Student board member aims high - Rialto Unified School District



Student board member aims high - Rialto Unified School District
$100,000 U-CAN Scholarship Winner! Page 2
Spelling Bee/MESA Winners, Page 3
“Chat with the Chief” Page 4
December 2015,
Fall/Winter Quarterly News
Student board member aims high
RUSD Past President, now Board Member, Edgar Montes (above, left), swears in Student Board
Member, Natalie Baca, at the Oct. 7, 2015, RUSD school board meeting. Inset, on right, Baca
smiles widely as she is sworn and takes her seat as the next student board member.
he Rialto Unified School District swore
in Carter High School senior, Natalie
Baca as the 2015-2016 student board
member. Baca will be representing a
student body of more than 26,000 students.
“I’m very excited to learn and lead,” said the
17-year-old student. “I have a passion to help,
and be a voice for our schools. It’s an honor.”
The incoming senior was sworn-in by RUSD
Board of Education President, Edgar Montes, at
the Oct. 7, 2015, school board meeting, which
was held at the Dr. John R. Kazalunas Education
Center in Rialto.
“The panel that selected Natalie were impressed by her articulation, poise and confidence,” he stated. “Each year the Board of Education swears in a new student board member
who brings a fresh perspective. Through her
service, I am hopeful that Natalie will learn
about how the overall business of education
works. It’s a great experience for her, and I was
pleased to have had the opportunity to swear
her in as the 2015-2016 student board member.”
Baca replaced Marisol Angulo, from Rialto
High School. Angulo is currently college.
Student board members rotate from three
comprehensive high schools each year. The responsibility of a student board member is to
participate in School Board meetings, vote on
certain agenda items, and represent the RUSD
student body at various District and City events.
Baca will also be a part of the District Student
Advisory Committee (DSAC). DSAC consists of
three student body representatives from each
RUSD middle and high school, who attend a
monthly leadership/team-building meeting at
the District Office and speak on behalf of their
school at live, televised School Board Meetings.
Baca is the daughter of Anthony and Mary.
She has a brother, Joshua, and sister, Jessica,
who both attend Kolb Middle School and an
Christina, who is
a college graduate.
attended RUSD’s
School and Trapp
graduation, she
plans on attending Law School.
Superintendent eases into position
lthough he unassumingly
working in summer, Rialto Unified
School District’s newest Superintendent,
Cuauhtémoc Avila is no
doubt, a man for all seasons.
He also made history as
the first Latino superintendent in the District.
After an extensive search,
the RUSD Board of Education had unanimously hired
the 47-year-old Superintendent.
The school chief leads 29
schools, several support
sites, more than 3,900 employees,
26,000 students, and an education community that encompasses Rialto and parts
of Colton, San Bernardino,
Fontana, and Lytle Creek.
As he walked in classrooms
from August through October, school and support staff
warmly welcomed the new
‘Super,’ especially when
they found that his serviceoriented leadership and de-
termination to support students are key.
“I gave my word that I
would not only visit each
support site and school site,
but each classroom in our
Raised in the City of
Compton to hardworking
parents, Dr. Avila was one of
nine children. A stand-out
high school student-athlete,
he earned his degree from
“With focus and determination, we
can make a difference for our
deserving kids.”
- Dr. Cuauhtémoc Avila
District, as well,” replied Dr.
Avila. “I observe students
who are engaged in instruction and teachers who are
focused on rigor, and that’s
already great chemistry for
academic success. With support, I have no doubt that
we will become stronger.”
UCLA and a doctorate in
Education from USC. He has
been a teacher, a principal
at the elementary, middle
and high school levels, and a
director. Dr. Avila left his
area superintendent post in
the Los Angeles Office County Office of Education
(LACOE) to accept the position at the RUSD.
“The Rialto Unified School
District is a great fit for me,”
smiled the man, whose
voice barely rises from a
whisper. “From parents, to
staff, to civic leaders, I appreciate the kindness and
passionate support the entire community of Rialto has
shown me. We have a lot of
great accomplishments to
reach in the near future because students deserve it.
