Tag Archives: South Point Middle School

Full STEAM Ahead!

South Pointe students learn coding from ‘Scratch’

By Kelli Gile

Diamond BarSouth Pointe Middle School 7th graders are immersed in learning coding concepts in a STEAM 2 course.

This week, students have been busy designing interactive stories and games with Scratch, an online programming community.

“All students, some having no experience with coding, are given an opportunity to be creative with the smallest of details about their game or story and it is amazing to see what they can do,” said technology teacher Crystal Dira.

Students have been experimenting with ideas as they drag and drop programming blocks to create movement and animation effects.

“Our project is like a Flappy Bird game,” Trey Rosales and Jas Singh explained on Wednesday.

“There’s a bat that’s traveling across these trees while trying to get to the end of the level,” Rosales said.

Another design team, Helena Tran and Aayati Sangal, collaborated to create a catching game with balls and meow sound-effects.

“You can’t catch the orange ball!” Sangal exclaimed.

Throughout the year, students will participate in numerous hands-on activities and projects that integrate the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.

STEAM 2 students will also be coding robots along with stop-motion animation, music, and short story videos.

The class has been designed to expose students to both to Engineering/Computer Science and Video Production which are two different paths in Technology available for 8th grade students.

“They really are using technology to create their future,” Dira said.


South Pointe History Day Team Lauded


Diamond Bar- Last spring, a foursome of South Pointe Middle School students earned state and national attention with their National History Day project titled “NASA’s Early Manned Missions” exhibit.  The team of 8th grade boys even earned a trip to compete in Washington D.C. as California champions.

Recently, another South Pointe top team that competed during the L.A. County and California History Day events received accolades for their outstanding work.

 Lauren Chen, Fiona Huang, Lindsay Kashiwabara, and Morgan Joe were honored for their documentary on the “Harlem Renaissance: A Revolution of Music and Literature.”

While conducting research, the girls had a unique opportunity to interview the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County president, Bobby McDonald.

He was so impressed with their professionalism and curiosity about the Harlem Renaissance that he requested to see their final product.

Upon viewing the documentary, he was thoroughly impressed by both the quality of the video and the depth of their research.

“He was moved by the fact that students chose to honor Black History and thought it was appropriate to pay tribute to them at the annual banquet,” explained social studies teacher Kevin Duh.

The group of girls, who are now 9th graders, spoke to the crowd of 500 guests during the celebration held at the Disney Hotel on August 20.

Each team member received prestigious county and the state awards.

Additionally, the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County presented a generous $500 scholarship to each student.

 “I am incredibly proud of how each member of the group invested their time and energy to a historical event that is rarely discussed in the classroom. Lauren, Fiona, Lindsay, and Morgan went above and beyond in their project to highlight and honor African American’s contributions to art in pop culture of today. Their work ethic and dedication to excellence is rare to see at this age,” Duh said.

Diamond Bar: Striking A Chord

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
South Pointe Middle School choir performs during a National School to Watch awards ceremony.

Chaparral, South Pointe music programs receive national recognition

By Kelli Gile


DIAMOND BAR— Two Walnut Valley Unified School District (WVUSD) middle schools – Chaparral and South Pointe – have been honored with the SupportMusic Merit Award from the nonprofit NAAM Foundation for outstanding commitment to music education.

A total of 118 schools across the country recognized with the prestigious award in 2016.

“This award puts Chaparral and South Pointe on an exclusive list that receives national attention – and that is something to celebrate!” said Chaparral band director Leslie Schroerlucke.

The SupportMusic designation is awarded to individual schools that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

The award recognizes schools that are leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the new federal education legislation, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), that recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

Congratulations to Chaparral music teachers Greg Rochford-orchestra, Leslie Schroerlucke-band, Rich Langham-choir, South Pointe music teachers Susan Willmering- band, and Robin Wadsworth-choir.

“It is such an honor to be recognized for the second consecutive year by NAMM. It is fantastic to know that Chaparral is seen in such high regard,” said Principal Ron Thibodeaux.

“Our music programs are essential to our students and their families,” Schroerlucke added. “The NAMM award reaffirms once again that music programs in WVUSD are exemplary in terms of the number of students in our programs, the quality of the programs, and parent support.”

