Hart School District Wins Prestigious Golden Bell Award
The Hart School District recently received a Golden Bell Award in the student services category for the comprehensive drug prevention programs that the district has coordinated and promoted since 2007. The Golden Bell Awards program, sponsored by the California School Board Association and now in its 34th year, seeks to recognize outstanding programs and governing practices in school districts throughout California. The Hart School District is one of five districts recognized by the Golden Bell program in the student services category this year. The district launched its comprehensive alcohol and drug reduction and education (CADRE) program with the help of the SCV Sheriff’s Department and the City of Santa Clarita in August of 2007. The decision to act was made as a response to the rising number of heroin related deaths throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. Since its creation, the program has expanded throughout the community and has been considered a model program of this type. Some of the components to the program to prevent drug use are voluntary random drug testing, counseling and assessment for treatment, referral and a three-day intensive intervention program for first time offenders of alcohol and drug related incidents. “The comprehensive alcohol and drug reduction and education program has been a great tool for parents and students,” Joe Messina, governing board president, said. The district, in conjunction with the same community partners, launched a new club last year called Drug Free Youth in Town (DFYIT) throughout local schools. The program is run by kids for kids, and it promotes a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. What makes DFYIT unique is the fact that there is limited adult involvement. The idea is that students will band together with other students and together they will give each other reasons to stay drug free. Each comprehensive junior high and high school has a DFYIT program, with a staff advisor overseeing each program. District officials expect this program, along with others, to expand until the drug use culture shifts throughout the community. “If the program prevents any child from taking a wrong turn towards a life of drugs, it is a program that makes sense for students and will continue to be supported by the district,” Messina said.
New Student Board Member William Oh Welcomed
William Oh, a senior at Golden Valley High School, has been elected as the 2013/14 student board member and participated in his first meeting on November 6th. Oh is currently serving as Golden Valley High School’s ASB President, following his service as an ASB officer for the previous three years. He has a weighted grade point average of 4.52 and has passed five Advanced Placement courses. In college he plans to major in political science and dreams of entering the political arena in the future. The Student Communications Council held its first meeting of the school year in mid-October and per Board Bylaws this group is tasked with electing one high school senior to serve as a non-voting member of the Board. Oh participates in many activities and opportunities including: the Octagon Club as founder and past president; Key Club member and officer for three years; Speech and Debate Club member and current president; Student Communications Council, currently serving his fourth year; school representative to the District Advisory Committee; scholar athlete playing his fourth year of tennis; summer intern in Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon’s local office for the last two years, and he was an administrative intern for the City of Santa Clarita in his tenth grade summer. In the past he has volunteered to prepare food packets for impoverished North Korean children through the Northeast Asia Foundation of Education and Culture, and he has served as a community tutor for elementary and high school students. Oh recently was awarded a $2,000 Wal-Mart grant to help fund and distribute school supplies to students in the Santa Clarita Valley who have a need. He has received numerous honors/recognition including: Boys State Delegate, Green Your School National Winner and received a $5,000 grant from www.dosomething.org, Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction, Kohl’s Cares Store Winner, Grizzly School Athlete, Grizzly Student of the Month, Human Rights Essay Contest - second place and Optimist Oratorical Contest - second place in finals. The board and district officials look forward to Oh’s service this year.
Hart Regiment Hosts 30th Annual Rampage Tournament
West Ranch Earns Top Awards
Hosted by Hart Regiment, the 30th annual Rampage Marching Band Tournament in late October was a successful display of the talented students in the Hart High School District and other participating schools outside the area. The highest honors went to West Ranch High School, who won the Sweepstakes Awards in the band, percussion, music, general effects and visual categories. Competing schools are judged on a variety of criteria, including general play of the band, performance of the colorguard and overall visual appeal. About 30 Southern California high school marching bands and colorguards are invited each year to the Rampage tournament held at College of the Canyons Cougar Stadium. Competing high schools are split into several divisions and scored based on their performance in each division. Hart High School does not compete for trophies in the competition as they are the hosting school. In the Division 3A band and colorguard categories, Valencia High School and Saugus High School placed first and second respectively and second and third in the 3A percussion category. They were followed closely by Golden Valley High School, which took home fourth in band, third in colorguard and fifth in percussion. In the 2A Red Division, Canyon High School placed first in band and third in colorguard. In addition to their Sweepstakes Award honors, West Ranch also took first place in the 4A/5A colorguard competition. For more information, a digital copy of the Rampage 30th anniversary program can be accessed at www.hartregiment.com. Where readers can learn more about the history of Hart Regiment’s Rampage competition from director Anthony Bailey, see photos of the competing bands, and learn about other wonderful accomplishments of Hart High School band and colorguard students. (Photos are both of West Ranch students.)
