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Check out the latest Buena Park School District news here!

Buena Park School District Partners with In-n-Out Foundation for Movie Night Fundraiser
Raymond Mendoza

Whitaker Elementary School welcomed droves of students, parents and community members onto campus for a night of tasty burgers and outdoor cinematic splendor during its Movie Night Fundraiser on Nov. 17.

 

Students and their families gathered onto Whitaker School’s basketball courts for a special viewing of “The Secret Life of Pets” while feasting on In-n-Out burgers, popcorn and candy.

The event was sponsored by Whitaker’s Home School Organization and featured an In-n-Out food truck, thanks to the In-n-Out Foundation. The night brought in $1,863.75 -- 75 percent of which will be used to fund Whitaker School field trips, student events and support for classrooms. The other 25 percent of the proceeds will be given to a Buena Park charity.

“As usual, our community showed up with their Whitaker pride,” Whitaker School Principal Stephanie Williamson said. “It’s amazing to see so many parents here, together raising funds to support our students. I am beyond proud.”

Whitaker School was randomly selected to host the In-n-Out Foundation via a lottery drawing in June 2021. The event also included a showcase of Whitaker School student artwork, essays and a song that centered around the theme “What Whitaker Means to Me.”

“Movie Night was an incredible opportunity to get all of our kids together and let them enjoy time away from the educational process while introducing them to something new,” Whitaker School parent Gabriela F. said. “It’s a great way to bring the community together for a good cause.”

Twenty-five student winners, whose work was featured at the event, were selected for their excellence and were awarded In-n-Out meal tickets to use at the event.

“I want to thank Whitaker School’s Home School Organization and the In-n-Out Foundation for their major philanthropic support. The night’s proceeds will go a long way toward making Whitaker School shine brighter and it will also benefit the City of Buena Park as a whole,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “It truly takes a village to raise a child and we are lucky to live within such a caring village that knows and encourages generosity and charity.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

FUNDRAISER1: Students and parents bundled up with cozy blankets and enjoyed tasty In-n-Out burgers during Whitaker School’s Movie Night fundraiser, which brought in $1,863.75 that will pay for school field trips, events, supplies as well as donations to a local Buena Park charity.
 

FUNDRAISER2: A Buena Park School District mother and her two children enjoy a night out under the stars at Whitaker School’s Movie Night fundraiser. The night’s proceeds will largely go to funding field trips, events and buying everyday supplies for Whitaker School.

  • Buena Park School District
  • Whitaker
Buena Park School District to Host Inaugural Superintendent’s Cup Soccer Tournament
Raymond Mendoza

WHAT: Buena Park School District will host its inaugural Superintendent’s Cup soccer tournament, where students will have a friendly competition to determine which school reigns supreme on the soccer field.

Students from all five elementary schools in grades three, four and five will compete in a series of short matches that focus on building teamwork, social-emotional intelligence and perseverance.

The event is being organized in partnership with Buena Park High School and Pure Games, a non-profit sports program that teaches students about building character through athletics. The event is being sponsored by Buena Park School District Education Foundation and community partners will be providing health and wellness resources to guests. The District plans for the event to become an annual tradition for students and the community.

WHEN: 1:00 - 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3. (Superintendent’s Cup event)

Families are also welcome to attend:

8 a.m. (Buena Park High School boys’ junior varsity soccer team match)

10 a.m. (Buena Park High Schools boys’ varsity soccer team match)

WHERE: Buena Park High School stadium, 8833 Academy Drive, Buena Park, CA 90621.

DETAILS: For more information, contact the Buena Park School District office at (714) 522-8412 or visit https://www.bpsd.us/.

  • Buena Park School District
  • Corey
  • Emery
  • Gilbert
  • Pendleton
  • Whitaker
Superintendent's Update November
Raymond Mendoza
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  • Buena Park Middle School
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Buena Park School District Boosts STEM Learning at Super Saturday Event
Raymond Mendoza

Nearly 75 Buena Park School District students mastered the designs of Mother Nature, learned the metamorphosis of frogs through Lego programming, discovered how engineers are taking wildlife into consideration when building structures and understood the importance of predators and prey during the District’s biannual Super Saturday event.

Held Nov. 5 at Buena Park Middle School, Super Saturday invited all Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) students in grades three, four and five. The event gave students the chance to learn about biomimicry – the act of using nature’s designs to influence buildings and vehicles.

