Tag Archives: WVUSD

School Lunch And School Breakfast Programs

Kelli Gile


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.





eligibility scale



eligibility scale


household size Annual monthly twice monthly every two


weekly annual monthly twice monthly every two


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.


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


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!



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!”

WVUSD Staff Kicks Off 2017-2018 School Year


WALNUT, CA—As Walnut Valley USD students get ready to head back to class next week after summer break, educators have been busy gearing up for the new school year.

 On Wednesday, nearly 1,000 teachers, classified personnel, and district leaders gathered during a Welcome Back celebration held at Calvary Chapel in Diamond Bar.

 The 14th annual kick-off rally featured recognitions of over 200 long-service employees, Teachers of the Year, Cornerstone Award winners, and keynote message by Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

 “We’re looking forward to a phenomenal school year!” Dr. Taylor said to the assembled WVUSD employees.

 “There’s no better environment to get us fired up for the new school year than being in this building with you.”

 “This year’s All Means All slogan is a reminder of what we do every day,” Dr. Taylor added.

 “It’s about differentiating so that all kids have the tools to be successful at each stage of their education, being intentional and bringing in systems of health and well-being into a child’s education, and upholding high standards for all kids.”

 As staffers from all 15 schools and departments mingled and visited during the outdoor continental breakfast, 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 band under the direction of Corey Wicks and Katie Takahashi.

 Walnut High senior Julia Provencio performed the national anthem after boy scout troop #777 led the opening flag ceremony.

 Deputy Superintendent Dr. Matthew Witmer and Administrative Director Dr. Sergio Canal hosted the program that included over 50 raffle prizes provided by local businesses. 

Bill Foley, the District Teacher of the Year and Mike Bromberg, the Classified Employee of the Year, took a few moments to address their peer.

“It’s amazing to be up here today!” said Foley, a digital photography teacher at Diamond Bar High School. 

The 34-year veteran educator said he was advised in college to find a career that he was passionate about, and to know it well.

 By all accounts, he’s done just that.

“What I really care about the most when I’m teaching is my students and their work,” he said proudly showing a website featuring student photography.

When Foley asked his charges if they thought he deserved the Teacher of the Year award, they confirmed his passion and dedication to serving all students. 

“One student told me that I’m the most pure-hearted teacher he’d ever had,” the humble teacher shared

“None of us do this job alone. Every time you smile or say something positive to a teacher, it builds them up. I treat my fellow teachers the way that I want to be treated.

“It takes a whole district to raise a Teacher of the Year!” he added. 

“I’ve worked in all our schools and have seen firsthand how important classified employees are to everyone,” said Bromberg, a former carpenter and electrician, who currently serves as the operations manager at Diamond Bar High School

“We all work as a team in Walnut Valley and we want to give the best customer service that we can.” 

“In my opinion, we are the heartbeat of the school district!”

Bromberg, a WVUSD alumnus, recalled growing up always taking a keen interest when maintenance crews arrived at his school.

The men in blue would often have to remind him to “take a step back” when he got too close to the equipment

And now, Bromberg feels like he’s come full circle. 

“I’m dedicated to providing a great school environment for the next generation, just as it was provided for me!”

Run, Teach, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Walnut High educator Jerry Knox breaks 3 world records in 2017


WALNUT, CA—To say that Walnut High teacher and alumnus Jerry Knox is passionate about running might be an understatement.

He laces up his running shoes five days a week, clocking five-to-eight miles a day, and 15 miles every Saturday.

Knox usually runs a marathon each month, and in the past 11 years has crossed the finish line over 80 times.

Every medal is displayed in his classroom and the AP geography and cross country coach has been known to wear the event t-shirt to school on Mondays following a race.

In 2009, the 22-year veteran educator decided to up the ante and go for a world record “just to make it interesting.”

Knox said he had always liked the Guinness Book of World Records as a kid.

When his son Alex was 8, he announced “Dad, you can beat that” after reading that someone held the world record for dribbling a basketball during a marathon.

And he did. Knox won his first world record in 3 hours, 42 minutes, 20 seconds. That record was beat in 2011.

Before going for another world record, Knox decided to focus on running a marathon in under three hours.

