Dual-language students from Baldwin Park Unified’s Tracy Elementary lit up the evening in bright blue, red and green garments and traditional Mexican attire as they danced and sang to popular songs by iconic singer Juan Gabriel on May 12. Alternating from English to Spanish, transitional kindergarteners through sixth-graders took the audience through Gabriel’s history and his impact on Mexican music and culture.
News & Announcements
U.S. Rep. Grace F. Napolitano on May 6 named Baldwin Park High School junior Millyna Liu as the winner of the 2017 Congressional Art Competition for her work “Off in the Distance,” a drawing that will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for the coming year. Honorable mentions went to Sierra Vista High senior Tam Do for “Glenda,” senior Leslie Davila for “Marvel Comic Fan” and junior Eduardo Lopez, for “Horse.”
Baldwin Park Unified will create a team of curriculum, technology and intervention coaches and hire elementary school assistant principals in 2017-18 as it expands efforts to integrate technology into classrooms and to tailor instruction to student needs. The changes are key elements of the District’s 2017-20 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), unanimously adopted June 27 by the Board of Education. The LCAP guides Baldwin Park Unified’s efforts to improve student outcomes, especially for students from low-income homes, English learners and foster children.
More than 1,000 students at seven Baldwin Park Unified elementary and middle schools took part in a monthlong enrichment program in June that included a camping trip to San Clemente State Beach, exploring a planetary research station and discovering the history of locomotives and Western railroads. The activities, offered to K-8 students through a partnership with THINK Together, centered on standards-based learning, interactive science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects and healthy living to combat summer learning loss. THINK Together is the largest provider of expanded learning programs in California.
Raquel Viramontes, a nine-year science teacher at Baldwin Park High School, has been named Baldwin Park Unified’s 2017 Teacher of the Year for her commitment to students and colleagues. Viramontes teaches biology, forensics and human anatomy, and brings the lessons to life with a focus on project-based instruction that goes beyond the mechanics of the science. For example, she created a genetics lesson in which students must create designer babies. Students must examine all the technical aspects of their choices for character and physical traits, as well as the implications behind why they value specific traits and the impact of breeding other traits out of the gene pool.
Sierra Vista High School senior Jeronimo Leonardo Reyes – a National AP Scholar who plans to become a doctor – will attend Washington and Lee University in Virginia in fall on a full-ride QuestBridge Scholarship worth more than $200,000. The Palo Alto-based nonprofit helps exceptional, low-income youths achieve college and career dreams. Over the last four years, Reyes has taken 14 Advanced Placement courses. In the eight exams he has taken, he has received 6 percent 5s and two 4s, earning him AP National Scholar honors.
Baldwin Park Unified’s Holland Middle School students celebrated the grand-opening of two STEM labs May 5 by sharing their work on robotic cars, computer coding and 3-D models of a foot orthosis piece with families and board members. Holland offers courses in engineering design and modeling, as well as automation and robotics designed by Project Lead The Way, the nation’s leader in STEM curriculum. Next year, three more STEM courses will be offered.
Sierra Vista High School senior Rogelio Valenzuela – a kidney transplant survivor who wants to become a psychologist – has won the 2017 Daniel Carlos Herrera Memorial Scholarship awarded by the Los Angeles County Bilingual Directors Association. The $500 scholarship was created in honor of Daniel Carlos Herrera, a high school graduate who died in a motorcycle accident in July 2001. It is awarded annually to two students who are pursuing careers in education or community service with a focus on serving an ethnically diverse society. Valenzuela received the award on April 29.
Baldwin Park Unified awarded $8,000 in grants to 11 students at the annual Joint Scholarships Event on May 4. The scholarships came from the Baldwin Park Organization of Supervisors and Administrators; Baldwin Park Education Association; family and friends of Ramona Burnham, a longtime district educator; and Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional honor society of women educators.
Baldwin Park Unified’s Early Childhood Education Program celebrated its 2016-17 accomplishments, including full-day and dual-immersion preschool instruction, during its 17th annual Family and Community Partnership Recognition lunch on April 27. More than 120 community partners, district leaders and teachers attended the event, which included a live performance by students. Photos are available.