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What's good in education, Nov. 20, 2009

Vol. X, No. 13

Posted: November 20, 2009 10:58 a.m.
Updated: November 20, 2009 2:03 p.m.

Bowman senior Ryan Sanchez recieved a $300 SARB Scholarship for his commitment to education and attendance of classes.

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Ceremonies open Golden Valley Auditorium
Hors d'oeuvres by the school's culinary arts program, a jazz trio, ribbon cutting and performances by the choirs, bands and theater arts program wowed audiences at the recent dedication ceremony for the performing arts center at Golden Valley High School.

Principal Sal Frias extolled the facility's value to the school and accepted proclamations from elected officials. Performing groups are already taking full advantage of the long-awaited theater.

Academy of the Canyons completes accreditation process
Academy of the Canyons recently completed its WASC Focus on Learning accreditation site visit following more than a year of preparation.

After reading the detailed self-examination report created by the entire AOC staff, spending several days on the AOC campus, observing classes in session and meeting with staff, students and parents, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges visiting committee evaluated the quality and effectiveness of the learning environment at Academy of the Canyons.

The committee was very impressed with its findings, and their preliminary report included a long list of school-wide areas of strength. A final accreditation report is expected in early spring.

New science building installed at Hart High
The new science building at Hart High School moved closer to reality last week as a crane hoisted the 17,000 sq. ft. modular building onto its foundation.

The building is part of a $28 million modernization project currently underway at Hart, funded by Measure V school construction bonds approved by local voters in 2001. The science building is expected to be ready for classes by Jan. 25, 2010.

Rio Norte students win PTSA contests
The Rio Norte PTSA Reflections Annual Gala saluted more than 100 students who entered the competition titled "Beauty is.." Winning entries in each category will continue to the PTA district level competition.

In first place for film and video production as well as literature is Kelci Peterson. The first place winner for musical composition is Matthew Marcelino. McKenzie Bright is recognized for first place in the photography category. In the category of visual arts the first place winner is Moses Yun. Congratulations to all of the students who entered the competition.

West Ranch wins sweepstakes at rampage
The West Ranch High School Marching Band and Colorguard won the sweepstakes award at Hart High School's Rampage field show tournament.

Rampage is the premiere field show competition in Southern California and West Ranch is the only band in the long history of this event to win sweepstakes two years in a row. West Ranch had the largest band of the 30-plus bands at Rampage.

Governor's Council awards $10,000 to Sierra Vista
The "new P.E." program at Sierra Vista Junior High School received a $10,000 boost when representatives of the Governor's Council for Physical Fitness presented a check for that amount to Sirera Vista P.E. Department Chair George Velarde, who was named the Council's Gold Medal P.E. Teacher of the Year.

The presentation was made by Jake Steinfeld, star of Body by Jake. The school's physical education program is based on lifelong fitness rather than the traditional sports skills, and is credited with raising both Sierra Vista's fitness level and academic achievement.

City Council recognizes Circle of Friends
Valencia High School's Circle of Friends was recognized by the Santa Clarita City Council for being an outstanding organization in the local community.

Started two years ago, Circle of Friends works to promote inclusion and compassion on the high school campus by allowing students in the general education program and students in the special education program to eat lunch together, hang out outside of school and create long-lasting friendships.

More than 300 general education students and 58 students with disabilities currently participate in the program. The officer board of some 30 students plans activities such as fund-raiser nights, a card-making party for children who have to spend the holidays in the hospital, bowling, miniature golf and other fun activities.

The program gives students a unique opportunity to break down social barriers, eliminate stereotypes and promote inclusion on campus.

Recycled materials make ‘Green' artwork
The Transitional Learning Charter of Newhall is proud to present its first art display at the Hart District office for the month of November.

Under the direction of resident artist Linda Kappen, each of the four classes participated in creating the piece, entitled, "Transitioning to a Greener World."

Students chose a particular class color, then gathered recyclable materials including buttons, a plastic cake cutter, different colored Styrofoam meat trays, coffee filters, soda cans, wooden skewers, dryer softener sheets, paper products, ribbons, CDs, pop tops, etc. to create scenes of the four seasons and ultimately, the transformation of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.

Thus, the symbol of students transitioning from TLC into the work world, coupled with the beauty of transforming the world into a more beautiful and environmentally safe place by "going green" is depicted throughout the display.

Dental Assisting students preparing for X-ray certification
Hart's ROP Dental Assisting class has been hard at work since they have entered the radiology portion of their class. Students learn radiation theory as well as laboratory and clinical skills.

The laboratory portion consists of taking a "perfect" full mouth set of x-rays on the "Dexter," the class manikin. Once that is completed, the students learn to grade their work for errors, state how to correct the errors and correct them. Students must pass a state approved exam and pass four full mouth sets of x-rays on patients that they bring into class.

After all this is complete they will have earned their State of California Dental Radiology Certification.

Hart High students help fight cancer
After a unit on cancer, honors anatomy and physiology students at Hart High School were invited to donate time or raise money on behalf of cancer patients. The project was optional.

Students were encouraged to use their talents and passions to design a project that would be enjoyable and meaningful and would benefit a cancer patient or an organization serving cancer patients.

Some students donated time for already established events like Light the Night, while others organized things like a drama showcase, a swim-a-thon, a video game tournament, collecting hats for chemo patients, making and selling bracelets, collecting letters of encouragement, collecting Yoplait lids, purchasing children's books and even recycling.

