William S. Hart Union High School District

Santa Clarita, CA

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June 18, 2014 Vol. XIV, No. 16

June 23rd, 2014

Hart School District Graduates Celebrate Success
Congratulations to all 3,866 graduates from all Hart School District high schools for the 2013-14 school year. Graduations were held at College of the Canyons Cougar Stadium from May 27 to June 7 with thousands of parents, family members and friends cheering on the successful students. Graduating senior count from each school: Valencia, 610; Hart, 480; Saugus, 515; Canyon, 595; Bowman, 270; Golden Valley, 511; Academy of the Canyons, 96; West Ranch, 736; Learning Post, 25; Hart @ Home, 20 and Sequoia, 8. Additional photos are posted on the District’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WSHUHSD. Additional photos can be submitted through Facebook email and will be reviewed and added to the Graduation 2014 album.

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Bowman’s Model School Award Presented at State Ceremony
Bowman High School administration and staff along with Hart District officials, attended the state conference held in North Hollywood to accept the Model School Award from the California Department of Education in conjunction with the California Education Association. Bowman High School’s principal Robin Geissler, Hart School District superintendent Rob Challinor, deputy superintendent Vicki Engbrecht, director of student services Kathy Hunter, assistant principal Eran Zeevi, counselors Suzy Mansfield and Lori Wilson, counseling intern Ami Gonzalez, ASB Director April Soria and classified employee of the year Rosa Villanueva were all on hand to accept the award. This is the fourth time that Bowman has received the award, which a school retains for three years, giving Bowman 12 years of consecutive Model School status. Bowman was one of 25 schools out of 479 continuation high schools to receive this prestigious award. The process to become a Model Continuation School involves a comprehensive written application, which contains over 60 quality indicators, including student achievement data, graduation rates,  and supporting statements from staff, students, parents, community members, and business stakeholders. After a rigorous screening of Bowman’s application by a panel of experts, a validation site visit by a trained, Model Continuation School Visiting Team occurred. The featured speaker was former state superintendent of public instruction Jack O’Connell, who praised model continuation schools for making a difference in the lives of so many students, ensuring that they earned high school diplomas. O’Connell also discussed the new LCAP spending formula and stated stating that the intent of the legislature was to close the achievement gap in California by supporting schools like Bowman.


Golden Valley High Wins Sportsmanship Award
Golden Valley High School was selected by the Foothill League as the recipient of the 32nd Annual Sportsmanship Award. The Foothill League is comprised of all six Hart School District comprehensive high schools. Coaches from every sport in the league are asked to complete the sportsmanship evaluations and this year Golden Valley was selected to receive the annual award. Co-athletic director Robert Fisher told the Golden Valley coaches, “Thank you for all of your hard work in teaching our student athletes to win or lose the right way! All of you have had a great part in this award and I was very proud to accept this award, along with several students on behalf of Golden Valley.” The award presentation took place recently at Dodger Stadium. (Photos: Top, the award; right, three senior student-athletes on hand to accept the award, Cody Rightmyer, Jaiden France, and James Bohan-Mendoza; left, student athletes from boys and girls basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, track and field, volleyball, and baseball teams.)

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West Ranch Teacher Attending Wharton Summer Educator’s Seminar
Linda Cox, business and economics teacher from West Ranch High School, has received one of 120 nationwide scholarships this summer to study at Wharton University. Wharton University is in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to host an intensive learning experience for high school educators on business and financial responsibility. It is designed for educators to deepen their understanding of financial literacy and develop business-related skills to integrate into their classrooms. Their mission is to promote global financial literacy, entrepreneurship and leadership among high school students and educators by providing innovative educational content. Wharton was founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school. It is one of the Ivy League’s oldest business schools and recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The seminar will feature customized training sessions, speakers, panels and discussions led by leaders in business and economics. Noted guests include nationally recognized speakers, Wharton professors and alumni as well as Pricewaterhouse executives. Following the Wharton study, Cox will be studying at the NYSE Euronext in New York City at a teacher’s graduate program. The intensive week long program is designed to give a thorough understanding of the capital raising process of financial markets. It will include trading floor visits and shadowing of various key roles, lectures from members and staff of the exchange, discussions with the CEO of the exchange and educational materials and information to bring back to the classroom curricula.


Sequoia Charter School Hosted Annual Young Men’s Conference
Santa Paula Chief of Police, Steven McLean, was a very inspiring keynote speaker during the annual Sequoia Young Men’s Conference. Additionally, the students participated in breakout sessions to learn life-long lessons and also participated in a REMO drum circle. The event was held at the Child & Family Center last month.