The District teamed up with the Orange County Department of Education’s (OCDE) “Inside the Outdoors” program to host the event, with the help of Director of Educational Programs Seri Hwang.

“Through the GATE Super Saturday event, our students are given additional opportunities outside of the classroom to explore how to combine nature’s models with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” Hwang said. “Super Saturday is a great avenue for students across our District to collaborate, innovate and build their creativity skills.”

Students learned from OCDE instructors while handling frogs, tarantulas and turtles to understand wildlife, played freeze tag to simulate predator and prey populations, constructed Lego frogs for racing, and built popsicle stick bridges to allow animals to safely traverse over dangerous human-made obstacles such as highways.

“I loved the frog engineering Lego project because it was fun to be able to make things with my hands and electronics,” Emery School fifth-grader Sophia S. said. “Super Saturday makes me want to become an engineer because it taught me about many different subjects like building bridges to help wildlife and how we can use animal designs to make machines.”

Hwang also said that Super Saturdays are important for boosting student interest in STEM careers and developing students’ knowledge of biomimicry. The next Super Saturday event will be held in spring 2023.

“Super Saturday is always such an amazing event for everyone involved – it truly is inspiring to see how just one day of additional learning can create dozens of young environmentalists and scientists,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “I think that the latest Super Saturday inspired many of our students and I cannot wait to see how it drives their goals for life and careers.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

SUPER1: Buena Park School District students Juliet P. (left) and Claire M. (right) showcase their Lego frog design, which mimics the jumping pattern of a real frog using computer programming, plastic pieces and a small motor. Juliet and Claire learned about the movements of frogs and other animals during the fall Super Saturday event on Nov. 5 at Buena Park Middle School.

SUPER2: (Left to right), Buena Park School District students Aaron U., Miguel P., Brayden L. and Jaden W. build a popsicle stick bridge to assist animals traverse dangerous highways to ensure wildlife safety during the fall Super Saturday event on Nov. 5. Some 90 Gifted and Talented Education students attended the event to learn about how engineering and science can be used to work alongside wildlife.

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  • Corey
  • Emery
  • Gilbert
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Buena Park Middle School Teachers Gain Apple Certification for App Mastery
Raymond Mendoza

More than 30 Buena Park Middle School teachers have recently earned the Apple Teacher certification, recognizing their Apple applications mastery that is used to teach students about video and audio editing, giving presentations, organizing spreadsheets and more.

In order to certified, teachers must gain digital badges to show their proficiency in a variety of Apple programs, which include Keynote, Pages, Numbers, Garageband and iMovie. To assist with application learning, Apple Professional Learning Coaches visit Buena Park Middle School weekly to give training to students and teachers.

Buena Park Middle School teachers started gaining certification during spring 2022 and just reached a milestone of having 34 certified Apple Teachers in the 2022-23 school year.

With help from Apple Coaches, students are developing their digital literacy and learning skills to help them succeed in the workforce. The students then use those skills to create a variety of projects, such as giving presentations about ancient civilizations in history class and editing video essays about the latest books they have read for English language arts.

“I’m grateful to work with many educators who are willing to try something new to engage our students,” Math Teacher and Apple Teacher Alice Lee said. “I’m always so encouraged to see which classes have reserved time with our Apple Specialist because it means those students get the opportunity to explore deeper, to make connections to their learning and to have fun while still learning. Our students enjoy getting to learn about the different Apple apps, and our students are challenging us teachers to keep pushing, keep learning and keep engaging.”

Buena Park Middle School teachers are dedicated to staying-up-to-date on educational technology, ensuring that they are well-equipped to helping student master the digital tools that will support their success in high school, college and career. Having the Apple Teacher certification aids all Buena Park Middle School teachers in answering niche application questions from their students – which Lee said has created a level of comfort for everyone in class, translating to better communication and ease during group projects.

“We’re so proud of all of our newly certified Apple Teachers at Buena Park Middle School,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “This level of mastery and passion for learning new technology will provide major support to all of our students during in-class lessons.”

PHOTO CAPTION:

APPLE1: Buena Park Middle School Math Teacher and Apple Teacher Alice Lee instructs sixth-grader Leila M. on how to use Apple Keynote to create vibrant visual presentations. Lee is one of 34 Apple certified teachers at Buena Park Middle School, which signifies that she and her colleagues have mastered the minutiae of various Apple applications.

