Recognitions at the May 10th Board Meeting
During each monthly Board of Education meeting, time is allotted for recognition of students, staff, business partners, and schools that bring honor to the Fontana Unified School District and further its mission to improve the quality of education. There were several recognized at the Board Meeting on May 10, 2017.
Pledge of Allegiance
Andrew Pedro Landeros, a 4th grade student at Canyon Crest Elementary School, was selected to lead the Board of Education in the Pledge of Allegiance.
"Andrew is a model citizen, a GATE student, always tries his best, and is always collaborative with his peers," said Superintendent Randal Bassett.
FUSD 60th Anniversary Celebration
Prior to the official Board Meeting, an Open House Reception was held to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Unification of the Fontana Unified School District.
"One of the first documented schools in Fontana was a tent school in 1892," said Michael Garcia, Principal-on-Assignment for Family and Community Engagement. "A more permanent structure, Sierra Seville School, was built in 1913 on the plot of land where City Hall now stands. While those schools are but a memory, there would soon be built schools that remain standing to this day: Fontana Middle School (1928), West Randall (1947), Redwood (1950), North Tamarind, Randall Pepper and South Tamarind (1951), and Oleander (1955). These schools constituted the Fontana Elementary District."
"What Fontana did not have, was its own high school," he continued. "Beginning in 1923, high school students in Fontana were bused 12 miles away to Chaffey High School in Ontario.
While that may have seemed a reasonable solution in 1923, when Fontana students made up only one-seventh of Chaffey’s enrollment, with the advent of World War II and the opening of the Kaiser Steel Mill, the population of our small community was growing by leaps and bounds. The number of high school students bused daily to Ontario increased to 780, requiring a fleet of 15 buses, with an annual cost of $45,000. A better solution was to build a high school in the city of Fontana. The Chaffey Union High School District began making plans to build Fontana High School, which would open in 1952. With plans for this new high school, talk of seceding from Chaffey Union High School District also began."
"In October of 1953, an election was held and the community voted in favor of secession from Chaffey, and unifying the Fontana Elementary District with Fontana High School. In October 1955, the Board of Supervisors passed a Resolution for Unification, effective July 1, 1956."
"Today, Fontana is a center for technology, industry, and commerce in Southern California. Due to the significant population growth of the city, the Fontana Unified School District has grown to accommodate the children of the community. We now have 30 elementary schools (including a dual language immersion/IB school), 7 middle schools, 5 high schools, 2 continuation high schools, and 1 adult school."
"As we continue to expand and modernize learning opportunities in our district," Mr. Garcia continued. "FUSD students will be able to take part in learning opportunities such as increasing: Expanding Early Education and Early Literacy Programs; Full Day Kindergarten; STEAM, STEM, Linked Learning, GATE, Music, Visual and Performing Arts Programs; Dual Language Programs throughout our district; Technology, Science, International Business, and Medical Academies. These are just a few opportunities in the coming years that will take place in our district."
We were proud to have some of our former Superintendents (Cali Binks, Dr. Karen Harshman and Anthony Lardieri) and Board Members (Kathy Binks, Laura Abernathy Mancha and Dr. Wayne Ruble) join us for the celebration, as well as Robert Palmer, Teacher at Oleander Elementary School and historian of all things Fontana, who played his mountain dulcimer during the Open House Reception. The Board received proclamations from several of our local and state representatives, such as Mayor Acquanetta Warren, Senator Connie Leyva, Assemblymember Eloise Reyes, Congressman Pete Aguilar, Congresswoman Norma Torres, Supervisor Janice Rutherford, Supervisor Josie Gonzales, and San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre.
District Teacher of the Year
The Board recognized FUSD's 2017 District Teacher of the Year, Sommer Mendoza, First Grade Teacher at South Tamarind Elementary School.
