Tag Archives: WVUSD

Creating Classroom Magic

Collegewood Elementary Students Become Word Surgeons

By Kelli Gile

WALNUTWalnut Valley USD elementary teachers have been on the hunt for buried treasure in classrooms this year.

The vast riches they have been uncovering are not rare gold coins, but the spark in their students’ eyes and a new enthusiasm for learning.

These daring and adventurous educators have been willing to dive into uncharted territories by crafting creative lessons and fearlessly transforming their learning spaces.

At Collegewood Elementary, second grade teacher Stephanie Johnson recently turned her classroom into an operating room hoping to put a spark into a Language arts lesson.

The teacher (and chief surgeon) prescribed the mini makeover by placing powder blue tablecloths over desks, providing doctor’s masks and gloves for her students, and playing a soundtrack of doctor’s office noises.

Johnson said the excitement level hit a new high when the children arrived at school and found the medical gear waiting at each draped operating table.

“I didn’t tell my students ahead of time, so they were extremely excited when I met them at the door in my surgical mask,” she explained.

In her pre-op consultation, Johnson told the rookie MDs that their “patients” (word cards) were prepped and in-need of emergency services.

The second graders eagerly donned the costumes and began “stitching” together dozens of compound words with plastic bandages.

Students practiced building new words with nouns, verbs, and adjectives that took on new meanings when combined, like moonlight, sunflower, toothbrush, seahorse, baseball, rainbow, and watermelon.

“It was super fun and the surgery was a success!” she said.

Johnson was thrilled that her students were highly engaged in the activity from “start to finish.”

“At our end-of-the-week assessment, even my struggling students scored well,” she reported.

Johnson said she was motivated to set sail on the class adventure after a staff reading of Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and hearing about engaging lessons inspired at Get Your Teach On conferences.

The spirited educator has gained a passion to chart a new course and will continue introducing students to learning in uncharted territories.

“This experience inspired me to set a goal of doing a room transformation once a month next year!” she said.

WVUSD Science Olympiad Teams Bring Home Top Awards

All middle, high schools advance to state finals

By Kelli Gile

Walnut—After months of preparation, Walnut Valley USD Science Olympiad teams came away with an impressive cache of gilded medals during the Los Angeles regional competition.

All three middle schools and both high schools will now advance to the Southern California State Finals at Caltech on April 6.

Chaparral scored a 3rd place finish, Suzanne took 4th place, and South Pointe followed in 5th place during the Division B middle school contest among 40 teams at Rio Hondo College.

Chaparral’s team, advised by science teacher Bob Patterson, won 1st place awards in nine of the 23 individual competitions including Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet, and Mystery Architecture.

“The success of our team is due to the dedicated efforts and team spirit displayed by our students, and the amazing support of our parents,” Patterson said.

In Division C, Diamond Bar High’s total scores earned 3rd place and Walnut High took 4th place among 50 high-performing teams in the contest.

“Our Science Olympiad team is currently preparing for the next competition and is eager to demonstrate their hard work and knowledge at the state level,” said Diamond Bar High math teacher and advisor Dawn Daza.

Quail Summit Elementary students scored the gold medal and earned the second highest score in the competition among 66 teams in the Division A competition held at Occidental College on February 25. 

Additionally, Castle Rock and C.J. Morris Elementary Schools brought home the silver awards.

“This group of dedicated 4th and 5th grade young scientists studied all year, put in hours of research, and conducted experiments,” said Quail Summit’s elementary learning specialist Leann Legind.

“They displayed teamwork, character, perseverance, and great critical thinking skills – and we are so proud of them!”

After competing all day in the rain, the elementary division’s awards ceremony was cancelled due to the inclement weather.

And although most teams headed home before the final results were announced, Quail Summit students decided to wait 90 minutes for the final tally of scores.

“We worked too hard – we’re staying!” they chimed.

WVUSD Joins Great Kindness Challenge

By Kelli Gile

Walnut- Kindness is contagious. It can begin as a warm smile or simple “thank you” and grow to include good deeds that create a culture of kindness.

For the second consecutive year, all 15 Walnut Valley USD schools joined the Great Kindness Challenge, earning the official Kindness Certified School District badge.

Over 24,000 schools across the nation participated in the event, held January 28-February 1, to promote kindness by encouraging students to brighten the days of classmates, family, and community.

Many schools distributed a checklist of 50 challenges that students could complete during the kindness revolution.

Chaparral Middle School seventh grader Troy Pisigan fulfilled over 30 tasks including his favorite, saying “thank you” to the school’s noon aides.

“I could tell by their reaction that the words meant a lot!” he said.

Pisigan said he hoped his actions would motivate others to show kindness too.


“And maybe, it will carry on and they will do something nice for someone else!”

Troy is a genuinely kind young man and shows kindness every day,” praised teacher Sherry Robertson.

“We should all strive to be more like Troy!”

Walnut Elementary students joined a Mix-It-Up at Lunch to have a chance to demonstrate kindness to someone new and sold friendship grams with proceeds benefitting the Los Angeles Mission.

Diamond Bar High’s Wellness Team presented three days of Where’s Kindness? lunchtime activities.

Be Kind to Yourself day, held January 29, focused on self-care and self-compassion, E-cigarette education, stress management, dance clinic, and bungee run.

Wellness consultants staged activities wearing “Where’s Waldo?” inspired striped hats, t-shirts, and round glasses.

When students roll a three on the giant inflatable self-love dice, they complete the sentence, “Three kind words to best describe me,” explained senior Janice Kwon.

Ron Hockwalt Academiesstudents inspired smiles while delivering bountiful bouquets of pink roses and fresh greenery of kale, fennel, and celery produced in the school’s HOPE garden.

Castle Rock Elementary set out friendship chairs were students could relax, mingle, and complete a variety of kindness activities.

C.J. Morris Elementary students designed and decorated cheer-up messages on index cards to brighten up a schoolmate’s day.

Collegewood Elementary hosted We Life Each Other “Up” week (from the animated Pixar movie) with acts of kindness and compliments of gratitude, including writing messages to students at neighboring Westhoff Elementary.

Maple Hill and Vejar Elementary students cheered up schoolmates with chalked playground messages including “It’s going to be a great day” and “Take deep breaths – it’s going to be OK.”

Westhoff Elementary students completed their first kind acts in unison by smiling and offering compliments to each other during a kick-off rally.