With focus and determination, we can make a difference for our deserving kids.”
Dr. Avila is married to an
educator. They are raising
their three daughters, of
which two are in the K-12
system, and one in college.
Page 2
U-CAN Go To College Awards Students!
An aerial view of the U-CAN Go to College Program that was held in a Fontana school (RUSD and FUSD alternate). The
program has garnished praise after successfully granting millions of dollars worth of scholarships to RUSD students.
Yes they can and yes, they did!
And it was about $3 million worth.
The U-CAN Go College Program
awarded more than $3 million
worth of scholarships, including a
full four year scholarship (full ride)
to various Rialto Unified School
District students from Eisenhower,
Rialto, Carter and Milor high
schools at their annual U-CAN College and Career Fair, held on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, at A.B. Miller
High School in Fontana.
Last year, RUSD’s inaugural UCAN Go To College Fair (also in conjunction with Fontana USD) was
held at Carter High School.
This year, 26 colleges participated
in the U-CAN College Fair, which
boasted over $5.5 million worth of
scholarships/tuitions given to both
Rialto and Fontana USD students.
“We have dozens of colleges and
universities here, many which are
also historically Black colleges and
want to enroll qualifying students,”
said the CEO of U-CAN, Dr. Alan
“The program is important because it represents opportunity and
access for our students,” said Jennette Harper, RUSD’s Executive
Director of Secondary Curriculum,
who helped coordinate the U-CAN
Conference. “It is also about using
resources and giving students additional viable opportunities beyond
Dr. Rowe stated, “Last year’s regional event drew more than
15,000 students and parents from
Sacramento, surrounding counties,
and expanded to Las Vegas, Nevada. The College Fair was an overwhelming success with many students receiving on the spot admissions and scholarship offers.”
Event coordinators anticipated
this year’s attendance drew over
20,000 as the college fair expands
its outreach into California.
Representatives from more than
forty of the nation’s leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities
(HBCUs) participated.
Official representatives for the
colleges and universities recruited
college bound students on-site
with many RUSD students bene-
Students received preliminary
“on-the-spot” admissions, scholarships, financial aid information and
face-to-face exposure with many of
the most respected historically
black institutions of higher learning
within the United States.
A partial list of participating colleges includes: Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University,
Benedict College, Clark Atlanta University, Dillard University, Grambling State University, Hampton
University, Howard University,
Johnson C. Smith University, Morehouse College, North Carolina A &
T State University, South Carolina
State University, Texas Southern
University, Tuskegee University,
Virginia State University and Xavier
University of Louisiana, among
many others.
The U-CAN college fair event was
free and open to public students
who qualified for grants.
100,000 reasons to smile...RUSD Board Vice President, Dina Walker,
joined the $100,000 scholarship winner, Rialto High School senior, Terry
Clay, (middle) along with his proud RHS counselor, Frank Garza. “I’m feeling pretty good right now,” smiled Clay, who received the highest reward!
Sixth grade student encourages volunteerism
Sarah Urbieta (inset and on left) smiles with Kucera Middle School
Assistant Principal, Dorothy Innis, when she received her school t-shirt. The
6th grade student’s message is: “be involved with your community.” The young
scholar encourages volunteerism on campus and in her community.
Sarah Urbieta is a go-getter.
While walking the Kucera Middle
School campus, the sixth grade student spoke candidly about entering
middle school earlier this year.
“I was a little nervous at first,” she
replied, “but then when I started to
switch classes, it started to get fun
and I became excited. The principals, teachers, they’re real friendly.”
While many 11-year-old students,
after completing homework, may
spend the rest of the their time talking with their friends, listening to
music, playing video games, going
to movies, shopping, and doing
what 11-year-olds mostly do, Sarah
said she also likes to talk about her
coalition meeting schedules and
working with city leaders.
