaureate Primary Years program and Orangewood’s recognition as a Capturing Kids’ Heart National Showcase School.
February 26, 2019 Showcasing Science and Social Commitment from El Monte to Baldwin Park Gidley School in the El Monte City School District has been a leader in STEM education, fielding a Science Olympiad team for more than 25 years. Gidley School Science Olympiad head coach Pamela Dominguez and Team Captain, Gidley eighth-grader Tracy Chow, discuss how the team prepares for competitions, how a student finds their specialty and the influence of Gidley alumni who have used their Olympiad experience to ascend to elite universities.
Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education School Senior Director Dr. John Kerr discusses the myriad ways the adult school provides services for the Baldwin Park community, the success stories of graduates and the generous support for adult school education by the BPUSD Board of Education.
February 19, 2019 Student Services are Central to Success at Rio Hondo College Baldwin Park Unified School District will hold its first District Showcase Saturday, March 2 from 9-noon at Morgan Park in Baldwin Park, which will highlight the signature programs, engaging academics and essential supports and services available at the District. Director of Student Services William Avila discusses what the community can expect to see at the showcase.
Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education School Senior Director Dr. John Kerr discusses the myriad ways the adult school provides services for the Baldwin Park community, the success stories of graduates and the generous support for adult school education by the BPUSD Board of Education.
February 12, 2019 El Monte Union Schools: Growing Food and a Sense of Community Arroyo High School in the El Monte Union High School District is teaching its students about eco-sustainability and healthy living through their participation in the Arroyo Garden Club. The Arroyo Garden’s organic produce is harvested by the school’s Culinary Arts program and used in its daily menus. Arroyo Principal Angelita Gonzales, Arroyo junior Oscar Ramos and Eco Urban Gardens executive director Marianne Zaugg discuss the transformation of the garden into a regenerative learning center.
Bobby Salcedo was a much beloved teacher and administrator in the El Monte Union High School District whose tragic death in 2009 rocked the community. El Monte Union Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga discusses the recent ribbon-cutting for the Bobby Salcedo Student Union at Mountain View High School, Salcedo’s legacy in El Monte, the soon-to-be-completed El Monte High School football stadium renovation and the recently passed Measure HS.
February 5, 2019 Making Mariachi Music and TOSA’s Talking Tech Add to The Experience of School El Monte City School District has brought the rich music tradition of mariachi music to Potrero School, where 40 students participate in an afterschool program that is overseen by the Jose Hernandez Mariachi Academy. Potrero School music teacher Victor Williams and eighth-grade student Stephanie Vega discuss the positive impact the program has brought to the Potrero School community.
Bassett Unified School District TOSA’s Tom Covington and Michael Jephcott began their “TOSAs Talking Tech” podcast in 2015 to assist BUSD educators in professional development. Since then, the program has gained devoted listeners across California, who find the TOSA’s insights to be invaluable. Covington and Jephcott discuss their 100th podcast and what tech innovations educators can look forward to in the coming year.
January 29, 2019 Motivating Students and Enticing Students with Culinary Arts In his more than 20 years at the District, Baldwin Park Unified School District Director of Student Achievement Richard Noblett has taught in the classroom and served as a middle school principal. Noblett discusses the various methods he employs to engage Baldwin Park students, including bringing YouTube motivational speaker Josh Drean to speak to the students and encouraging the use of school mascots to increase school spirit.
Paramount High School Culinary Arts instructor Juliette Bell discusses her background as a chef working at Michelin-starred restaurants and what motivated her to bring her expertise into the classroom to facilitate Paramount’s culinary pathway. Joining her is Paramount High senior Osvaldo Galaz, who recently took first prize in the Marukan Vinegar Cup of Excellence high school competition. Galaz discusses his methods in the kitchen and a possible future as a restauranteur.
January 22, 2019 It’s About the Learning Experience. Music Immersion and the Kindergarten Academy Show How. In 2015 Roosevelt Elementary School of the San Gabriel Unified School District launched the Music Immersion Experience (MIE) academic program, which allows students to receive instruction from a music specialist every day, up to 11 hours a week. The MIE has dramatically changed the school climate at Roosevelt, with greatly improved test scores. Roosevelt MIE program coordinator Samantha Theisen discusses the origins of the program and how it is resonating with the students.