“On the count of three, let’s all say, ‘You are smart and you are kind!’” said counselor Ericka Robledo.

Quail Summit Elementary students crafted Valentines cards for local senior citizens and dressed up as hippies during Peace, Love, and Kindness day.

South Pointe Middle School leadership students greeted families during the morning drop-off with “Have a Great Day” signs and collected gently used shoes for area needy.

Walnut Valley USD Begins Enrollment for the 2019-20 School Year

By Kelli Gile

Walnut The Walnut Valley Unified School District will soon begin registration for the 2019-2020 school year for children transitional kindergarten and kindergarten through fifth grade.  Registration dates are:

January 14-18, 2019—for those children with siblings already attending school in our district;

January 22, 2019 & onfor those elementary children new to the district, at any grade level.

You may register for transitional kindergarten if your child turns 5 years old September 2nd – December 2nd.  Students must be 5 years of age on or before September 1, to enroll in kindergarten for the 2019-2020 school year. 

At the time of registration, parents will be asked to present a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate or passport, proof of the child’s immunizations, and for kindergarten and 1st grade proof of an oral health examination.  For residency verification, parents will also need to provide either final escrow papers, mortgage statement or lease/rental agreement, along with a current utility bill (gas, water or electric bill) and a driver’s license (or California I.D.) with current home address.  Enrollment is on-going, and your residence address determines the elementary school where you should enroll your child.

The Walnut Valley Unified School District offers a quality day care program at all elementary site, for both before and after school hours.  You may contact the Child Care office at 909-444-3460 for additional information and fees.

WVUSD Announces Leadership Team Appointments

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT—The Walnut Valley Unified School District is pleased to announce the following administrative appointments:

 

Education veteran Dr. Resma Byrne has been named director of educational projects and assessments.  Byrne served as Castle Rock Elementary principal for the past four years. Prior to that, she was assistant principal at Clara Barton Elementary in the Corona Norco USD and a teacher in the Montclair USD. She is also an adjunct professor at California State University, Pomona. She holds a bachelor’s degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, master’s degrees from Cal State University, San Bernardino and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and doctoral degree in educational leadership from California State University, Fullerton.  Byrne succeeds Jacqueline Brown who was named interim assistant superintendent of educational services.

 

The Board of Trustees appointed two new school leaders with extensive experience during the summer. Jennifer “Jen” Alcazar was named the new principal at Castle Rock Elementary. During her career in Walnut Valley, she served as assistant principal at Chaparral Middle School and principal of the Walnut Valley Institute of STEAM and Humanities.  She was also a science teacher and technology coach at Chaparral for nine years.  Prior to that, she spent a decade working with University of California, Irvine facilitating professional development offerings in technology and science for K-12 teachers. She also taught science in the Santa Ana Unified School District. Alcazar earned a bachelor of science degree from Loyola Marymount University, master of arts degree from Concordia University, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree. She is married with two children that attended Castle Rock Elementary, Chaparral Middle School, and Diamond Bar High.

 

Sandra Lee was approved to take the helm as the new principal at Westhoff Elementary. This accomplished educator brings over 12 years education experience to her new post and comes highly recommended by administrators, teachers, and support staff. Most recently, Lee served as the director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in Aspire Public Schools in Los Angeles. Some of her additional educational experiences include being an elementary principal for five years, a lead literacy specialist and Response to Intervention coordinator, and has taught multiple grade levels.  Lee earned bachelor of science, master of science degree, K-12 Literacy specialist credential from California State University, Fullerton, along with her K-12 literacy specialist credential and administration credential. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in education focusing on common core standard of complex text.  She is married with a daughter. Lee succeeds Denise Rendon who retired in May after a 33-year career in Walnut Valley USD.

 

Matthew Brummett was named assistant principal at Suzanne Middle School. He brings eight years of educational experience, all at Diamond Bar High School, to his new post. Brummett served as instructional dean and assistant summer school coordinator for the past three years. Prior to that, he was a social studies teacher for five years. He also coordinated SBAC testing and co-wrote a WASC accreditation application. Additionally, he served as girls head varsity soccer coach for five years. Brummett earned bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees from University of California, Irvine. He is married to a Diamond Bar High grade level coordinator and they have one daughter.

 

Lam Bui was approved as information technology manager. Bui brings 20 years of experience in the field of technology to his new position. He previously served as database engineer in Walnut Valley for two years. During that time, he successfully managed the process of converting the student information and student assessment systems. He was previously a claims analyst and senior IT specialist at Construction Program Group. He earned a bachelor of science degree from California State University, Los Angeles. Bui is married with two children that attend Walnut Valley schools.

 

Sarah Ammon brings 17 years of educational experience to her new position as coordinator of special education. She served as program specialist in Walnut Valley for the past three years.  She also served as a District school psychologist, inclusion specialist, and special education teacher.  Additionally, she was a program specialist, autism spectrum disorders at East San Gabriel Valley SELPA for two years. Ammon holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from California State University, Long Beach and masters of education in educational psychology from Chapman University. She succeeds Jean Hicks who retired in May with over 25 years of service in Walnut Valley.

 

Denise Loera joins the Diamond Bar High School staff as an instructional dean. Loera brings nearly 20 years of educational experience to her new post. She served as a mathematics teacher, department chair, BTSA Mentor, and technology coach at Chaparral Middle School for the past 11 years. Prior to that, she was a math teacher in MUSD at Eastmont Intermediate School and Schurr High School in Montebello.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from California State University, Los Angeles and master’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles. Loera is married with three children, two that attend Walnut High School and one attending Evergreen Elementary School.

 

Julie Galindo brings over 24 years of educational experience to her role as instructional dean at Diamond Bar High School. She served as interim instructional dean during the 2017-2018 school year. Prior to that, she was an English teacher at Diamond Bar High for 21 years.  She was also an adjunct English teacher at Chaffey College for two years. Galindo earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Azusa Pacific University and masters of arts in English from California State University, Fullerton. She is married with two children.

 

A Great Start!

Photo courtesy: Kelli Gile
2018-2019 Classes begin in Walnut Valley

By Kelli Gile 

Walnut — Summer break is over and students will soon be getting into the rhythm and routine of the new school year.

Teachers and staff members on 15 campuses welcomed nearly 14,400 students in the Walnut Valley Unified School District on Monday morning.

