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WC Beat Ed. II

WCUSD October Newsletter


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The mission of the West Covina Unified School District, in partnership with parents and the community, is to provide all students access to a high-quality, well-rounded curriculum rich in meaning and rigor that inspires; post-secondary and career participation; critical thinking and problem solving; information literacy; and positive contributions to society. 

 

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

West Covina Unified believes that students cannot excel at learning unless they feel safe and have a clean and healthy learning environment. Many of our campuses are showing their age and mere patch work and Band-Aids are no longer enough. Critical repairs and long-term improvements are now needed to sustain the aging infrastructure at our schools. The West Covina Unified School Board is addressing these current challenges with Measure ES on the November 8, 2016 election ballot.

 

West Covina Unified School District is committed to providing a safe and positive setting for all students and staff. Over the past few years, we have studied our school facilities with increased emphasis—because all children deserve to learn in safe, high-quality school facilities. Measure ES is a General Obligation Bond authorizing up to $143 million for school facility upgrades, improvements, and new buildings in our district. Our goal with this effort is to help make teaching and learning in all West Covina Unified schools as effective and successful as possible.


THE DISTRICT’S CRITICAL NEEDS

  • Repair or replace deteriorating roofs, old rusty plumbing, heating, HVAC, and outdated electrical systems where needed.

  • Provide classrooms and labs for career technology education classes so students are prepared for college and good paying jobs.

  • Improve access to school facilities for students with injuries or disabilities.

  • Improve student safety and campus security systems: including; security lighting, fencing and video cameras, emergency communications systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and fire sprinklers.

  • Provide modern labs in the key subjects of math, science, and technology.

 

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Why now?

District staff work hard to maintain our neighborhood schools and keep them in good working condition with limited resources. However, the types of upgrades that our internal assessments have identified go far beyond the scope and means of regular school maintenance budgets. Many of our schools are 50 to 60 years old and have never fully been renovated. An ongoing investment in infrastructure is critical to help ensure safety and academic success for every child attending our schools.

Will this effort improve instruction?


Yes. Our local schools strive for teaching and learning excellence in every educational setting. Our goal is to provide all students with access to the education they will need to be successful in college, jobs, and careers after they graduate from high school. Safe, modern school facilities and educational technology are essential to maintaining quality schools and giving our students a competitive edge. As school facilities are improved, teachers and students will benefit.

Has there been a WCUSD school bond before?


Voters in the West Covina School District have not voted on a school facility bond measure in 16 years. The last bond was for $40 million. It addressed safety concerns, such as replacing outdated electrical components and other items no longer in compliance with building codes. Basic technology needs were also addressed. We are now focused on the facility improvements most essential to student safety, protecting your investment in local schools, and enabling student success.

What about funding?


Our school district makes every effort to use resources wisely. However, with limited help from the state and minimal renovations to our campuses for 50 to 60 years, the burden is growing to adequately repair and upgrade our school facilities. We need to work together to protect the quality of our education system. To that end, WCUSD is exploring all options, by leveraging available maintenance and energy efficiency funds, to ensure quality school facilities for the future.

What about ongoing school maintenance? Don’t you have a facilities budget?


WCUSD maintenance and operations staff work hard to keep local schools safe and in adequate working condition. Historically, the District has kept pace with needed fire safety and critical, time-sensitive facility repairs. However, and particularly in the areas of school safety and security, the current scope of upgrades needed in WCUSD far exceeds our State-allocated budget for meeting such needs.

What about the Lottery or State Prop 30? Weren’t they supposed to fix our schools?


Unfortunately, the money WCUSD receives from the Lottery each year comprises less than 2% of our annual General Fund Budget. We use these funds to purchase textbooks and other instructional materials. Proposition 30 funds, approved by California voters in November 2012, restored earlier classroom cuts – but did not provide any new funding that our local schools need for repairs and modernization.

How will Measure ES be funded?


If approved by voters, Measure ES would be paid by property taxes estimated to not exceed $60 per $100,000 per year of assessed valuation (not market value) or about $163 per year for the typical homeowner for as long as bonds are outstanding.

Where can I go for more information?

You can visit our Web site at www.wcusd.org click on the Measure ES logo, or if you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Charles Hinman, Superintendent, at (626) 939-4600.