 

  • Buena Park Middle School
  • Buena Park School District
Buena Park School District Celebrates, Strengthens Community Ties During Fall Festival
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District students and parents haunted the halls of Gilbert Elementary School dressed as princesses, police officers and pop culture icons while enjoying delectable foods, games and entertainment during the school’s Fall Festival.

Held on Oct. 27, the Fall Festival welcomed community members onto campus for an evening of fun that raised $250, which will help fund future Gilbert Elementary School field trips to aquariums, local colleges and museums to boost student learning and a college-going culture.

The event also had a mini pumpkin coloring station, a kabob food truck, a costume parade and contest, music and an outdoor showing of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

“It’s so nice to see smiles and families as a whole at our Fall Festival – it really reinforces our community feeling at Gilbert School,” Principal Leslie Chavez said. “Everyone loves this community event – we had a food truck, we also had trunk-or-treat for candy distribution and a bounce house too. It has really been a great combination of community members coming together in a great way to make a fun evening for our families.”

The night’s festivities also included a costume contest, which included winners for the upper and lower grades. Fifth-grader Amelia G. won the upper grade division for her neon bright ’80s girl costume, while transitional kindergartener Ximena G. won for her astronaut costume. The two costume contest winners were awarded $15 gift cards to any store of their choosing.

“I’m so shocked that I won,” Amelia G. said. “I got this costume idea because I love ‘Stranger Things’ and the music and style of the ’80s. Also, I want to thank my mom and my aunt for helping me put this costume together.”

Carmen Lopez, mother of two Gilbert School students, said the Fall Festival was a fantastic way to get her children outside and making memories with friends. She also said that Principal Chavez’s planning and overall helpful nature made the event safe and fun for all guests.

“Gilbert School’s Fall Festival is a wonderful outing that not only strengthens community ties – it also goes a long way to funding more field trips to make sure our students are learning and growing and thinking about their future colleges and careers,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “I hope everyone had a great time – it was so amazing to know that Principal Chavez and her team were responsible for so many smiling faces with this event.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

FALLFEST1: Gilbert School’s Fall Festival costume contest winners were fifth-grader Amelia G., who was dressed as an ’80s girl, while transitional-kindergartener Ximena G. was dressed as a space-faring astronaut.

FALLFEST2: Buena Park School District students dressed in their coolest and spookiest costumes during Gilbert School’s Fall Festival on Oct. 27. The evening event included a kabob food truck, games, a mini pumpkin painting station, music and safe trunk-or-treating options for the entire community.

  • Buena Park School District
  • Gilbert
Buena Park School District Supports Early Student Success with Development Profiles
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District’s revamped preschool program is ensuring its youngest students thrive by using data collected from the Desired Results Development Profile (DRDP) to create personalized and focused plans that prepare students for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Thanks to DRDP data collected during the first two months of the 2022-23 school year, teachers at all preschools in the District are now providing in-depth student progress reports to track readiness, acknowledge strengths and determine if students need additional support in their learning.

Teachers gather DRDP data by observing students during daily classroom activities, play and one-on-one interactions. The observations focus on social and emotional development, language and literacy, cognition (including math) and English language development.

“The DRDP data helps us ensure that our preschool practices set students up for success with their next teacher,” Administrator of Early and Expanded Learning Mary Beckelheimer said. “The data also allows us to identify needs and provide extended support for students earlier in their academic career– early intervention is key in addressing learning challenges.”

Growth or need for improvement is noted throughout the school year by teachers and instructional assistants and is then used to tailor learning plans and is shared with students’ new teachers when they are promoted to their next grade level.

Beckelheimer said one of the most important components of the DRDP is consistent contact with parents. Teachers update parents throughout the year on their child’s growth, creating meaningful discussions about what to encourage and how to prepare their children for higher grade levels.

“The work being done at the Buena Park Learning Center and in our expanded preschool program is phenomenal – we’re building a strong foundation for our youngest students and making sure they have good support early in their lives,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “The Desired Results Development Profile data we collect will go a long way in ensuring our students get the social and academic assistance they need to thrive in the Buena Park School District, high school, college and in their careers.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

SUCCESS1: Buena Park Learning Center Early Learning Educator Kyoung Son reads along with preschooler Abigail N. during a lesson, observing how she is learning according to the Desired Results Development Profile guidelines, which is then used to create personalized and focused plans for student success.

