Vineyard Junior High School is one of only 200 secondary schools in California and only 11 in San Bernardino County to be recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2019.
The Alta Loma School District recently purchased new multi-channel two-way radios to give ALSD schools another communications tool and add another layer of safety preparation.
The Alta Loma School District Board of Trustees will hold a fourth public hearing at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, March 6, at the District Support Center to discuss area-based trustee elections, as prescribed by the California Voting Rights Act of 2001.
Longtime educator and administrator Elizabeth Freer has been named the Alta Loma School District’s director of special education, beginning Feb. 13.
ALSD Continues Review of Area-Based Voting Options
The Alta Loma School District Board of Trustees continues to solicit input and review options for the district’s future switch to trustee-based elections.
Under threat of legal action and as prescribed by the California Voting Rights Act of 2001, ALSD will consider moving from at-large to trustee-area elections in 2020.
The Board of Trustees held its third public hearing about the issue at the Feb. 20 school board meeting to answer resident questions, provide information about area voting and solicit input and suggestions about mapping options. A fourth public hearing will follow at an upcoming school board meeting, with a decision about voting area maps to follow.
The area maps divide the Alta Loma School District into five separate sections. If approved, voters from each respective area will vote for a single trustee to represent that geographic section.
Board members will be elected in alternating voting cycles. For example, at least two positions will be up for election during the 2020 election and will represent designated geographic regions. Voters in the remaining areas will not vote for a school board member in 2020. The pattern will reverse in 2022, when the residents who did not have the option of voting in 2020 will be able to vote for their respective representatives.
All current board members were elected at-large and will remain under that designation until their respective area-based election in either 2020 or 2022.
The consulting firm Cooperative Strategies and ALSD staff have been collaborating to draw tentative trustee area map options within the overall school district boundaries, based on public input, the overall district population breakdown and a variety of other factors.
The California Voting Rights Act, which was approved in 2001 and took effect in 2003, is intended to make it easier for all ethnic groups to be represented in public elections by dividing a city, school district or other public agency into voting districts.
Over the past several years, dozens of California cities and school districts have switched from at-large elections to district elections.
While the ALSD school board elected to initiate the process toward trustee-area elections, it is closely monitoring lawsuits in other jurisdictions for a possible shift in legal precedent.
CAASPP Testing Commences After Spring Break
Students throughout the Alta Loma School District will again participate in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress beginning in early April.
“We’re still have a little time, but the testing period is just around the corner and it’s important that students and families start thinking about it,” said ALSD Superintendent James Moore. “Testing represents a departure from the regular school curriculum, so families and students need to be aware.”
CAASPP, which five years ago replaced the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program as the state academic testing program, is intended to provide information to teachers, school administrators and families that can be used to monitor student progress to better ensure that they leave school ready for high school, college and their future careers.
The computer-based tests in English-language arts and mathematics are for students in third through eighth grades. Tests in science be will be administered to students in the fifth and eighth grades. Each school will post its individual testing schedule.
Following the testing period, families will receive a report of their child’s overall score, a description of the student’s achievement level for the subjects that were tested and a comparison to last year’s CAASPP scores.
Practice CAASPP tests are available for review at the California Department of Education Smarter Balanced Practice Test website at www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/practicetest.asp.
For more information about the assessment process, visit the CAASPP link under the testing and assessment tab at the California Department of Education website at www.cde.ca.gov. For information about testing at specific schools, contact the individual school.
Full Student Support is Top ALSD Priority
District support for their children’s mental, social and emotional health continues to be a top concern for parents throughout the Alta Loma School District, according to recent surveys of district families.
“There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our students, and we are continuously working to ensure that we have every base covered when it comes to the health of our children,” said ALSD Superintendent James Moore.
The district offers multiple systems of support for students and families on a year-round basis, as well as detailed protocols that inform staff how to respond to crisis situations.
The district’s multi-tiered comprehensive school counseling program offers a team of professionals that provide support for social, emotional and behavior related problems and crisis counseling. ALSD has increased its counseling staff to 10 mental health professionals, which includes counselors and behavioral health therapists. Teachers and staff also receive training to identify signs of depression, anxiety and other social and emotional issues.
The Alta Loma School District offers periodic parent education nights that focus on mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicide, as well as a social-emotional awareness curriculum called Second Step and cyber safety workshops for parents.
“We encourage parents to carefully monitor and speak candidly with their children student about these and other life issues,” Moore said. “Our staff members and counseling services are available to students and families at any time for no cost, so we hope they take advantage of these programs. Our district counseling staff and school principals can answer questions and are there to help.
Moore said the suite of services and interventions have been established to support families, whether through individual counseling, group interactions or collaborations with other agencies. References and referrals to counseling services outside of the district are provided to families that may require immediate or ongoing assistance.
The school district also partners with various community organizations that offer further support, including those linked below.
The Alta Loma School District will begin accepting enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year on Friday, Feb. 1. Parents should contact their home school to obtain a registration packet.
To be eligible to enroll in kindergarten, children must be at least 5 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2019.
Children are also eligible to enroll in the Transitional Kindergarten (Preppy K) program if they turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2, 2019. They also may qualify if they reach age 5 between Dec. 3, 2019, and Jan. 31, 2020 (pending space availability).
For detailed information, visit the Preppy K web page here. Preppy K classes are held at Alta Loma, Hermosa and Victoria Groves elementary schools.
The following enrollment information is required for enrollment for all new students to the Alta Loma School District.
