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September 2014

MUSD Commences Sixth Annual Month of Giving with 'War on Hunger' Kick-off Event

War On Hunger

Continuing its waged War on Hunger the Montebello Unified School District and its partners kicked off the 6th Annual War on Hunger Food Drive to assist local families in need on Sept. 24 at Bell Gardens Intermediate School.

Thousands of students and families have been helped through the campaign since its inception in 2009, and this year, MUSD students, teachers, staff, community members and sponsors came together once more to show their support for the project, which raises roughly 50,000 pounds of food annually.

To commence the month of giving, the kick-off event featured speakers from MUSD, as well as District partners, including representatives from Heart of Compassion, Camino Federal Credit Union and the Montebello Council Parent Teacher Association. Other partners this year include the City of Bell Gardens, and the Bicycle Club. The event also included a BGI student dance performance and MUSD students showing their support of the project. BGI Principal Ricardo Mendez acted as the event's master of ceremonies.

As part of its partnership with the District for this effort, Camino Federal Credit Union is also asking its employees and members to pitch in by contributing to the "War on Hunger" campaign.  Those interested can either make a pledge at a teller window or drop canned goods off at the Camino main branch, 520 N. Taylor Ave. in Montebello, through Oct. 24.

Throughout the month, students and staff will be able to donate non-perishable food items or funds to help local hungry families at all MUSD school sites. The community may also donate at Bell Gardens City Hall (7100 Garfield Ave., Bell Gardens) and the MUSD District Office (123 S. Montebello Blvd., Montebello).

"It is very special to this community to come together each year to help those in need," said MUSD Superintendent Cleve Pell. "The War on Hunger is the perfect example of what it means to be part of the Montebello Unified family and we sincerely thank everyone who has contributed in the past and all those who will provide much needed assistance to our families in need."

Families may be able to pick up food items at the Heart of Compassion Distribution Center (600 S. Maple Ave., Montebello) or may contact District homeless liason Rose Hernandez at (323) 887-2133.

MUSD and ELAC Celebrate $6 Million Pathways Grant

Pathways Torlakson
Students from all 10 MUSD Career Pathways celebrated their future as they gathered with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, parents, community members, local elected officials and MUSD teachers and staff to launch a partnership with East Los Angeles College that will secure their paths toward higher education and ultimately high-skilled careers.  The community-wide collaborative was made possible by Torlakson’s support of a $6 million California Career Pathways grant.

The event celebrated the five-year $6 million state grant awarded to MUSD, in partnership with ELAC, to coordinate regional resources to educate, train and ultimately find jobs for MUSD students. The grant, which is a part of the statewide effort to support Linked Learning, is funded through the California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT), developed through AB 86 (2013) and signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. last year.

Linked Learning connects strong academics with real-world experience in a wide range of fields, from green technologies and engineering to culinary arts and child development. By providing students with opportunities to take on internships, apprenticeships, networking, job-shadowing and other hands-on experiences, students garner a level of knowledge and skill that makes them prepared to enter higher education or a formal job.

"I commend the strong partnership between Montebello Unified and East Los Angeles College," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. "These institutions are helping create a bright future for students by providing them with a seamless path from their academic careers to their professional lives."

The targeted pathways that will be funded by the CCPT are those aligned with high-need, high-growth or emerging regional economic sectors. Utilizing a labor market analysis, student career interest, and local employer skill requirements, six of ten chosen MUSD and ELAC pathways that will be supported by the grant include: Architecture, Construction and Engineering; Engineering & Design; GREEN (environmental science and conservation pathway); DRIVEN (alternative energy and transportation technology pathway); iCARE (education, child development and family services pathway); and Health Sciences.

"ELAC is dedicated to working with MUSD to continue building partnerships that have and continue to benefit students," said ELAC President Marvin Martinez.  "With this grant, we look forward to strengthening those partnerships and building additional ones both locally and regionally."

"Education and employers must work together," said Paul De La Cerda, ELAC’s Dean of Economic & Workforce Development and Career Technical Education.  "Our work will continue to ensure that young people are well prepared for college and careers in high-demand and high-wage fields and our programs align with workforce needs, which is critical for student success and economic growth."

The grant is a joint effort with East Los Angeles College (ELAC), a long-time MUSD partner, and will achieve three overarching outcomes for MUSD: institutionalize work-based learning through the support of workforce investment boards, local advisory boards and deputy sector navigators; create a seamless transition for students to participate in dual enrollment and articulation programs to enhance college success; and strengthen the regional economy by focusing on pathways that contribute to the health of the local economy.

"As a District, we have developed many meaningful and collaborative partnerships to provide work-based learning opportunities for our students that foster long-term and high-quality education," said Susanna Contreras Smith, Superintendent of Education. "We are so proud of our MUSD team for pursuing and succeeding in obtaining this grant, which will make a significant difference in the lives of our students."

MUSD Unveils New Energy-Efficient Classroom Building at Washington Elementary on the First Day of School

With parents in tow, Washington Elementary students walked on to campus on Monday, August 25 feeling the exhilarated buzz that can only happen on the first day of school. This year, however, students had a little something more to be excited about -- a new two-story classroom building featuring 11 classrooms and an energy efficient design opened for instruction.

The $9 million project, partially funded by the Measure M facilities bond passed by the Montebello community in 2004, features 11 classrooms equipped with smart boards, as well as staff and student restrooms. The remaining costs were paid for through California's Overcrowding Relief Grant Program, which provides school districts with means to reduce the number of portable classrooms on campus by replacing them with permanent classrooms.

"When we broke ground two years ago, we had the entire school community -- teachers, students and parents -- supporting the process,” said Cynthia Herrera, Principal at Washington Elementary School. "This beautiful building is truly an asset for the District, for the community and most importantly for our students."

In addition to the new building, the school's playground will feature new tetherball courts and a handball court -- as well as the added bonus of extra space now that the portable bungalows will be removed.

"With new technological features, this building is equipped for the implementation of new state-implemented teaching standards, such as Common Core, going into effect this year," said Superintendent of Schools Cleve Pell. "This building truly illustrates the progress we are making at MUSD, and we look forward to another successful school year."

Fourth- and fifth-grade students will be housed in the new building as a part of the school's effort to teach the upper-grade students concurrently.