Hart District Students are Fit for Success
The Hart School District’s focus on health and physical fitness is having a positive impact on the lives of its students. The 2012-2013 California Physical Fitness Report showed that overall, seventh and ninth grade students in the Hart District are healthier on average than other students in Los Angeles County and all of California. “We are pleased with the results for our students in the annual California Fitness Test performed by seventh and ninth-graders each year,” Rob Challinor, Superintendent, said. “The Hart School District encourages good health, nutrition and physical fitness as part of our everyday routine in and out of the classroom.” The payoff of that encouragement can be seen in the California Department of Education Physical Fitness Test results. Seventh and ninth grade students were tested in six different physical fitness areas: aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extension strength, upper body strength, and flexibility. In the category of aerobic capacity, which includes the standard mile walk/run, 75 percent of Hart District seventh graders and 74 percent of ninth graders scored in the Healthy Fitness Zone. This is on average 15.45 percent higher than their LA County peers and 10.8 percent higher than their California peers. According to the California Department of Education website, aerobic capacity is often the most important indicator of physical fitness. In the body composition area, students were measured to see what percent of their weight is fat using a standard test such as the Body Mass Index. Sixty-three percent of seventh grade students and 67 percent of ninth grade students scored within the Healthy Fitness Zone, an average of 10.9 percent higher than LA County and 7.5 percent higher than California. In the abdominal strength area, students performed a curl-up test to see how many they could complete, at a maximum of 75 curl-ups. Nearly 94 percent of seventh and ninth grade students combined scored within the Healthy Fitness Zone compared to only 82 percent of LA County students. In the remaining categories of trunk extension strength, upper body strength and flexibility, Hart District students performed significantly higher than both LA County and the State in all areas. More test results can be found online at www.cde.ca.gov in the Dataquest statistics database.
Olympic Gold Medalist Visits La Mesa Cross Country Team
Olympic gold medalist, David Neville, recently visited the La Mesa Junior High School cross country team, thrilling the students with his stories and encouragement. Neville shared a few of his experiences from the 2008 Olympics and provided goal-setting tips for the young athletes. La Mesa thanked Neville for his time, his motivational speaking, and especially for telling the students that his track career began in seventh grade! Neville attended Merrillville High School in Indiana from 1998-2002 where he ran track & field. Following graduation, he attended Indiana University where he competed from 2003 until 2006 winning several individual Big Ten conference titles and was named an All American. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Neville won a bronze medal in the men’s 400 m with a time of 44.80 seconds. At the finish line, he dived forward on the wet track to win the bronze by 0.04 seconds. Neville then teamed with LaShawn Merritt, Angelo Taylor, and Jeremy Wariner in the 4×400 m relay to finish first with an Olympic record time of 2:55.39. Neville clocked a split of 44.16 seconds. La Mesa Junior High School cross country students are ready to run like Olympians after this special guest visit!
Sierra Vista Students Explore “Maya Caves” and More!
As part of their Maya Civilization unit, students in Anthony de la Cruz’s and Ian Harper’s social studies classes at Sierra Vista Junior High School went to five different centers to learn more about the culture and history of the Maya. The school library housed these centers for students to explore Maya math, simulated cave glyphs, architecture, ritual ball games, and Maya geography. At the first station, students practiced writing basic numbers using the Maya number system of dots, dashes, and shells. They also learned how to write numbers as high as in the tens of thousands by stacking these symbols. The second station was centered around the “Cave to the Underworld.” Based upon Maya mythology, it was the rumored entrance to the Maya underworld of Xibalba, located in a cave in Central America. Students, assuming the role of archeologists, crawled through the mysterious “cave” and viewed glyphs along the walls, deciphered them, then created their own. Station three revolved around Maya architecture, specifically focusing on the “El Castillo” step pyramid of Chichen Itza. A small 3-D replica of the pyramid was provided for students to view while they answered questions and formulated claims. At station four, students also had the opportunity to navigate the informative and entertaining website: www.ballgame.org. Students completed a scavenger hunt worksheet and learned about the origins, rules, and consequences of the ritual ball game. Then at the final station, students labeled the Maya, Inca, and Aztec civilizations on a blank map of the Americas. With the teacher librarian and the social studies teacher working together, students progressed smoothly through the different centers. Students commented on how they enjoyed doing a variety of activities in a hands-on way to learn about the Maya people. After all, how often does a student get to crawl through a “cave” in the school library!?