By 7:30 a.m., Vejar Elementary Principal Whitney Prenger was out front offering high fives and hugs as families began arriving.

The energetic school leader also brought something special to kick off the new school year – a bubble-blowing machine.

The children toting new backpacks and lunchboxes were happily surprised as they walked through the stream of iridescent soap bubbles at the front gate.

“I wanted the children to have a memory from their first day at Vejar that would last a lifetime!” Prenger said.

During the opening lesson, transitional kindergarten teacher Irene Carter admitted to her new young charges that she was a little nervous.

“There are lots of parents here in our class and I had to get up early and leave my dog, Phillip!”

“And I don’t like leaving Phillip,” she shared.

“So, I’m happy, excited, and a little nervous.”

Next, the clever educator encouraged the youngsters to raise their arms like a sliding snake if they were a little scared or nervous too.

Several little arms cautiously went up in the air.

Then she invited the children to raise their arms like a wiggly worm if they were exited to begin school.

More arms went up.

And finally, she asked the kids to wave their hands to signal they were happy.

All of the hands eagerly shot up in the air!

“Monday went well, Tuesday was OK, and Wednesday was super with barely any tears!” Carter happily reported later in the week.

Over 45 new educators were hired for the new school year, including Chaparral Middle School 7th grade math teacher Macy McGuire.

“I’m excited to meet the kids and get the ball rolling!” she said.

“I already have my first month planned out – every homework assignment and every activity,” McGuire added.

“The fish tank is set up and we’ll name our beta as a class!”

“I think it’s going to be a great school year!”

Over the summer, the Board of Trustees appointed new principals Jennifer Alcazar at Castle Rock Elementary and Sandra Lee at Westhoff Elementary.

“I am thrilled to have served in Walnut Valley as a teacher, administrator, and parent,” Alcazar said.

“It is truly an honor to be given the opportunity to return to Castle Rock where my children experienced so much love and growth!” said Alcazar.

“We are so excited to welcome our students back to their second home,” said Lee, a District newcomer who brings over a dozen years of educational experience to her new post.

“It’s going to be a fun school year filled with amazing memories!” she added.

Westhoff Elementary kindergarten teacher Roxanne Dennen is beginning her 25th year in Walnut Valley.

After a morning snack and water break on August 13, students took their places on magic carpet squares to join their teacher in the classic “The Wheels on the Bus” song.

“My 25th first day of school was as exciting as my very first day,” Dennen said.

“I do what I love because I love what I do!”

Over 2,700 Diamond Bar High students gathered in the gymnasium during two opening-day assemblies featuring pep and band performances.

Principal Reuben Jones encouraged the teens to set goals for themselves this school year.

“We want everyone to achieve, create opportunities for learning, and respect yourselves and each other,” he said.

Walnut High Principal Brandon Dade visited every classroom to welcome the Mustang-powered teachers and staff members.

“I’m going to do this every week throughout the year!” he said.

At Suzanne Middle School, students dashed to classes during passing periods with schedules in hand.

“I’ve been all over the school this morning!” said 6th grader Melody Yu.

“I’m excited to see my friends and meet my teachers,” shared Chloe Siu.

Suzanne Language Arts teacher Alice Chen utilized Google Classroom to connect with students a week before school began.

She was able to post a welcome message along with course information for her 120 students.

When Chen saw that some students responded with personal messages, she was absolutely thrilled.

“Digital tools gave me the ability to get to know my students before I met them face-to-face,” the tech-savvy educator said.

“I love that my students were just as excited as I was for the start of the new school year!”

Language Arts teacher Lauri Ujita begins each year with three simple rules she asks her 6th grade students to live by: Work Hard. Stay Humble. Be Kind.

“These are the rules I try to live by too!” she shared.

Fifth-grade students in Kari Penzes’ class at Westhoff Elementary were eager to log onto new laptop computers on Tuesday.

“These one-to-one Chromebooks benefit students by providing immediate access to the most current technology and keeping pace with the 21st century world,” the teaching team commented.

The children were lined up outside Janine De Vera’s 4th grade class before the first bell rang at Vejar Elementary.

“The beginning of the year is such an exciting time – everyone gets a fresh start!” De Vera shared after greeting each youngster..

“I’m looking forward to California day, track, and recess!” beamed nine-year-old Taryn Schilz.

“I’m excited to go to class and see the panda decorations,” added classmate Eleanor Reyes after peeking through the window.

Quail Summit elementary learning specialist Leann Legind used social media to communicate with educator friends the night before school began.

“Tomorrow get ready to change the world – one sweet student at a time!” she offered.

 

Walnut Valley USD is a Great Place to Be!

Photo: Kelli Gile
Nearly 1,000 teachers, classified personnel, and district leaders gathered to kick off the 2018-2019 school year during a Welcome Back celebration held this week at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.

Staff members kick off 2018-2019 school year

 Kelli Gile

WALNUT – Nearly 1,000 teachers, classified personnel, and district leaders gathered to kick off the 2018-2019 school year during a Welcome Back celebration held this week at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.

 

The 15th annual rally featured recognitions of over 200 long-service employees, Teachers of the Year, Cornerstone Award winners, and keynote message by Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

 

As staffers from all 15 schools and departments mingled and visited during the outdoor continental breakfast on August 8, they enjoyed music provided by the Diamond Bar High commercial music rock band under the direction of Steve Acciani and Daryl Hernandez.

 

Inside the venue, the program began with pep music provided by 100 members of the Walnut High Blue Thunder marching band under the direction of Corey Wicks and Katie Takahashi.

 

Diamond Bar High junior Taylor Moore took the stage to perform the national anthem and Boy Scout troop #777 led the opening flag ceremony.

 

“Regardless of what your job is and what you do – all of you touch kids in a way that betters their education. And for that, I really thank you,” Superintendent Dr. Taylor said to the assembled group.

The schools chief reminded educators that the impact they have on their students lasts “forever and is truly immeasurable.”

 

Over the summer, Walnut Valley was recognized as a National Schools to Watch District – one of only 17 out of more than 11,000 school districts in America.

 

“This is truly an amazing achievement,” Dr. Taylor said.

 

To mark the occasion, every employee received a “I work for a nationally recognized school district” t-shirt symbolizing the District’s 48 years of excellence, tradition, and history.

 

In addition, the WVUSD staff members were given backpacks filled with classroom supplies made possible through a generous donation.

