Mix It Up Day Sends a Positive Message to All Hart District Students
Mix It Up Day is a District-wide program designed to break down social barriers and allow students to appreciate their differences, which sometimes separate groups and individuals. Each school “mixed it up” on Nov. 9, in a different way, with lunchtime activities such as: Scavenger hunts, tug-of-war, human Scrabble games, conga lines and other team building events. The District has participated in this national event since 2005, and earned the title of Model School District through the highly regarded Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2009. Programs from 2009 are featured on the www.tolerance.org website. (Photo from Hart High)
Junior High Students Take Part in Annual Youth Summit
More than 350 students from six Hart District junior high schools and Castaic Middle School, participated in the annual Youth Summit, last month, to develop leadership skills, encourage positive contributions to their school and the community and build self-esteem. The theme this year was “Respecting Ourselves and Respecting Each Other.” The City of Santa Clarita hosts this event as part of their Youth and Family program, in partnership with the Hart District. The half-day event was held at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex and included interactive activities and informative presentations about teen issues.
Visit: http://hartdistrict.org/index.php/departments/diversity for more details about this educational event!
Cross Country Course Opens to Community Fanfare
Cross country athletes from all six comprehensive high schools joined members of the Santa Clarita City Council, Hart District Superintendent Rob Challinor, Hart Board member Joe Messina and other community members to open the City’s brand new cross-country course at Central Park, on Nov. 4. Season finals for high school teams took place following the ceremony. The City partnered with Newhall Land and the Hart District to fund the project on property owned by the Castaic Lake Water Agency. Hart District athletes will now enjoy local meets in the Santa Clarita Valley. The 3.1 mile Central Park cross-country track also keeps runners off of the streets and safely out of traffic, during practices. The course is currently in its first phase of completion, with added amenities planned for the future.
West Ranch Wins Sweepstakes Award at Band Competition
For the second year in a row, the West Ranch High School band won the sweepstakes award at the 27th annual Hart Rampage Marching Band Field Show Tournament. West Ranch, and the five other Hart District marching bands and color guard units, were amongst nearly 3,000 students representing 32 high schools from all over California, at the October event held at College of the Canyons. This year, West Ranch competed in the 5A Division, and is currently the largest band in the history of the Hart District. In 2009, Hart Regiment was named state champion in its division by the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association for the eighth consecutive year. Other Hart District schools were recognized for their performance, by division, including Saugus High School, first place in Division 2A, and in Division 3A, Canyon High School, Valencia High School and Golden Valley High School took first, second and third places, respectively. Hart Rampage is produced each year by current and past Hart parents and alumni, with 300 volunteers working toward making the event successful every year. Funds raised from the event go toward the Hart High School music program. (L: Hart High, R: West Ranch High)
“Library Snapshot” Surveys Student Library Use
All 12 comprehensive junior and senior high schools participated in “Library Snapshot: One day in the life of California Libraries,” on Oct 7. Hart District Librarians gathered statistics, such as the number of library users that day, circulation statistics, and why students used the library. A total of 6,330 students used the resources of the 12 campus libraries for study, research, computer use, meeting up with friends, reading, or asking for help from librarians. School libraries are a vital hub of activity before school, brunch, lunch and after school. More than 1,800 students, throughout the District, use computers to write, study, research, and access their emails, on any given day. Students appreciate the resources of Hart District libraries as important centers for learning and campus pride. (Photo from West Ranch High School)
Sequoia Students Take Part in Art Festival
Sequoia Charter School junior high students and staff participated in the annual City of Santa Clarita Old Town Newhall Arts Festival, last month. Sequoia students demonstrated the art of rock balancing, a common art found around the world. The art requires extreme patience and skill in order to find the true center of gravity of each piece, no matter how big or small. The students spent many hours of the weekend event showing off their abilities to spectators. Many local residents and tourists strolled the streets of downtown Newhall to view the work of numerous local artists and watch a variety of performances. Guests were particularly impressed by the Sequoia students’ rock balancing skills, expressing positive comments as they watched in amazement.