All students entering first grade are required to have a physical examination. Free health screenings are available at the San Bernardino County Health Department through the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program. Immunizations and physical examinations conducted on or after Feb. 1, 2019, are valid for a child's entry into first grade in the 2019-2020 school year.
School Liaisons Go Above and Beyond to Help Homeless and Foster Students
The homeless issue in California knows no city limits. While the presence of people living on the streets may be more prominent in some high-profile areas, there are people living without homes in every community in the state. Forty-nine percent of the nation’s homeless are located in California.
The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youths as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. While this is a broader definition that includes far more than those people who literally live on the streets, it nonetheless illustrates the need for schools to provide additional services.
The McKinney-Vento Act does just that. It is a federal law designed to help people experiencing homelessness and protect the rights of children and youth who are homeless to go to school.
There were 236 students from the Alta Loma School District who were listed as homeless and/or living in shared housing out of necessity in 2017-2018. That’s a 47-person decrease from the previous year, but alarming nonetheless.
The academic challenges faced by these students is not unlike those shared by children living with Foster families, of which there are nearly 20 students currently in the Foster system who are attending ALSD schools.
Homeless students and those from Foster families may face significant barriers in achieving academic success, largely because of inconsistent attendance and other social barriers.
“We want to make sure these students are flourishing both socially and emotionally,” says ALSD Director of Human Resources and Pupil Services Joan Sanders. “We provide school-related resources such as backpacks, school supplies, clothing and shoes, and we sponsor extra-curricular activities to ensure inclusiveness.”
Designated staff at district schools go above and beyond their regular job descriptions to make sure these students are not left behind. ALSD elementary school teaching assistant principals and junior high school deans go out of their way to ensure these families receive the resources they need. As site liaisons, they also advocate on behalf of homeless and Foster youth to benefit their academic advancement by providing tutoring, counseling, academic workshops and programs to guide them toward future education and career opportunities.
The TAPS and deans closely monitor the status of all homeless and Foster students to help ensure the students feel connected with their respective schools.
Sara Budzinski, secretary for the ALSD Office of Pupil Services, helps to connect families with needed resources by sharing that information with school liaisons and also posting it online.
Community assistance has come in the form of school supplies, clothing from organizations such as the Assistance League of the Foothill Communities and Kohl's to aid to families who are struggling financially.
School personnel use the district’s annual residency affidavit form to help monitor and identify potentially homeless students. Parents or guardians may indicate that the family is living with another family out of financial necessity or living in temporary housing such as a hotel, recreational vehicle or even a car.
“Building connections and relationships with students and families is the first priority in establishing a healthy home and school relationship,” says Maureen Vass, dean of students at Vineyard Junior High and the school’s liaison. “At one school, over a year's time, a relationship was built on trust and communication with one particular student and the family, which brought about improved self-esteem and academics.”
The roots of that relationship grew from the student’s daily check-in and check-out routine, which allowed for additional time to spend with the school liaison every day.
School site liaisons meet with every homeless and Foster youth to determine their needs and then meet with them regularly throughout their time at the school. All interactions and interventions are documented and reviewed with Sanders, who evaluates the possible need for altered or additional services.
There are thousands of children in Foster care, group homes and kinship care throughout San Bernardino County.
Dear Alta Loma School District Families:
As you may have heard, several students in Rancho Cucamonga have tragically taken their own lives this month. Additionally, all of us in the Alta Loma School District are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our students that attended Victoria Groves School. The District is committed in helping the family, our students, teachers and the community heal during this difficult time.
There is nothing more sacred than the safety and well-being of our students, and it’s important to know that ALSD has multiple systems of support in place for all of our students and families on a year-round basis, as well as detailed protocols that inform us how to respond to crisis situations.
The District’s multi-tiered comprehensive school counseling program offers a team of professionals that provide support for social, emotional and behavior related problems and crisis counseling. We recently hired an additional counselor and two behavioral health therapists to increase our counseling staff in this area to ten health professionals. In addition, our teachers and staff have been trained to identify signs of suicide.
We also have begun a social emotional awareness curriculum called Second Step. In the future, look for parent education nights concerning mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and suicide awareness. In addition, we will offer cyber safety training for parents.
We encourage you to carefully monitor and speak candidly with your student about these and other life issues. Our personnel and counseling services are available to students and families at any time for no cost, so please contact our District counseling staff or your school principal at any time if you have concerns.
Along with the many resources offered through the Alta Loma School District, we partner with a number of community organizations that stand ready to offer further support. Below you will find some helpful online links with additional information to better inform you and assist you.
Mental Health Resources Links
Healthy RC Mental Health Resources Brochure
Healthy RC Comprehensive Mental Health Resources List
Digital Safety for Parents and Youth
Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors
Parents of Suicides and Friends & Families of Suicides
Suicide Bereavement Support Group
909-894-9672 or 909-894-8673
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
· NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Referral Helpline
· A confidential information and referral helpline to help you navigate the path to recovery for yourself or loved one. You are not alone, call (909) 399-0305.
Welcome to our Newly Redesigned Webpage!
Located in the foothill community of Rancho Cucamonga, California, the Alta Loma School District serves over 6,000 achieving students with 270 teachers and administrative staff and an additional 400 support staff.
The District prides itself on its educational program, which provides each student with the opportunity for maximum intellectual, social, and physical development. Strong parent and community involvement in the schools' academic excellence of our students, professional development of staff, and the stability of leadership all provide the foundation of success for Inspiring Learners for a Lifetime!