He accomplished that goal in 2015 at the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach with a time of 2:59:20.

That same year, he won back the basketball marathon title with a time of 3:11:16, which was bested in 2016 by a runner from Estonia.

“It’s about the running, the basketballs are just a gimmick,” Knox said.

He also learned in order to be included in the actual Guinness Book, not just the website, he had to participate in the London marathon with official representatives.

In April 2015, he crossed the Atlantic and became the fastest man to dribble not one, but TWO basketballs while running the 26.2-mile course.

He captured that title in 4 hours, 10 minutes, 44 seconds.

“It was hard keeping the concentration, especially at the end of the race,” he said.

Cobblestone roads, 38,000 racers, drums, disc jockeys, a dark tunnel, coupled with fatigue quelled the distance runner during the last miles.

“I thought, is this thing going to end?” Knox commented.

“It was like an obstacle course!”

Some of the London racers cheered as he attempted the challenging world record, while others were irritated with the noisy bouncing basketballs.

“They’d trained hard and you’ve got this guy next to them passing them with a clank-clank!”

Knox has broken three additional world records in 2017: running the fastest marathon while jumping rope with a time of 4:20:31 on February 19 and the fastest marathon wearing German lederhosen at the Los Angeles Marathon on March 19.

“I thought it would be funny and an excuse to buy some!” he said about going for the quirky record.

Most recently, he crossed the finish line wearing a graduation cap and gown during the OC Marathon on May 8.

For the first time in history, Guinness sent a team to Los Angeles to verify world records.

No need for witnesses, photos, videos, or coordinating with the race director, Knox said.

“It’s so much easier. You say you’re going to do it, they watch you, and you’re done.”

The athlete is currently prepping for his sixth 100-mile race which will take about 22 hours to complete.

Next fall he’d like to break the record for skipping during a marathon.

“I think it would be a hard one to beat, you use different muscles.”

Knox doesn’t actively recruit students to join his healthy lifestyle, he prefers to quietly lead by example.

Snacks of fresh fruit and vegetables and a “Want to get fit? Join cross country – no experience necessary” recruiting flyer can be seen near his desk.

“Sometimes it’s best not to be a nag and I know it’s expensive to run marathons,” he said.

The coach also joins the cross-country team for their daily training runs.

“It’s better when he’s out on the course with us,” said sophomore Jason Yen.

“And he understands our pain.”

Knox didn’t begin running marathons until he was 36 years old, thinking distance running was only for “Olympians.”

It all began when fellow teacher So Hee Tan mentioned that she had just completed one.

“If she can do it, so can I,” he said.

The first step was joining a running club and beginning training, but the first marathons didn’t go as he had hoped.

Knox walked the final four miles during his first two attempts.

On his third try, he was able to jog the entire way and was “hooked.”

Last year, his wife Carolyn Campbell, a Vejar Elementary transitional kindergarten teacher, joined him on the course, completing her first marathon in November.

In recent years, he has also transitioned to eating more organic food.

“Every year I seemed to click off something different,” he said about first giving up ground beef, then fast food, fried food, and soda. He recently went vegan.

“So, I’ll comment to my students on that and some of my failures. I still really miss pizza!”

Yen says his marathon-running teacher is a setting a good example for fellow students.

“He has a goal and achieves it by practicing and not giving up.”


Chaparral Students Make Global Connections

Photo courtesy: WVUSD


DIAMOND BAR, CA—Chaparral Middle School 8th grader Izzy Reedy and a dozen classmates learned about culture, education, weather, and even sports in Tanzania this year.

But, it wasn’t by opening a textbook or conducting research on a computer.

The Diamond Bar students gained knowledge through a global connection with the Gyekrum Arusha Secondary School, located over 8,500 miles away in East Africa.

Education specialist Kimberly Ramos formed the partnership with teacher Zaituni Njovu and her students through the World Education Connection program.

The students and teachers got to know each other by communicating back and forth using email and Google Hangout.

“They would ask lots of questions and post photos,” Ramos said about the 21st century-learning technology.

“Anything I received from the teacher, I would post on Google Classroom to share with my kids.”