When the 2018–19 school year began, El Monte City School District parents were welcomed with an additional resource, the Kindergarten Parent Academy, to help their children navigate their school experience. The Academy presents a series of workshops concentrating on literacy, mathematics and socio-emotional health and is available throughout the District. Rio Hondo Elementary School teachers Indra Arellano and Belinda Pinedo discuss the purpose and the benefits of the Academy.
January 15, 2019 Kaiser Represents Fontana at the Rose Parade; Lynwood USD Offers Multiple Paths to Success Fontana Unified School District’s Kaiser High School Catamount Pride Band and Color Guard received the honor of being the Premier Band for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade, participating in the opening ceremony and performing with pop legend Chaka Khan. Kaiser High Instrumental Music Director Anthony Allmond and Catamount band members Erica Gonzalez and Gabriela Gutierrez discuss how they prepared for the parade and what it feels like to be a member of the Rose Parade family.
Lynwood Unified School District has undergone a tremendous academic transformation, raising graduation rates by nearly 20 percent since 2010 and being named an Advanced Placement National District of the Year in 2017 by the College Board. Lynwood Unified Superintendent Dr. Gudiel Crosthwaite discusses the District commitment to career technical education, partnerships with local colleges, professional development and the high expectations for Lynwood students.
January 8, 2019 Inspired Students and Inspiring Teachers in California Schools Bonita Unified School District has seen steady increases in its math and English language arts test scores over the last four years, and is celebrating the recognition of 11 BUSD 2018 graduates as National AP Scholars. Superintendent Carl J. Coles discusses the Bonita Unified mission of equity, mastery and focus on results, the District’s wide variety of career technical education opportunities, and the importance of student collaboration and camaraderie.
La Serna High School teacher and OASIS director Ken LaVigne discusses his new book, Coach the Soul, a series of essays on the students, teachers and coaches that have had a profound impact on his life. After retiring as a football coach, LaVigne, a 2012 California State Teacher of the Year, created the OASIS program to help at-risk students regain their joy of learning. LaVigne discusses the process of authoring the book, the OASIS program and his most inspirational student.
December 18, 2018 Disney, Theater, and Dance bring Artistic Magic to School Dr. Leslie Miller, Principal Wild Rose School of Creative Arts, Sharon Naugle, Intervention Specialist Wild Rose School
Wild Rose Elementary, a community fixture in the Monrovia Unified School District since 1921, was recently renamed the Wild Rose School of Creative Arts. Principal Dr. Leslie Miller and Intervention Specialist Sharon Naugle discuss the school’s commitment to integrating VAPA into the school’s core curriculum, the Center Theater Group grant for Disney Musicals in Schools, and Wild Rose’s new Spanish language dual immersion program.
Dr. Alyson Cartagena, Dance Program Director Rio Hondo College
Rio Hondo College recently staged their tenth performance of “The Nutcracker,” an annual fundraiser that combines the efforts of Rio Hondo dance students and students from several local schools and dance programs, many of them led by Rio Hondo alumni. Rio Hondo Director of Dance Dr. Alyson Cartagena discusses what makes “The Nutcracker” a special event for the community, and the newly-instituted Rio Promise, which provides free tuition for two years to qualifying students.
December 11, 2018 El Monte Schools Teach Students to be Successful and Healthy El Monte Union High School District’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction Hillary Wolfe discusses the growth of Career Technical Education in the district this year and what is to come in 2019. Wolfe discusses the District’s upcoming CTE Fair, introducing El Monte students to local businesses and entrepreneurs, and introducing students to the realities of financial planning.
El Monte City School District Nutrition Services Chief Dr. Robert Lewis was recognized as 2018 Director of the Year by California School Nutrition Association for enacting programs to fight childhood obesity. Dr. Lewis discusses healthy eating, working with local vendors, listening to the advice of students and his lifelong passion in the field of child nutrition.
December 4, 2018 Microsoft Innovation Enpowers and Football Excites Fontana Unified Southridge Middle School in the Fontana Unified School District was named a Microsoft Showcase School in August, just one of 40 schools in the United States to receive this honor. Southridge Principal Dr. Roy Rogers, math teacher and Microsoft Innovation Educator Elsbeth Seymour and eighth-grader Sebastian Castro discuss the school’s commitment to technology in the classroom, professional development and the school’s first Digital Footprint showcase.
