California School News Radio: Season 3

September 24, 2020–June 25, 2021

Listen to older seasons of the California School News Radio podcasts:

June 25, 2021Looking Forward: New Superintendent at Monrovia UnifiedMonrovia Unified School District Incoming Superintendent Dr. Ryan Smith discusses the excitement and challenges of assuming the top administrative post in Monrovia, meeting with stakeholders, welcoming students back to campus, and continuing the District’s tradition of academic excellence.
June 18, 2021On the Road to Sustainability: Clean Mobility in El Monte UnionEl Monte Union High School District Facility and Energy Manager Lena Luna discusses the District’s $9.8 million California Air Resources Board grant and the implementation of the Clean Mobility in Schools pilot program.
June 4, 2021Leveling the Playing Field: Digital Equity in LynwoodLynwood Unified Assistant Superintendent of Technology and Innovation Dr. Patrick Gittisriboongul discusses the District effort to provide digital equity to the Lynwood community, which includes high-speed connectivity, technical support and strengthening technological skills.
May 27, 2021Celebrating Excellence: California Distinguished Schools in Whittier
La Serna High School Principal Griselda Castro and Pioneer High School Principal Lilia Bozigian discuss the Whittier Union High School District school’s designations at 2021 California Distinguished Schools.
May 20, 2021Determined to Succeed: AVID Scholarships in Fontana
Fontana High School seniors Fatima Kamara and Michelle Navarrete Vega discuss how Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) helped to prepare them for college, receiving scholarship opportunities, and the highlights of their senior year in high school.
May 13, 2021Listen and Learn: Psychology Club at Whittier Union
Santa Fe High School AP Psychology teacher Michele Jones and seniors Elizabeth Serna and Jessika Suos discuss the Santa Fe Psychology Club, providing safe spaces for students, reaching out to teachers and first responders and the importance of listening.
May 6, 2021Moving on: Forensics Speech and Debate at Rio Hondo College
Rio Hondo College forensics coordinator Grant Tovmasian and speech instructor Patricia Hughes discuss the school’s Speech and Debate Team, which has a transfer rate of more than 90% for students moving on to a four-year university, with students entering such schools as UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC and Concordia.
April 29, 2021Life Skills: Mechatronics and Cyber Security in Fontana
Summit High School career technical education teachers Bruce Tuttle and Marco Torres discuss the Fontana Unified school’s mechatronics class, ethical hacking pathway and CTE students who have advanced to the SkillsUSA national finals in June.
April 22, 2021Something’s Brewing: Fermentation Technology at Rio Hondo CollegeRio Hondo College biotech professor Robert Bethel discusses the school’s Fermentation Technology course, which explores the science behind brewing beer with the goal of training the next generation of microbrewers.
April 15, 2021The Future is Now: Inspiring Students in Buena ParkBuena Park School District Career Technical Education Coordinator Shelley Andros discusses encouraging students to pursue STEM careers as coders, engineers, and horticulturists, developing a drone program for middle school students, sustainable agriculture, and inclusivity in education.
April 8, 2021Raising Spirits: Supporting Families in FontanaCanyon Crest Elementary School Principal Dr. Kelly Wilbert joined with fifth-grade student Noah Walker and his mother Candis Walker to discuss a fundraising drive initiated by Noah that raised over $650 to pay for gift cards given to families in need during the Fontana Unified school’s weekly meal distribution.
March 31, 2021Enduring Legacies – Elderly Outreach in Baldwin ParkSierra Vista High School NAMI Club adviser Melanie Graf and Kaiser Permanente EOP psychiatric social worker Ruth Padilla-King discuss the Intergenerational Pilot Project, a Baldwin Park Unified internship program where students provide comfort and open lines of communication with older adults through weekly phone calls.
March 25, 2021A Level Playing Field – Equitable Education in LynwoodLynwood Unified Director of Equity Services Patricia Brent-Sanco discusses the academic benefits of allowing students to find their own voice, the importance of parent engagement, what part equity plays in the reopening of schools, and how the District has assisted families hit hard by the pandemic.