Ramos said her students embraced the program and were amazed with how many similarities they had with their new friends.

“The kids loved seeing each other. And the things we learned this year have had more meaning because we were able to connect with the other half of the ‘Kilimanjaro Squad’ on a personal level.”

The relationship deepened when students recently held a campus clean-up project to provide supplies to the school in Karatu Urusha.

On May 10, global teams shared their thoughts of the power of connection during an inaugural World Education Day event.

Classmates Julia Brandt, Alex Ginez, and Reedy arrived before the 7:45 a.m. opening bell, eager to participate in the live global broadcast.
“Asante Sana!” the students exclaimed in Swahili while waving to one another.

“We got to experience the way they live and learn,” Brant said. “I wouldn’t have changed a thing about this experience!”

“I hope we can stay connected with the kids in Tanzania.”

“The best thing has been the sharing,” Ginez offered.

“We talked about our siblings, our pets, and hobbies. We have a lot in common.”

Students said they also gained appreciation for their own lives after seeing the East African partner school squeeze 80 students inside a class with dirt floors and dilapidated furniture.

“It showed me to be grateful for what I have, and to respect elders and family,” Reedy said.


WVUSD Trustees Recognize Students, Parents For Making A Difference

Photo courtesy: WVUSD
Fifth grade artists are recognized as honorable mention winners in the Music K-8 Magazine Cover Contest.

 By Kelli Gile

WALNUT—Super star students and parent volunteers from Maple Hill and Westhoff elementary schools were honored by the Walnut Valley USD Board of Trustees on April 19.

In addition, the Board recognized 14 talented young artists named winners in the 2017 Music K-8 Magazine Cover Contest and the 2017 Board Representatives.

Maple Hill Elementary all-star parent Natalie Johnson received the Partner in Education Award.

“When there is fun at Maple Hill, Natalie is front and center,” said Principal Kelly Morris.

Photo couresty: WVUSD
Maple Hill Elementary all-star parent Natalie Johnson receives the Partner in Education Award. Shown with Principal Kelly Morris, Board President Dr. Tony Torng, and family members.

Natalie, a Maple Hill alum, serves as the community club 2nd vice president in charge of fundraising.

This year, she planned and organized a new VIP Dance, along with the annual fall fundraiser, luau lunch, Hawk Walk pep rally, and jog-a-thon.

Natalie’s personal priority is to be a champion for kids. She also strives to make sure they receive the same love and excitement she received at the school, Morris said.

“Her events generate excitement and joy in the lives of all our children and teachers. She is a true memory maker!”

Fifth grader Leah Owens received Super Star Student Award.

“Leah has been capturing all our hearts since the first grade. She is incomparable, dynamic, effervescent, and beyond loving,” Morris described.

She has the gift of connecting with people, whether they are strangers or life-long friends.

“Leah has such a light within her, but also knows how to encourage the light within others,” Morris said.

This year, Maple Hill created a new school slogan: Kind Hearts, Strong Minds, Brave Spirit, Hawk Pride.

“Leah is the poster child and embodies all of these qualities!” Morris added.

Current and former teachers were also on hand to pay tribute to the student of the year who volunteers, greets students, makes announcements, and shares “Hawk Pride” all around the campus.

“On numerous occasions, I have watched Leah showing kindness to students who are struggling to make friends,” said 4th grade teacher Samantha Valadez.

“She sees the best in people and easily finds ways to make meaningful connections.”

Two valuable members of the Westhoff Elementary community were honored with the Partner in Education Award.

Photo courtesy: WVUSD
Maple Hill Elementary all-star parent Natalie Johnson receives the Partner in Education Award. Shown with Principal Kelly Morris, Board President Dr. Tony Torng, and family members.

Parent Valerie Lu quickly became a volunteer in her children’s classes when they started school in 2013, and now serves as the community club vice president.

Valerie collaborates with other parents and stepped up to coordinate phone banking during recent bond campaigns. She helps lead and serve at all schoolwide events including culture fair, walk-a-thon, movie night, Santa’s workshop, and colonial fair. She is also the co-chair for the 5th grade promotion committee and is currently making keepsake invitations for students.