West Ranch’s Weather Balloon Reaches New Heights in Astronomy
The astronomy class at West Ranch High School did more than learn the order of the planets and study constellations this recent semester. Under the supervision of earth science and astronomy teacher Christine Hirst, about 100 West Ranch students worked together to launch a high altitude weather balloon last month in attempt to collect cosmic dust and perform several other experiments at the edge of earth’s atmosphere. The weather balloon reached more than 80,000 feet and spent about two and a half hours in the air. A team of students, led by senior Daniel Tikhomirov, spent all semester designing a cosmic dust collection unit and writing computer code for its components. The unit unexpectedly opened on reentry, contaminating the dust collection, but Tikhormirov and Hirst said that the experiment was a learning experience. The students have already started brainstorming about designing a better collection unit and payload distribution of the balloon next time. “That’s the process of science,” Hirst said, “Even if you’re not successful, you revise and you repeat.” And Hirst said that the process taught students other valuable lessons. “The main thing that we learned with this experiment is how to work as a team to get something done in a short amount of time.” Students launched the balloon at 6:35 pm on Friday, and it spent two-and-a-half to three hours in flight, snapping pictures and sending data back to teams on the ground. It came down in the backyard of a Pasadena woman, who was excited to be a part of the school’s education experiment, Principal Bob Vincent said. Students tracked it through spot radio beacons, Hirst said. They were able to determine the address where the balloon landed, and she googled the phone number. Hirst called the landing “quite miraculous,” noting that if the balloon had landed in a canyon with no cell service or on a busy street, the students might never have been able to retrieve it. Some of the other experiments included testing the effects of radiation and altitude on food, time dilation with two synchronized stopwatches, measuring radiation with a Geiger counter and studying the effects of the trip on live crickets. Much of the funding for the project was provided through a grant from Toshiba, Hirst said. Reprinted with permission, KHTS AM-1220. Written by Allison Pari.

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Placerita Student Recognized for Academics by Johns Hopkins University
Placerita Junior High School 8th grader Shatsawat Chiamthamachinda was recently honored as one of the brightest young students in the nation at a regional awards ceremony for academically advanced children sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY). The Center honored Chiamthamachinda for his exceptional performance on a rigorous, above-grade-level test given to academically talented second-through-eighth-grade students. He was one of more than 38,000 students from more than 120 countries who participated in the CTY Talent Search. Some 9,700 of those were invited to participate in 43 CTY Awards Ceremonies across the country and one in Hong Kong. Shatsawat was joined at Cal Poly Pomona for his award by Placerita principal Jan Hayes-Rennels, pictured, last month. Shatsawat recently scored 710 on the math portion of the SAT as an 8th grader, out of a possible 800. He is taking the test again this month and working toward a perfect score. As part of the CTY award, Shatsawat also qualified for CTY’s summer courses and online classes.


Valencia High School Jazz Ensemble Selected for Monterey Jazz Festival
Valencia High School choir Two N’ Four vocal jazz ensemble under the direction of Christine Tavares-Mocha has been selected as one of two high schools in the nation to perform at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival on Sunday, September 21, 2014. The Valencia choral students were selected to compete against the top vocal jazz ensembles at the Next Generation Monterey competition in March 2014. Valencia’s Two N’ Four received a standing ovation from the crowd and judges and were awarded a spot to perform at this year’s festival featuring Herbie Hancock, Billy Childs, Booker T. Jones and many more jazz artists. The festival also awarded three awards to best soloists; two being from Valencia High School! Congratulations to Paulaine Sano and Matthew Bermudez for this prestigious honor. The Valencia High School Vocal Jazz’ second group Soundwaves, scored a third place finish. This is the second group at Valencia High School and the first time a public school has had both groups score higher than all performing arts schools competing. For more information or to sponsor this ensemble, email Tavares at ctavares@hartdistrict.org. To purchase tickets to the Monterey Jazz Festival, visit www.montereyjazzfestival.org. Valencia Vocal Jazz has also been selected to be featured as one of the top jazz programs in the country at the Los Angeles Catalina Jazz Club in the educational jazz series in November 2014.  To view the Next Jazz Generation Competition performance that earned them the honor, visit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0ymWf4SMaU for Two N’ Four performing “In the Winelight” and the Pentatonix song “Run to You.” Also, Two N’ Four performing “I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love with Me” and “His Eye is on the Sparrow”

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Saugus Students Matter Club Create “Kindness” Event
Students Matter, a club at Saugus High School, whose goal is to constantly promote a positive school environment, decided to create an event that reaches out to elementary school students. The event was titled, “Pass it On, Like Neon. A Path to Kindness.” Saugus students got together to create seven to eight craft projects to give to someone who may need an “act of kindness,” such as a friend, sibling, family member, parent or teacher to help younger students focus on ending the school year on a positive note and promote kindness. At the event, the kids were able to play games and win raffle prizes and parents were invited to bid on silent auction items to continue to raise funds for future activities. “We are truly grateful for the support the businesses within our local community have extended us, which made the event a success. Students Matter plans to make this a yearly event,” Normita Meza, Saugus High School safe school ambassador coordinator, said.
The club website is: https://sites.google.com/site/studentsmattershs/.


Contact for more information: Gail Pinsker, Public Relations Officer,
gpinsker@hartdistrict.org, 661.259.0033 x 227
William S. Hart Union School District website: www.hartdistrict.org