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WC Beat Ed. VII

West Covina High School’s Megan Tran is a Regional Finalist for the 2017 Coca-Cola Scholars Fund.  Megan has the distinction of being one of 250 students throughout the nation with an opportunity to win a $20,000 scholarship. 

Reaching this level distinguishes Megan, and other finalists, as extraordinary leaders in their school and community. Nearly 86,000 applicants and more than 1,900 Semifinalists participated in the program, selection as a Regional Finalist is an outstanding accomplishment.

Megan’s next step in the selection process is a 20-minute meeting with the Regional Interview Committee comprised of a Foundation staff member and previous Coca-Cola Scholars Program scholarship recipients.

After those interviews, 150 students will be named Coca-Cola Scholars and receive a $20,000 college scholarship.

WCUSD congratulates Megan on this remarkable accomplishment thus far. We wish her luck as she continues on to the next level.

The Edgewood High School Academic Decathlon team did not overtake South Pasadena at the February LA County Awards Banquet at Quiet Cannon in Montebello, but they came oh so close. South Pasadena earned 56,400 while EHS earned 55,900. This is Edgewood’s best score ever, though, and would have been good enough to beat South Pasadena last year. The score also likely makes Edgewood one of the top five schools in the state.

The best part of the day: after finishing close so many times, Benjamin Lin finally became the top scorer in LA County, earning a standing ovation from the crowd of over 500. To top it off, the SECOND highest scorer in ALL of LA County is none other than Edgewood’s own Nathaniel Lyons. Edgewood has the TOP TWO SCORERS in all of LA County, a truly remarkable achievement.

Following is a list of all the medals earned:

Benjamin Lin: Gold in Art, Essay, Literature, Interview, Music, Science, Social Science, Overall Honors, and Top Overall; Silver in Speech, Bronze in Economics

Jessica Doan: Gold in Speech; Silver in Essay, Science, and Social Science; Bronze in Math

Darren Lam: Gold in Essay and Literature; Bronze in Interview

Peter Tran: Gold in Literature, Science, and Social Science; Silver in Math, Speech, and Overall Scholastic; Bronze in Art, Economics, and Music

Andrew Obeso: Gold in Art, Economics, Math, and Interview; Silver in Speech; Bronze in Science, Social Science, and Overall Scholastic

Kelly Xie: Silver in Interview and Speech; Bronze in Math

Nathaniel Lyons: Gold in Art, Economics, Essay, Literature, Math, Interview, Science, Speech, Social Science, Overall Varsity, 2nd Best Overall

Mark Ochave: Gold in Interview

The Edgewood team is led by a great team of coaches: Craig Michael, Joel Lovato, Melina Mena, James Ferrel, and Allan Aguirre. Craig Michael shared, “We need to thank our tremendously supportive school and district administration--and the rest of the EHS staff for their volunteering, help, and good wishes throughout the year.”

However, the season isn’t over just yet. Edgewood now moves on to the state competition from March 24-26. It is safe to bet they will have their eyes on South Pasadena. Go Lions!


At the February 28 Board meeting, Dr. Rob Coghlan, Assistant Superintendent, Business Services Division and an architect from PBK Architects presented a conceptual master plan on facilities for the West Covina Unified School District. The presentation included various details on proposed projects, locations, and the tentative timeframe for Measure ES construction. This master plan will be discussed further by members of the Equity Committee who will be meeting and providing input on the proposed projects.

The first Equity Committee meeting is scheduled on March 7 and will include representatives from all the secondary schools and our local community. The Committee will focus on the needs of the secondary schools and provide input on their specific proposed projects. Similarly, another Equity Committee meeting is scheduled on March 9 for the elementary schools. After the master plan has been revised (based on feedback from the Equity Committee), it will be presented at a future board meeting for approval.

Superintendent, Dr. Charles Hinman, could hardly contain his excitement, “This is just one step closer to our goal at WCUSD looking like the amazing district it is. We cannot wait to break ground. Progress is coming soon!”


Students throughout California have been sitting down to the new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) test for the past few years. However, it wasn’t until the last month where teachers have finally had their opportunity to get a good long look at the assessments and really understand the platform and rigor of these high stakes test.

