Four Baldwin Park Unified high school students took home $4,000 in prizes Feb. 19 at the fifth annual Baldwin Park Youth Film Festival, the only youth film festival in the San Gabriel Valley. Sierra Vista High senior Santiago Sanchez snagged top prize and the audience favorite award with a psychological thriller called “The Most Dangerous Game.” Baldwin Park High senior Kelvin Parra claimed second prize with “Change,” a look at how children cope with the loss of parents to war. Third place went to Baldwin Park High junior Bryan Moran for his noir comedy, “A Murder Mystery.” Baldwin Park High freshman Karen Parr won best PSA with “Be the Change,” a commercial on how young people can better each other’s lives. View clips and event details at: https://animoto.com/play/uqz0MVl5sDm3KodbWI861A">animoto.com/play/uqz0MVl5sDm3KodbWI861A
News & Announcements
Fifty students at Baldwin Park Unified's Olive Middle have won a "Role Reversal" Award in recognition of their Internet smarts from Safer Internet Day 2016 organizer ConnectSafely.Org. Safer Internet Day, held Feb. 9, brought together 300 students online and in person at Universal Studios Hollywood. Olive was one of five area schools on site. Nineteen schools and youth organizations from Florida to Massachusetts participated online. The Olive students won the accolade for describing how to encourage empathy and support among peers and adults as a way of improving online experiences. In the exercise, students reversed roles with experts, giving advice rather than listening to a talk.
Baldwin Park Unified School District’s Board of Education on Feb. 9 named 16-year District administrator Froilan N. Mendoza as its new superintendent. Mendoza, who has served as interim superintendent since September 2015, previously held posts as the District’s associate superintendent, senior director of student achievement, director of extended educational programs and coordinator of early childhood education. Mendoza holds a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from California State University, Los Angeles, and is studying for his doctorate at USC. Mendoza said he looks forward to collaborating with community members, students, teachers and staff in developing the District’s new Local Control and Accountability Plan, establishing additional career education paths with the aid of a $1.8 million, three-year grant; as well as setting goals for school technology.
Baldwin Park Unified has begun granting diplomas to former students who could not receive diplomas because they did not pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). The exam was suspended this school year via Senate Bill 172, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October. The law allows students who were not granted diplomas from 2003-04 through 2013-14 solely because of the CAHSEE to receive diplomas. A separate legislative action removed the requirement for 2014-15 graduates. Former students seeking diplomas may contact the District.
Baldwin Park Unified officials have announced 20 openings in an innovative independent study program launched this fall that personalizes instruction for students who seek alternative educational approaches or who face challenges in a traditional school setting. The Independent Learning Center (ILC) at Baldwin Park High School provides a rigorous, blended online learning program with flexible hours to ensure students meet graduation requirements. The ILC provides career exploration and preparation as well as social-emotional support. For information, call (626) 960-5431, x3205.
Baldwin Park Unified has cut water use nearly in half since initiating the first stage of a water conservation plan, and officials are pursuing new efforts that could drop usage levels even lower. The District achieved its water savings by centralizing irrigation operations with a computerized control system, reducing water days and times. In some areas, watering was terminated altogether during the summer months. Water usage dropped 47.1 percent for summer 2015.
The College Board has recognized 104 students at Sierra Vista and Baldwin Park high schools for their success on Advanced Placement (AP) exams, naming 68 student as AP Scholars, 17 as AP Scholars with Honor and 19 as AP Scholars with Distinction. Each honor requires an increasingly stronger performance on exams for the college-level courses. Students who succeed on AP exams show they are ready for the rigors of college, may be allowed to skip some college courses and are more likely to graduate college on time. In 2014-15, 1,579 Baldwin Park Unified students took AP exams – some of them as many as 13.
Six Baldwin Park Unified schools were named in May 2015 as California Gold Ribbon Schools – the state’s highest award for academic excellence – giving the district a win for every application submitted. The awards, which have temporarily replaced the California Distinguished School Program, go to secondary campuses that successfully implement new academic content and performance standards for all students, including English learners, as demonstrated through model programs chosen by the schools.
Baldwin Park Unified’s North Park High School was named a 2015 California Model Continuation School for providing an innovative, student-focused program that boosted student credit completion rates to 97 percent and graduation rates to 92.4 percent in 2013-14. The three-year designation by the California Department of Education is a first for North Park, which serves between 300 and 400 students a year. School leaders slashed the dropout rate to 5.9 percent and cut suspensions/expulsions to 7.9 percent from 28.2 percent in two years.