Michael Townsend works for Central Valley Prevention Program, an
organization that works to prevent
underage use of tobacco, alcohol,
and other drugs. At one of his
presentations that he facilitated for
the Rialto Community Coalition, he
met Pablo and Jacqueline Urbieta,
Sarah’s parents.
Sarah became involved in the coalition by joining others as they surveyed people at the City of Rialto’s
National Night Out. Shortly after
that, she attended a community
action project sponsored by the
coalition, called the Positive Images
Kick Back, which she now co-chairs.
“I was impressed with Sarah’s
leadership from the onset of her
joining the Rialto Community Coalition,” recalled Townsend. “Sarah
has quite a presence. Her personal
commitment to fulfill the responsibilities of the Youth Co-Chair position is very admirable. And her commitment is compounded by her parents’ commitment to support her
and to support the objectives of the
coalition. She’s a fine example for
other youths.”
Along with three older siblings,
Sarah has a younger sister, Maryam, 9, and brother, Abraham, 8,
who both attend Kordyak Elementary School.
Last school year, Sarah won six
elementary awards, including two
Presidential Awards, Top Reader
Award, and Excellence in Citizenry.
“I like school, and I like to be involved in my community,” she said.
As early as the first month of
school, Kucera Middle School Assistant Principal, Dorothy Ennis, was
aware of Sarah’s leadership involvement in the City of Rialto.
“It is a pleasure to have Sarah as
one of Kucera’s successful Coyotes
this school year. She is one of our
shining stars that not only shines
academically, but also shines as a
student volunteer,” said Ennis.
Page 3
Myers, Dollahan, Morgan Elementary, lead Spelling Bee
BUSY AS A BEE, WINNING!... From left: District’s top spellers are: Third
Place winner, Emily Carlos, from Morgan Elementary School, Second
Place winner, Juan Loza, from Dollahan Elementary School and First
Place winner, Brenda Haro Ramirez, from Myers Elementary School.
The Rialto Unified School
District’s Elementary Schools
Spelling Bee, held on Tuesday,
December 1, 2015, 6:00 p.m., at
Dr. Ernest Garcia Elementary
School, located at 1390 West
Randall Avenue in Colton, brought
the District’s top spellers together.
The competition was tough, but
in the end, a “dragon,” a
“Dalmatian” and a “mustang”
gained the victory!
“It was extremely important to
bring the Spelling Bee back to the
District,” said Beth Curtiss, the
District’s Executive Director of
Elementary Curriculum, who was
one of the facilitators at the
event. “The tension in the room
came from the students’ focus. In
the end, our students deserve the
effort and recognition that they
earned tonight.”
Fourth grade students who
competed (* are listed as
alternates) included: Andrew
Moran, Joseph Alavarez, and *
Elizabeth Mendez from Bemis
Elementary; Alejandro Cea, Diego
Ortega, and * Jennifer Pimienta,
from Boyd Elementary; Erika
Ramirez, Andea Madera, and *
Aaron Escobar, from Casey
Jonathan Trujillo, and *Anthony
Cruz from Curtis Elementary; Juan
Loza, Erika Zamora, and * Nickolas
Janelle Martinez, and * Emily
Allen from Dunn Elementary; Riley
Orlando, Nixshie Santiago, and *
James Perkins II, from Fitzgerald
Elementary; Brandon Laatung,
Palki Mand, and * Iliana Lopez,
from Garcia Elementary; Joseph
Gomez, and Jesse Rosales, from
Henry Elementary; Tatiahna Vita,
Arturo Gonzalez, and * Tyler
Elementary; Araceli Rodriguez,
Danielle Trimble, and * Alfredo
Elementary; Miguel Mayorga,
Joshua Garcia, * Jaretzi Lopez, and
* Amarah Orentas, from Kordyak
Elementary; Emily Carlos, David
Jackson, and * Lily Wendt, from
Morgan Elementary; Bryan Jacinto
-Roman, Luis Lopez, and *
Stephanie Garcia, from Morris
Elementary; Brenda Haro Ramirez,
Christopher Hernandez, and *
Joshua Garcia from Myers
Elementary, Shaniya Simes, Briana
Santana, and * Kiana Vasquez
from Preston Elementary; Aaryn
Santana, Isaac Escamilla, and *
Sean Headley from Simpson
Elementary; Matthew Martinez,
Delia Rodriguez, and * Mia Galvez
from Trapp Elementary; and
Autumn Deavilla, and Mariah
Davis from Werner Elementary.