West Covina teachers were able to view and analyze scored student samples and they were then able to outline the appropriate skills that were needed for students to perform well on the test. Dr. Gloria Duncan, director of secondary education, knew that teachers would get a lot out of looking deeper into these assessments, “What’s great about this test is that it is reflective of the assessments they will encounter as they move along their educational career. The new SAT and early college assessments also follow this same format. Being better prepared for this exam, better prepares the students for other future milestones.”


Teachers were surprised to see what was being asked of students as young as third grade. Kayla Barsugli, Hollencrest Middle School English teacher, exclaimed, “They are looking at different sources! We knew it was the case for our middle school kids, but to know it’s happening all the way down at third grade makes you realize we need to make this skill an expectation from the very beginning.”


This sentiment was shared on the math side as well. Edgewood Middle School math teacher, Veronica Perez shared, “Knowing what I know now about state testing, I’m surprised that our students performed as well as they did. Having this new knowledge in my back pocket makes me more confident going forward.”



District students identified as GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) participate in project based learning activities during the school year.  During the month of February each school holds a completion to determine which students would best represent the school as GATE students.  At the elementary level students showcase their projects to an audience made up of district personnel, community members, parents, and other students from all seven elementary schools.  At the middle school level, each school sends two groups of students to compete for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in the district. After much deliberation, the judges awarded Edgewood Middle first and third place, and Walnut Grove took second place.


The theme of this year’s project was to create a plan for a new Community Care Service Club that will develop compassion and inspire a spirit of volunteering in elementary and middle school children, as well as connect to local concerns with global issues and gain an awareness of others, while parents, teachers, and youth leaders promote civic values and compassion in their homes, schools and communities.


The interest in bilingualism is growing, and more and more parents want to give their English-speaking kids an advantage in an increasingly competitive business world. Many parents of students enrolled in the Dual Language classes at both Monte Vista and Orangewood are witnessing their children grow into confident Spanish speakers, and parents are even reporting that they are learning as well as they help with homework.

On February 17, 2017, a Dual Language Parent Information night was held at the district office. A crowd of more than 60 parents watched Dual Language Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten students from Monte Vista and first graders from Orangewood perform the traditional Spanish language folk song, “De Colores.” They were also impressed to see a video in which the students shared, in Spanish, why it was important to be bilingual and what they liked about being in a dual language classroom. Parents were given information on enrollment as the program is set to grow to include second grade for the 2017-2018 school year.

This option is available for families that are seeking a unique educational model where children can learn to read, write, and communicate in two languages (English and Spanish). Bilingualism, biliteracy, and multicultural competence are the goals of the program. The program offers a 90/10 model where 90% of instruction is in Spanish and 10% in English, to assist early Spanish Language acquisition and literacy development. As students move into higher grades, more of the instruction shifts to English, so that in fourth grade they will receive 50% instruction in Spanish and 50% instruction in English.

Research shows that supporting bilingualism from early ages can have extensive benefits - from cognitive and social advantages early in life, to long-term employment opportunities and competitiveness in the workplace.

Parents with students entering TK through second grade are encouraged to learn more about the Dual Language Program at either Monte Vista or Orangewood Elementary.


Collaboration is Key to Our Success.

Parents, educators, employees, and the community joined forces on February 8, 2017 to collaborate on the development of our new Local Control Accountability Plan.  This was the second of three meetings where the task force worked together to evaluate our current work, set future goals, and provide input to make our new plan a great success for the students of West Covina Unified.

You may be asking yourself, “What is a Local Control Accountability Plan?”  Simply stated, it is three-year plan that describes the school district's’ key goals for students, specific actions and expenditures, and how progress will be measured.

Teams worked together to match the district’s current plan goals, to the eight California state priorities for education. Negotiation was key as teams discussed how goals could be grouped.  Teams shared their ideas as common understanding grew in the room.  Dr. Hilda Flores, Director - Special Projects, was thrilled to see the high-level of engagement and thoughtfulness that went into the conversations.  She stated, “The conversation happening at each table was so valuable to our planning process.”

The opportunity to collaborate drew out important perspectives that would focus on fortifying the arts as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to ensure students in West Covina Unified have both access and great outcomes.

The task force will meet again on April 4, 2017 to evaluate a draft version of the new Local Control Accountability Plan.