Career Day Inspires Bowman Students
Bowman High School’s annual Career Day, held in October, was a huge success, with 28 different presenters providing career information to juniors and seniors. Students heard from the military, local colleges, law enforcement, fire fighters, engineers, writers, and business people, who shared their experiences and opportunities for success, during this day-long event. Featured speakers were very motivational and positive, inspiring students to reach for their dreams in building their future careers. Two Bowman graduates returned on Career Day to share their success. Chante Catt, a 1996 Bowman graduate, has owned and operated her Animal Care business in West Los Angeles for more than 10 years. Chante told students how passion, focus and the desire to succeed were very critical components in her success as a business owner. Also speaking to Bowman students was Catlin Morris, a 2006 grad, who is currently attending Cal State Northridge, to become a teacher.
Valencia Drama Students Win Awards at Festival
Valencia High School drama students won first place in the musical category “American Experience,” with a medley from Westside Story, in the annual Drama Teachers Association of Southern California Fall Festival, last month. Fifteen hundred student actors representing 68 schools, competed in eight categories at the event held at the new Central Los Angeles School of Visual and Performing Arts. Valencia’s Large Group Drama won second place overall. Under the direction of Theatre Arts teacher, Stephen Whelan, all eight performing groups made it to the semi-finals, with four groups: Monologue, large group drama, Noel Coward and musical categories, moving into the final round. DTASC is honoring all of the first place winners at “Salute to the Winners” at the Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park, in mid-November.
Korean Delegation Visits Sierra Vista’s Impressive P.E. Program
Sierra Vista Junior High hosted a delegation from South Korea, last week, to demonstrate their award-winning, world-renowned, Physical Education program. Sierra Vista might be using a play on words with their “No Child Left on their Behind” program title, but the results are anything but child’s play. Results of this program, which was created by George Velarde, Sierra Vista PE Teacher, are seen in notable increases in annual California Fitness Test scores and also academically. For example, students may spend time on various cardio equipment while reviewing science lessons streaming on a giant screen in the room, during one stage of the program. Sierra Vista has raised more than $500,000, since 2003, in grants and donations, and has created a state-of-the art fitness center that incorporates exercises on various equipment, including from HopSports, Trikke, Tri-Ton, Dance Dance Revolution and a rock climbing wall. Heart Rate monitors from Polar provide feedback to students and teachers so they can stay in their own Healthy Fitness Zone and work on improving individual fitness levels. The program also includes nutrition guidance. Last month, a delegation from China, also visited to learn about this spectacular program.
Saugus and Valencia AP Students Partner for Special Workshop
APES On The Hill, as the students fondly call this program, is a collaborative project between high school Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES) and the Castaic Lake Water Agency. More then 150 Valencia High and Saugus High APES students participated in an interactive workshop conducted by the CLWA education department, which included three labs, lecture and video, that were aligned with the AP College Board curriculum. Labs in soil types, structure and water permeability gave students further understanding of the Earth’s natural resources. Labs and lecture were both outdoors and indoors providing enrichment not available at the school sites. This experience showed students the best of collaboration between school and community. It also showcased the “jewel up on the hill” and reinforced the value of water as a precious resource.
Marine Sergeant Visits Rio Norte History Classes
Students in Ron Ippolito’s history classes and yearbook class, at Rio Norte Junior High, were visited by Sgt. Bret McCauley, a young Iraqi war Veteran, last month. Sgt. McCauley shared stories of his duty after 9/11, on security detail to President Bush, and of serving on the front lines in the Iraqi war. Sgt. McCauley sustained a gunshot wound to the hip, returned to duty for a few weeks, then sustained life threatening injuries in a suicide bomber attack. Nine of the 14 members in his crew were killed in the truck attack that nearly severed his arm, caused internal injuries, broken bones and severe head trauma. Now, after dozens of surgeries, he is part of Tempered Steel, a veteran’s support group that encourages soldiers who were severely injured due to military service to speak to students and community groups, to share the stories behind their scars, and to build compassion and understanding for the veterans. The students were awestruck by the youthful 27-year old and his positive message, asked great questions and gained unique insight into this chapter in American history. (Photo by Micaela Bensko, professional photographer, Tempered Steel supporter and Hart District parent.)