 

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West Covina Unified School District high schools are home to several National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

 

West Covina, CA – Last month, officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of Semifinalists in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These students represent less than 1% of all high school seniors in the United States. West Covina Unified is proud to announce that five of those students hail from our district and an additional two students were named finalists from last year’s Semifinal round. These seven exceptional students have an opportunity to continue on in the competition and vie for one of the 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million next spring.

Edgewood High School senior, Benjamin Lin, is an IB Diploma Programme student who hopes to become a doctor and plans to study Biology at the University of Texas, Dallas.

 


EHS senior and National Merit Scholar semi-finalist, Benjamin Lin



Across town, the Bulldogs also have representation with four Semifinalists. They include: Dillon Vuong, Jinhao “Thomas” Huo, Thaomy Vo, and Andy Kwan.

Dillon Vuong hopes to study computer science at MIT. Jinhao “Thomas” Huo is interested in pursuing chemical or aerospace engineering at Stanford. Thaomy Vo would like to attend UC Berkley to study biology, and Andy Kwan is interested in computer science and engineering at UC Berkley.


WCHS seniors and National Merit Scholar semi-finalists:
Jinhao Huo, Dillon Vuong, Thaomy Vo, and Andy Kwan



All five of these Semifinalists, must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

Two of this year’s finalists (based on their 2015 PSAT scores) are also at West Covina High School. Seniors Evan Lin and Megan Tran are up for the big scholarship. Lin hopes to attend UC Berkley to study computer science, and Tran would like to pursue a course of study in the sciences at Stanford.


WCHS seniors and National Merit Scholar Finalists, Evan Lin and Megan Tran


West Covina Unified School District is proud to have students represent the District at the highest level. The District wishes them all a lot of luck as they continue in this scholarship process.

 

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WCUSD students take advantage of the Second Annual College Fair

 


Edgewood High School students, Arianna Villegas and Jazmine Coronel
gathered more than just answers

 

West Covina, CA – Ask a young kid about their college plans and you will get the tried and true enthusiastic answer of, “USC!” or “UCLA!” However, college readiness and college selection go beyond the notion of which school is the “coolest.” Approach those same kids a few years later, and the responses will be a bit more thoughtful and loaded with a lot more questions than answers.

That is why college fairs are eagerly anticipated by students who are informed, but still in need of answers. At this years’ WCUSD College Fair, the questions that were shared by many were, “I need to see which schools are the best for my major”, or “I’m more worried about how I’m going to live off of Top Ramen.”

The students were not the only ones with questions. Parents were also eager to obtain more information. It is not too often when the questions and concerns of the parents’ match that of their children - college planning is the exception.  

Going beyond the typical college fair, WCUSD planned a variety of special events for families ranging from elementary to high school. These included workshops which ran concurrently during the fair, with topics ranging from financial planning, college credit in high school, to college readiness for middle and high school students.

Local universities like Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Fullerton, and the University of Irvine were popular tables for college bound students to visit. However, community colleges like Rio Hondo and Mt. Sac, and military personnel from the National Guard, the Army, and Air Force were also a big hit for students who were looking for other options.

Edgar Sanchez is a proud father of two high school students (a senior at EHS, and a junior at WCHS), he was impressed by the organization of the event and of all the information that was available to his kids. “We found a lot of college services that are available to my kids. This was a good experience for them, and of course, me.”


 

This has been another edition of WC Beat –written for, and by, the West Covina Unified School District.

 

School Board of Education

President: Camie Poulos
Vice President: Eileen Miranda Jimenez
Clerk: Michael Flowers
Member: Daniel C. Monarrez
Member: Jessica C. Shewmaker

 

Administration

Superintendent: Dr. Charles Hinman
Assistant Superintendent: Dr. Robert Coghlan
Assistant Superintendent: Denise Knutsen
Assistant Superintendent: Michael Seaman

Board Meetings

The West Covina Unified School District encourages community members to attend and participate in its public board meetings whenever possible.

 

Open session typically begin at 7:00 p.m., and are held in the district board room located at 1717 W. Merced Ave, West Covina.

 

You can find future board meeting dates at www.wcusd.org

 

Any questions about these articles, or suggestions for future editions, can be submitted to WCBeat@wcusd.org