 

“We want to say thank you for all that you do and hope this helps you have a fresh start to the new school year!” Dr. Taylor said.

 

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Matthew Witmer and Administrative Director Dr. Sergio Canal hosted the special event that included over 30 raffle prizes provided by local businesses.

 

Criss Sykes, the District Teacher of the Year and Kathy Frith, the Classified Employee of the Year, offered encouraging words to their peers during the program.

 

“It just takes one teacher, who teaches with passion and warmth to spark a child into a life of amazement. And here in Walnut Valley our students have 600 such teachers!” said Criss Sykes, a third-grade teacher at Quail Summit Elementary.

 

“This is a fantastic community and I am so proud to be a small part of it,” commented District Office receptionist Kathy Frith about the caring and supportive culture at the schools.

 

“Classified or certificated, it is the people here in Walnut Valley that make it such an amazing place!”

 

Trustees Recognize Star Students and Parents

Courtesy: Kelli Gile
Board Members Layla Abou-Taleb, Dr. Tony Torng, Larry Redinger, Cindy Ruiz, Helen Hall, and Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor recognize Coordinating Council President Lily Eibert for dedicated service to the Walnut Valley Unified School District.

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT The Walnut Valley USD Board of Trustees recognized exemplary students and parent volunteers from Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools during the May 16 meeting.

 

Diamond Bar High senior Marisa Umeh was honored with the Super Star Student Award. Marisa has a passion for filmmaking and publishing. She created a film about women’s health at the Girls Impact the World Film Festival organized by the Harvard Social Innovation Collaboration. Last summer, Marisa was selected to attend the Women’s Science STEAM Initiative in Malawi, Africa as a U.S. Department of State Youth Ambassador. Marisa serves on the Junior State of America State Cabinet, yearbook editor, mock trial team, and hosts a web series titled #LikeHer in which she interviews influential women in typically male-dominated fields. She will attend UC Berkeley and plans to work in international human rights law and virtual reality corresponding.

 

Parent Rachel Chang received the Partner in Education Award. Rachel has served as the Mag 7 President for the past four years.  Mag 7 is the parent organization that coordinates the school’s seven parent groups:  Brahma Boosters, CAAP, CAPA, HOPE, KAPA, SAPA, and Brahma Foundation. Rachel has helps support Open House, Rodeo Round-Up, Back-to-School Night, Staff Appreciation Luncheon, and many more school activities. She has also served as president of the Korean American Parent Association (KAPA) for the past six years. KAPA has donated numerous supplies for the school including microphones for classrooms and monitors for front office. “Rachel is truly a partner at Diamond Bar High and helps us in so many ways!” said Principal Rueben Jones.

 

Walnut High senior Adam Ng received the Super Star Student Award. Adam is an extremely motivated, academically driven, and disciplined student. His rigorous academic program and campus activities are a testament to his maturity and focus. Brandon has been involved in FBLA, Model of United Nations, Speech and Debate, Mock Trial, Class of 2018 President, Varsity Basketball, MIT Launch club and Health Occupations Students of America. As the Inland Section President of FBLA, he has created a liaison system for 32 schools in the Inland Empire. Adam is the southern California Area 7 Director of the Rotary Interact Organization, CEO of the “For All Mankind” club, and President of the WHS Hoops4Hope club and FBLA. “Adam’s service club involvement is spectacular!” said Principal Brandon Dade. Adam aspires to work in public policy or corporate law. He hopes to become an attorney and eventually an ambassador for the government.

 

Walnut High parent Sammy Lee was honored with the Partner in Education Award for her involvement with the Korean American Parent Association (KAPA). Over the last three years KAPA has graciously provided the school with monetary donations, gift baskets, and staff appreciation events. Sammy hosted and coordinated this year’s Staff Holiday Party that featured entertainment, food, goodie bags, and wonderful hospitality. “Thank you for giving so generously during this past school year. I know your time is valuable and your willingness to contribute to Walnut High School staff shows your commitment to the well-being of your child and all of our students,” Dade said. “The efforts of volunteers like you are a vital part of our community!”

 

Coordinating Council President Lily Eibert received a special recognition from the Board of Trustees. “Lily has been the leader of all of our parents for the past two years,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor. “I believe we have the strongest parent support and involvement of any school district in the entire state.” Board President Cindy Ruiz lauded Lily for the growth of Coordinating Council under her “amazing” leadership. “I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with Lily during the past few years.  She goes above and beyond not only for the school district but for the community!”

 

 

Walnut Valley Schools Make State Honor Roll

The 2017-2018 Honor Roll recognizes public elementary, middle, and high schools that demonstrate consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time, and reduction in achievement gaps.

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT —After an extensive analysis of student data for every public school in California, the following Walnut Valley USD schools have been recognized as clear leaders in getting students to grade level and beyond: Collegewood Elementary, Cyrus J. Morris Elementary, Evergreen Elementary, Quail Summit Elementary, South Pointe Middle, Suzanne Middle, Walnut Elementary, and Walnut High.

 

These schools have been named to the 2017-2018 California Honor Roll presented by Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE).

 

The 2017-2018 Honor Roll recognizes public elementary, middle, and high schools that demonstrate consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time, and reduction in achievement gaps. For high schools, Honor Roll recognition includes high college readiness in students.

 

This year, 1,798 higher performing schools are distinguished for their academic achievement and for closing achievement gaps.

 

“These Honor Roll schools and districts are improving student achievement and we have the data to prove it. It’s critical that the business community support and promote educational success as today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce,” said Greg Jones, ERP and CBEE board chairman.

 

Diamond Bar Students Rocking The Kindness

Courtesy: WVUSD

By Kelli Gile

Diamond BarQuail Summit Elementary students are rocking their commitment to spreading kindness.

On Wednesday, the 645 students at the Diamond Bar campus each took home a rock in their backpacks.

But these were no ordinary rocks.

The children painted colorful heart designs with personal messages of kindness, hope, joy, compassion, or strength on the small gray stones.

In the coming days and weeks, these kindness rocks, as they are called, will be left around the community, state, and even the world.

The school is marking its 30th anniversary with a week of caring and compassionate activities.

“We want to spread a positive message to others,” said elementary learning specialist Leann Legind.

The children hope that their kindness offerings will make a difference in the lives of the lucky recipients.

“I want our messages to inspire people,” said fifth grader Lanna Xiao, age 11.