Academy of the Canyons Student Earns Special Recognition
Academy of the Canyons student Amanda Orosco has been selected by The College Board as a 2010-11 National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) Scholar. The NHRP was initiated to identify outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students. This year over 200,000 students taking the PSAT identified themselves as Hispanic/Latino. Students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher are designated as Scholars. The College Board, which administers the PSAT and the SAT college entrance exams, honored Amanda for excellence in academic achievement and considers her among the top academically outstanding students of Hispanic/Latino heritage. Congratulations Amanda!
Saugus High AVID Program Steers Students to College
Saugus High School senior Juan Aguilera and many students like him throughout the Hart District are reaching goals they never imagined, through the AVID program. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a structured, college preparatory program geared toward students in the academic middle, who are frequently first-generation college applicants; however, it’s open to all students. Students are provided direct support, tutoring, test preparation, time management skills, study skill strategies and practice for college entrance exams, as well as direction in a rigorous curriculum. Aguilera never expected to meet the requirements to attend a four-year university and was never motivated or supported to be successful in high school. AVID changed all that. Aguilera applied to three Cal State Universities, crediting his success to Crystal Hilstein, Saugus’ AVID coordinator and English teacher, and all his teachers for their support and believing in him. He is looking forward to starting college next fall.
Students Participate in Mock Vote on Election Day
Several schools in the Hart District hosted mock elections during the recent national election day. At West Ranch High School, the Junior State of America Club organized the election in the Library. Students had actual ballots to participate in this vital civic duty. Members of the club manned the voting station and students were able to cast their ballot as part of the State of California “My Vote Mock Election.” The ballots were counted and students were able to compare their choices with state election results. Valencia High School reported similar results to the state results, from their Mock Vote, and West Ranch reported some wins and some losses. (Photo from West Ranch)
Placerita Drama Students Preparing for Literacy Festival Show
The Placerita Junior High Drama Club is now in production for their winter musical Into the Woods, Jr. With more than 65 student club members, the play has two entire casts, each performing one night on Feb. 22 and 23. In addition to those performances, the drama club will perform a preview of the play Into the Woods at the Santa Clarita Literary & Arts Festival on Dec. 4 at Newhall Park. The festival is co-sponsored by the City of Santa Clarita and the SCV Education Foundation. The students are busy studying their characters and are enjoying digging into the meaning and moral lessons and consequences of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Into the Woods is a magical, imaginative adventure told through Grimm’s classic fairy tales, with a twist that nothing is what it seems to be.
District Receives Redevelopment Funds from the City of Santa Clarita
The Hart District received a check for $84,746.34 from the City of Santa Clarita for its share of the redevelopment funds for 2009-10. Since the District is within the boundaries of a redevelopment project that was formed by a Redevelopment Agency (RDA) in the City of Santa Clarita, it is entitled to a portion of the taxes assessed in the RDA. Assembly Bill 1290 requires that 56.7% be identified as the facilities portion, while 43.3% of the payment is for operations. However, the operational revenues are subject to revenue limit reduction and effectively benefit the State, not the District. Of the total, $48,061.38 will be used for facility improvements, and $36,702.96 will be deposited into the District General Fund, but there will be a $36,702.96 corresponding reduction in our State apportionment. City of Santa Clarita Deputy City Manager, Darren Hernandez, presented the check to District Superintendent, Rob Challinor, this week.
Golden Valley “Grizzlies Think Pink Day” a Huge Success
Golden Valley High School ASB students were motivated to increase attention and raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness month, in October. Oct. 15, was designated as “Grizzlies Think Pink Day,” with events throughout the day, and extended to the football game, that evening. Throughout the month of October students participated in a coin drive, sold pink ribbons and pink bracelets, and hosted a Think Pink Spirit Dress day, which was very successful. At the game, against Hart High School, held at College of the Canyons Cougar Stadium, the entire football team wore bright pink socks, and many campus organizations supported the Pink theme by wearing pink accessories and ribbons to raise awareness. Students were very proud of their effort and will be sending a check for $1,000 to the Circle of Hope and a local agency that provides services to breast cancer patients in the SCV. In a display of the Hart District’s friendly rivalry policy, Hart High joined Golden Valley in support of their efforts with many students dressing in Pink at the game and also to promote Breast Cancer Awareness activities sponsored on their campus, as well.