Thursday, October 12, 2017

Local Student Achieves Top ACT Score

AMITA STOWITTS, daughter of Paul and Shweta Stowitts and a Junior at San Dimas High School, earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36. On average, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2016, only 2,235 out of nearly 2.1 million graduates who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36.

The ACT consists of tests in English, Mathematics, Reading and Science, each scored on a scale of 1–36. A student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take the optional ACT writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score.

In a letter to the student recognizing this exceptional achievement, ACT Chief Executive Officer Marten Roorda stated, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. While test scores are just one of multiple criteria that most colleges consider when making admission decisions, your exceptional ACT composite score should prove helpful as you pursue your education and career goals.”

ACT test scores are accepted by all major U.S. colleges. Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.

Board of Education Seeking Applications for Board member Vacany

The Bonita Unified School District Board of Education is seeking applications from interested residents within the school district’s boundaries to serve as an appointed member of the Governing Board. A vacancy will occur due to the resignation of Board Member Jim Elliot who tendered his resignation October 6, 2017, effective December 6, 2017. Elliot was reelected to office in 2015, and his term was to run through 2019.  Due to the California Voter Participation Rights Act (SB 415), Governing Board Member elections were changed from odd years to even years, extending the terms of office of all current elected officeholders by one year. The person appointed to fill this vacancy will serve the remaining term of Elliot’s seat to December 2020.

Interested individuals who wish to be considered for appointment to this vacancy, may obtain an application by contacting the Superintendent’s Office at (909) 971-8200, extension 5101, or by visiting the District’s website at Application materials must be received in the Superintendent’s Office not later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 20, 2017.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

San Dimas High School

San Dimas High School

The San Dimas High School Saints Off to a Great Start
There were many exciting events to begin the 2017-2018 school year. A highlight was winning the Smudgepot football game 19-8 against rival, the Bonita Bearcats! The first week of school began with a spirit week for Smudgepot that had over 300 students and over 80 staff members participating. To promote school spirit, staff and students are using a new mobile device app called “5 Star” that helps track participation and students can receive notifications about school spirit points and activities. Many classes participated in activities related to the solar eclipse that occurred on the first day of school.

Photo 1:  San Dimas band students warm up for Smudgepot

Curriculum Preparation
San Dimas math teachers received a new curriculum called CPM. It is an inquiry based math learning program where students are assigned roles in groups to practice solving real-life problems. Math teachers had several days of training and are receiving ongoing support from District math coaches.  Math courses offered this school year are:
Integrated Math I                    Integrated Math II
Algebra 2                                Advanced Math
            AP Calculus AB                     AP Calculus BC
AP Statistics

Social science teachers will receive training on writing strategies to support the California English Language Arts (ELA) Standards.
San Dimas High School English department is off to a strong start with both new faces and returning ones. Staff members continue to collaborate on units and common assessments to improve student learning. The department hopes to continue momentum from the 2016-17 surge in ELA test scores.
San Dimas High School science teachers were accepted into the Metropolitan Water District’s Solar Boat competition and will be looking for team members and volunteers soon.
The social science department added a new AP Geography class that is going great, and this adds to the growing list of college-level courses offered at San Dimas High School.
Hands-on, practical, educational technology is increasingly becoming a commonplace in social science. Digital lessons are developed to be engaging, relevant, cross-curricular, and addresses the 4 Cs in order to help our kids be career-college ready.
Personalized Learning Communities (PLC) & Digital Collaboration (via Twitter & Google Classroom) have increased cohesiveness and effectiveness.
The continued and increasing use of Common Core elements blend English Language Arts historical skills: primary source writings, photographs, raw data, graphs/charts, etc. They are evaluated for reliability/legitimacy, analyzed, interpreted, and connected to our respective historical content.

Photo 2:  SDHS Teacher Mrs. Luevand pictured left with science students on a lab.
The specialized services department has all graduation requirement classes offered in a co-teaching setting:  English at each grade level, Integrated Math 1, Integrated Math 2, Biology, US History, World History and Government/Economics. Teachers collaborate through a quarterly “Think Tank” to ensure student support and learning. Additional study skills classes are being offered this year in the areas of English and math.
The third annual Smudgepin Bowling contest scheduled for Friday, September 29, features students from the FAST and ASDI classes competing against students from Bonita High School at Chaparral Lanes.

SDHS Media Center Modernization
The modernization of the SDHS Media Center is in full swing with the transformation of the Media Center into the focal center of campus where students want to go to for resources, to collaborate, and create.
The modernization process will be in phases based upon three designated spaces within the Media Center: A quiet/study zone, a collaboration and community zone, and a Commons area. The Commons area is an appealing space to welcome students with plenty of soft-seating, coffee tables, group tables, and chairs to provide an area for study and a place for students to meet. Changing the color scheme, purchasing a green screen, creating a giant chalkboard on a wall, and putting together a giant magnet word wall will be exciting additions to the new space.

Students enrolled in the new elective, Student Technology and Innovation, are helping with the modernization of the library. One of their first projects will be to create a book display with reviews using virtual reality. A main goal this year will be to explore different means of acquiring funding to make our vision a reality.

Photo 3:   SDHS Media Center - a blank slate waiting to be transformed

Ramona Middle School

Ramona Middle School

Students at the LA County Fair
Ramona students were excited to be part of La Verne Day at the Fair on Sept 13th.  Members of ASB and our WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) programs rode floats and showed their school spirit in the city parade.  The Ramona band took the stage in the community performance hall with a wonderful set performing a medley celebrating our armed forces.