“Westhoff staff members feel that she is responsible, reliable, humble, and never seeks recognition for all that she quietly does behind the scenes,” said Principal Denise Rendon.

Photo courtesy: WVUSD
Westhoff parent Preston McChesney is lauded with Partner in Education Award on April 19. Shown with Principal Denise Rendon, Board President Dr. Tony Torng, and family members.

Dedicated volunteer Preston McChesney has been helping out in his two children’s classes for the past several years. He is always available when needed and has a positive attitude that rubs off on others.

“Our teachers say that they can count on tons of support from this Dad!” Rendon said.

Preston can often be found sitting on the floor helping classroom reading groups, chaperoning field trips, setting up class parties, and even taking pictures for parents who aren’t there. And most importantly, he is an excellent role model for Westhoff students.

“He inspires all of us with his positive attitude, his devotion to his beautiful family, and genuine kindness he shares so freely. Thank you, for the generous donation of your time!” said Rendon.

Photo courtesy: WVUSD
Fifth grader Valentina Galvan is recognized with the Super Star Student Award. Shown with Board President Dr. Tony Torng.

Fifth grader Valentina Galvan was recognized with the Super Star Student Award.

Valentina exemplifies good character and sets a wonderful example for her classmates, according to teacher Kimberley Dalton.  She “buddy” reads with struggling readers or those learning English, and brings a smile to those around her because she is so encouraging.

This year, the active student council member led school spirit rallies, organized a school-wide book drive for an orphanage in Rosemead, collected socks for the homeless people, and helped run a note-writing campaign for those serving in the military.

Valentina is always willing to help those around her, and at the same time, maintains excellent study habits, great grades, and citizenship.

“Valentina has a natural sense of goodness and she will do extraordinary things!” Rendon said.

Fourteen elementary students were recognized as winners in the international 2017 Music K-8 Magazine Cover Contest.

Music Specialist Greta Baker introduced the talented 5th grade artists who received certificates of special recognition and color prints of their original designs.

This year’s top WVUSD winner is 2nd Runner-Up – Nadia Tsai from Vejar. Top Finalists are Justin Kung- Castle Rock and Sarah Fan – Westhoff. Finalists are Gloria Nien – Maple Hill, Melody Song – Quail Summit, and Ashley Chiu – Castle Rock. Honorable Mentions are Ashton Chen – Evergreen, Riley Phan – Walnut, LeAnna Fan – Vejar, Mia Zhang – Castle Rock, Alyssa Ma – Maple Hill, Sabrina Lin – Maple Hill, Amin Rasheed – Vejar, and Isabella Torreyson – Vejar.

WVUSD Trustees recognized the 2017 Student Representatives Abigail Nakaishi – Diamond Bar High and Katelyn Rowley – Walnut High for dedicated service.

The seniors are appointed to serve one-year terms, acting as liaisons between their campuses and the Board. Each month, the teens attend open meetings and present detailed reports of campus activities.

WVUSD Trustees Celebrate Outstanding Students, Parent Volunteers

Partner in Education Awardees Sonal Choksey, Lily Eibert, and Caryn Mason with family members, Board President Tony Torng and Suzanne Middle School Principal Les Ojeda.


Walnut —Each month, Walnut Valley USD Board of Trustees celebrate hard-working students and dedicated community members.

During the March 15 meeting, South Pointe and Suzanne Middle School leaders took to the podium to introduce their hand-picked honorees.

South Pointe parent Annalisa Gore was lauded with the Partner in Education Award. She has served as community club president for the past two years.

Annalisa is a collaborative leader who leads by example and has a magical way of making all parents feel like they belong.

Additionally, she puts “Kids First” by raising important funds to support learning, character development, and extra-curricular activities on campus.

“Annalisa is willing to roll up her sleeves and help in any way she can, including selling bobas!” said Principal Susan Arzola.

(Above and below) WVUSD Board President Tony Torng presents Super Star Student Award to South Pointe 8th grader Ivan Vazquez on March 15.

South Pointe 8th grader Ivan Vazquez received the Super Star Student Award. Although he has faced many challenges in his short life, it has not limited Ivan from achieving success.

The young man is a positive role model who puts a smile on his face for anyone who crosses his path.

