school | La Habra Journal

Posted on 06 June 2013 by La Habra Journal

By Suleymi Recinos
La Habra Journal

The passage of Measure O brings a 21st century educational experience to the classroom and modernization.

The measure, which passed last November by La Habra residents, will continue to help fund maintenance and improvements to the district. Further, the bond will bring in new technology to enhance learning opportunity and to further develop the middle school academies.

“Measure O was an extension of the previous bond from 2000 property taxes,” said La Habra City School District Superintendent Susan Belenardo.

The district has broken down the implementation of the bond into phases. According to the public conceptual phasing plan of the bond is planned in four phases within the years of 2013, 2017, 2021 and 2025. Phase 1 consists of $6.5 million to be spent. $6.3 million came out of the bond for this phase.

The first phase, which starts this summer, includes repairs to the roofing at Imperial Middle School, Washington Middle School, Ladera Palma, Las Lomas and Las Positas elementary schools.

Some of the roofs undergoing repairs include the administrative building at Ladera Palma. The Las Lomas library and maintenance room, along with Las Positas administrative building and walkways.

By the time the new school year starts in fall, additions to instruction will be made. The academies will incorporate iPad devices, purchased through the bond money, to enhance the learning experience of students. Expansion of the wireless network is currently being looked into in order to allow for greater students access.

The K-5 schools will receive more improvements later in the fall’s phase.
Phase two consists of $5.6 million in 2017, and is set to provide more technology, continuous maintenance focused on improving the elementary schools, including: Las Positas, Sierra Vista and Walnut.

Phase three is $2.9 million in 2021 and will provide more technology, more maintenance and repairing the interior of Arbolita Elementary school.

The last phase four in 2025 consists of $15.2 million and more technology, new windows, maintenance and energy efficiency, continued roofing such as noted in phase one and focus on the other K-2 schools including: Arbolita, El Cerrito, Ladera Palma and Las Lomas.

The first phase focuses on developing and enhancing the district’s academies within Washington and Imperial Middle Schools. The concept of the academies is to help make learning relate more to the real world.

The academy at Imperial Middle School focuses on fine arts. Washington focuses more on math and sciences.

Imperial Middle School is currently partnering with the historic Muckanthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton in order for students to showcase their artistic talents. A music instructor and chorus from the Muck are also available to these students. Aside from art programs offered, teachers use fine arts to enhance overall learning.

“A social science teacher used different pieces of art work with various colors to show expression in each time period,” Belenardo explained.

Washington Middle School’s academy focuses its learning experience through mathematics and science.

Aside from projects where students can have fun while learning. Washington is currently partnering with Project Lead the Way, a non-profit science organization that helps students in middle school, high school and community colleges.

This summer, teachers within this department are attending training sessions at California Poly Pomona to help teach their students science more effectively for this upcoming fall.

The academy also teaches students how to tell stories through the media production class. A robotics after-school program is also offered.

The academies at both schools are in addition to the regular curriculum. The education and experience provide a greater depth to students. According to Belenardo, Measure O will greatly enhance the educational opportunities in the district, especially starting with the academies.

She explained that “both schools offer the same core curriculum of math, English and science, it is just what is helping to enhance their curriculum and the learning experience.”

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