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Showing posts with label school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school. Show all posts

Comment: Let's Not Overlook the Trades at Monrovia Schools

Recently I commented on some new tech-related courses at Monrovia High, saying, "Well, this is good, but it doesn't give me much confidence that there is any follow-through on the discussion before the election about science and tech not being for everybody. How about adding some classes for the trades: auto mechanics, electricians, etc.?"

Well, I got a response from a member of the district saying, if I may paraphrase, that the new Advanced Graphic Design, Web Development, and Game Development classes ARE trades because by taking them students can get good jobs without going on to college.

Okay, I suppose this is an acceptable definition of the "trades," but it was not what I was thinking about. Nor, do I imagine, is it what other people think about when they think of the trades. What I was thinking about was the traditional get-your-hands-dirty kind of jobs.

So why do I - who spent a career at tech companies - think the traditional trades are so important?

Well, suppose you are a computer graphic designer, web developer, or game developer. Who is your competition? I'll tell you who - Every other designer or developer in the whole big, wide, hungry world! Any job that can be done digitally can be done pretty much anywhere.

I know this because I've lived in the midst of it. I've watched programmers go from making well over $100,000 a year to being laid off. A nearby tech company I know recently laid off about a hundred programmers. At the same time the company is hiring programmers overseas.

So, these jobs are very easy to outsource to India or Ukraine, but also everybody and his brother's cat is being taught computer tech. I just saw an article called: "Coding for kindergarten." The concepts and tools for programming are being made simpler and simpler, which means more and more competition, even locally.

But suppose instead that you are a plumber, welder, or auto mechanic - someone who has to be physically at a location. Who is your competition? Probably nobody outside of maybe a 20-mile radius. You are NOT competing against the whole world. And when I talk to people in the trades they complain that they can't get enough workers.

So while I don't want to demean tech jobs, and I think, in particular, that the robotics teams in the Monrovia schools are really great, I think we are giving the trades - in the traditional sense - very short shrift, and I think in fairness to our students who do not want to go on to college that we should offer them training in skills that cannot be done in India or the Ukraine for a quarter of the cost they can be done here.

Rant concluded.

Update: Oh yeah, I wanted to add this joke:

Man gets a bill from his plumber.

Man: "$150 an hour! I'm a lawyer and even I don't make that much."

Plumber: "Yeah, I didn't make that much when I was a lawyer either."

- Brad Haugaard

Former Monrovia High Teacher Honored by Citrus College

Citrus College has awarded former Monrovia High teacher Sal Medina the honorary title of Distinguished Alumni for 2019, one of two people to receive the honor.

Medina graduated from Citrus in 1995, went on to the University of La Verne where he earned his bachelor's degree in political science (1998) and master's degree in education (2000), then accpeted a position as a political science teacher at Monrovia High School, where he was known for his engaging style and ability to motivate students. In addition to teaching, he coached the girls' volleyball team and served as adviser to the Key Club.

In 2007 he launched his own business: Packing House Wines. In its first year, Packing House Wines was recognized as the Claremont Chamber of Commerce "Business of the Year." Since then, it has developed from a small boutique to a full-sized wine bar and restaurant located in the Claremont Packing House.

Source: Citrus College press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Instructor Featured on Radio

Monrovia Unified School District's Director of Performing Arts, Patrick Garcia, was featured on California School News Radio.

Garcia discusses Monrovia Days, a three-day civic celebration that highlighted the district’s visual and performing arts programs. Listen on iTunes.

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

Cheers for Monrovia Schools' Parade Participants

Hundreds of Monrovia community members cheered as students from Monrovia Unified School District performed with their school bands and rode bikes, unicycles, and floats while dressed in spirit gear on May 18 during the Monrovia Days community festival parade.

The three-day festival was hosted by the District, the City of Monrovia, Centre Stage, and the Volunteer Center of San Gabriel Valley. The event featured entertainment by Monrovia scholars, food, games, and carnival rides.