If Ivan sees a classmate that is having a hard day, he lifts them up. If he sees an adult that needs a helping hand, he’s there to offer it.

“Ivan is always positive, pleasant, compassionate, helpful, considerate, and greets you with a smile,” Arzola said.

“We are very proud of Ivan and all of his accomplishments and all the contributions he makes to the school!”

The Roboheroes robotics team from Suzanne Middle School received the Super Star Student Award.

Team members are Matthew Carreon, Nathan Fong, Collin Lee, Spencer Lee, Codey Ma, Marcus Robles, Roman Robles, Ethan Tungpalan, Sarah Wang, and Ronnie Zhang.

South Pointe Middle School parent volunteer Annalisa Gore is honored with Partner in Education Award on March 15. Shown with Principal Susan Arzola and Board President Tony Torng.

The Roboheros won 1st place Robot Game at the Legoland FLL Cup in February.

Team members spent countless hours building and programming a Lego robot, researching and finding a solution to help animals, taking part in community outreach events.

“These students have gone above and beyond to represent our school in a positive way,” said Principal Les Ojeda.

The team is coached by advisor Vicky Silcock, and parent volunteers Jonathan Fong and Daffodil Robles.

The Roboheroes recently won the Core Values Inspiration Award at the Los Angeles Regional Championship and has been invited to represent the region at an international championship tournament sponsored by NASA in West Virginia this summer.

A trio of Suzanne dedicated parent volunteers Sonal Choksey, Lily Eibert, and Caryn Mason received the school’s Partner in Education Award.

“These wonderful ladies put in endless hours of service for our school,” Ojeda said.

This year, the community club board members planned and organized numerous school events including a successful booster drive that raised over $65,000 to provide technology, teacher intervention, curriculum books, and other valuable student resources.

“You have led with passion and enthusiasm, and as a result, you have made Suzanne a better place for our students!”

Board President Tony Torng presents Partner in Education Award to Suzanne Middle School parents Sonal Choksey, Lily Eibert, and Caryn Mason.291329

Kindness Matters

By WVUSD bwkindness-matters-schools 

WALNUT— Millions of students across the country focused on spreading happiness during the Great Kindness Challenge.  Every elementary and middle school campus in Walnut Valley USD joined the national event held the week of January 23-27.

Students received a list of 25 acts of kindness they could accomplish during the course of the week. The challenges were as simple as smiling at people, lending a pencil to a friend, or even holding the door open.

South Pointe Middle School hosted a Nothing Beats Kindness Day on January 25 with a fast-paced marshmallow relay race held at lunchtime.  Six volunteers from each class carefully passed the tiny treats to each other holding plastic spoons in their mouths.

“We’re doing this kindness activity to get to know each other better!” shared 7th grader Jasmine Montoya while cheering for her friends. The winning homeroom also earned Panther Points toward a year-end pizza party. Students also wrote notes of appreciation to community members, including the fire and sheriff’s departments, and donated food and supplies to a local animal shelter.

“Thank you for your hard work!” penned Jared Wong to the Walnut-Diamond Bar Sherriff’s Department.

“Thank you so much for protecting us,” added Natasha Chang.

Vejar Elementary hosted a Peace and Kindness Week with students creating Kindness Matters signs and completing kind acts including recycling, a happy dance, high fives, and sitting with someone new at lunch.  

Westhoff Elementary students saluted soldiers with heart-shaped kindness grams that were delivered to the four branches of the armed forces. Evergreen Elementary kindergartners made cards, and donated food and toys to children battling illnesses at City of Hope through the Friend in Need program. The giving group in teacher Mona Warren’s class also led a campaign to collect socks and blankets for the Santa Ana Riverbed Tent City people. “Helping others and growing hearts at the same time is a win-win for all involved,” said Principal Carolyn Wills. Suzanne Middle School held its annual 6th grade Friendship Summit on January 26 with activities centered on making friends, building relationships, and finding commonalities with other classmates. Walnut Elementary hosted a Mix It Up Lunch on January 25 to encourage students step out of their social bubbles and learn about other classmates.  Students were seated at lunch tables according to their birth month.“They learn they have the same birthday month, and that’s common ground for a lot of friendships,” said counselor Cris Smith. First graders Gavin and Jacqueline found out they shared the same birthday – March 23. At the November table, youngsters talked about their favorite movies and television shows, and what they like to do for fun – sleeping and swimming were the most popular responses!