"Mrs. Mendoza is a caring person," said Mr. Creswell. "Colleagues from every grade level seek her out for advice and guidance. Her energy is infectious. She has been able to lead her grade level to do amazing lessons and projects with students. You can walk inside her classroom and immediately be confronted with a stimulating learning environment. Whether students are on Sway, coding, using Thinking Maps, Skyping with other schools, or Kahooting, you can rest assured that bell-to-bell instruction is occurring. Her lessons and the student work is phenomenal. Visiting teachers have taken pictures of this high interest learning environment as a model for their classrooms."
"I am so honored since I myself am a graduate of the Fontana Unified School District," said Mrs. Mendoza. "I read somewhere that teachers are much like rock stars: their fans line up and follow them wherever they go, a lot of times they freak out when they see them 'in real life', and many times they need to put on many acts in a short time to entertain a crowd. But more importantly, their words of wisdom, their kind words and lessons, stay with them just like a classic rock song does and I hope to continue to be your rock star and the rock star of many more students for many years to come."
California Retired Teachers Association
John Knippel, Presidents of CalRTA, and Dale VanKamp, Chairperson of CalRTA's Grant Committee, recognized CalRTA Grant Recipients at the May 10th Board Meeting.
"In addition to protecting our pensions, California Retired Teachers Association (CalRTA) raises money every year to give back to teachers in the public schools," said Mr. Knippel. "At the local level, we provide grants to help teachers supply their classrooms to make their students education more effective. We normally raise enough money to provide 15 or more grants of $250 a piece each year. As of today, we have given out over $35,000 in grants. This year, the Fontana Unified School District has seven grant recipients out of 75 applicants."
This year's Fontana recipients of CalRTA grants are: Kay Chech Latino of Canyon Crest Elementary School, Paul Cross of Fontana Middle School, Jennifer Figueroa of Primrose Elementary School, Kelly Jimenez of Southridge Middle School, Maria Madero of Dolores Huerta International Academy, Susan Preciado of Shadow Hills Elementary School, and Melina Yamarone of West Randall Elementary School.
Outgoing Board Member
The Board recognized outgoing Student Board Member Giovani Hernandez-Parra, who is graduating from Summit High School later this month.
"I have the privilege, on behalf of the Fontana Public Schools Education Foundation, to recognize outstanding leadership, said Tracey Vackar, Director of Career Technical Education and Board Member of the Foundation. "Giovani, this past year, has exemplified to the community, fellow students, and by his willingness to serve and to give his time, to explore the agenda, to be able to engage in quality discussion with the Board Members, and to be able to represent his fellow colleagues at the schools. For that, we recognize, that you are getting ready to go on to UCLA. Dr. Shannon Miller, who is also on the Board, and I would like to present Giovani with a check for $1000 (scholarship) from the Foundation."
AVID Site of Distinction - Sequoia
The Board recognized Sequoia Middle School for recently being named as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Site of Distinction.
"Seven years ago, Sequoia began its AVID journey," said Mr. Santiago. "That first year, we had two 7th grade classes and one 8th grade class. When we started this, we knew we wanted it to be an exemplary program. We reached out to our feeder schools and inquired, what did we need to do to become the best of the best."
"Seven years later, I am proud to announce that AVID has selected Sequoia as the first middle school in Fontana to be identified as an AVID Site of Distinction," he continued. "According to Dennis Johnson and Allen Dickerson, representatives of AVID, being an AVID Site of Distinction represents the highest level of AVID implementation fidelity demonstrating excellence in instructional practice and the promotion of college readiness schoolwide. Some of our former AVID students have been accepted to UC Davis, UC Irvine, Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State Fullerton, and, yes, UCLA - I am a Trojan. Others are finalists for the QuestBridge Scholarship Program and one received the AVID Scholarship for our region and one was a Dell Scholar this year. Bottom line, AVID works. There is no way we could accomplish this without our two AVID Coordinators, Christine Clark and Lisa Hayes and our AVID Teacher Raquel Wheel."