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.
News & Announcements
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.
Students at Baldwin Park Unified’s Sierra Vista High School learned the brutal consequences of driving while under the influence during an April 26-27 presentation of “Every 15 Minutes,” a program that simulates a DUI collision with arrests and slain passengers, pulls students from classes to symbolize those killed in DUI-related accidents and stages a mock funeral.
Two Baldwin Park Unified schools were named this week to the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) Honor Roll in recognition of their overall performance and narrowing of the achievement gap on California standardized tests. Santa Fe School – which spans grades three through eight – and Kenmore Elementary School were named Star Schools, a category honoring higher-performing schools that have a third or more students from high-poverty households.
Elwin Elementary School’s Electro PupsStudent were announced as the winners of the first-ever 21st Century Challenge, a contest to devise a Rube Goldberg Machine that can pluck a tissue from a box, on April 24. The showcase, presented to an audience of students, parents, teachers and administrators at the Baldwin Park Performing Arts Center, replaced the District’s long-running spelling bee – a shift representative of a growing focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) fields.
Thirty-two Baldwin Park Unified middle school students are getting a jumpstart on their dreams of working in the medical industry by shadowing physicians, assisting medical students with sheep dissection and practicing CPR through a partnership with Kaiser Permanente. The Olive and Holland middle school seventh- and eighth-graders are being mentored throughout spring semester by local medical professionals in Kaiser Permanente’s Hippocrates Circle, which seeks to expand opportunities for youths in underrepresented communities and encourage students to pursue medical studies. Photos are available.