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November 2016

Montebello Unified Police, Nonprofit Donate Sports Equipment, Tout Healthy Living to Potrero Heights Students

As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen its relationship with the community, the Montebello Unified Police Department, along with nonprofit 4 R Kids, 4 R Future, surprised hundreds of Potrero Heights Elementary School students with athletic equipment and a lesson on the importance of physical activity.

MUSD Police Chief Linh Dinh, MUSD police officers and representatives from 4R Kids, 4R Future presented students with basketballs, tetherballs, jump ropes and t-ball equipment during a morning assembly on Oct. 10. In presenting the items, Dinh stressed to children the importance of exercise and its positive impact on health, mental alertness and learning.

“Life is a gift and to live a long life, you need to be healthy,” Dinh told the students. “It’s important that we make sure to exercise every day.”

This is the fourth year that MUSD police has partnered with 4 R Kids, 4 R Future to donate supplies and equipment to District schools. The organization also provides backpacks, school supplies and other sports equipment to students in neighboring school districts.

Anthony Torres, 4 R Kids, 4 R Future representative, explained to students how his upbringing inspired him to help students.

“Exercise is an important part of our daily routines, but the problem for a lot of schools is that there is a shortage of athletic equipment,” Torres said. “I know what it is to not have and to have. You can be anything you want in life as long as you work hard.”

Through the partnership, MUSD is able to provide schools and students with resources that create a better learning environment for students.

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MUSD police offers and 4 R Kids, 4 R Future representative Anthony Torres present students with basketballs, tetherballs and other equipment during a presentation ceremony at Potrero Heights Elementary School on October 10.

Montebello Unified Celebrates Grand Opening of Resource Center for Homeless Students, Families

Helping struggling students keep up with their education is what motivates Rose Hernandez, Families in Transition Program liaison for the Montebello Unified School District. The Nov. 2 grand opening of the organization’s resource center on the Laguna Nueva School campus – which was filled with toothbrushes, backpacks, clothing and other essentials for homeless students and their families – was rather rewarding for the Families in Transition Program team, consisting of Hernandez, Rosemary Garcia and Aida Hinojosa. 

“This Families in Transition Resource Center is an amazing first step, but we still have a long way to go,” Hernandez said.

 The resource center supplies homeless MUSD students and their families with daily essentials, such as school supplies, toiletries, new and gently used clothing, blankets, towels and more. Leading up to the grand opening, the center was stocked, organized and decorated by about 20 special education students at the Laguna Nueva School.Transition

“Our Laguna Nueva students and the District really made this all possible, and I am so thankful they were willing to undertake this project,” Hernandez said. “This center gives us the vision of what we have done and what we will continue to do.”

The Families in Transition Program mission is to provide MUSD’s 972 identified homeless students and their families with services that support the development of academic achievement. In addition to daily essentials, the resource center offers free food vouchers and housing assistance through the Program’s partner organizations, Heart of Compassion and The Whole Child.

Montebello Unified Students Get Out the Vote During Mock Presidential Election

Receiving an up-close glimpse of the democratic process, over 2,500 Montebello Unified high school students cast votes in a District-wide mock presidential election, getting a chance to weigh in on the real-life issues confronting voters ahead of Election Day.

Students from Bell Gardens, Montebello, Schurr, Applied Technology Center and Vail high schools, as well as the Community Day School, went to the mock ballot boxes on October 11.

The mock elections, held throughout California, were sponsored by Secretary of State Alex Padilla, to spur interest in the political process by tapping into the excitement of the campaign season. Students cast votes for president, United States senator and seven state-wide ballot initiatives. The State provided schools with ballots and “I Voted” stickers.

Bell Gardens High opened their voting to all 10th- through 12th-grade students. Members of the campus Arsalyn Club – a San Gabriel Valley-based organization that promotes civic education among high school students – coordinated with History teacher and adviser Joseph Lianoz to ensure students had access to voting material.

“Very soon, our students will be full partners in the American democratic process, and it is imperative that they know how to diligently process the flood of information being disseminated by media outlets,” Lianoz said. “Making an informed choice is an inherent right for citizens, and you are never too young to know who the players are and what issues will have an impact on your lives well into the future.”

To prepare for the voting, MUSD students studied specially made student voter guides, created posters, held assemblies and conducted debates, seeking to sway their peers for support of their positions. The schools arranged for polling locations and voting booths.

“Our students had a lot of fun with the mock election,” MUSD Program Specialist Laura Quintana said. “They appreciated the chance to exercise their civic duty, weighing the pros and cons of the issues and candidates, listening respectfully to differing viewpoints and displaying great pride in wearing their ‘I Voted’ stickers. The next time they vote, it will be in an actual election and they will know exactly what to do.”

Montebello High students cast their votes during the school’s mock presidential election on October 11. Montebello Unified students got a chance to weigh in on the real-life issues confronting voters ahead of Election Day.

 

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Montebello Unified Debuts Documentary on Bilingualism in Education

The significance of a bilingual education was at the forefront of everyone’s minds as nearly 100 parents and students viewed the premier screening of “Read Conmigo: A Journey to Bilingual America” at La Merced Elementary School on Oct. 25.

Read Conmigo, a national award-winning literacy program that promotes English and Spanish reading through its free bilingual book program for kindergarten through fifth-grade students, created the film to emphasize the pivotal role parents play in their children’s education and the benefits of being bilingual.

 “It’s one thing to translate English into Spanish, but it’s more intimate to actually learn the languages my daughter is learning,” said Moises Fragoso, whose second-grader attends La Merced Elementary. “Knowing two languages helps my daughter solve problems quicker and it instills more confidence within her.”

The film focused largely on the benefits students and parents have as they simultaneously become bilingual, dissolving many language barriers that prevent parents from helping with homework or studying.

Read Conmigo representatives were joined by Lil’ Libros co-founders Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein, who created their bilingual program to help parents emphasize bilingual reading for newborns to 5-year-olds.

“If parents don’t get involved in their child’s academics early on, it’s not going to work,” Rodriguez said, emphasizing the need for families to continue the bilingual education at home.

Montebello Unified Diá de Los Muertos Event Raises Hope, Scholarship Funds

Students painted their faces like skulls and danced classic folkorico ensembles at Montebello Unified’s Applied Technology Center during the fifth annual Diá de los Muertos Scholarships for Scholars celebration and harvest festival, which raised scholarship funds for graduating students.

The event sought to ensure that all local high school students, including those with immigrant status, have access to higher education. The Oct. 14 night featured colorful altars memorializing loved ones, calacas necklace and calavera spoon crafts for children, and dance performances by Montebello Unified students.

“It is so important for us to support our families in every way leading up to their student’s college journey,” Montebello Unified parental involvement specialist Katie Navarro said. “Through Scholarships for Scholars, students who may not be eligible for financial aid have a chance to pursue those dreams.”

Scholarships for Scholars of Montebello was formed 10 years ago so all students, including immigrants, would have a chance to attend college.