NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
September 29, 2015 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909)595-1261 ext. 31204
Ron Hockwalt Academies is making hope happen
WALNUT, CA—\This year, Ron Hockwalt Academies (RHA) is focusing on Making Hope Happen, a new program designed to help students create a future they want.
“Our desire is to instill hope for our students,” explained Principal Donna Hunter.
Hunter became interested in launching the plan when she learned of the direct correlation between student achievement and hope at a leadership conference.
A recent Gallup Student Poll shows hope, engagement, and wellbeing as conduits for success.
The principal brought the idea of the new “HOPE” program to RHA staff and students.
“Everyone grabbed hold once they understood the meaning and how it directly correlates to student achievement,” she explained.
Hunter sites author Shane Lopez who makes the distinction between hope and wishing in his book, “Making Hope Happen”.
Lopez describes hope as action oriented, future oriented, empowerment, and targeted.
These four areas helped form the foundation for the school’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, Hunter said.
“HOPE” stands for the Heart of actively caring for one another, Opportunity and believing the future will be better, Perseverance – a vested attitude and actions toward an identified goal, and Excellence – having direct control over how well a task or job is done.
The school focused on Heart during the month of September.
Leadership students acted out skits to provide examples of hope for their peers during a September 4 assembly.
“I think they rocked it!” announced teacher Frank De Anda.
The teens then joined staff members in a fast-paced balloon race to build school spirit and positive culture.
Students had such a good time that they challenged their teachers to a dodge ball tournament and celebration pizza party!
As part of the PBIS initiative, staff members now distribute positive reinforcement “Caught You Having Hope” cards.
Each week, faculty acknowledges the alternative high school students by highlighting their strengths and recognizing achievements.
“We are endeavoring to reshape the culture and help students, parents and community to see use for who we are – a learning community infused with care,” Hunter said.
On your mark, get set – go! Ron Hockwalt Academies students and staff compete in a fast-paced balloon race.
Senior TJ Davis discusses the “Caught You Having Hope” program with Ron Hockwalt Academies peers. Shown with teacher Frank De Anda.
RHA leadership student TJ last Davis passes out “Caught You Having Hope” PBIS cards to staff members during assembly. Shown with grade level coordinator Sue McCracken.
RHA 15-year-old artist Angel Albarico designed the PBIS “Caught You Having Hope” poster logo. Shown with Principal Donna Hunter and teacher Frank De Anda.