"I am really proud to have performed during the Monrovia Days celebration," said Rhianne Weir, eighth-grader from Santa Fe Computer Science Magnet School. "I am happy to have shown the community all of the great things our band teacher, Tony Ellis, has taught us."

Guests enjoyed performances from Santa Fe's advanced band, Clifton Middle School's band, Monrovia High School's marching band, as well as Centre Stage, a theater company that includes many Monrovia Unified scholars.

"Monrovia Days is a celebration of the great things happening in our community and in our District," Board President Ed Gililland said. "It is a delight to see our students embrace this celebration and show their school pride."

In addition to the performances, the District showcased award-winning programs at a series of information booths, including robotics and performing arts.

"Monrovia Days is yet another event that distinguishes Monrovia from other cities," Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. "We come together to celebrate the City's birthday and showcase the many unique opportunities afforded through our schools."

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Unified Offers Students Alternative, Tuition-free Independent Study

Mountain Park School, a K-12 tuition-free Independent Study School option provided by Monrovia Unified School District, offers flexibility to non-traditional students – some of whom are pursuing professional careers in acting or athletics.

Mountain Park exposes students to career pathways, extra-curricular programs, and early college opportunities that exist at Monrovia High School to help with college and career preparation. The school has a full curriculum that meets college admission requirements, is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“Our unique program provides solutions to the common concerns parents have about independent study such as cost, socialization, and college admittance,” Director of Alternative Schools Flint Fertig said. “At Mountain Park School, we are able to address our students’ needs and ensure they are successfully reaching their academic goals.”

The school’s highly-qualified teachers monitor student progress and meet with students weekly to provide on-campus instruction in subjects ranging from math and science to Spanish, drama, and video production. Electives, athletics, and clubs not offered on site – such as band, jazz ensemble, theater, computer coding, robotics, business clubs, and student government – can be taken at Monrovia High School.

“At Monrovia Unified, we strive to ensure all of our students have access to an educational path that works for them,” Board President Ed Gililland said. “Through Mountain Park School, we provide a window of opportunity for students who need a more flexible schedule to accommodate careers, family commitments, athletics, and other needs while in school.”

Mountain Park students include those who balance school with professional acting and athletic schedules, offering flexible options that allow accelerated learning or learning in a more intimate environment than a traditional classroom. For more information, visit:

“Monrovia Unified is proud to provide our students with innovative and challenging academic opportunities and offering an alternative to our comprehensive campuses,” Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. “The team at Mountain Park School is dedicated to student academic and personal success.”

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

New Courses at Monrovia High; Replacing Defective Turf on Monrovia High Athletic Field

At its next meeting (agenda: the Monrovia Board of Education will consider, among other things ...

~ Starting several new high school courses: Advanced Dance, Advanced Graphic Design, Web Development, Computer Game Development and AP Psychology.

Comment: Well, this is good, but it doesn't give me much confidence that there is any follow-through on the discussion before the election about science and tech not being for everybody. How about adding some classes for the trades: auto mechanics, electricians, etc.?

~ Approve a contract with FieldTurf USA, Inc. to replace the defective artificial turf (Installed 2010 but wore out too soon) on the Monrovia High athletic field with upgraded turf for $210,077.97.

- Brad Haugaard

Lists of All the Monrovia Graduates

Here are all the graduates this year for...

Monrovia High School:

Canyon Oaks High School:

Mountain Park School:

Monrovia Community Adult School:

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Schools Issues Measles Warning

A measles warning from Monrovia School District:

Monrovia Unified fosters a culture that promotes the health, safety, and well-being of our students, staff, and parents. Given the recent measles outbreaks in the United States, the chance of exposure to this illness is increased at this time.

