Tag Archives: Baldwin Park Unified School District

BPUSD’s Rubio Accused of Violating Board Policies, Recall Suggested

By D. Radillo

Photo courtesy: Blancarubio.com Blanca Rubio, a Baldwin Park Unified School District board member, was recently accused of violating board policies at a BPUSD board meeting.

Photo courtesy: Blancarubio.com
Blanca Rubio, a Baldwin Park Unified School District board member, was recently accused of violating board policies at a BPUSD board meeting.

Baldwin Park – During a February school board meeting, Baldwin Park Unified School District (BPUSD) board member, Blanca Rubio, was accused by a 33-year employee of violating school board policies and a laundry list of wrongdoings, which include: her husband was given a job and promotion; for allegedly covering up his arrest for being under the influence and possession of a narcotic; replacing the district’s law firm with another who had given her campaign donations, and for soliciting donations to current school board vendors for her Assembly seat campaign, according to a youtube video of the board meeting: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCrzY5YwMeQ&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop)

Mike Orona, who served as an employee for the BPUSD for over 33 years, accused Rubio of violating school board policies and questioned her “personal ethics” when she allegedly solicited campaign funds for her Assembly election, which is this Tuesday, June 7, 2016. The solicitation was to a current BPSUD school vendor. “I was contacted by some contractors who perform services for the Baldwin Park School District. Blanca Rubio personally solicited them for money. Board policy strictly prohibits them from this type of activity. So again, you talk about unethical practices and conflict of interest,” Orona added at the meeting.

“I am personally questioning her ethics and personal judgment regarding her husband John Lopez,” Orona stated at the board meeting. He was referring to the rehiring of Lopez while Rubio was a school board member.

Orona goes on to accuse Rubio of violating educational code 1090. “This action may be punishable as a crime,” Orona added. “GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 1090 1090.(a) Members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity, or by anybody or board of which they are members. Nor shall state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees be purchasers at any sale or vendors at any purchase made by them in their official capacity.” Orona was referring to this code as a conflict of interest and violation of the Government Ed Code as Ms. Rubio was a board member during her husband’s rehire and soon after promotion.

Orona goes on to point out John Lopez’ arrest for a controlled substance.

“This individual, John Lopez (Rubio’s husband), was recently arrested at Margaret Heath Elementary for being under the influence and in possession of dangerous and narcotic drugs,” Orona said. He then accuses Rubio of “trying to cover it up.”

“(During this arrest) where was Blanca during the danger and violent threats to the school,” Orona said. “She chose the option of remaining silent and prevent the public of knowing this was her husband,” he said.

Orona concluded with the request of starting a recall against Rubio and requested that the political leaders in attendance begin an investigation. In addition, Orona said he would send copies to the District Attorney’s office and request an investigation.

The youtube video of the February School Board meeting can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCrzY5YwMeQ&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop

Blanca Rubio and Mike Orona both did not respond to emailed questions prior to press time.

Baldwin Park Unified Expands STEM

District partners with Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering to strengthen career pathways


Staff Reports

Baldwin Park – Baldwin Park Unified is expanding its partnership with Project Lead The Way (PLTW) – the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum – to deepen student opportunities for career and college pathways.

Baldwin Park High School – which launched Project Lead The Way’s freshman-year Introduction to Engineering Design class in 2014-15 – will add Principles of Engineering for sophomores this fall. The school plans to add a grade level each year.

Holland Middle School, meanwhile, is launching PLTW Gateway, which teaches students the principles of problem solving as they design playgrounds and furniture with specialized software.

Santa Fe School, a Grade 3 to 8 school, will provide Gateway for 8th Graders with an introduction to robotics for 5th Graders, and launch a PLTW club.

“These programs will strengthen our students’ knowledge, especially in engineering, as we begin to incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize more hands-on learning and more real-world application of science,” Superintendent Dr. Paul J. Sevillano said.

Baldwin Park has partnered with Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Engineering as part of the effort. Cal Poly is training and certifying teachers.  Students who complete the engineering pathway will move to the front of the registration line for Cal Poly’s engineering program.

District leaders say the new curriculum complements efforts by Baldwin Park High’s STEAM Academy, Holland Middle School’s exemplary science program and Santa Fe School’s focus on STEM, especially technology.

The STEAM Academy, which includes arts as well as STEM topics, is one of three career academies at Baldwin Park High School. The program provides interdisciplinary instruction around its STEAM theme. Signature projects include an egg drop, bridge-building and vehicle-building contests. Topics weave through math, history, English and social studies.

“Project Lead The Way adds a vital engineering component to our program,” Principal Anthony Ippolito said. “Together, these elements are really helping us to ensure students have the knowledge and skills to pursue college and career pathways.”

Baldwin Park’s efforts to strengthen college and career pathways helped earn the school a California Gold Ribbon – the state’s highest award – in 2015.