SUCCESS2: Preschooler Kyle J. learned about taking turns on the slide and safety while on playground equipment from Early Learning Educator Kyoung Son. Son and other Buena Park School District teachers observe how preschool students behave and learn to gather data for the Desired Results Development Profile, which provides outlines on how to approach teaching to all District students.

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  • Buena Park School District
  • Corey
  • early learning
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  • preschool
  • Whitaker
Buena Park School District Welcomes Local Leaders for ‘Principal for a Day’
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District welcomed 14 city, business and community leaders onto its campuses as Principal for a Day to learn about District operations, explore academic programs and support services, and connect with students on their favorite subjects, the skills they have learned and their future goals.

A variety of local professionals participated in the Oct. 18 event, including Buena Park Mayor Sunny Park, Buena Park High School Counselor Maggie Gallego, and Biola University Associate Professor and English Learner Specialist Dr. Jenna Canillas.

Each guest met with school administrators, teachers, and staff members and also served as a role model for students, encouraging them to pursue their educational aspirations and passions. The guests visited students as they learned in typical classroom settings, discovered the performing arts, expanded their social-emotional learning out on the playground, used their hands in woodshop classes, nurtured the environment in wellness gardens and more.

Associate City Clerk for Buena Park Anna Badillo said Principal for a Day provides community leaders with a new perspective on how education is constantly changing and improving. She also said she wants to be a role model for young female students.

“The whole experience of Principal for a Day and seeing so many women leading schools as principals and inviting women leaders is just amazing,” Badillo said. “I hope the students can look up to us and hopefully one day, they too might want to hold those same leadership positions.”

Whitaker School Principal Stephanie Williamson said the best part of Principal for a Day was giving local leaders a chance to meet with the staff, administrators and students who make the District shine. 

“Principal for a Day is one of my favorite days of the year because it really demonstrates that we’re not just a school district, we’re a community, and that means we have connections throughout the entire city,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “We’re very lucky to have had such wonderful guest principals at this year’s event – I hope they all saw how our District is encouraging and growing the next generation of business owners, educators, philanthropists and civic leaders.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

PRINCIPAL1: Associate City Clerk for Buena Park Anna Badillo listens to second-grader Rose L. as she reads “The Pigeon Wants a Puppy.” Badillo and other community and business leaders visited Buena Park School District campuses for Principal for a Day on Oct. 18, to learn about how the District operates and to encourage students to pursue higher education.

PRINCIPAL2: (Right to left) Mathematics Coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education Jody Guarino meets with Corey Elementary School Principal LaRonda Ortega as the two prepare for Principal for a Day on Oct. 18. Guarino, along with 13 other local leaders, visited Buena Park School District to learn more about its program and services and to meet with the community.

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October Superintendent's Update
Raymond Mendoza
 

 

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  • Buena Park Middle School
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Pendleton Elementary Implements New Training, Student-led Instruction During IB Candidacy
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District’s Pendleton Elementary School has entered its first year of International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) candidacy, during which administrators and staff members are receiving special training while students are being given more agency to question in order to boost understanding.

The PYP offers an inquiry-based, transdisciplinary curriculum framework that promotes advanced learning opportunities in students ages three to 12. IB challenges students to become open-minded, empathetic leaders, achieved by integrating lessons on social-emotional growth, understanding the environment, enhancing critical thinking skills and more into the curriculum.

“Our students’ way of thinking about instruction has shifted – they have more agency that they didn’t have before,” Principal Loriann Leota said. “They can understand concepts better because we’re teaching in a different way. We’re creating better understanding in all areas of learning – IB expands on that. Our goal with IB is to help students feel successful and right now, many of our students are feeling that.”

Several of Pendleton School’s staff, including Leota, received training from IB PYP coaches over the summer to ready the school for its first candidacy year. This included preparing curriculum to include cognitively guided instruction for math, Studies Weekly for social studies and Twig Science for science classes – all of which are student-led instructional techniques to make sure that students are asking questions to boost their knowledge.