Below you will find information and steps to help protect yourselves and our students.
  • Measles is highly contagious. A person can spread the disease to others before experiencing symptoms, which include fever, cough, runny nose, red watery eyes, and a rash that starts on the face and body and which typically appears 10 to 21 days after the exposure.
  • Most people who have not been immunized risk getting the disease if they have contact with the virus.
  • About 90 percent of people who have never been immunized become ill seven to 21 days after exposure. The disease can be spread from one person to another before the rash appears.
If you have reason to believe you have been in contact with a person with measles, please contact your healthcare provider for immediate treatment.For more information about measles, please visit:

- Brad Haugaard

Recalling Successes During This School Year

Monrovia Schools Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian recalls successes throughout this school year:

This school year, Monrovia Unified students have excelled in District programs such as Code to the Future, robotics, performing arts, and so much more. With summer fast approaching, our students are immersing themselves into end-of-the-year projects and performances and are excited to share these with our community.

In April, we celebrated the performing arts when 50 students from Wild Rose School of Creative Arts performed their spring production of Disney's "Lion King Kids Jr." On April 29, students traveled to the Ahmanson Theatre to perform as part of the Disney Musicals in Schools grant, ending their 17-week training course with theater professionals.

On April 18, the District's five elementary schools came together to participate in the second annual Next Generation Math Bee, with the Mayflower Mariners claiming the top prize. The event nurtured mathematical skills in our students.

At the middle-school level, Santa Fe Computer Science Magnet School held a device rollout, distributing Chromebooks to all students. Additionally, sixth-grade students learned about brain and lung specimens on April 23 during a crash course with Sonia Maljian, director of laboratory services at Methodist Hospital.

Finally, congratulations to our robotics teams from Clifton Middle School and Monrovia High School, who competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championships in Houston, Texas. They worked so to achieve this highest level of competition.

For more information about the great programs and events in Monrovia Unified, read below and visit our website at

- Brad Haugaard

Library Dedicated to Bruce and Mariellen Staller

School Board: Replace Heat and A/C at Plymouth and Clifton; Mental Health; Etc.

At its next meeting (agenda: the Monrovia Board of Education will ...

~  Consider replacing the heating and air conditioning systems at Plymouth and Clifton schools, using state money.

~ Receive an update on school district efforts to promote mental health awareness.

~ Receive an informational report on the Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) Plan for Canyon Oaks High School by Flint Fertig, Director of Adult Education & Alternative Programs.

~ Consider an agreement with the LA County Office of Education - through its Center for Distance and Online Learning - to implement "Scale Up!," a professional development program.

- Brad Haugaard

Wildrose Students Perform at Ahmanson

Monrovia Schools tweets that: "After finishing a 17-week training course with trained theater professionals, students from Wild Rose School of Creative Arts were invited to perform at the Ahmanson as part of the Disney Musicals in Schools grant!"

- Brad Haugaard

Canyon Oaks/Mountain Park Library Being Dedicated to Stallers

Canyon Oaks High School and Mountain Park School will dedicate its library in honor of Bruce and Mariellen Staller on Monday, May 6 at 2:30 p.m.

"Mariellen, who recently passed away, dedicated countless hours alongside Bruce to the schools, and had an immeasurable impact on students! Due to their hard-work and dedication, the schools' library now houses more than 7,000 volumes and periodicals, as well as multiple multi-media sources."

If you'd like to attend, RSVP to Shershonna Huff at

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High Students Create Winning Films

Two public service announcements created by Monrovia High School students have been selected as winners in a statewide film contest for Mental Health Month.

The MHS English department (scripts), Theater Arts Conservancy (actors) and Digital Studies Academy (film production) collaborated on PSAs about Suicide Prevention. Five of these films were submitted for judging, and ...

"We are thrilled to report that of the five submissions, two are regional award winners: Regional First Place ('Life in the Black') and Regional Honorable Mention ('You Are Not Alone')! Winning students will be honored by our MUSD School Board at the meeting on May 8th and at a Red Carpet Award Ceremony at the historic Theater at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on May 21st."

- Brad Haugaard

100 Dollar Reward For Reporting Threats of Violence Against Monrovia Schools

For more information call 256-8020 or 256-8036.