“My rock says “You are special,” shared first grader Emma Johnson, age 6.

“I hope it makes someone feel good!”

“It was fun painting them!” said classmate Aiden Chang.

“I feel like I’m sharing kindness with the world even if it’s just one little way,” said 5th grader Evelyn Wu who decorated her rock with a heart and three flowers.

The nine-year-old penned “Have faith in your heart” on the back of the rock she plans to deliver while on vacation to Taiwan this summer.

Third grader Amy Song wrote “Even though you think no one cares, I care!” and classmate Kyle Chen declared “You are wonderful” on their rocks.

Each kindness rock also comes with a tiny card describing the schoolwide project.

“This gift is for you! Turn the rock over and know that these words came from a child’s heart to yours. Know that someone in this world cares about you!”

Recipients are encouraged to post a message on the “Quail Summit Rocks Kindness” Facebook page.

“I’m probably going to put it in our town!” Chen said.

Fifth grader Bethany Li decided to paint “Hopeful” on her kindness rock after singing at the school’s talent show.

“I performed a song called “Hopeful” with an anti-bullying message,” she said.

Another fifth grader, Wynnson Notomihardjo, age 10, wrote “Honor one another” on his gift.

“I picked it because even if you get mad you should forgive people,” he shared.

“I see many people who give up on their goals, said Anderson Zhu about his “Conquer your dreams” message.

“If you don’t succeed try, try again!” Saym Waraich, age 10, said on his kindness rock.

“A lot of people in this world give up. I believe you should try again until you get it!” he said.

The “School with a Heart” is hosting daily kindness activities including “I can make a chain-ge in this world” paper chains and kindness notes posted around the campus, and an 80’s-themed dress up day to commemorate the school’s opening.

 

WVUSD Board Celebrates Star Students, Community Members

By Kelli Gile

WALNUTThe Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees paid tribute to star students and community partners during the January 17 meeting.

C.J. Morris Elementary 5th grader Madeline Toh received a certificate of special recognition as the winner of the 2017 “Holidays Around the World” greeting card contest. Madeline’s submission depicted ornaments decorated with a globe and flags of several countries. She also received a gift certificate courtesy of Yogurtland in Walnut.

Walnut Elementary 5th grader Quinton Mendoza was saluted with the school’s Super Star Student Award. The multi-talented student is a scholar, athlete, and speaks multiple languages. He has been described as compassionate, humble, kind, and funny.

“Quinton is a lot like gravity – a quiet force that affects everyone,” said Principal Robert Chang.

One example of Quinton’s big heart is his willingness to give up his morning recess each day.

He reports to the bus drop off area and picks up the tots kindergartners to make sure they arrive safely to their special education class.

On days he has 100-mile running club practice, Quinton makes sure to notify his substitute, whom he personally trained.

“Quinton doesn’t do these things for recognition, he simply acts from his heart and reaches for his goals,” Chang said. “He’s one of a kind and makes our school a better place!”

Longtime parent volunteer Molly Mendoza, and Quinton’s mom, was presented with the Partner in Education Award.

“Molly has done so many wonderful things for our school and truly deserves this honor,” Chang said.

The Community Club president has devoted countless hours organizing and participating in fundraisers, activities, and field trips.

“Molly always gives 110% and has been a part in everything going on at the school,” Chang said.

“You have not only left shoes that will be extremely difficult to fill, but have left footprints in hearts and changed our lives for the better.”

Ron Hockwalt Academies (RHA) senior Demetrius Lowery received the Super Star Student Award.

“He’s a great kid and has been a blessing on our campus,” said Principal Dr. Donna Hunter.

Demetrius has done a lot of hands-on work in the school’s HOPE garden and has a gift at fixing things, she explained. The teen even brought a crate of oranges to present to the Trustees.

The school’s HOPE program is designed to help students create a future they want. HOPE stands for Heart, Opportunity, Perseverance, and Excellence

“He’s showing HOPE and heart for all his schoolmates, staff, and school. We are very proud of Demetrius!” Hunter said.

Ernie Quejado, founder of the Sanlo Homestay Foundation, was honored with the school’s Partner in Education Award.

Ernie has adopted RHA and for the past three years has donated a $1,000 each year for student leadership.

“We’re a small school and these funds go a long way,” Hunter explained.

RHA is able to provide field trips, incentives, and activities through this generous support.

“We appreciate him and his support for our campus!” Hunter said.

 

School Lunch And School Breakfast Programs

Kelli Gile

FREE AND REDUCED-PRICE MEALS IN THE NATIONAL

WALNUT Walnut Valley Unified School District announces its policy to serve nutritious meals every school day under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

The household size and income criteria identified below will be used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price, or full-price meal benefits.  Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown here are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Children who receive CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR benefits are automatically eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household in which they reside.

Effective July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if the household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines.

 

 

 

FREE

eligibility scale

LUNCH, BREAKFAST, MILK

reduced

eligibility scale

LUNCH, BREAKFAST, MILK

household size Annual monthly twice monthly every two

weeks

weekly annual monthly twice monthly every two

weeks

weekly
1 $ 15,678 $ 1,307 $   654 $  603 $  302 $ 22,311 $ 1,860 $   930 $   859 $  430
2 21,112 1,760 880 812 406 30,044 2,504 1,252 1,156 578
3 26,546 2,213 1,107 1,021 511 37,777 3,149 1,575 1,453 727
4 31,980 2,665 1,333 1,230 615 45,510 3,793 1,897 1,751 876
5 37,414 3,118 1,559 1,439 720 53,243 4,437 2,219 2,048 1,024
6 42,848 3,571 1,786 1,648 824 60,976 5,082 2,541 2,346 1,173
7 48,282 4,024 2,012 1,857 929 68,709 5,726 2,863 2,643 1,322
8 53,716 4,477 2,239 2,066 1,033 76,442 6,371 3,186 2,941 1,471
For each additional household member, add:
  $ 5,434 $453 $    227 $   209 $ 105 $  7,733 $   645 $    323 $   298 $  149

 

Households do not need to turn in an application when the household receives a notification letter saying that all children automatically qualify for free meals when any household member receives benefits from CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR. Children who meet the definition of foster, homeless, migrant, or runaway, and children enrolled in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals. Contact school officials if any child in the household is not on the notification letter. The household must let school officials know if they do not want to receive free or reduced-price meals.

