Tag Archives: Evergreen Elementary School

Evergreen 5th Graders Vie in Robot Rally

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
About 40 students were invited to show off their skills during four rounds of maneuvers, including sumo wrestling and a gate crashing bridge during the single elimination tournament.

By Kelli Gile

DIAMOND BARTop fifth grade teams took over the multipurpose room during Evergreen Elementary School’s 1st annual robotics competition on Wednesday.

About 40 students were invited to show off their skills during four rounds of maneuvers, including sumo wrestling and a gate crashing bridge during the single elimination tournament.

Students have been working all year learning to build and program Xbot robots using Lego Mindstorm kits, according to teacher Laura Mowrey who introduced the STEM program five years ago before joining the staff.

“Our team offers robotics lessons twice a week as part of our science education,” she said.

Teacher Dr. Cathy Patterson explained in one of the challenges, the Xbot, teams used precise measurements to make their robots follow a track.“They are programmed to go distances and make turns according to angular measurements using the wheel circumference and rotations as calculated through the year and logged into their robotics journals,” she said.

The robot closest to the finish line took the win during each heat.

“All of them were within 10 millimeters – it was really close!” Patterson said.

“Our robotics program is not just a great way for the kids to use their math and science skills, but it is also a chance for them to practice working as team through cooperation and collaboration,” said teacher Lynn Otsu.

Throughout the three-hour competition, students used their CAD skills and calculators making final programming adjustments to edge out competitors.

“We’re telling our robot what to do,” said Team Pi member Adam Loch moments before the finals.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
About 40 students were invited to show off their skills during four rounds of maneuvers, including sumo wrestling and a gate crashing bridge during the single elimination tournament.

“Right now, we’re programming it to go slower.”

“It’s a good robot. This lift helps it bump people off during the sumo match!” added teammate Caleb Sohn.

On stage, an eager group of students watched robots roll through the gate crashing bridge as teacher Kristine Kobzeff recorded each attempt.

The Xbots were programmed to go five feet in seven seconds before the gate opened, then stay up for three seconds before going down.

“The robots had to make it through before the gate crashed down on them!” Mowrey said.

Students Anthony Chang and Jack Liu designed the impressive engineering project.

On black round mats, sumo wrestling robots were programmed to fight to the end.

“We made the final sumo round!” exclaimed Sienna Simmons, a member of an all-girl team before the match.

“Our robot’s kind of small which makes it go fast! We had a good feeling about it,” added teammate Hana Bouindani, 11.

“It’s a long process, but by the end of the year they really know how it all works,” Patterson added.



Kindergartners Join Thanksgiving Feast

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile

By Kelli Gile 

DIAMOND BAR—About 120 Evergreen Elementary students wearing pilgrim and Native American paper hats sat side-by-side for a Thanksgiving feast on Friday morning.

Kindergarten teacher Mona Warren, costumed in traditional dress and moccasins, opened the event with a Native American blessing.

The children echoed each line using hand gestures.

“And now may the great spirits, of all great spirits, be with all of you, now and forever more!” they said in unison.

Then the youngsters joined in a Thanksgiving song with Warren accompanying on guitar.

“The pilgrims came to America a long, long time ago. They sailed on the Mayflower a long, long time ago. They made friends with the Wampanoag a long, long time ago,” they sang.

Before the meal, Warren asked the children to share something they are thankful for with the person next to them.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile

“I’m thankful for my teacher and everything,” said five-year-old Jeremy Han.

“I’m thankful for my mom,” added classmate Christine Diaz.

“I’m thankful for my toys – all of them!” chimed Evan Tasker.

Then the youngsters began sampling the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, corn bread, and pumpkin pie.

Popcorn filled paper canoes decorated with teepee, buffalo, fire, love, and water symbols were at each place setting.

Some of the children gobbled up the traditional holiday meal, while others were content with a tiny taste of each dish.

“Mashed potatoes and popcorn are my favorites!” exclaimed Susanna Basilious wearing a white pilgrim bonnet.

“I like the popcorn and apple juice,” added five-year-old Orlando Perez.

The children also created keepsake handprint placemats and macaroni necklaces for their feast.