At South Pointe, over 500 students participate in music arts classes. Choir teacher Robin Wadsworth, who works with about 150 students in her classes, is passionate about the benefits of music education.

“There have been many scientific studies that show that music helps creativity, coordination, reasoning skills, and improving test scores,” she said.

Wadsworth also sites another benefit of being a part of music groups.

“Music performing groups give kids a place to belong. Playing, singing, or just listening to music relieves stress and gives groups of students that perform together a common purpose.”

Her students agreed. “Music makes me happy. When I’m sad, I sing!” said 6th grader Shannon Kelly.

“Music helps me express my feelings,” added 7th grader Maxine Magpayo.

“We are fortunate to have remarkable teachers and a district that understands the importance of the arts in education,” said South Pointe’s Principal, Susan Arzola.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile Hundreds of Chaparral Middle School students participate in music education courses each year. Shown: Orchestra in rehearsal with director Greg Rochford.

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
Hundreds of Chaparral Middle School students participate in music education courses each year. Shown: Orchestra in rehearsal with director Greg Rochford.

South Pointe Named California 2016 ‘School to Watch’

By Kelli Gile

Photo Courtesy of WVUSD South Pointe 8th Graders Enjoy STEM activities

Photo Courtesy of WVUSD
South Pointe 8th Graders Enjoy STEM activities

DIAMOND BARSouth Pointe Middle School has been designated as a model middle school in the 2015-16 Schools to Watch–Taking Center Stage program.

A total of 11 high-performing middle schools in California will receive this year’s award for academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, and social equity.

South Pointe is now among a select cadre of 78 schools in the state and more than 450 around the nation that are Schools to Watch.

“We are thrilled to have received this recognition,” said Principal Susan Arzola. “Our school community has worked very hard to create an exciting and challenging middle school program that inspires students to achieve their potential and look to their future!”

Schools to Watch, which are recognized at both the state and national level, become examples for middle schools across the country.  South Pointe becomes the first school in Walnut Valley USD to receive the prestigious award.

“South Pointe is committed to providing students with a strong academic foundation to foster success as they move toward high school, college, and careers,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

On Thursday, February 18 at 8:00 a.m., students, staff, administrators, board members, and community members will celebrate the selection as one of California’s newest Schools to Watch in the school’s multipurpose room.

South Pointe prepares students to be globally competitive through the integration of science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM).  “We are proudly preparing the next generation of leaders,” added Arzola.

All of California’s Model Schools will also be formally recognized in Sacramento and Washington D.C.  The schools will have an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments and network with other middle grades educators from around the state.

South Pointe applied for the designation and was chosen among schools from across the nation.  In order to become a School to Watch, applicants must have met or exceeded the Academic Performance Index (API) school-wide growth target for three of the previous five years.  School administrators must conduct a self-study evaluation and complete an extensive narrative application.  Each site is then reviewed by a team of middle grades experts. In order to retain the designation, each school is re-evaluated every three years.

The California Department of Education and the California League of Middle Schools are the lead agencies in the program, with the support of the California Middle Grades Alliance, a collaborative dedicated to providing policy assistance and encouragement for California’s 1.5 million middle grades students.

California’s Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage program uses a competitive, rigorous review process to identify high performing, high impact middle schools so that all middle schools may have models of real-world success


Walnut: South Pointe Choir Serenades Homeless

By Kelli Gile


Walnut – The choir from South Pointe Middle School spent the evening serenading the homeless at the Pomona Cold Winter Shelter on December 12.

Students and their families weathered the rain to bring food, clothing, and music to the lives of our local homeless.  The evening was filled with the music of the Beatles, traditional choir music, and Christmas carols.

“This was the most meaningful event of my life,” 8th Grader, Paige Asprec, told fellow choir members.

“I was inspired by how grateful they all were to us even though they don’t have a place to live,” added 7th Grader, Ernie Perez.

Community member Rachelle Lynn Pitre and her parents run the shelter.

“They are amazing people!” described Choir Director, Robin Wadsworth.

“Thank you to our South Pointe Choir and Mrs. Wadsworth for remembering the power to ‘Do ONE Thing’ to make the world a better place!” said Principal Susan Arzola.