During the 2023-24 school year, Pendleton teachers will receive grade-level specific training and workshops to strengthen IB practices in classroom instruction.

Leota said that an IB consultant visit on Oct. 12 determined that Pendleton School is ahead of schedule in their new implementation of IB practices and that she expects to apply for the authorization phase to become a full IB Primary Years Programme school by the end of the 2022-23 school year.

Once Pendleton is certified as an IB school, students will put their new skills to the test during the “Fifth-grade Exhibition,” a report in which fifth-graders research a world problem, understand its significance and suggest a solution during a presentation.

“We are thrilled that Pendleton School’s staff and students are excelling during their International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme candidacy period,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “The expanded curriculum and training Pendleton School is receiving thanks to the IB candidacy will ensure that our current and future students will become world leaders who are environmentally conscious, empathetic and academically minded.”

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Buena Park School District Debate Program Students Prep for Excellence
Raymond Mendoza

Gordon H. Beatty Middle School’s Debate Program students are researching current events, practicing their diction and challenging their preconceived ideas to sharpen their skills as they prepare to return to a fully in-person debate tournament season.

While students participated in virtual and hybrid tournaments over the last couple of years, Buena Park School District students say they are thrilled to have their friends and family back in the audience and cheering for them. The team is gearing up for its first Orange County Debate League tournament on Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Fall Friendship Scramble, which will be hosted at Buena Park Middle School.

“This year, our tournaments are all back to normal and I think it’s so much more beneficial because the audience will get to see what the students are doing while we’re in class,” eighth-grader Elizaveth G. said. “We students get to show our skills to our parents, and we also get to see other students in person and that allows us to learn from each other too.”

More than 60 Beatty Middle School students, in grades six to eight, are part of the Debate Program; 50 of them will participate in tournaments this year. Debate Program Coach Kat Terhune said joining the program and competing in tournaments is perfect for teaching students about poise under pressure, researching and preparation and learning about viewpoints beyond their own.

“The Debate Program teaches students valuable skills about how to navigate both sides of a viewpoint,” Terhune said. “It really forces students to get out of the mindset of ‘my side is right’ – they have to understand both sides, how to use evidence in their reasoning and how to evaluate that evidence.”

Eighth-grader Steven C., who has been in the Debate Program for three years, said he loves the variety of social, political and environmental topics available at each tournament. He said the Debate Program has helped him become more social and a more well-rounded student.

“Our award-winning Debate Program is the pride of Gordon H. Beatty Middle School,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “This remarkable program fosters so much achievement and growth for our students and gives them a chance to shine.”

Following the Fall Friendship Scramble, Buena Park School District will also participate in debate tournaments on Dec. 10, Feb. 4, March 18 and May 1.

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

DEBATE1: Gordon H. Beatty Middle School eighth-grader Steven C. practices for an upcoming Orange County Debate League Tournament during debate class. Steven C. is among more than 60 other students learning to research, construct and argue their viewpoints through the Debate Program.

DEBATE2: Gordon H. Beatty Middle School eighth-grader Aziza M. returns for her final year of the Debate Program, hoping to win more awards while also expanding her knowledge and having fun with friends.

  • Beatty Middle
  • Buena Park School District
Superintendent's Update September 2022
Raymond Mendoza
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  • Buena Park Middle School
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Buena Park School District’s Youngest Students Build Academic Foundations at Corey Preschool
Raymond Mendoza

At Corey Elementary School, students as young as two years old are building social skills, learning to read, expanding their language skills and readying themselves for academic success thanks to a revamped preschool program.

Buena Park School District’s preschool program, including the program at Corey School, was recently expanded for the start of the 2022-23 school year to offer part- and full-day options, parent participation opportunities and accommodations for younger students.

Corey School Instructional Assistant Karina Castaneda and the rest of the preschool staff strive to offer a nurturing environment for students and their parents. Castaneda said one of the biggest components of preschool is when students connect with each other and learn about social-emotional growth.

“What I’ve seen in the first few weeks of school is that students really like connecting with each other and teachers,” Castaneda said. “It’s good to have students start school at such a young age because preschool is all about socializing and getting familiar with a school environment.”

Castaneda said the preschool program is also boosting communication rates in English Language (EL) learners since several instructors across the District speak Spanish, Korean and Tagalog. She said having the ability to speak a student’s first language creates a stronger bond between student and teacher and helps students understand academic concepts earlier.