Evergreen teachers prepared the food, while about 20 parent volunteers were on hand setting up and serving the November 17 meal.

“We’ve been learning about the Wampanoag nation and the pilgrims,” said kindergarten teacher Diana Rogers.

Kathleen Riddle’s transitional kindergarten (TK) class wore decorated vests made from grocery sacks and headbands with feathers.

“The Wampanoag typically only had one or two feathers,” said the 19-year veteran teacher.

“I’m thankful for my TK students, I just love them,” Riddle added. “And for all my grandbabies!”


Evergreen STEAMS Ahead as Golden Bell Award Winner


PLTW in action! Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor visits with Evergreen third grade engineers designing a vehicle to rescue a trapped zoo animal. Photo courtesy: WVUSD

PLTW in action! Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor visits with Evergreen third grade engineers designing a vehicle to rescue a trapped zoo animal.
Photo courtesy: WVUSD

Walnut/Diamond Bar- Engagement and excitement are key ingredients in making Evergreen Elementary a great place to learn!

The school’s innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Programs are developing globally competitive citizens with character, problem solving skills, and social skills.

These programs have earned the enthusiasm of those involved and the admiration of the experts in education.

This month, the California School Boards Association (CSBA) selected Evergreen to receive the prestigious 2016 Golden Bell Award.

The Golden Bell recognizes innovative and sustainable programs that are making a demonstrated difference for students. A total of 56 public schools received the state’s leading educational honor.

“STEAM and PLTW are game changers! Our students are engaged and having fun learning,” said Principal Carolyn Wills. “We have fun down to a science. With community and staff support, our Evergreen Eagles are STEAM-ing toward their future!”

Evergreen’s Golden Bell marks the 3rd time a Walnut Valley Unified School District program has received the honor in the past decade.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor announced the award during the Board of Trustees meeting on October 19.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this well-deserved recognition for Evergreen. In all my years in education, I have never seen a school move so far, so quickly. I have witnessed a dramatic change in student engagement at Evergreen in the past four years with the advent of STEAM and PLTW,” Taylor said.

Evergreen has become a flagship school for the District’s STEAM vision, with six additional elementary schools launching the PLTW program this year.

“PLTW provides the foundation that allows students to be critical thinkers and collaborators – skills that will impact their entire life,” said Board Member Cindy Ruiz.

“We are creating global citizens of the 21st century,” added Board President Helen Hall. “I think we are very fortunate to have seven of our elementary schools implementing PLTW. It’s definitely the way of the future!”

Evergreen will receive its award at the annual CSBA Golden Bell Awards Luncheon December 3 in San Francisco.

Game On!

Evergreen Odyssey of the mind team going to World Finals

By Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar—Seven Evergreen Elementary students combined creativity and STEM skills to solve challenges that have put them in a class of their own.

The school’s Odyssey of the Mind team won a regional contest in February, then swept the state championship at UC Riverside in April, securing a spot in the World Finals.

Members clinched the state title during the “Stack Attack” event by designing and building a 15-gram structure made of balsa wood and glue that held over 800 pounds.

“It’s an amazing achievement, and an incredible opportunity for these creative thinkers and problem solvers!  Congratulations, Evergreen Odyssey of the Mind team, it’s GAME ON!” said

Principal Carolyn Wills.

Third and fifth-grade-team members Ianna Lin, Annie Chen, Alexander Kuo, Alex Teng, Carrie Chen, William Qian, and Alexander Dollar are now preparing to be part of an exciting global competition to be held at Iowa State University on May 25-28.

The close-knit team wrote the script, designed costumes, decorated a backdrop, and learned how to use tools for the contest.

“We worked together, and learned to listen and to respect each other,” said 5th grader Alexander Dollar.

In addition, the team prepared for a spontaneous problem given during the challenge.

During every team meeting, students diligently practiced solving possible problems.

“It helped us learn to work as a team, to be leaders, and to make decisions under pressure,” added teammate Alexander Kuo.

The team won the top awards in Style, Long-term, and Spontaneous events during the state championship.

Odyssey of the Mind utilizes a hands-on approach to building skills, creativity, perseverance, and teamwork.