Altogether, 56 students participated and donated 122 hours, 220 hats, 75 children's books, 273 Yoplait lids, and $2128.

Gordon Goodwin visits West Ranch H.S.
Multiple Grammy winner Gordon Goodwin took time out of his busy composing and performing schedule to visit West Ranch High School and work with the Studio A Jazz Band recently.

Although Goodwin has played in a big band setting with some of the best artists in jazz history and written music for numerous films, he is probably best known for writing music for and directing his own "Big Phat Band." He brought some of the same considerations that he uses with that band to bear on the piece that he had written specifically for the Studio A Jazz Band, "The Principal of the Thing."

WRHS jazz band director Bob Babko describes the piece as "a unique combination of whimsical figures and hard driving jazz, that probably only Gordon could have written. We are honored to have had him write for us and very appreciative of his visit."

SiViCS Club continues ten years of service
The Sierra Vista Community Service (SiViCS) Club at Sierra Vista Junior High School continues its 10-year tradition of community service this month by turning used greeting cards into holiday houses to fill with toys for needy children.

The students hope to have some 120 holiday houses ready for distribution by the second week in December. The club's goal is to sponsor one positive activity in the City of Santa Clarita every month.

Past community service activities have included River Rally, Santa Clarita Pride Week, several charity races, Spring Fling for convalescent hospital patients, treat platters for fire and sheriff's stations, letters and gift boxes for the military, collections for the animal shelter and the SCV Food Pantry, Denim Day to find a cure for breast cancer and Valentine cards and treats for senior citizens.

Saugus students Connect to Success
Marking their evaluation forms with comments such as "I will be able to actually use the information I learned today," Saugus High students gave high grades to the Connecting to Success (CTS) Conference held at Grace Baptist Conference Center.

CTS is a business/educational conference and collaborating effort involving Junior Achievement, the Valley Industrial Association of Valencia (VIA) and the Hart School District.

After the opening session, students attended three breakout sessions focusing on skills identified as essential to future success. A catered lunch followed.

Rio Norte honors veterans
In honor of Veterans Day, the teachers and eighth grade students of Team Yukon at Rio Norte Junior High School took some time from the curriculum to pay tribute to men and women in the armed forces.

They began by watching a documentary with stories of 10 different soldiers and marines wounded in Iraq, told in their own words. Their stories were powerful, and gave everyone a greater appreciation of the courage and sacrifice of the women and men in uniform (even the teachers got choked up).

Team members then wrote cards and letters to soldiers, sailors and marines currently serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Attached to each letter or card will be a photo of the whole team as a reminder of all those back at home who are thankful for their service to their country.

Wildcats fight cancer
Wildcats Against Cancer joined the Lung Cancer Alliance in their Shine a Light on Lung Cancer vigil to help raise awareness about lung cancer.

50-plus West Ranch High School students gathered at lunch to hear guest speakers talk about their personal experiences with lung cancer, how to prevent lung cancer and how it effects the body. The club was joined by Heather Warrick from the American Cancer Society, registered nurse Stacy Miller and Betsy Thompson, a lung cancer survivor.

After the speakers, students signed a petition to be sent to Washington D.C. requesting more funding be spent on lung cancer research, and lit a glow bracelet in honor of those lost to lung cancer and as a reminder of what they saw and heard that day.

Students also took home a candle to burn with their families in honor of those touched by this deadly disease.

Saugus graduate publishes first novel
Matt Stromberg, a 2006 Saugus High School graduate, has recently published his first book, "Tales of the Golden Kingdom," available at Amazon.com.

Stromberg began writing his book while in the ninth grade, and credits his success to his teachers Brant Botton and Ty Devoe, who helped him find and secure a publisher for his novel.

In high school Stromberg said he was, "always active and busy; I tried to focus on writing from an early age, but I was also able to enjoy my high school years here at Saugus."

Some of his other big influences are the famous author J.R.R. Tolkien, Youth Pastor Jeremy Cook and Saugus drama teacher Leslie Carson.

Bowman senior wins SARB Scholarship
The Los Angeles County School Attendance Review Board has awarded Ryan Sanchez, a senior at Bowman High School, with a $300 Shirley Abrams SARB Scholarship.

Sanchez is recognized for his commitment to education, overcoming attendance and academic difficulties and achieving the goal of high school graduation. These are annual scholarship awards to deserving students who have made a significant change in their academic and personal lives due to the efforts of Child Welfare and Attendance personnel and the School Attendance Review Board.
The award was presented at Bowman's recent awards assembly by Hart District Child Welfare and Attendance staff members.

Concerts showcase Placerita musical talent
Placerita Junior High School's music teacher, Kathryn Spula, has been working non-stop to prepare her students for the upcoming winter concerts. Outstanding members of beginning band and award-winning advanced band will be performing a variety of musical pieces Wednesday, Dec. 1.

The award-winning string orchestra and chorus will be performing Thursday, Dec. 9. Both concerts start 7 p.m. in Hart Auditorium and will include numerous holiday selections. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

"I am looking forward to sharing the concert stage with all of my students throughout the concert series. They have shown tremendous progress since the start of the school year," Ms. Spula exclaims.

"Our goal is to present concerts that represent musical excellence and offer a worthwhile musical experience between the performers and the audience alike."

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