Applications will be sent to the household with a letter about the free and reduced-price meal program. Households that want to apply for meal benefits, must fill out one application for all children in the household and give it to the nutrition office at 880 South Lemon Avenue, Walnut, CA 91789.

Households may turn in an application at any time during the school year. If you are not eligible now, but your household income goes down, household size goes up, or a household member starts receiving CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR, you may turn in an application at that time. Information given on the application will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school officials. The last four digits of the Social Security number from any adult household or checking that you do not have a Social Security number is required if you include income on the application.

Households that receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits, may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals by filling out an application.

Foster children are eligible for free meals and may be included as a household member if the foster family chooses to also apply for the non-foster children on the same application. Including foster children as a household member may help the non-foster children qualify for free or reduced-price meals. If the non-foster children are not eligible, this does not keep foster children from receiving free meals.

Your child’s eligibility status from last school year will continue into the new school year for up to 30 school days or until the school processes your new application, or your child is otherwise certified for free or reduced-price meals. After the 30 school days, your child will have to pay full price for meals, unless the household receives a notification letter for free or reduced-price meals. School officials do not have to send reminder or expired eligibility notices.

If you do not agree with the decision or results of verification, you may discuss it with school officials. You also have the right to a fair hearing, which may be requested by calling or writing the hearing official:

Danny Kim, Director of Pupil Services ~ 880 South Lemon Avenue, Walnut CA 91789 ~ (909) 595-1261 x 31311

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

 

South Pointe’s Puppy with a Purpose

Photo courtesy: WVUSD

By Kelli Gile

DIAMOND BAR-Passionate educators are willing to do just about anything to foster student success.

Meet Kevin Duh, a social studies teacher at South Pointe Middle School in Diamond Bar.

The out-of-the-box thinking educator has found a way to combine his desire to address the emotional needs of his 8th grade students and his love of dogs.

This year, Duh was granted permission to bring a 3-month old puppy named Laker to his class as an official therapy dog-in-training.

Since the first day of school in August, the lovable Goldendoodle, has been at Duh’s side at all times during the school day.

“I take him wherever I go because I want him to understand the dynamics of the campus,” he said.

“He’s like my shadow!”

Duh, who has been teaching for six years, said he chose the popular “designer” hybrid dog for several reasons.

“Laker has the intelligence and hypo-allergenic qualities of a Poodle, friendliness of a Golden Retriever, and people aren’t afraid of him,” he said.

“Already, two of my students have gotten over their fear of dogs,” Duh reports.

Laker, who is now 8-months old, has proven himself as a source of unconditional love to the young teens.

“This year, the kids seem much happier in the classroom,” he says.

Duh says his 160 students quickly developed a wonderful relationship with the gregarious and playful pup.

“I think he brightens our class up,” confirms Katie Song, 13.

“Sometimes when we’re feeling stressed, he’s just always there for us!”

“I like having Laker in class,” added classmate Kris Ng.

“He helps us feel better to just reach down and pet him during the day,”.

More than that, Laker is a comforting resource for students having a bad day or going through tough times with family issues.

“I know there’s a lot of brokenness in our community. He just brings a light into that,” Duh said.

“Laker provides a place where students can drop their anxieties on him.”

Duh has data that his dog has aided three students with testing anxiety during his short time on campus.

“For example, one student had a 65% average and I suggested he take Laker with him for his next test,” he explains.

“Within a couple weeks his scores went up to 84%. It’s a huge jump!”

Laker has also provided dozens of students with comfort of being a furry companion.

“I love Laker, he’s my best friend,” says classmate Kristin Joe, who doesn’t have a dog at home.

What’s it like bringing a puppy to school?

“He’s very playful, loving, likes to be petted, and be in constant contact with people,” Duh explains.

“For some reason, he has an instinct that when I’m teaching or doing something important, he holds off his energy!”

Duh admits that animals in school settings haven’t traditionally mixed, and with a dog it’s a “goliath” of a responsibility.

But this teacher is very dedicated to constantly making sure the dog is well-taken care of and that his students wash their hands after they pet him.

He also carves out time each day to “run out” Laker’s puppy energy.

“There’s a huge time commitment – it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be!” Duh admits.

The adorable curly-haired pup was even introduced as a new staff member during a Board Meeting, took an official school ID photo, and has hundreds of Instagram followers @lakerthegoldendoodle.

Laker will be able to take the test to become a certified therapy dog this summer when he reaches his first birthday.

Once Laker passes his test, the school plans to integrate the therapy dog into its social-emotional wellness program, according to Principal Susan Arzola.

The Community Club provides support by funding the puppy’s training classes and insurance.

“We are all cheering on Laker to make sure he passes all his classes!” said Arzola.

“This year, he’s a cute puppy. Next year, I want him to be a schoolwide resource,” adds Duh.

“I would also love to see this program grow throughout our district and for a therapy dog to be at every site.”

“I feel like we’ve stumbled onto something that’s untapped!” Duh adds.

For now, the puppy with a purpose will continue bringing joy to the students at South Pointe.

“Laker will be here with me as long as he’s able. It’s very exciting!” Duh said.

 

Scout Gives Back to Elementary School

By Kelli Gile

DIAMOND BAR—On Tuesday, Evergreen Elementary students had a surprise on campus when they returned from the three-day holiday weekend.

An enormous 16’x27’ colorful map of the United States had been painted on the amphitheater stage.

Diamond Bar High senior Jarrett Dang, 17, a member of Boy Scout Troop #730, decided to give back to his alma mater by completing his Eagle Scout Project at the school.

The Eagle Project is an important step in obtaining the highest Boy Scout ranking.

Dang designed and carried out the community service project with the help of 33 fellow Boy Scouts, volunteers, friends, and parent leaders.

He thought the map would serve as a “good educational tool for teachers” on the campus.

“I hope my project will serve as a fun and interactive way for students to learn the geography of their country!” he said.

After weeks of preparation and fundraising, the teen went to Evergreen on Friday to prepare the area by scrubbing the cement with a degreaser.

The following day, the volunteer team carefully laid out and taped down eight large stencil pieces that outlined the map and borders of each state.

The group then carefully spray painted holes in each stencil that marked the state borders.

After lifting up the stencils, the scouts began connecting the dots to form the borders.

By the end of the day, they painted all 50 states according to the blue, yellow, red, and green color scheme.

“I decided to paint California green because Evergreen’s colors are green and white,” he shared.