“Connecting with our youngest learners, ages two to five, in their primary language is very important as their preschool experience may be their first structured learning experience in English,” Administrator of Early and Expanded Learning Mary Beckelheimer, who coordinates the District’s entire preschool program, said. “We consider fluency in a language other than English a true superpower in our society and we value staff who are dual and multilingual speakers.”

Corey School Principal LaRonda Ortega said the District’s preschool program was purposely built to address the needs of the community in terms of assisting with EL learners, social-emotional learning and extended care hours for working parents.

“Corey School’s preschool program is a bright example of the strong academic foundations that we’re building for our youngest students at Buena Park School District,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “Our District’s preschool program is full of thoughtful, caring instructors and we’re glad to have expanded the program to be nurturing even more students.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

PRESCHOOL1: Corey Elementary School student Ivanya B. learns social-emotional skills playing house with some of her fellow students during her school’s preschool program.

PRESCHOOL2: Corey Elementary School student Raymond O. is expanding his communication, reading and social skills and making new friends during his school’s new expanded preschool program.

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  • District Office
Buena Park School District Partners with City, Library, Police to Boost Literacy Rates
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District has teamed up with several local entities to boost focus on literacy through the “Leaders are Readers” campaign, which aims to showcase how reading can allow children to reach great heights.

Buena Park School District Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes met with leaders from the City of Buena Park, the Buena Park Library District, the Buena Park Police Department and Centralia Elementary School District on Aug. 9 to discuss what literacy meant to them.

“I want everyone in our community to know the wonderful opportunities that the Buena Park Library has available for anyone with a library card,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “Reading can take you to entirely new worlds, shape your creative mind and build the very foundations of your future. Reading is a fundamental cornerstone of all our lives.”

Buena Park Library District Director Helen Medina said the library is more than just books – it’s a place where the community can safely gather for fun activities, where teens can hang out and people of all ages can access tools and information to improve their lives. The library also loans out items like ukuleles, mobile hotspots, tablets and offers passes to California State Parks.

“Literacy has the power to open doors that would be unavailable otherwise,” Medina said. “In addition to providing career and education opportunities, reading for recreation can be enjoyable and exciting. It is important to foster a love of reading at a young age to encourage life-long learning.”

Buena Park Police Department Interim Chief of Police Frank Nunes said that being the child of immigrant parents who emphasized that literacy had a major effect on his life and career since it instilled a lifelong thirst for knowledge in him that drives him to this day.

Buena Park City Manager Aaron France said literacy promotes lifelong learning, making readers more aware of their local government and inspiring them to be more active participants in their communities.

“The Leaders are Readers campaign is an effort to demonstrate a passion for reading and the wonderful things that come as a result of reading,” said Norma Martinez, Centralia Elementary School District Superintendent. “Through reading, we can feed our thirst for knowledge. We can travel in our imaginations and can learn so many wonderful things.”

The Buena Park Library District is currently undergoing major renovations – including new heating, ventilation, air conditioning and plumbing systems. Guests will be able to enjoy the updates when the library opens on Sept. 12, 2022.

To sign up for a library card and start enjoying the facilities, programs and events: click here.

PHOTO CAPTION:

LIBRARY1: (Right to left) Buena Park City Manager Aaron France, Buena Park Police Department Interim Chief of Police Frank Nunes, Buena Park School District Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes, Centralia Elementary School District Superintendent Norma Martinez and Buena Park Library District Director Helen Medina outside of the Buena Park Library. These five are spearheading the Leaders are Readers campaign, bringing awareness to the positive effects of literacy.

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Buena Park School District Welcomes New Assistant Principals to Middle Schools
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District has hired two new assistant principals for the 2022-23 school year, with Jaime Carbajal joining Gordon H. Beatty Middle School and Leticia Rojas leading Buena Park Middle School.

Rojas is a 10-year veteran in education, having worked as a visual arts teacher, a teacher on special assignment and career technical education pathway specialist. She said she is focused on being a positive influence in the community and supporting Principal Shin Park boost school events, support teachers and encourage student growth.

“The possibility of growth inspires me every day,” Rojas said. “Every day is a fresh start. Every school year we have the possibility to reflect, plan and grow as an organization for the constant improvement of our schools and success of students.”