West Ranch Library Honors Veterans with Special Display
West Ranch High School library staff invited all students, faculty and staff to bring a photo of family members who have served in the military in order to create a special Veteran’s Day display. Librarians displayed the photos and other service mementos with an explanation of service and relationship. A campus supervisor is included, as is a former student and many family members, including mothers, fathers, grandparents and other relatives. It was a really nice way to make this national day relevant to students. One staff member has a display of the medals her uncle was awarded including a Purple Heart and bronze star. West Ranch students have been very interested in the display, and it was a great way to bring this national day of recognition closer to home.
Golden Valley Video Production Student Earns National Award
Golden Valley High School senior Bobby Heyrat, a four-year member of the school’s video production program, has won third place in the Student Television Network’s national challenges video contest with his original film “THIS IS IT.” Students were given a movie prompt and had less than a week to put together and submit an original short movie. The contest was open to high school students across the country making this third place award a tremendous honor. Heyrat started in the school’s Video 1A/1B program his freshmen year and has been a member of GVTV for three years. “I’ve always had a deep appreciation of cinema,” Heyrat said. “I love reading up on directors and exploring the actual techniques of moviemaking.” With this win, GVTV has now placed in the national STN contest for four years. While Heyrat has enjoyed his time making movies in high school, he plans to major in economics or political science in college with the ultimate goal of obtaining his Ph.D. and teaching college. You can view Bobby’s movie on the GVTV webpage: www.useducationtv.com/default.aspx?sid=45838.
Bowman Students Visit FIDM and Disney Concert Hall
Bowman High School students enjoyed an opportunity to visit the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) campus one day last month, and also toured the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Funding for the field trip was provided by a 2013 FIDM Field Trip Grant Award that Bowman’s computer teacher, Sandy Geyer, applied for and received. Geyer applied for the grant hoping to inspire her students by providing them an opportunity to explore careers in fashion, digital media, graphic design, interior design, merchandising and the entertainment industry. Mary Gaskin, art teacher, Suzy Mansfield, counselor and Carmen Viveros, career coach, worked with Geyer to identify students for the field trip and all accompanied the 39 students that participated. When students arrived at the FIDM Los Angeles campus they were met by two tour guides. Students were split up into two groups to tour the campus and learn about the 23 majors offered by FIDM, from fashion design, to merchandise product development and textile production to development. Students said they enjoyed learning about the many career options offered at FIDM. Joao Alvarez was asked about the field trip and he said, “I loved it. Going out and learning inspires me. It is great to see what’s out there.” Rudy Orrante said he wanted to go on the field trip to see what the Fashion Institute was about. He said, “I found a possible career as a buyer, and I was also interested in textile design and production.” Krista Gamboa and Maria Cruz said they were optimistic about careers in fashion when they learned that they did not have to know how to sketch or sew to get accepted into FIDM and that those were skills they would learn at FIDM. Brandy Battoe said, “It was fun learning about so many different careers, and I liked that the classes are hands on.” After lunch, students got back on the bus and headed to the famous Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry. After eating lunch in the shadows of the Concert Hall, students toured the beautiful facility. Frankie Michael said, “The field trip was informative. It helped me think about my career choices.” When asked about the Concert Hall, Michael said, “I loved the artistic, geometrical design of the building, and I especially liked the garden.” Alexis Gonzalez said, “The Walt Disney Concert Hall was cool, and I liked the garden, especially the trees.” Bowman students enjoyed an afternoon of discovery that will have a lasting impact on their learning and help provide some direction for students that want to pursue a career in the creative arts.
Day of the Dead “Dia de Muertos” Celebrated at Golden Valley
The Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) at Golden Valley High School, held a Day of the Dead celebration in the amphitheater on November 4th. Day of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos in Spanish, is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. At Golden Valley, the altar complete with offerings, photos, and handmade decorations was an inspiring sight. The display even featured a colorful string of almost 400 paper skulls contributed by the whole school. OLAS is a new club that is extremely popular because of the immense impact it has on its members. OLAS brings something new to campus by providing a sense of unity and diversity to Golden Valley. Students involved in the club belong to an accepting group and work hard on projects to promote their club. Members of OLAS wanted to get the entire school involved in the celebration, so they placed papers with skulls printed on them in the office, library, and classrooms that students could color and turn in. They were then laminated and strung to create an ornate decoration that represented the fact that there is a connection between all of the students at the school. Thanks to the efforts of the students and teachers involved in OLAS, the visual display was admired by students and faculty members. The entire event was about embracing one’s culture and accepting others’ ethnicities. OLAS’s Day of the Dead celebration helped bring awareness to Golden Valley High School about the richness of Latino culture by demonstrating a popular and meaningful tradition.