Within two hours, the results of
the Spelling Bee were: First Place
winner, Brenda Haro Ramirez,
from Myers Elementary School,
Second Place winner was Juan
Loza, from Dollahan Elementary
School (teacher, Ms. Rose
Franco), and Third Place winner
was Emily Carlos, from Morgan
Elementary School (teacher, Mrs.
Laura Torres-Coviarrubias).
“I was very nervous,” said
Ramirez, the fourth grade student
who took the highest honor. “I
have a great teacher, Mrs. (La
Shonda) Holley-Woods, who
really helped me, but when I saw
everyone looking straight at me, I
The winning team... “Join in,” waved RUSD Superintendent, Dr.
Cuauhtémoc Avila (top, middle) to parents, teachers, and administrators,
who proudly flanked the three top three Spelling Bee champions.
MESA awards Rialto High!
Winning streak continues for
Rialto High School!
Rialto High School, for a
second year in row, was
selected as the MESA
“School of the Year”
Gonzalez, Director for MESA
California, Riverside.
“The high school of the year
is selected based criteria that
includes enrollment numbers,
performance in competitions
and challenges,” he stated.
Superintendent of Secondary
Education, Dr.
D’Souza added, “We are
had to concentrate extra hard.
After it was over, it felt great to
Ramirez’s teacher was overjoyed.
“I was jumping for joy when I
found out!” Mrs. Holley-Woods
cheered. “Brenda is one of my
brightest students, so she did not
need much guidance.”
Rialto Unified School District
school officials assisted in
rewarding students with ribbons,
medallions, and the Spelling Bee
“Spelling Bees are an important
and traditional part of our
students’ education growth,” said
Cuauhtémoc Avila, who brought
the program back to the District
this school year. “The room was
quiet and many of us were on pins
and needles when the students
began the competition, but as far
as I am concerned, all students in
the room were winners because
they participated and competed.
It was a wonderful evening of
student, teacher, and parent
support. I was proud to attend.”
proud of our Rialto High
School MESA students who
competed and the dedication
of our teachers, Mr. Julian
Ansermet and Mr. Mikal
Thompson, who worked
tirelessly with our students to
earn this recognition, back to
The students who earned
First Place in the MESA
Competition from Rialto High
Manzanera, Ernesto Rojas,
David Sumadsad, and Terry
The RHS MESA team,
including Principal, Arnie
Ayala, teachers and students
were recognized at the Dec. 9,
2015, RUSD Board of
excellence in math and
science projects.
Posing with RUSD
Board of Education
President, Nancy G.
O’Kelley, Kolb Middle School student,
was all smiles. The
middle school student
was one of a handful of students who earned top honors
from the Rialto Unified School District Board of Education, at the school board meeting for excellence in the
Inland Science & Engineering Fair. RUSD students have
excelled in math and science and often compete in area
science fairs and competition, with favorable results.
Honoring a local
pioneer...In November,
the Key to the District was awarded
to former California
Assembly Member,
Carter High School
Namesake, and 16year former RUSD
Wilmer Amina Carter. The Board’s highest honor was
presented by Board Clerk, Joseph W. Martinez.
Page 4
LET’S TALK!...Chat With the Chief, a
new RUSD Safety and Security Program
is keeping RUSD elementary parents.
Pictured on left are RUSD Safety and
Security Chief Gordon Leary (middle)
Garcia Elementary School
parents. Below are Werner Elementary
School parents with Werner Principal,
Cherlynn Scott.