Assistant Principal Rojas has a Bachelor of Arts in art education, a single subject credential in art and a master’s in educational administration (administrative credential), all from California State University, Long Beach.

Carbajal, who is starting his 16th year in education at Beatty Middle School, has worked as a student teacher, substitute teacher, history teacher and an assistant principal. Carbajal said the middle school years are the most pivotal time in development for students – noting that it is during this time when students form their personalities, passions and career interests.

“My main goals are to get to know the community and build the partnerships that will allow me to better serve its students,” Carbajal said. “I would like to expand on the existing services and opportunities that this school offers and work collaboratively to ensure that all students get what they need to be academically and socially successful.”

Assistant Principal Carbajal has a Bachelor of Arts in history and a teaching credential from the University of California, Irvine and an administrative credential from the Green Dot Administrator Induction Program.

“We are truly lucky to have both Jaime Carbajal and Leticia Rojas as assistant principals at both of our middle schools,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “They will be fantastic support to our amazing principals, teachers and administrators and I believe they will also become strong mentors to our students across both campuses.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

CARBAJAL: Gordon H. Beatty Middle School Assistant Principal Jaime Carbajal believes the middle school years are the most pivotal for student development.

ROJAS: Buena Park Middle School Assistant Principal Leticia Rojas vows to be a positive influence to her school’s community, providing encouragement to staff members and students.

  • Beatty Middle
  • Buena Park Middle School
  • Buena Park School District
  • District Office
Buena Park School District Celebrates First Day of 2022-23 School Year
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District’s eight campuses were alive with energy as students were welcomed back by new and returning teachers and administrators during first day of school celebrations on Aug. 16.

The District welcomed more than 4,200 students across its schools, each populated with colorful hand-made posters, welcoming them to yet another amazing school year.

At Whitaker School, parent Dave B. said he is excited to see his two sons grow not only academically, but also socially – building important people skills through interacting with new people and making friends. He said both of his sons are eager to learn more about math as well as play outside and get some exercise in the fresh air.

“I’m looking forward to having an expanded community – we have more than 620 students here at Whitaker School,” Principal Stephanie Williamson said. “We’re excited about our updated parking lot for better traffic flow and soon we’ll be breaking ground on a new playground set, solar panels and a new preschool.”

Meanwhile at Gordon H. Beatty Middle School, some 610 students were greeted by new Principal Joaquin Valdez and new Assistant Principal Jaime Carbajal. Principal Valdez said he looks forward to seeing students build the foundations for engagement with each other and their teachers, as well as integrating himself into the community.

“I’m happy and excited for my son to be back in school,” said Gina H., mother of eighth-grader Nathan H. “I’m happy because he’s back with his friends and learning and he just loves the robotics lab here at Gordon H. Beatty Middle School. Also, I met the new principal and assistant principal and they are both nice and welcoming.”

Gilbert Elementary School Principal Leslie Chavez, who welcomed some 520 Gilbert Grizzlies onto campus this year, said her students came energized and ready to learn.

“The start of the school year is always my favorite time of year because it’s when everyone has the most energy and I can feel the positivity in the air at all of our schools,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “We will continue to teach not only strong core academics, but also career and technical education skills that can be used in college and the workforce through our District’s Pathway Program.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

FIRSTDAY1: Third grade teacher Heather Robson shakes the hand of transitional kindergartener Jackson J., welcoming him to Whitaker Elementary School, the Buena Park School District and the start of the new school year.

FIRSTDAY2: (Right to left) Gordon H. Beatty Middle School eighth-graders Destiney A., Lauren G. and Rian B. celebrate the start of the first day of the 2022-23 school year.

FIRSTDAY3: Gilbert Elementary School fifth-grader Karen P. dashes up a new rope climbing activity on her school’s new playground equipment, newly furnished for the 2022-23 school year.

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New Gordon H. Beatty Middle School Principal to Focus on Aspirations, Personal Growth
Raymond Mendoza

Gordon H. Beatty Middle School’s new principal, Joaquin Valdez, lives to inspire his students – helping them turn turmoil into positivity and prepare themselves for college.

“Adversity is something that many of us experience and the ability to see the brighter side of things or the opportunity to see the glass as half full allows us to keep moving forward,” Valdez said. “The ability to trust that things will get better no matter how hard or difficult of a situation you are experiencing is what keeps me moving forward.”