Stroke of Luck

Chaparral grandfather painting murals, portraits around campus


DIAMOND BAR-School volunteers enrich the lives of Walnut Valley students in countless ways – by giving of their time in classrooms, organizing fundraisers and events, and through financial contributions that provide enrichment opportunities on every campus.

Cornelis Greive, an 84-year-old grandfather, is leaving a lasting legacy through the gift of his artwork.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, the talented painter arrives at Chaparral Middle School with his tools of the trade: sable brushes and tubes of acrylic paint.

Greive is transforming the school by creating a gallery of cougar murals, national and state awards logos, and portraits of inspirational authors, presidents, scientists, scholars, and more.

Since August, the amiable octogenarian has logged more than 1,000 hours around the Diamond Bar campus, according to Principal Ron Thibodeaux.

“Cor has added a lot of color and really brightened up our campus. He’s a gem!”

Greive has produced about 20 stellar portraits including Leonardo De Vinci, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Jane Austen, Albert Einstein, and Amelia Earhart.

His canvas is typically indoor hallway walls, but also extends to ball walls and school signage.

Chaparral teachers choose the artwork to be featured outside their classroom.

“Whatever they pick, I’ll paint it!” he said.

With a digital printout in hand, he sets out to replicate the masterpiece, using grids to transfer images onto the walls.

The magic happens when Greive mixes up the colors on his artist palette and gently grips a wood-handled brush.

He works quickly, beginning with the eyes, and often completes an entire portrait in one session – just two hours.

“It excites me because I see it come to life!” the Holland-born native admits.

He is a welcome presence on campus, receiving warm greetings by students and staff members.

“I like your artwork!” chimes one boy passing by the artist on his way to class.

Greive quickly offers warm smile and humbly replies, “Thank you!”

The resident artist recently completed the portrait of Anne Frank inside the classroom of humanities teacher Sherry Robertson, who describes him a “priceless member of the Cougar family.”

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my students to witness a stunning piece of artwork blossom from a blank canvas. His quiet, lovable demeanor captivated all our hearts,” Robertson said.

The black and white painting in her class bears a quote penned by the young girl who went into hiding during the Holocaust: “I can shake off anything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

“It’s a gift to be able to paint. Anne Frank’s gift was her writing,” Greive reflected. “It helped her get through those dark days.”

Robertson described her students as being “in awe as they watched every brush stroke.”

Sixth grader Elim Jiang said it was “amazing” to observe the sketching and painting process.

“I had a hard time focusing on my work because I was mesmerized by the art!” commented Edward Delano.

Greive said his goal is for the artwork to help make students, staff, and parents proud of the campus.

“I’m happy they appreciate it!”

To date, his favorite paintings at Chaparral are Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman.

“They have a lot in common. Both were denied higher education, but they stayed grounded. They never had any money, but were always giving to others.” Greive says he is looking forward to decorating the school’s new music building with portraits of composers. During the previous two years, Greive painted several murals at Maple Hill Elementary when his grandchildren, Grace and Louis Ramirez, attended the school. Grace, who is probably his biggest fans, now attends Chaparral. “I am very proud of my Opa!” the 6th grader beamed. “His art makes our school prettier!” Greive has pledged to continue painting at Chaparral for two more years, and then plans to “graduate” to Diamond Bar High. “I enjoy it here at school – I’m painting the walls and they let me get away with it!”