- Brad Haugaard

Santa Fe Students Study Brain and Lung Specimens

Sixth-grade students from Monrovia Unified's Santa Fe Computer Science Magnet School learned about brain and lung specimens on April 23 during a crash course with Sonia Maljian, director of laboratory services at Methodist Hospital.

Students also learned about other organs such as the heart and liver and closely observed samples that were brought into the classroom.

"We are lucky to have had the chance to host Sonia Maljian at Santa Fe," teacher Yvonne Koskela said. "Our students were able to observe the specimens closely and ask questions about the specimens to a real scientist in our community."

In addition to observing the specimens, students were introduced to the harm that occurs in the body when abusing alcohol and tobacco. Maljian encouraged students to stay away from putting harmful and dangerous products into their bodies, further explaining that smoking tobacco can cause air sacs in the lungs to become rigid and stop functioning.

"A big thank-you to Sonia Maljian, who shared with our students the many opportunities available when pursuing science as a career," Principal Geoff Zamarripa said. "Our Cougar Scholars fully immersed themselves into the lesson, and we will continue to encourage our students to pursue their dreams and figure out how they can become the next generation of scientists in our community."

Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

Mayflower Students Take Top Prize in Math Bee

After six rounds, the Mayflower Elementary Mariners were awarded the first-place trophy during Monrovia Unified’s Next Generation Math Bee on April 18.

Using white boards and calculators, 30 elementary school students from Monrovia Unified School District competed in the District's second annual Next Generation Math Bee on April 18, with the Mayflower Elementary Mariners taking the top prize.

Working in teams of six, students employed collaboration, critical thinking, and language skills to solve math-related word problems. In a series of six rounds, teams were allowed six minutes to read, discuss, and answer each question by showing their work and explaining their thinking process in full sentences.

"The Next Generation Math Bee is an opportunity for our students to showcase their math skills and expand on their passion for mathematics," Board President Ed Gililland said. "Monrovia Unified is proud to provide students with a challenging academic environment that promotes student success."

Students were given access to materials such as white boards, pencils, highlighters, and calculators to help solve math problems. Clifton Middle School teachers Marilyn Smith and Hiroshi Suzuki were judges for the event and carefully read through each answer to determine the winner.

"Monrovia Unified's Next Generation Math Bee is an event that aims to nurture mathematical skills in our students," Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. "Congratulations to all of our competitors who showed excitement and good sportsmanship throughout the entire competition, and thank you to everyone who came together to make this event possible for our students."

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

School Board to Declare Special Days, Weeks and Month

At its next meeting the Monrovia Board ( of Education will consider naming ...

~ May 6-10, as National Teacher Appreciation Week.

~ May 7, as the Day of the Teacher.

~ May 19-25, as Classified School Employee Week.

~ April 22-26, as Administrative Professionals Week.

~ April 24, as Administrative Professionals Day.

~ May 6-10, as School Health Services Appreciation Week.

~ May 8 as National School Nurse Day.

~ May 2019 as Mental Health Awareness Month.

And, it will consider a resolution, In Remembrance of those Lost to Genocide and Man's Inhumanity to Man, recalling the Armenian Genocide.

- Brad Haugaard

Wild Rose Teacher Dana Elliot on News Radio

Wild Rose School of Creative Arts teacher and Monrovia Unified's Elementary Olympic Games event founder, Dana Elliott, joins students n California School News Radio to discuss school spirit and how physical education brings out the best in students.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Tech Teacher Thomas Reale Dies at Age 57

Former Monrovia teacher Thomas Anthony Reale died on April 9, 2019 in Palm Springs after a brief illness. He was 57 years old.

Reale took a teaching position at Clifton Middle School as a science teacher in the early 90's and was a pioneer of technology in the classroom, becoming a full-time video production teacher first at Clifton, and later at Monrovia High.

Dozens of his graduates went on to careers in news casting, sports broadcasting, and video production. He was also a board member for Community Media of the Foothills (KGEM). Instead of flowers his family would prefer a gift to support the Monrovia High School Big M Boosters Association.

Thanks to Karen Lujan for the tip.

- Brad Haugaard