Brahmas rally as Walnut Valley begins new school year
Walnut Valley Unified was bustling with activity this summer as staff prepared educational programs for the new school year.
Chaparral Middle School launched a new one-on-one laptop program for sixth graders. About 200 students will be issued a brand new HP Netbook computer. The computers were purchased with funds raised by the school and its Community Club.
Students will use the computers to access lessons and presentations electronically. They will also create multimedia assignments and participate in online discussions through the Blackboard teaching platform.
"Today's students learn differently and research has coined them `digital natives'," said Lead Technology Teacher Jen Alcazar. "If we are to continue to meet the needs of all students who walk through our doors, then we must modify our instructional practice to meet these unique needs."
"The ultimate dream is to become an entirely one-to-one laptop school," said Principal Ron Thibodeaux.
Dual language class
Walnut Valley also added a new dual language immersion program at Walnut Elementary, beginning with two kindergarten classes.
Students will study in Chinese and English, integrating the art, music and the language of both cultures. The standards-based program will also use technology to enhance the educational experience.
The new program called "Global Connections - Creating 21st Century Biliterate/Bicultural Children" was made possible through a $1.2 million federal grant from the Foreign Language Acquisition Program. The program's six-year goal is to make the students literate in both Mandarin and English by the end of fifth grade.
Last year, the district offered an early kindergarten dual language class as an introduction to the new program. In January, it celebrated Chinese New Year with 40 preschoolers singing and counting in Mandarin for parents.
"Interest has been beyond our expectations as enrollment is now full with 48 students," said program specialist Jenny Kwan-Hata.
Castle Rock Elementary Principal Jackie Brown is the new director of Educational Projects. Brown brings 30 years experience in education to her new position, including serving as Castle Rock's leader since 2007. Prior to that she served for five years as principal at Vine Elementary School in the West Covina Unified School District. Jackie is also former WVUSD guidance specialist, Title 1 coordinator, interim principal, summer school principal and classroom teacher.
Collegewood Elementary Principal Robert Chang has been named director of Human Resources. This position has been vacant since May 2010 when Kathy Granger was appointed assistant superintendent of Human Resources. Chang brings 15 years of educational experience to his new post. He began at Collegewood in 2007. Before that, Chang served two years as principal at Lassalette K-8 School in Hacienda La Puente Unified. He has also been a vice principal, technology resource teacher and classroom teacher in the same district.
South Pointe Middle School's new principal is Susan Arzola. She brings 23 years of experience in education to her new position. Arzola served as principal at C.J. Morris Elementary for the past 10 years. Prior to that she was an Early Learning Specialist and Teacher.
Carol Sullivan brings more than 35 years of experience as she returns to Walnut Valley as principal of Castle Rock Elementary. For the past six years, Sullivan served as assistant principal at Dickson and Cortez Elementary Schools in Chino Valley Unified.
She had served in Walnut Valley for 20 years as a Title VII Project Leader/ELD Specialist, multicultural mentor teacher and classroom teacher. Sullivan holds a master's degree in education from Cal Poly Pomona.
Carolyn Wills is the new principal of Collegewood Elementary. Last year, Wills served as interim principal at Quail Summit Elementary. Wills had also been interim principal and assistant principal at Westhoff Elementary. She was a classroom teacher and Peer Assistance Leaders Advisor at Suzanne Middle School.The administrator began her teaching career at Walnut Elementary. She taught at Collegewood before moving to Westhoff. She has a master's degree in education from Azusa Pacific University.
An Nguyen is now principal at C.J. Morris Elementary School. For the past four years, Nguyen had been principal at Canoas Elementary in San Jose Unified. In 2000-2002, he taught at the Thai-Chinese International School (K-12) in Thailand. His educational experience includes serving as staff development coordinator for Santa Clarita County Office of Education. He started his career as an elementary teacher in the Fountain Valley School District. He holds a master's degree in education administration from Pepperdine University and is working on his doctoral degree in Learning Technologies.
- Walnut Valley Unified School District
Diamond Bar High students get pumped up for a new school year during a rally in the campus gym. (Staff photos by Leo Jarzomb)
Students dance during a rally in Diamond Bar gym.
Diamond Bar High students jump for joy as new school year begins.