WVUSD Musicians Named to So Cal Honor Band and Orchestra


 A total of 133 talented musicians, representing every Walnut Valley USD middle and high school, performed in honor band and orchestra concerts last weekend. Southern California Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA) hosted the annual gathering of So Cal’s best at Kennedy High School in La Palma. Selection for the All-Southern ensembles requires a rigorous audition process that takes place in December. This year, over 800 middle school students from across Southern California auditioned, with 56 students chosen from Walnut Valley. Each ensemble rehearsed with a renowned conductor for two weekends before the final concert. Chaparral Middle School 8th grader Sean Wu, who led the tuba section, was positive about being involved in honor band. “It was a good experience. I learned many new things and my skill level went up!” Suzanne Middle School student Elsie Lin participated in the honor orchestra for the second year in a row. “SCSBOA is a great learning opportunity and a great way to make new friends. Although it was challenging, in the end it is worth it because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said. All participants are also members of the high-achieving bands and orchestras on their campuses. Many of the students chosen for All-Southern will also participate in All-State ensembles in February.


WVUSD Board Celebrates Star Students, Community Members

wvusdWALNUT-The Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees paid tribute to star students and community partners during the January 18 meeting.

Westhoff Elementary 5th grader Valentina Galvan received a certificate of special recognition for winning the 2016 “Holidays Around the World” greeting card contest. Valentina’s submission depicted a snowman and holiday greetings in German, Swedish, Spanish. Chinese, and Hebrew. She also received a family gift pack from Chick-fil-A in Walnut.

C.J. Morris Elementary fifth grader Delia Jaramillo was saluted with the school’s Super Star Student Award.

Since arriving at the school last year, Delia has shown abundant growth in all areas, improved attendance, demonstrated a positive attitude, and she has made new friends. Delia has become involved in school activities including the Matador and Green Clubs, and she enjoys singing in the school’s talent show and choir concerts.

“Delia is truly somebody that exemplifies grit and perseverance,” said Principal Shehzad Bhojani. “And her hard work has paid off!”

“Our staff is so excited for Delia to move up to middle school and be successful!” 

Longtime C.J. Morris parent volunteer Rita Santana was presented the Partner in Education Award.

Rita has been a wonderful source of support in the school community for the past 13 years. She has served in many capacities including a decade-run as Community Club treasurer, as well as Spirit Drive, Matador March, and Fall Fundraiser coordinator, teacher and staff appreciation events, after-school concessions, uniform sales, book fair, ice cream social, and bond committee representative.

“She has been there for our school community in more ways that I can count! Bhojani said.

The principal said he asked the standout parent why she is so involved at the school?

“I’ve always tried to use my talents for the kids, teachers, and staff because I can. I was taught the more we do for teachers and staff, the more they can focus on children,” Rita said.

“We appreciate all that she has done for the C.J. Morris community and District!” Bhojani said.

Faith Education Center, under the leadership of Pastor Donald and First Lady Gloria Gridiron, received the Partner in Education Award.

“They have been great supporters of the Ron Hockwalt Academies and the Hockwalt Adult Resource & Transition Training (HARTT) program,” said Principal Dr. Donna Hunter.

For the past three years, Faith Center supplied food for the HARTT Center’s culinary program, providing an opportunity for the young adults to prep and cook meals. In addition, students gain work experience by bagging groceries, assisting families, and working as part of a team at the church food bank.

At Ron Hockwalt Academies (RHA), Faith Center organized and hosted a free Emergency Preparedness Workshop for 150 families and community members in October.

Gloria Gridiron was the inspiration behind a Veteran’s Day assembly with staff dressing up and performing in military-themed clothing for students.

In December, the Faith Center sponsored new tennis shoes and gift cards for every Ron Hockwalt student through the District’s Caring Soles program.

“I’m speechless, this is the nicest present I’ve ever received,” said one teen recipient. “It makes me want to work harder and graduate.”

“As a learning community, Ron Hockwalt Academies and the HARTT Center sincerely appreciate your support,” Hunter said. “We believe you share our HOPE and our Heart. Thank you for partnering with us!”

Ron Hockwalt Academies senior Mirya Ortiz received the Super Star Student award. Since arriving in Fall 2015, Mirya has found her voice and become a great leader on campus, Hunter said.

Mirya was an original member of the school’s first ASB leadership group. She led, organized and planned Spirit Week activities, assemblies, and helped shape the culture by focusing on student wins.

She also represented the school on the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and was awarded the Principal’s Award as the top student in academics and citizenship.

“Mirya is such a great student that she completed her senior year and is the first RHA graduate for 2017!” Hunter announced.