He also added a white diamond shape where the Diamond Bar school is located.

On Sunday, the crew applied a second coat of paint and touched up the borders, while the adults spray-painted the state abbreviations.

The final step was adding “Boy Scout Troop 730 Eagle Project 2018” in the southwest corner of the artwork.

“The students love looking at Jarrett’s gift to the school,” said exclaimed Principal Trina Dreyer.

“We are grateful that he chose his elementary school as the place to complete his Eagle Scout project!”

 

Walnut Valley USD to begin enrolling for 2018-19 school year

By Kelli Gile

WALNUTThe Walnut Valley Unified School District will soon begin registration for the 2018-2019 school year for children in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten through fifth grade.

Registration dates are:

January 16-19, 2018for those children with siblings already attending school in our district;

January 22, 2018 & onfor those elementary children new to the district, at any grade level.

You may register for transitional kindergarten if your child turns 5 years old September 2nd – December 2nd.  Students must be 5 years of age on or before September 1, to enroll in kindergarten for the 2018-2019 school year.

Space is limited!  Please visit your neighborhood elementary school to enroll your child for the upcoming school year.

At the time of registration, parents will be asked to present a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate or passport, proof of the child’s immunizations, and for kindergarten and first grade proof of an oral health examination.  For residency verification, parents will also need to provide either final escrow papers, mortgage statement or lease/rental agreement, along with a current utility bill (gas, water or electric bill) and a driver’s license (or California I.D.) with current home address.  Enrollment is on-going, and your residence address determines the elementary school where you should enroll your child.

The Walnut Valley Unified School District offers a quality day care program at all elementary sites, for both before and after school hours.  You may contact the Child Care Office at 909-444-3460 for additional information and fees.

Shown:

A strong start for young learners! Walnut Valley USD will soon begin registration for transitional kindergarten (shown) and kindergarten through fifth grade for the 2018-2019 school year.

 

Automation And Robotics Course Launches At Suzanne

Photo courtesy: WVUSD

By Kelli Gile

WALNUTA new class at Suzanne Middle School is teaching students how the world around them works while learning important skills such as team work, problem-solving, and a don’t-give-up attitude.

Seventh graders have the opportunity to take Robotics and Automation, as part of the District’s STEAM initiative.

The new course is one of several Project Lead The Way (PLTW) classes offered to students from elementary through high school.

Students learn about 11 mechanisms, the assemblies that control motion, and how they are used. Mechanisms include chain drive, bevel gear, lead screw, rack and pinion, etc.

“They are used in every single project,” said teacher Vicky Silcock.

“Students learn what they’re used for, how they work, and how they rotate.”

The group put their new skills to the test in a survival challenge last week.

Students had to imagine they were the last survivors on Earth with no running water, electricity, and barely any food.

Using VEX robotics parts, they built windmills complete with a wood-cutting saw, water pump, and grain grinder to ensure their survival.

The project has a real-world application so they can see when and how it is used.

“Project Lead the Way is cool!” said Kingsley Tang, age 12.

Students navigate their way through gear and drive ratios, reciprocating motion for water pumps, installing tiny input cranks to turn axles on chain drives, output gears that allow windmill blades to rotate clockwise, and more.

“I look forward to this class every day,” said Mehki Lin while installing a water pump feature.

“I like working with the tools!”

This is not a class where the teacher gives the answer.

Silcock provides guidance, but students must work to solve the challenges on their own.

“There’s a lot of trial and error during the engineering design process,” the technology teacher said.

Students collaborate and problem solve, and then document their findings in notebooks.

There are no textbooks and instruction is computer-based in the PLTW class.

“We can see a finished product (on the website), but we have to figure out how to get there,” said classmate Robert McCormick.

Ian Ceballos utilized a mechanism, gear, and chain drive while working on a pull toy challenge.

“I think this class is preparing us for the future,” he said.

“We use our imagination. It’s a little challenging, but we figure out things on our own.”

The class recently created a prototype for a foot orthosis for a child with cerebral palsy during an instant design challenge.

“It was challenging, but we knew it would help other people,” McCormick said.

 

 

Food Drive Brings in 8,000 Donations

By Kelli Gile

Walnut Walnut High Key Club members counted, sorted, and boxed more than 8,000 cans of food stored under the stadium bleachers, and now those cans are filling pantries in local homes and food banks.

Donations of canned vegetables, beans, soup, meats, and other staple foods poured in during the two-week Yes We Can compassion project. “The kids were bringing in cans every morning while I was coming in to work,” said Key Club advisor Justin Panlilio who has headed up the project for the past seven years.

“It put me in a good mood knowing so many needy families will have food during the holidays,” he said.

Donations doubled, up from 4,000 last year, during the 50th annual food drive held in partnership with Kiwanis of Walnut Valley, Panlilio reported.

One reason was a new collaboration with Diamond Bar High’s Key Club that brought in several hundred additional donations. The schools came together to show their compassion for helping the community.

“We thought it was a good idea to get both schools involved,” Panlilio said. Walnut High’s Key Club also hosted a class competition to boost donations, offering a pizza party to the winning class.

It worked, Kellee Lyons’ English class brought in over 550 cans.

In addition, Panlilio led an a capella choir benefit concert on December 10 with free admission for a canned food donation. On Saturday, December 16, about 35 Walnut High and Kiwanis Club volunteers gathered at 7 a.m. to distribute the food. “I think it’s insane that we have 8,000 cans this year!” commented senior Nathan Lin, one of the 30 cabinet members charged with organizing volunteers for the project.

The teens worked in unison while loading 200 packed cardboard boxes as several cars and trucks arrived on campus. In total, about 90 local families will receive two boxes with about 50-pounds of canned food, a large frozen turkey, fresh vegetables, and fruit.

“This project is about helping people in our community. We couldn’t do it without the kids!” said Ray McMullen, a 53-year Kiwanis charter member.

“This is one of the best things I do. It just makes me feel good!” shared Kiwanis member Ralph Mendez.

“I grew up in a big family with six kids and we were always taught to give back.”

The 350-member Walnut High Key Club will next be decorating Rose Parade floats and hosting an InterKey dinner fundraiser to benefit a pediatric trauma program.

Before the distribution day, Key Club volunteers put in many hours organizing and packing donations at the bleacher storage area, known as the dungeon.