March 18, 2021Leading the Way: Model Continuation School at Bonita UnifiedChaparral High School Principal Christine Black discusses the Bonita Unified school’s designation as a 2021 Model Continuation School, the importance of providing social-emotional learning to its students, preparing students for college and career, and Chaparral’s annual Thanksgiving Olympics and holiday meal.
March 11, 2021Care Bears: Hugs and Comfort in Fontana UnifiedEduardo Valencia, a counselor for Redwood and Primrose elementary schools in the Fontana Unified School District, discusses an outreach effort that provided teddy bears and care packages to every Redwood student, and the importance of school districts providing social-emotional support to students and families.
March 4, 2021Medals of Honor: Academic Decathlon in Whittier UnionWhittier High School economics teacher Kele Perkins and Santa Fe High School English teacher Annette Snow discuss the 2021 LACOE Academic Decathlon, where the Whittier and Santa Fe teams finished first and second in Division III, and the challenges of preparing for an online tournament.
February 25, 2021Compassion and Caring: Student Well-Being in WhittierCalifornia High School Assistant Principal Shana Jones and Counselor Rosanne Atilano discuss Cal Cares, the Whittier Union school’s program to support the socio-emotional well-being of its students through the distribution of care packages filled with positive messaging, school supplies and mental health resources.
February 18, 2021Launch Pad to Success: Dual Enrollment in El Monte UnionEl Monte Union High School District Director of Curriculum and Instruction Hillary Wolfe discusses the District’s commitment to college dual enrollment, new partnerships with Pasadena City College and Los Angeles Trade Tech College, and the future of career technical education.
February 11, 2021Coding for the Future: AP Computer Science in FontanaA.B. Miller High School AP computer science teacher Jay Windley and Summit High School STEM coordinator Jaime Perez discuss Fontana Unified’s Advanced Placement program, equity in education, and the importance of females and other underrepresented groups enrolling in AP computer science courses.
February 4, 2021The Future of Gaming: App Design in Monrovia UnifiedMonrovia High School CTE teacher Anthony Carlson and senior Charlie Heatherly discuss the student-created gaming app Red Dungeon, the school’s game development team Forge Interactive, the importance of inclusivity in game design, and the opportunities for students in the burgeoning game development field.
January 28, 2021Making It Work: Holiday Choral Music in Baldwin ParkSierra Vista High School Choral Director Suzanne Brookey and Sierra Vista Class of 2010 alumni and piano accompanist Kevin Phan discuss the challenges in putting together a virtual holiday choir performance, how students managed to record their parts at home, and the tradition of music at Baldwin Park Unified.
January 14, 2021Crossed Paths: Art Education and Post-Secondary Success in LynwoodLynwood High School art teacher Luis Vega joins Class of 2007 graduate and Doña Ana Community College history professor Dr. Daniel Santana to discuss the Lynwood High art program, how art education prepares students for a range of career opportunities, and the importance of former students returning to school to share their success stories.
January 7, 2021The Art of Communication: Dual Language Immersion and the Reading Revolution in FontanaRedwood Elementary School principal Eduardo Gomez and Teacher on Special Assignment Isela Ortega discuss the Fontana Unified school’s Spanish dual-language immersion program, the benefits of using a 90/10 Spanish/English model for incoming kindergarten students and importance of parent participation and leadership.
Almond Elementary School principal Tim McCaffrey and library specialist Kayla Markoff discuss the Fontana Unified school’s commitment to literacy, the Almond mobile library, which brings books directly to the community, and the school’s Reading Revolution competition, which inspires students to become lifelong readers.
December 17, 2020The Season of Giving: Music Instruction in Baldwin Park, Student Tutoring in LynwoodBaldwin Park Unified orchestra teachers Paul Grant and Joshua Chan discuss the District music program, providing every 5th-grade student an opportunity to learn the violin, acquiring instruments for over 400 music students, and the joy students feel when holding a violin for the first time.
Lynwood High School senior Alexa Escamilla and Firebaugh High School senior Richard Reynoso discuss Lynwood Unified’s after-school tutoring program, which provides one-on-one tutoring assistance to elementary, middle and high school students, the challenges of distance learning for students and their post-secondary education plans.