Football fever has returned to Fontana Unified School District. Henry J. Kaiser High School defeated Rialto Eisenhower 48-40 in a CIF State Division 3-A semi-final game to advance to their first state championship game. Kaiser Principal Terry Abernathy discusses the team’s “We Not Me” philosophy, the heroics of star running back Christian Hunter, and the grand tradition of Fontana football and what their success means for the community.
November 27, 2018 Robots Roam El Monte Schools and the Music Beat that Drives Van Wig Elementary Durfee School teacher Cynthia Diaz helped launch El Monte City School District’s robotics program in January, and the results have been exceptional, with 80 students from El Monte City’s GATE program currently enrolled, and plans to double the number of teams in the next year. Diaz, El Monte City’s lead GATE teacher, discusses the robotics program, and is joined by Durfee School seventh-grader Oscar Vasquez.
Van Wig Elementary School Principal Andrew Candelaria learned to play drums at an early age and has long recognized the value of using music as a teaching aid. In September, Candelaria started an afterschool drum class, and he discusses the positive effects on his Bassett Unified students, along with the expanding role of computers in the classroom, PBIS, and his desire to give back to the local community.
November 20, 2018 Innovation and Education Team Up at Google Campus Pioneer High School math teacher and education tech lead Lisa Ceja was recently accepted into Google for Education’s prestigious Certified Innovator Program. Ceja talks about meeting her fellow educators during a three-day Innovation Academy held at the Google Campus in Venice, California; working with experienced teachers in the Whittier Union High School District to bring technological solutions into the classroom, and how technology in the classroom has evolved in her 25 years as an educator.
VMA Communications president and CEO Valerie Martinez discusses the history of the outreach firm she created in 1996 to highlight academic success in school districts across California, outlining VMA’s goals and successes with their education clients, the tremendous growth of the firm, and the launch and development of California School News.
November 13, 2018 Public Schools Bring Technology and Success to Our Communities Dr. Patricia Brent-Sanco, Lynwood Unified’s Equity Services Director, is inspiring underserved students and their families while fostering equity and cultural proficiency throughout the community. Dr. Sanco discusses the District’s three-year plan in raising the bar of achievement for minority students, as well as the department’s high-level events and conferences that expose young people to new paths of success.
Fontana Unified School District school counselor Julie Bello was recently recognized as a 2018 Educator of the Year by 52nd District Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, largely for her success in bringing modern technology into her elementary school classrooms – including using mini-robots to teach students leadership skills and instill college and career readiness. Bello discusses how over 20 years of experience has shaped her curriculum, and the student leaders who help teach her class.
November 6, 2018 Giving Voice to Students, On-Stage and On the Street Part 1: Gabrielino High School Speech and Debate students Starlee Hoc, Brandon Du and Kenny Le. Gabrielino’s acclaimed Speech and Debate team has won 21 straight Southern California Debate League Championships, making the team one of the top Debate teams in the nation. On Election Day 2018, three Gabrielino students share their thoughts on the political process, the importance of voting and what they feel are the most compelling issues facing students today.
Part 2: Baldwin Park Unified School District Director of Student Services William Avila. Baldwin Park Unified takes a proactive stance against bullying, using Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), socio-emotional learning components and peer role models to establish communication lines that lead to increased student achievement. Avila discusses the commitment of District personnel to combat bullying through outreach and a supportive environment.
October 30, 2018 Learning to Protect the Streets and the Environment Rio Hondo College Police Academy Director Walter Allen III discusses the rigorous training process that awaits new recruits, the fearlessness of first responders, the influence the Police Academy has had throughout police departments across California, and how the academy has adapted to the changing needs of law enforcement.
The Paramount High School Green Club has been serving the school and the community for 12 years, providing students an opportunity to experience the outdoors and take leadership roles in the restoration of the environment. Green Club adviser Daniel Hasheminejad and student members Christopher Shokunbi and Brian Rodriguez discuss recycling, community gardens and field trips to Bolsa Chica Wetlands and Yosemite National Park.
October 23, 2018 Schools Help Help Protect Suburbs and Build Urban Centers Rio Hondo College Fire Academy Coordinator Tracy Rickman and Cadet Josh Morris discuss the school’s 50-year anniversary celebration, fire safety, the myriad challenges of preparing a Wildland firefighting force, and the special qualities needed to be a firefighter or EMT.
Kenmore Elementary School in the Baldwin Park Unified School District is a California Distinguished School that recently received recognition as a 2018 America’s Best Urban School. Kenmore Principal Jane Sattari and sixth-grade teacher Jennifer Lopez discuss Thinking Maps and other instructional techniques, and what they love the most about their jobs.