The WVUSD Adapted Physical Education (APE) Team was recognized as the Exemplary Program of the Year.

The four outstanding APE educators – Kris Rote, Greg Sasaki, Deanne Rodriguez, and Mika Chan – were named the top team in the California, Arizona, and Nevada by the State Council of Adapted Physical Education.

“They are dedicated to kids, and put in numerous hours above and beyond to make sure that all our 15 schools are serviced with the best care,” said Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Jeff Jordan.

“You might see them at school sites, or teaching our students lifelong recreational skills at the Big Bear adapted ski school, fishing and kayaking at Mother’s Beach, at the bowling alley, or even golfing,” shared Special Education Director Judi Koorndyk.



Walnut Valley USD Seeks Members for WV Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee


WALNUT- The Walnut Valley Unified School District (WVUSD) is looking for qualified, interested individuals to serve on the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee.

On November 8, 2016, voters residing within the WVUSD passed Measure WV.  Measure WV is a $152,880,000 bond measure that authorizes funding for needed repairs, upgrades, and new construction projects to the District’s schools. Proposition 39 required a 55% super majority for approval; Measure WV was passed by 64.31%.

An active oversight committee is part of the accountability and auditing process to ensure that a check and balance system is effective.  The Committee consists of a minimum of seven members appointed by the Board of Trustees from a list of candidates submitting written applications and based on criteria established by Prop 39.  The District is seeking applications from interested individuals willing to serve a term on the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee.

Applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • One (1) member shall be the parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the District.
  • One (1) member shall be both a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the District and active in a parent-teacher organization, such as the P.T.A. or a school site council.
  • One (1) member active in a business organization representing the business community located in the District.
  • One (1) member active in a senior citizens’ organization.
  • One (1) member active in a bona-fide taxpayers association.
  • Two (2) members of the community at-large.

A copy of the Bylaws and an Application may be downloaded from the District’s website at www.wvusd.k12.ca.us.  Completed Applications are to be emailed to Business Services Interim Assistant Superintendent Kenneth Goodson kgoodson@wvusd.k12.ca.us by 4:30 PM on February 24, 2017.



WVUSD Trustees Appoint Layla Abou-Taleb Provisional Board Member

By WVUSD wvusd

WALNUT-Walnut Valley Unified School District (WVUSD) Board of Trustees conducted interviews and appointed a Provisional Board Member during the Special Meeting held January 10. 

Longtime Walnut resident, Layla Abou-Taleb, was unanimously approved to fill the vacant seat and will be sworn in during the January 18 Board Meeting.

“We are confident that Mrs. Abou-Taleb will be a great addition to the Board with her knowledge in early childhood education and enthusiasm to serve the community!” said Board President Dr. Tony Torng. The vacant seat was created by the resignation of Phillip Chen in November. 

Abou-Taleb has been a community member for nearly 30 years. Her three children graduated and two grandchildren currently attend WVUSD schools.

“I recognize as a parent and grandparent the importance of quality education,” she said during the interview. 

Abou-Taleb, who is retired, earned a master’s degree in social work from University of Southern California.

During her career, she worked as an early childhood education advocate with the State of California Department of Social Services. She has also been a substitute teacher and classroom volunteer.

For the past two years, she led a grassroots effort to provide information and increase community involvement through the United Walnut Taxpayers non-profit organization.

“My strongest asset is the community’s trust and confidence in me. And that is what I bring to the table,” she said.

Community members who participated in the selection process included Layla Abou-Taleb, S. Sean Monemi, James E. Swartz, Benjamin Yip, and Ben Zhang.

Retired Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Ray McMullen served as moderator during the Open Session interviews with the five candidates.

Abou-Taleb, who was out of the country due to a previously scheduled visit, participated in the interviews through a Skype conference call.

Each candidate was given one minute to present an opening statement, eight minutes to respond to questions, and one minute to make a closing statement.

“Thank you very much, I am deeply honored and look forward to joining you on the Board,” Abou-Taleb said after the vote.

The provisional appointment is effective immediately and the appointee will serve until the next scheduled District election.

“I hope I meet the expectations of our community and students. And believe me, I will give it my best shot!”