Chat with the Chief connects with parents
Nationwide, as most
polls and surveys have
indicated, one of most
parents/guardians is safety
on school campuses.
In the Rialto Unified
School District, more than
50 safety and security
personnel work tirelessly,
by not only keeping 29
school campuses and
support sites safe, but also
programs, such as: Chat
with the Chief.
On August 2015, RUSD
Chief of Educational Safety
and Security, Gordon
program which promotes
open communication and
information on school
safety involving parents.
“Parents play an integral
role in educating and
keeping their children safe,
especially by volunteering
Therefore, it is essential
that parents/guardians not
only have a voice, but a
special place at the table in
our District. Under the
Cuauhtémoc Avila, we are
excited about leading
through service.”
Some of the Chat with
the Chief topics related to
procedures, visibility of
staff, and patrol.
RUSD stations seven
safety and security officers
at every high school, three
safety and security officers
at each middle school,
seven week day patrol
officers, five weekend
patrol officers and six
dispatchers, who provide
support services to campus
and District property.
Yesenia Higuera,
participated in Chat with
the Chief.
“The Chat with the Chief
was really awesome,” she
said. “I liked the way Chief
Principal) Ms. Scott took
the time to sit down and
ask the parents what
safety concerns we had
about the school. I noticed
they addressed many of
our concerns. This shows
that Chief Leary and Ms.
Scott care about our
concerns, our children and
the safety of ours schools.”
Chat with the Chief is held
three to four times a
month at several of the 19
elementary schools in the
For more information on
Chat with the Chief or to
participate, call the Safety
and Security Office at (909)
Red Ribbon Weeks winners honored
12 judges were ready. Below: RUSD Board
Member Joseph Ayala (on left) joked with
RUSD employee, and Red Ribbon Committee
Volunteer, Rita Caruthers, while as Board
Member, Joseph W. Martinez (middle) studied the judges’ rules. Rialto Fire Chief, Mat
Fratus (far right), also judged the schools.
One of the toughest competition in years, Red
Ribbon Week Schoolwide Decoration Contest winners were: First Place, tie between
Garcia Elementary, (above) and Kelley Elementary Schools (on left). Second Place winners were; Dunn Elementary and Kordyak
Elementary Schools and Third Place winners
were Trapp Elementary School and Carter
High School.
Usage by
Water reduction and consumption are acts
that are top priorities throughout the State,
especially in Southern California, where we have been
threatened with fines and violations if we over-water due
to the severe drought. In Rialto Unified School District, we
have reduced our water usage
by 31% within eight months,
surpassing the State mandate
to reduce water use by 25%.
“That's over 80 million gallons of water,” state Jay Kim,
the District’s Energy Manager.
“We want to thank everyone
who helped. The State will
continue to monitor water
reserve levels until Feb. 2016
to decide if water restrictions
will be lifted.”
Brian Montez, Grounds Department Supervisor for the
RUSD, and the Grounds irrigation technicians have been
instrumental in regulating watering times and fixing leaks.
“Through the cooperative
efforts of Victor Ramboz, Fred
Elias, and Tino Beltran, we
have been able to reduce the
amount of water usage at our
sites, considerably,” stated
Montez. “Our technicians adjust the times and days for
irrigation in the District, which
reduced our water usage by
70% over the past months to
help meet the state mandated
25% reduction. With the help
of Jay Kim and our dedicated
staff, we were able to acquire
several smart irrigation controllers for Ike and water wise
sprinkler heads at no cost to
the district. Jay has been instrumental in helping us reduce water usage as well.
With continuing education of
our district’s students and city
population we will continue to
save water for the future.”
31%, WOW!
Rialto Unified School District Board of Education: President, Nancy G. O’Kelley, Vice President, Dina Walker, Clerk, Joseph W. Martinez,
Member, Joe Ayala, Member, Edgar Montes, RUSD Student Member, Natalie Baca
The Rialto Bulletin is published by the RUSD Communication Services, quarterly. Any story ideas can be emailed to Syeda Jafri, [email protected]

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