October 16, 2018 Adult Schools Help Build Thriving Economies and Communities Segment 1: Paramount Adult School Principal Dr. Yvonne Rodriguez and Assistant Principal Hector Lujan discuss the role the adult school plays in the community, the recent ribbon-cutting for their new cosmetology program, and the joys of watching their students become citizens of the United States.
Segment 2: Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education School Senior Director Dr. John Kerr discusses the myriad ways the adult school provides services for the Baldwin Park community, the success stories of graduates and the generous support for adult school education by the BPUSD Board of Education.
October 9, 2018 California Schools Helping Build Communities for Over a Century Segments 1 & 2 – Monrovia High School Principal Kirk McGinnis
As Monrovia High School celebrates 125 years as an educational institution, MHS Principal Kirk McGinnis discusses “Living Life the Wildcat Way,” watching students transform into lifelong learners, and the special role Monrovia High plays in defining the character and spirit of the tight-knit Foothills community and school district.
Segments 3 & 4 – San Gabriel Unified School District Superintendent John Pappalardo
Established in 1868 as one of the first school districts in California, San Gabriel Unified School District celebrates its sesquicentennial by looking towards the future. SGUSD Superintendent John Pappalardo discusses the district’s personalized learning programs and how a quote from Aristotle played a significant role in guiding him into a career in education.
October 2, 2018 Prepping Kindergartners for College; Help Your School “Go Green” Guest 1: Baldwin Park Unified School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Froilan Mendoza discusses the vital role Baldwin Park alumni play in the district’s commitment to college and career, the importance of introducing kindergartners to a college culture, early childhood development and dual language immersion.
Guest 2: El Monte Union High School District Asst. Superintendent of Education Services Larry Cecil discusses the district commitment to sustainable living through a series of “Go Green” initiatives that have brought electric car charging stations and solar panel carports to its campuses, as well as a community garden of fruit trees planted at Mountain View High School.
September 25, 2018 Schools, STEM, and Communities Transform Students into Citizen Scholars In 2015, Holland Middle School in Baldwin Park Unified School District partnered with Project Lead the Way to provide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum for its students. Holland Principal Mike Rust talks about the growth of the program, Holland’s award-winning robotics team, the Femineer Club and the changing nature of STEM education in the classroom.
Keith Nuthall, principal and co-founder of Odyssey STEM Academy, discusses how he worked with Paramount Unified School District to create a new, non-charter, STEM-focused high school in Paramount through an iterative design process that re-imagines high school by transforming students into scholars who pursue internships in their community, becoming active participants in their school curriculum.
September 18, 2018 Dr. Edward Zuniga Returns to Lead El Monte Union; The Bridge Theater Project Helps Students Reach the World Guest 1: Dr. Edward Zuniga – El Monte Union High School District Superintendent When El Monte Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga graduated from El Monte High School in 1991, he never dreamed he would someday return as the District’s top administrator. In a wide-ranging conversation, Dr. Zuniga details El Monte Union’s commitment to providing a path to college and career for every student, STEM education, civic engagement, and the educational journey he took that brought him full circle with the El Monte community.
Guest 2: Joe Quintero, Adam Kalesperis – Co-founders, Directors, B.R.I.D.G.E Theater Project In 2014, Lynwood Unified School District began a partnership with BRIDGE Theatre Project, an L.A.-based arts education provider. In four years, BRIDGE has overseen more than 100 student-written and performed plays and in July 2018 traveled with two Cesar Chavez Middle School students to the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Rwanda. BRIDGE co-founders Adam Kalesperis and Joe Quintero discuss the origins of the program and its impact on the Lynwood community.
September 11, 2018 Student Equity and Inclusion drive Design School X; VMA Highlights Academic Success in California Segment 1: Bassett High School Principal Gabriel Fernandez and Design School X (DSX) founder and executive director David Clifford have begun a learning partnership that seeks to redesign high school so that it is more centered on student equity and inclusion. Fernandez and Clifford discuss the formative steps they are taking at the classroom level to provide Bassett High faculty and staff with student and parent feedback, and their surprising results on the first day of school.
Segment 2: VMA Communications president and CEO Valerie Martinez discusses the history of the outreach firm she created in 1996 to highlight academic success in school districts across California, outlining VMA’s goals and successes with their education clients, the tremendous growth of the firm, and the launch and development of California School News.