Ramona has 9 New Teachers and a New Principal
Ramona welcomed nine new teachers and a new principal in the 2017-18 school year.  The science department has added John Madunich, Matt Pogan, and Jessica Wade. We have two new PE teachers with Rachel Powers and Cynthia Acedo. Our Specialized Services Department welcomes Shan Abkarian, Alma Amado, and Julie McKissick. Cuyler McDonald has taken over the Ramona Band.  We have also had a change in school leadership with James Ellis as the new principal at Ramona, who took over after Anne Neal’s ten-year tenure at RMS when she moved to the Bonita USD District Office as a Director of Curriculum and Instruction.  Congratulations to all of the new Viking Staff!
Photo 1 & 2:  Ramona ASB and WEB students enjoyed La Verne Day at the Fair

New Ramona Gym
The month of October will go down in the record books for Ramona Middle School as the PE department and students are moving into our new gymnasium. The gymnasium is a result of Bonita Unified community support of Bond Measure AB that made our 10,000 square foot gym a reality.  The gym boasts seating for nearly 1,400 and has two full-size regulation basketball courts. The gym is scheduled to be completed October 2017 with our volleyball team getting the honor of being our first team to compete!  Go Vikings!

Photo 3:  Ramona Middle School gymnasium a reality thanks to community support

Welcome Sixth Graders
Before the school year began, the Ramona WEB students welcomed our new sixth graders onto campus.  Throughout the year, WEB leaders will work with their sixth-grade buddies to help them acclimate to the middle school campus and connect them to school activities and resources. To kick things off right, sixth graders were invited to campus for fun games and activities that helped them learn more about the school.  Our sixth-grade Vikings are already doing great in class, and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve over the year! 

Photo 4:  Ramona Middle School Sixth Graders

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bonita USD Board Member Elliot to Retire

Bonita USD Board Member Elliot to Retire

September 14, 2017 (San Dimas, CA) – Bonita Unified School District fourteen-year board veteran Jim Elliot, announced his upcoming retirement plans last week.  During the September 6 Board meeting, Elliot said, “As I look to the future, and as I explore new ways to serve my community, I want to thank my Board colleagues, staff, parents, and community members for their support, confidence, and for the high-privilege of allowing me to serve as a Board member for the past 14 years.”

Elliot served 3-1/2 terms having been first elected in 2003 and ran unopposed in the last 2015 election. He with his wife Susie have been San Dimas residents since 1988, and both of their children, Steven and Lisa, attended Bonita USD schools.

The Board will convene their next regularly scheduled meeting on October 11 to discuss options to fill Elliot’s vacancy.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

September is Attendance Awareness Month

September is Attendance Awareness Month
September 7, 2017 (San Dimas, CA) Bonita USD is joining with school districts across the country to celebrate September as Attendance Awareness Month.
As students start back to school in the fall, it’s important to remind parents and our community how important regular attendance is for our kids. Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. When our schools, parents and community join together to promote consistent, on-time attendance for students of all ages, our students will be on the road to success!
We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school— regardless of the reason – it can cause them to fall behind academically.  A child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent—which means missing 18 or more days over the course of an entire school year. Research shows:    
·        Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.  
·        By 6th grade, chronic absence is a proven early warning sign for students at risk for dropping out of school.  
·        By 9th grade good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores.  

Being on time is also important.  Children can miss crucial parts of the school day if they are late.  Late-arriving students are also disruptive to class routines.  Start a lifelong habit of arriving at school on time.
Here are a few practical tips to help families support regular attendance:
·        Make sure your children keep a regular bedtime and establish a morning routine.
·        Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
·        Ensure your children go to school every day unless they are truly sick
·        Avoid scheduling vacations or doctor’s appointments when school is in session.
·        Talk to teachers and counselors for advice if your children feel anxious about going to school.
·        Develop back up plans for getting to school if something comes up.  Call on a family member, neighbor, or another parent to take your child to school.

We hope to see your child on time, every day at school.  Attendance counts!
More tips for families and communities can be found at
For more information, contact Susan Cross Hume at 909-971-8200 or

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bonita Unified School District Promotes Two Curriculum Experts

Bonita Unified School District Promotes Two Curriculum Experts

Bonita Unified School District announced the promotions of Chris Ann Horsley and Anne Neal as the Senior Directors of Curriculum and Instruction at their July 5th Board of Education meeting.

Horsley and Neal will be based out of the Educational Services Department and will focus on ensuring the students of Bonita Unified School District continue to receive a first rate education, while exploring additional opportunities to bring in Personalized Learning.  “Both come into their new roles with a proven record of increasing student achievement, and we are thrilled to have them lead our District in curriculum and instruction for the coming years,” stated Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Matt Wien.

Chris Ann Horsley was the principal at Arma J. Shull Elementary school for the past 17 years, where she worked with staff and the community to continually focus on reading by the end of third grade for all of our students. Horsley looks forward to sharing her passion for reading and working with all of our schools across the district.

Anne Neal has been the principal of Ramona Middle School for the past ten years. Neal’s specialty has been providing a rigorous academic program while balancing it with the social emotional needs of our middle school age students. Neal looks forward to working alongside the rest of the schools as they continue to innovate in education.