The Evergreen team is headed up by parent coaches Sam and Jean Lin, and Natasha Dollar, and everyone is excited to represent the community during the world championship.

“It’s something the youngsters have worked for all year long,” according to parent Jean Lin.

“We really appreciate Evergreen’s STEM program that provides students with many opportunities,” she added.

“Today our children built a structure that held 800 lbs., tomorrow they’ll be holding the world!

The team is looking to raise $7,000 and has set up a Go Fund Me account. To find out more information, visit https://www.gofundme.com/6cxda2g4

Evergreen Wins Top State Civic Learning Award

Photo Courtesy:  Kelli Gile Evergreen Elementary is the recipient of the 2015 Civic Learning Award of Excellence.

Photo Courtesy: Kelli Gile
Evergreen Elementary is the recipient of the 2015 Civic Learning Award of Excellence.

By Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar – Evergreen Elementary is the recipient of the 2015 Civic Learning Award of Excellence.

A special presentation was held on Apr. 23 featuring Chief Justice and Chair of the Judicial Council, the Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.  Only three schools in California earned the top prize from the Judicial Branch.

“This is a very special day for Evergreen!” said Principal Caroline Wills who gave credit for the award to the school’s hard-working students, dedicated teachers, and a supportive parent community.

Out of about 7,000 elementary schools in the state, only two received the Civic Learning Award of Excellence award.

“You worked so hard at being good and caring citizens in your classrooms, in our school, and you’re learning all those habits to be good citizens in the country and world,” Wills said to students. “You are the citizens of the future that will make our world a better place!”

The Civic Learning Award is co-sponsored by the Judicial Branch and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson.

“You may ask why we have partnered together for civics education. In a nutshell, it means leadership training – teaching you the skills and values that will help you play at the top of your game as you grow and get older and take our places,” said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye.

40 students gave first-hand accounts of activities from the school’s civic learning programs – Keys to Success Character Education, Conflict Mediators, and Student Council.

“I save the highest praise for you students who are learning great skills to help you in life to be a leader and to be a conflict mediator when you get older and all the professions that you choose,” said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye.

Winners were selected by a panel of experts based on the school’s depth and breadth of research-based best practices in civic education.

Student Council President, Amanda Flores, shared Words of Wisdom, part of the daily school-wide broadcast with notable quotes and lessons to develop character traits.  Flores described important coping strategy techniques for students: walk away, count to ten, and talk about it.

“Or you can let go and ‘Shake It Off.’ Come on Evergreen, let’s shake it off!” she exclaimed.

With that, nearly 600 students jumped out of their chairs for a flash dance to the popular Taylor Swift song.

“I can’t say how delighted I was to see you dance to ‘Shake It Off,’ and remember that phrase whenever you feel down, you need to shake it off!” Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye said.

Evergreen’s program builds on recommendations from the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning.

Diamond Bar: Evergreen Puzzle Project Connects Students



Diamond Bar – For April’s Autism Awareness month, Evergreen Elementary School hosted a special puzzle project to celebrate. evergreen-elementary-diamond-barSpecial Education teachers, Laura Saenz and Ashley Marshman, distributed puzzle pieces to all students on campus. The children were asked to write about what makes them unique.


One by one, the pieces were brought back to their class and connected filling a wall in the multi-purpose room. As the pieces came together, the kids saw how they all fit.


“It is important for our students to see that just like a puzzle piece, each individual has something special and unique that no one else can contribute, which makes the entire picture much more beautiful,” said Saenz and Marshman. “We feel that it is important for us to encourage the acceptance of all students.”


One student wrote, “I’m special because I have nice friends that support me.” Another said, “I am unique because there is only one me and I have my own skills to do.  Everyone is special so don’t be left out.” Some drew pictures to show how they are unique.


Other pieces from staff members said, “Every child is gifted.  They just unwrap their packages at different times;” and “Autism is as much a part of humanity as is the capacity to dream.”


“This is another wonderful example of our dedicated teachers creating experiences that join students together and celebrate each child’s uniqueness, as well as our connections with each other.  Evergreen is truly a lovely work of art where each remarkable student is celebrated,” said Principal Carolyn Wills.