Bowman Students Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity Event
Bowman High School ASB was invited and excited to host a game booth at Habitat for Humanity’s Home for Heroes groundbreaking ceremonies and BBQ held on November 9th. Habitat is building an 87-home Veteran’s community next door to Bowman High School, and the groundbreaking was celebrated with government officials, community leaders, the community and staff and students from Bowman. Students decided to bring a giant Jenga game to the carnival. The students set up a booth with a banner that proudly displayed the ongoing appreciation and support for the partnership between Bowman and Habitat for Humanity. In addition to playing Jenga, kids were invited to the booth to color or get a bulldog paw print painted on their face. The Bulldog mascot danced to Radio Disney, posed for pictures with guests, and played Jenga with the kids. Students had a great time and showed exceptional leadership. “Everything ran so smoothly, and there was a lot of community participation,” student Kevin Zayas commented. Bowman looks forward to participating in future events with Habitat for Humanity. A great time was had by all and Bowman High School and the Hart School District, which is across the street, welcome Habitat and the Veterans and their families to the neighborhood!!
“Value of an Education” Presentation Motivates Students and Parents
Approximately 400 students and parents participated in a presentation at Valencia High School held earlier this month that was life-changing for many of the participants. Valencia High School math teacher, David Inemer, developed and presented this outstanding program called “Value of an Education.” So what is the value of an education? It is a one to one-and-a-half hour presentation that entertains, informs, and makes such a compelling rationale for the value of an education that by the end, most students make a commitment to value their education differently than they had just a short time before. They leave with new tools, looking forward to having greater achievements in their future, whether it is pursuing a big dream, learning a skilled trade, or earning a college degree. All students can benefit from attending, whether they are honor students, average or at-risk students. They gain greater insight to the importance of their decisions now and in the future, motivating them to be the very best they can be. A demonstration of the presentation is posted at: www.valueofaneducation.com.
Golden Valley “The Grizzness” Receives SCV Press Club Grant
The Grizzness, Golden Valley High School’s online news source, was awarded a very generous grant from the SCV Press Club. Michele Buttelman, Jason Schaff, and Craig Leener were generous enough to stay for an hour and discuss the first amendment, freedom of speech, and journalism as a profession. Four English classes were lucky enough to be invited, and students asked intelligent questions regarding journalism. Additionally, the first student to ask a question received an AP Style Guide, which is an important resource for all practicing journalists. Students were genuinely interested in what the representatives had to say, and their inspiring words are certain to have a lasting impact. Their generous donation will allow The Grizzness to step up its publicity campaign and to create an app that will be available for download from the Android and Apple App Store in the next few weeks. The app will send push notifications for students as soon as stories are published. It will soon be easier than ever to stay up-to-date with what is going on at Golden Valley High School!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month Fundraising Across the District
Junior high and high schools throughout the Hart School District raised funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Schools held various student activities, outreach efforts and fundraisers to support community awareness of this disease. Here are a few of the activities: West Ranch High School’s Wildcats Against Cancer Club decorated the campus with pink posters and had a donation jar out where students and staff could write their name on a paw print, take a ribbon and make a donation of their choice. They also sold ribbons, bracelets, headbands and did facepainting at a football game. They raised approximately $400 and have donated $100 to Circle of Hope in Santa Clarita; the balance will go to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event. Sierra Vista Junior High School raised $1,500 with its 7th annual participation in Lee National Denim Day to help find a cure for breast cancer. The SiViCs Club, Sierra Vista Caring Spirit Club, has been active for more than 15 years. This group has a goal of coordinating one positive activity every month in the City of Santa Clarita. Valencia High School held bake sales during all football home games in October and sold pink Viking Nation and Valencia shirts during a spirited “Pink” game. Valencia’s Breast Cancer Awareness Club coordinated all activities and raised nearly $1,000. Golden Valley High School sold pink ribbons as well as pink and white spirit shirts and collected donations all month long. Fall sports teams added pink accents to uniforms including volleyball, golf, football, cheer, dance and band. For the Golden Valley vs. Canyon High School football game, both schools worked together for a “Think Pink” event, selling pink cotton candy at the game and promoting Breast Cancer Awareness to the community. (Photos left to right: West Ranch High School, Valencia High School, Sierra Vista Junior High School.)
Contact for more information: Gail Pinsker, Public Relations Officer,
email@example.com, 661.259.0033 x 227
William S. Hart Union School District website: www.hartdistrict.org
Check out previous issues: http://www.hartdistrict.org/index.php/blogs/wgie
Editorial / Public Relations Interns: Pete Camarillo, Paxton Rosenberg and Michelle Blanken.