Ippolito said the programs offered at Holland and Santa Fe will work in conjunction with Baldwin Park’s engineering program and could even help prepare students for the high school’s Medical Academy, which has a sports medicine focus.

Holland Middle School, which earned a state Gold Ribbon this spring for its effective science instruction, will offer the Gateway program’s foundational class in engineering modeling and design as an 18-week program in fall and spring, allowing up to 50 students to take part. In 2016-17, Holland will add a foundational program in automation and robotics; specialized courses may follow the next year.

“We’re building a pipeline of opportunities for our students that will continue in high school and eventually lead to college,” Principal Michael Rust said. “We’re dedicated to giving these students every opportunity under the sun to succeed.”

At Santa Fe School – a smaller campus with about 400 students – programs will be offered to more than 30 8th Grade students as an elective and incorporated into science classes taken by all 5th Graders, Principal Margie Clark said. In addition, the school is looking to launch a PLTW club to help spark student interest.

“The goal is to get students excited about these opportunities,” Clark said. “I think they’ll be amazed at all the things they can create, especially with the robotics elements.”

Baldwin Park Unified Invests In STEM

District adopts a local accountability plan to prepare students for college and careers


Staff Reports

Baldwin Park – Baldwin Park Unified will invest in a host of programs in 2015-16 – including an International Baccalaureate program, an alternative learning academy, STEM programs and added rigor for Advanced Placement and honors classes – to prepare students for success in college or careers as part of its 2015-18 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

The three-year plan, adopted June 23, is the second such plan required since the state altered its school funding system. It identifies goals for each of the three years covered, strategies to achieve those goals and funding sources.

Some programs target all students, while others focus on the state’s three high-needs groups: economically disadvantaged students, foster children and English learners.

Baldwin Park Unified expects to spend $13 million in 2015-16 on its high-needs students, who make up 89.4 percent of the District’s enrollment.

“Our LCAP will transform how Baldwin Park Unified serves its students, adding depth and breadth to an already rich instructional program,” said Superintendent Dr. Paul Sevillano. “We will provide avenues that prepare students to compete successfully for high-demand college majors and careers.”

Programs include Project Lead The Way, a leading provider of hands-on educational curriculum in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Baldwin Park High School will add a robotics course and Holland Middle School and Santa Fe Elementary School will provide the STEM program for the first time.

Baldwin Park Unified will also boost the rigor of Advanced Placement and honors classes with an eye at how those courses can help the district develop an International Baccalaureate program (IB). IB degrees are highly valued by colleges and universities; programs can take three to five years to establish.

The District will also launch an Independent Learning Center at Baldwin Park High, where at-risk, disengaged students or those who need alternative approaches may pursue their diplomas. The Center will provide a blend of rigorous online and brick-and-mortar classes with flexible hours. Enrollment is expected to range from 75 to 120 students in its first year.

Other efforts are designed to improve student opportunities for success at all levels and improve student climate. These include:

  • Holding a District-wide college fair.
  • Expanding visual and performing arts resources.
  • Boosting partnerships with community colleges, California State University, University of California, Regional Occupational Program and the City’s Teen Center.
  • Implementing a Cal State readiness class to prepare students in high school and middle school for the demands of college.
  • Creating online local assessments to better sculpt instruction to student needs.
  • Extending the school year at the elementary level for struggling students.
  • Enabling students to improve grades or take courses they may have missed.
  • Creating professional learning communities to foster collaboration among educators.
  • Creating a bridge program to help students transition from middle to high school.
  • Investing $2.5 million to improve educational technology.
  • Implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a discipline system that uses positive feedback to minimize conflicts, suspensions and expulsions.

Baldwin Park Unified Runs E-Textbook And Chromebook Pilot

Just four U.S. school districts chosen to try out system

Image Courtesy:  Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Staff Reports

Baldwin Park – The first of two electronic textbook pilot efforts at Baldwin Park Unified has returned overwhelming praise for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt materials used on Google Chromebooks, according to District leaders.

Some 36 8th Graders at Sierra Vista Middle School, and 30 10th Graders at Sierra Vista High School, conducted a semester-long trial of electronic curriculum on the Chromebooks this past spring as part of an effort to determine engagement levels.

“This was a rare and valuable opportunity to see how our students responded to new technology interfaces with the latest electronic texts,” Baldwin Park Unified Superintendent, Dr. Paul Sevillano, said. “As expected, we received valuable insights that will help us sculpt our approach to technology even as we prepare for a second round of pilot testing.”

The first pilot was originally scheduled to run nine weeks, but middle school teacher, Gabriela Lopez, and high school teacher, Rafael Marquez, received an extension allowing them to continue the program through spring.

A second Baldwin Park Unified pilot effort will be conducted at four middle schools and two high schools during spring 2016. In the meantime, the District is launching an effort to expand wireless capacity to support use of additional computer devices by students.

Baldwin Park Unified is one of just two districts in California, and four across the U.S., authorized for the pilot by Google and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.