Principal Valdez started his 17-year educational career as a counselor, encouraging students to think about their futures and careers. He has served as an academic counselor and a California High School Exit Exam counselor before becoming an assistant principal.

Valdez said what drew him to Buena Park School District is how its unique Pathway Programs are teaching students about robotics, multimedia, visual and performing arts, engineering and more to prepare them for college.

Beyond boosting academics, Valdez will focus on social-emotional learning to find new ways to mitigate student stress, while also building new relationships through positive behavioral interventions and support.

Principal Valdez has a Bachelor of Science in human services in mental health from California State University, Fullerton with a second major in Chicano studies, an administrative credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills, a master’s degree in counseling (school counseling and pupil personnel services credential) from California State University, Long Beach and a doctorate in educational leadership in higher education from USC. 

“Principal Valdez is an amazing educator and I know his supportive and encouraging background is going to fit right in at Beatty Middle School,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “I know our community is going to respond well to his personable style and formidable leadership skills.”

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VALDEZ1: Gordon H. Beatty Middle School’s new principal, Joaquin Valdez.
 

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Buena Park School District Welcomes New Emery School Principal
Raymond Mendoza

Longtime educator Jeselle Mata has been selected as Charles G. Emery Elementary School's new principal, bringing 17 years of educational experience to the role and eagerness to build connections and foster a culture of success for all students.

Principal Mata has taught various grade levels including in public and private schools for South Whittier School District, Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Mata said her daily inspiration lies in providing a brighter future for young students.

“What excites me about Buena Park School District is the commitment to students,” Mata said. “The District is centered on educating the whole child and supporting students in discovering their strengths as future leaders.”

Principal Mata is trained in a variety of areas including Advancement Via Individual Determination to boost college readiness, Write from the Beginning for English language arts improvement, Cognitively Guided Instruction for student-centered math teaching, and Capturing Kids’ Hearts for educator training and professional development in social-emotional learning.

“My focus as a school leader is to collaborate with parents, teachers, and staff to improve our school, our classrooms, and our students' learning,” Mata said. “My main goal for my first year is to connect with the community: building a bridge between home and school so that all families feel welcomed and supported at Emery.”

Principal Mata has a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism from California State University, Los Angeles, an administrative credential from Cal Poly Pomona, and a master’s degree in education and multiple subject teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University.

When she is not working hard at leading Emery School, Principal Mata enjoys visiting Disneyland with her husband and three children.

“We are all so excited to welcome Principal Mata to the Buena Park School District community,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “We know her extensive experience, positive attitude and fantastic goals will fit Emery’s atmosphere of success.”

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PRINCIPALMATA1: Charles G. Emery Elementary School’s New Principal: Jeselle Mata

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Student picture
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District is providing more than 200 students with additional support in math, reading, English Language Development, and college and career readiness through its Summer Academy.

The academy, which runs through July 14 at Charles G. Emery Elementary School and Gordon H. Beatty Middle School, provides incoming first through eighth-graders with more opportunities to continue academic excellence while also having fun.

Each day, both schools’ programs provide additional assistance to the District’s English Language Learners with targeted instruction to increase reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Students are also learning how to use a variety of apps from the District’s Apple Coaches to incorporate music, art, and skills to help with college and career readiness.

Each Wednesday, students are encouraged to participate in Spirit Wednesday and dress according to various themes, such as “Our Futures are So Bright” and “We are College Bound.” Students are also given Mindful Minutes, and nutrition breaks to ensure they stay healthy.

Incoming fourth-grader Clay H. said his favorite aspect of the Summer Academy is learning how to play different musical instruments with GarageBand – a computer program he is learning thanks to the school’s Apple Coaches.

“Our Summer Academy is a fantastic way for students to continue their academic excellence while helping others prepare for the coming school year,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “Summer Academy is just one of the many ways Buena Park School District builds strong foundations for our students while also preparing them for high school, college, and beyond.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

Student picture

SUMMER1: Incoming fourth-grader Clay H. learns to play the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese bowed instrument, on his iPad through GarageBand during Buena Park School District’s Summer Academy.

SUMMER2: Incoming first-grader Scarlett P. works on her English language arts skills during Buena Park School District’s Summer Academy.
 

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