December 10, 2020Template for the Future: Arts Instruction in Baldwin Park; Fiscal Security at Río Hondo CollegeGeddes Elementary School Principal Irene Garcia and Heath Elementary School Principal Dr. Maria Alonso discuss Baldwin Park Unified’s participation in the Teaching English Learners through the Arts pilot program, which incorporates dance, music, visual arts and theater.
Río Hondo College Acting Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss and Board of Trustees President Oscar Valladares discuss their 2020–21 budget, which sets aside more than $31 million for financial aid and increases the reserves fund, protecting jobs and supporting vital campus student services.
December 3, 2020Ahead of the Curve: College Savings Plans in LynwoodLynwood Unified Superintendent Dr. Gudiel R. Crosthwaite and Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation Executive Director Elsa Chagolla discuss the Lynwood College Promise Savings Plan, the COVID-19 Relief Fund, meal distribution during school closures and online mentoring services.
November 19, 2020Finding Their Voice: Creative Arts Intervention in Whittier UnionFrontier High School assistant principal Richard Rodriguez, Whittier High School assistant principal Allison Huntley and Whittier High School senior Kim Morales discuss the Spirit Awakening afterschool intervention program and how it’s art-based curriculum and focus on creative arts and mentorship has helped increase the self-esteem and self-awareness of its student participants.
November 12, 2020A Fresh Start: Facilities Upgrades in West Covina and Thanksgiving Meals in WhittierWest Covina Unified Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Dr. Drew Passalacqua discusses the completed facilities projects funded by a $143 million bond measure passed by voters in 2016, including a new sports complex and career technical education center, as well as the groundbreaking of the District’s performing arts center and future facilities upgrades.
Pioneer High School Campus Operations Supervisor John Lopez and his wife – Helping Homeless Vets – L.A. president and founder Cynthia Perry-Lopez – discuss their nonprofit, it’s mission to provide year-round assistance to homeless veterans and a drive-through Thanksgiving Turkey Drive for families in need at the Whittier Union campus.
October 29, 2020Template for Sustainability: Farm Lab in El MonteEco Urban Gardens Executive Director Marianne Zaugg, Program Manager Elizabeth Christy and Arroyo High School senior Tara Ta discuss Arroyo High’s organic garden and Farm to School program, the importance of sustainability and biodiversity, providing fresh produce for El Monte Union culinary arts students, and expanding career technical education pathways at the District.
October 22, 2020Making a Difference: Food Service and Mental Health Advocacy in FontanaFontana Unified Food Service Director Trieste Huey discusses receiving the California Public Employees Retirement System’s 2020 Spotlight on Excellence Award, the challenges of putting together a meal plan for school closures in two days, and the importance of providing nutritious meals for a community of 200,000 residents.
Fontana High School senior Fatima Kamara discusses her role as the Fontana Unified Board of Education’s student representative, advocating for student well-being and mental health days, the hidden pressures students face in the COVID era, why she wants to be a lawyer and growing up in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
October 8, 2020Education for All: Equity Task Force in LynwoodLynwood Unified School District Director of Equity, Access and Instructional Services Dr. Patricia Brent-Sanco discusses the District’s newly launched Equity Curriculum Inclusion Task Force, implementing social justice standards, the importance of stakeholder feedback, and supporting underserved students.
October 1, 2020Community Support: Nutrition Service in Baldwin Park; Technology in FontanaBaldwin Park Unified School District Director of Nutrition Services Rosa Estrella discusses the challenges of providing meal service to the community during the pandemic, incorporating the District’s transportation department for home delivery, and why being Nutrition Services Director is her dream job.
Sequoia Middle School Principal Antonio Viramontes and Assistant Principal Kim Moyer discuss the Fontana Unified school’s recognition as a Microsoft Showcase Incubator School, how the enthusiasm of Sequoia’s faculty and staff has propelled the transition and their recognition as an AVID National Demonstration School.
September 24, 2020Flexing Creative Muscles: Award-winning Art Education at El Monte UnionEl Monte High School visual art teacher Patrice Cooley was recently recognized as the California Art Education Association 2020 Outstanding Visual Art Teacher of the Year. Cooley discusses how she is able to connect with and instill confidence in her students, the importance of critical thinking and the benefits of resilience.