A monthly update from the Whittier Union High School DIstrict.
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October 2018


While we continue to provide a quality education to every student who walks onto our campuses, we are also embarking on a new journey as a District. Whittier Union area voters will have the opportunity to vote for a single Board of Trustee candidate who resides in their area. To ensure this process is inclusive, transparent and collaborative, we will be holding a series of community meetings and public hearings to gather input from our District families regarding the district formation mapping. Your voices are critical to this process and we encourage all stakeholders to participate. While this will be a change for Whittier Union, it will not impact our main priority – our students and their achievement.

California High School’s string quartet performed in the Oct. 14 “Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown” show at the Downey Theatre. Students Ariana Alvarado, Emily Chavez, Alejandra Ortega and Jacob Fernandes joined professional musicians on stage to add “some orchestral texture to the evening,” organizers said. The show pitted Rolling Stones tribute band Satisfaction against rival Brit boys Abbey Road in a musical showdown for rock dominance. The string quartet performed seven songs with the bands, including “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Hey Jude,” “As Tears Go By,” and “Ruby Tuesday.” Quartet members consistently receive superior ratings at solo and ensemble festivals and perform with prestigious area ensembles, including the Whittier Area Youth Orchestra, the Southern California School Honors Orchestra and the South Coast Youth Symphony Orchestra. Read more about it in The Downey Patriot

Frontier High School teachers Marty Martin, MaryAnn Fajardo and Paul Menza have achieved Field Expert status after being trained by the California Department of Education to evaluate Model Continuation High School applications and chair site validation visits to those schools. Serving as representatives of the CDE and California Continuation Education Association (CCEA), the trio visits Model Schools, which give teachers the opportunity to observe exemplary programs and replicate those successes at their schools. Validation visits are typically conducted over one to two days. The District and Frontier support the voluntary role that Martin, Fajardo and Menza have taken by providing substitutes to cover their classes during visits.

La Serna High School students are enjoying newly renovated athletic fields, including a nine-lane synthetic athletic track, high jump, long jump, pole vault, discus and shotput areas. The $9.8 million project was completed over the summer with Measure W funds. Construction on the playing fields – which will serve a variety of sports, including football, soccer, and track and field – began in May 2017. The site features baseball and softball natural grass and clay fields, which include home and visitor dugouts with associated storage cubbies and benches, backstops, fencing, batting cages and five-row bleachers. The football and soccer fields include natural grass with five-row bleachers for spectators. Upgrades include baseball, softball and football scoreboards, as well as eight new tennis courts.

Craig Fox, who has served as Pioneer High’s dean of students since 2014, is now the school’s assistant principal of business and activities. He oversees school activities, including Associated Student Body, athletics, clubs, and pep and performing groups. “It is my pleasure to serve the kids of this community, remove any barriers they may be facing and ensure they have a positive school experience,” Fox said. Fox replaced Annette Ledesma, who took on the job of Pioneer’s assistant principal of curriculum and instruction.

Santa Fe and Pioneer high school students were among the thousands of community members to kick off Red Ribbon Week on Oct. 23 in conjunction with the City of Santa Fe and the Whittier Police Department. Activities included a "Life is your journey, Travel drug free" community parade and art contest. All 10 local Santa Fe Springs-area schools participated in the parade, held annually to commemorate the memory of slain DEA agent Enrique Camarena. Red Ribbon Week is a national event that serves to educate students and their families on living drug-free healthy lifestyles. 

Sierra Vista’s Associated Student Body was formed in 2013, and has grown and flourished each year since. Under the leadership of ASB adviser Patricia Zazueta, students have the opportunity to take on leadership roles, sometimes for the first time, as well as plan and participate in school activities and give back to the larger Whittier community. The student membership in ASB varies each year as new students enroll and others return to the comprehensive high schools. On Oct. 4, Whittier Union Superintendent Martin Plourde visited with Sierra Vista’s ASB, answering questions and discussing topics of interest.

Whittier High School senior Ava Sanchez is determined to make a difference – whether that's by empowering her peers to give back to the local community or inspiring younger students to achieve academic success. Recognized for her leadership skills, integrity and work ethic, Sanchez – a straight-A student who is on track to be one of Whittier High’s class of 2019 valedictorians – has found a way to balance academics with community service. For her commitment and poise, Sanchez was recognized by the Whittier Union Board of Trustees with an Award of Merit Oct. 9. See video here.

The Whittier Adult School is launching a set of new courses for the 2018-19 school year, including CPR and First Aid, Disability Awareness and Strategies, School/Youth Bus Driver Training (classroom and behind-the-wheel), and bus driver renewal training. The CPR and First Aid course will train students to perform CPR on an adult, child or infant, use a defibrillator and provide aid in an emergency setting. The Disability Awareness course will provide students with the skills to recognize and respond appropriately to individuals with a variety of disabilities, including limitations and accommodations. Two courses will offer students the opportunity to understand and practice bus driver rules and expectations to pass state-required driver examinations and earn a bus driver’s permit or license, while a third will offer additional training to maintain a license. The courses will begin in January. Orientation meetings are set for noon to 1 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Dr. Ralph S. Pacheco

Martin J. Plourde

Dr. Russell Castañeda-


Loring Davies 

Jeff Baird

Leighton Anderson
Dr. Monica Oviedo 

Tim Schneider

Kevin Jamero 


9401 S. Painter Ave.,
Whittier, CA 90605-2798
(562) 698-8121
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