“I can say without a doubt that everyone has a heart to help,” Lin said. Sophomore Jasper Wang showed up on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. What was his motivation?

“When they get a knock on the door and get a box delivered, you can just see the happiness on their faces,” he said.

 

Walnut Valley USD Board Honors Outstanding Student, Parent

By Kelli Gile

 

Walnut—The Walnut Valley USD Board of Trustees recognized a standout student and parent volunteer from Vejar Elementary School during the September 20 meeting.

Fifth grader Talisa Perez received the Super Star Student Award for going above and beyond on her campus.

“Talisa is known by students, teachers, and the staff for her kindness, respect, and good citizenship,” shared interim principal Whitney Prenger.

She is a model student of the Vejar Values: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, BeSafe.

Teachers describe her as being a student leader who is kind, hard-working, and trustworthy.

She always gives 110% and encourages classmates to do their best!

Talisa has also been selected to represent the school in the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.

Parent volunteer Kelley Cua was honored with the Partner in Education Award for generously offering her time and expertise organizing various events for the school.

Kelley has helped out in every class on campus, been a steadfast community club volunteer, and annual book fair coordinator.

During the summer, she celebrates students’ summer reading accomplishments by throwing an ice cream party when they return to school.

One Vejar teacher described Kelley as being “selfless and kind. Even as a working mother, she came every Thursday to help in the classroom.”

“She’s always been known to be reliable, kind, organized, and willing to go above and beyond!” Prenger added.

 

C.J. Morris Elementary Collects Supplies For Hurricane Victims

By WVUSD

WALNUT, CA—After watching news coverage of the devastating floods caused by Hurricane Harvey last week, C.J. Morris Elementary has stepped up to the plate to help victims in Texas.

The school’s leadership group quickly teamed up with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who will be sending a truck with supplies on September 7.

Fourth grader Malia McBride and fifth grader Sofia Rodriguez recorded a message sent to parents Friday detailing a two-day collection drive of items including diapers, tooth brushes, batteries, flashlights, and cleaning supplies.

“We knew we had to do something,” shared Principal Shehzad Bhojani, following up with his own reminder message after the Labor Day weekend.

“Tomorrow is the last day to send supplies, let’s show Texas how much we care!” he said.

The group of ten student leaders collected donations in three boxes before school on Tuesday and Wednesday in front of the Walnut campus.

“Everyone was so generous, there were piles of supplies!” exclaimed McBride.

“The donations just kept coming! We had a mountain of toothpaste and toothbrushes,” said 4th grader Kailyn Park.

“The boxes were literally overflowing,” said added 5th grader Izabella Robles who said the students made several trips to the school’s Annex to empty the boxes each morning.

“I hope these donations will help them get their life back on track,” she added.

Along with the supplies, the school wanted to send something special to lift the spirits of the children in Houston.

Children in every classroom, over 500 in total, colored rainbow cards and wrote personal words of encouragement.

“I send you all my hopes, wishes, and prayers. Don’t worry everything will turn out fine because I’m sure the water will dry up,” Rodriguez penned.

“God is with you,” wrote Jasmine Torres.

The last step was attaching a bag of Skittles candy to each card that read: After every storm comes a rainbow. Sending all our love to Texas.

Teachers Carole Meade, Monica Power, and counselor Lorena Chavez advise the 4th and 5th grade leadership group.

“We are overwhelmed, truly, by our generous C.J. Morris community,” said Mead after receiving the final donations Wednesday.

“They were walking up with just bags and bags!”

WVUSD Students Experience Great American Eclipse

Celestial Celebration!

 

By WVUSD

WALNUT, CA–Wearing protective ISO glasses, 10-year-old Eli Gerhardt peered outdside his classroom window at just after 9 a.m. on Monday morning.

The Great American Eclipse was already happening.

“It looks like the moon took a bite out of the sun!” the Walnut Elementary fifth grader exclaimed as the moon began casting its shadow.

“This is amazing!”

Then, a few at a time, his classmates took turns viewing their first solar eclipse.

“I saw the sun and the moon was covering it a little,” said Chloe Lam.

“I’ve been excited to see the eclipse!” she added.

“The solar flares happen when the moon is covering the sun – there are orange flames,” explained classmate Giselle Quintanilla.

From Oregon to South Carolina, the total solar eclipse darkened skies across the continental U.S. for the first time in 99 years.

Although her class stayed inside due to safety concerns, Vejar kindergarten teacher Lisa Gomez made the “big event” memorable with crafts and fun lunar snacks including mini “Moon” pancakes, Sun Chips, and Sunny Delight.

Many classrooms also watched the historic event during a live NASA broadcast.

South Pointe Middle School received a generous donation of 300 eclipse glasses from Mt. San Antonio College.

“All our 6th,7th, and 8th graders will get a chance to see the moon pass in front of the sun this morning,” said science teacher Tom Woodward.

“We talked about safety on Friday. I told them never to look at the sun without the glasses,” he shared.

Students watched an astronomy video and took a 10-question quiz moments before going outside.

“Which eclipse are we seeing today, lunar or solar?” he asked the 6th graders.

“Solar!” they replied.

“Tomorrow we’ll talk about the difference,” the teacher promised.

Beginning at 10:05 a.m., each grade level, about 900 students in total, rotated outside for viewing parties.

“It looks like a crescent moon, but it’s the sun!” exclaimed sixth grader Emily Lee.

“My students were in awe,” shared Diamond Bar High physics teacher Angela Jensvold after the morning’s celestial celebration.

“Students were running to come to class in order not to miss a minute,” she said.

“We observed the sharpness of our shadows and crescent shaped images of the sun in the dappled shade of trees.”

Most of her students used ISO glasses, while some made their own eclipse viewers decorated with kittens and turtles.

“Even though I didn’t give them any extra credit!” Jensvold added.

At Walnut High, chemistry teacher Jeri Burnside bought a class set of 35 certified eclipse glasses over the summer.

“We got a chance to use our ISO glasses to see the sun at maximum coverage for our viewing area, about 67% at 10:21 a.m.,” she said.

“We saw the daylight around us fading and felt the temperature cooling as over half the solar energy was blocked.”

Burnside told students that the next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will occur in 2024, and that there is only one town, Carbondale, Illinois, that will actually be in the path of totality.

“My students will be around 22 to 23 years-old then, so hopefully they will be able to travel to see a total eclipse if they so desire!”