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Youth Cinema Project Summer Program: Apply Today!
Andrea Torres

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: HLPUSD encourages all students enrolled in grades 5-8 for the 2024-25 school year to participate in our 2024 Youth Cinema Project (YCP) summer program, which connects students with mentors to learn about the art of filmmaking and create content based on real-world social and community issues.

The free program will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sparks Middle School from Monday, July 8, to Wednesday, July 31.

Please visit bit.ly/HLP_YCP to learn more and email our VAPA coordinator, Dr. Benita Scheckel, at bscheckel@hlpusd.k12.ca.us to apply today!

Hacienda La Puente Unified Youth Cinema Project Students Win First-Place at Latino Film Festival
Andrea Torres

California Elementary School's Youth Cinema Project (YCP) student filmmakers are celebrating their 2024 Best Film for Elementary Schools award from the Latino Film Institute for their movie “The World is Yours,” which premiered at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival on June 1.

Hacienda La Puente Unified's YCP students returned to the festival for its second year, where they walked the red carpet outside the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. Students were joined by District officials, YCP mentors, staff, and families to watch their films alongside other participating YCP students.

"I have never witnessed such a vibrant bus ride in my life," California Elementary School YCP teacher Kathleen Cook said. "Our students, with their unwavering dedication, produced four remarkable films this year. The journey was challenging, but the sheer joy on their faces as they saw their creations on the big screen made it all worthwhile.”

“The World is Yours” tells the compelling story of a student who defies campus rules to sell soda cans to his peers to save enough money for a video game. After running into trouble with his school principal, he soon learns the dangers of greed.

Students from Sparks Middle School and La Puente High School also showcased their films from the 2023-24 school year at the festival. These films shared a common theme of moral challenges and lessons, highlighting the consequences of unethical behavior and the importance of making honest choices.

YCP mentors Miguel Mendoza and Summer Young invited District officials, Cook, principal Yesenia De La Pena, and families to join a Zoom call on June 3 to share the news with the students.

"When I joined the Zoom call with my classmates and my mentors, I had no idea it was to surprise us with news that we won," said Ivan Salguero, incoming sixth-grader, director of photography, and lead actor of “The World is Yours.” "Thank you to my teacher Ms. Cook, and mentors Miguel and Summer for teaching me so much. I cannot wait to make more films next year."

Throughout the school year, Mendoza and Young educated students on pre-production, production, and post-production, as well as the various roles involved in filmmaking, such as writer, director, producer, gaffer, sound mixer, and editor. Students then wrote summaries to express their desired positions and justify their selection. Once roles were assigned, mentors collaborated with Cook and received support from De La Pena to guide students in creating unique, meaningful final projects.

"YCP is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students to build communication skills,” De La Pena said. "This opportunity opens career paths for students in scriptwriting, filmmaking, acting, and behind-the-scenes roles, which are potential future careers for our students. In YCP, students find a voice and can express themselves creatively. We are grateful for this program and opportunity."

The YCP, founded by award-winning actor, producer, and director Edward James Olmos, aims to close the achievement and opportunity gap for today's learners by empowering students to write, produce, and direct their own films. The program helps nurture their creativity and critical thinking skills and inspires them to explore potential careers in the film industry.

In celebration of student talent, the District will host its first-ever Film Festival at Mt. San Antonio College later this fall. Additionally, YCP students will be recognized at the Board of Education meeting on June 13.

"We are immensely proud of our students at California Elementary School and all our YCP students for their cinematic masterpieces," Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez said. "This program exemplifies the power of arts in education in developing well-rounded, innovative thinkers. It enhances our students' academic experience and gives them the skills and inspiration to pursue their dreams. Congratulations to all the students, teachers, and staff involved."

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

HLPUSD_YCP_1: Academy Award-nominated actor and Latino Film Institute founder Edward James Olmos joins students on the red carpet during the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival on June 1.

HLPUSD_YCP_2: California Elementary School Principal Yesenia De La Peña, Youth Cinema Project teacher Kathleen Cook, and students gather outside the TCL Chinese Theater after participating in the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival on June 1.

HLPUSD_YCP_3: California Elementary School Youth Cinema Project’s film poster for “The World is Yours” is shared at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival on June 1.

 

Hacienda La Puente Unified Earns Spot on 2023 Honor Roll for Bolstering Student Achievement
Andrea Torres

Hacienda La Puente Unified is among 109 districts included in the Educational Results Partnership’s (ERP) 2023 Honor Roll, a prestigious recognition highlighting California’s top-performing school districts for their exemplary efforts in closing achievement gaps and preparing students for success in college and their future careers.

Glen A Wilson High School, Baldwin Academy, Bixby, Grazide, Los Molinos, Mesa Robles and Wedgeworth elementary schools and Newton Middle School were all recognized among the top-performing schools.

For its ninth year, the non-profit organization ERP and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) have spotlighted the highest-performing public schools, Districts, and charter schools across California. Hacienda la Puente Unified is among the top 14% of all eligible districts in the state to receive the recognition.

"Our inclusion on the Honor Roll is a testament to the collective effort and unwavering dedication of our District's stakeholders to student achievement and equity," Board of Education President Christine H. Salazar proudly declared. "We are thrilled with the significant growth we have achieved and remain steadfast in our commitment to providing all our students with the necessary opportunities for success. This recognition serves as a powerful motivator, inspiring us to continue our pursuit of excellence in all facets of education."

Hacienda La Puente Unified cultivates supportive and engaging environments across all campuses. This school year, the District has been recognized with a Model School Attendance Review Board award, four National Blue Ribbon School awards, and four Civic Learning awards. These accolades highlight the District’s efforts to nurture each student's potential through positive intervention strategies, robust programs, college and career resources, and a rigorous curriculum.

The Honor Roll recognitions, determined through comprehensive data analysis from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, are part of ERP's national efforts to raise awareness of the importance of high-quality educational systems that yield life-long, career-ready skills among learners, particularly in economically challenged communities.

"At HLPUSD, we are dedicated to fostering a learning environment that equips our students with the essential skills they need to excel in their academic and professional lives," Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez expressed. "We are honored to earn a spot on the ERP Honor Roll this year. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our educators, staff, students, and community for their unwavering dedication and invaluable contributions to our students' well-being. Your support is truly appreciated and valued."

 

May Superintendent's Update
Andrea Torres

Dear Hacienda La Puente Unified Community, 

May was an exciting month for Hacienda La Puente Unified, as our District celebrated the end of a successful school year and highlighted student accomplishments with various end-of-the-year festivities.  

We kicked off the month by gathering as a District to share the unique and creative ways our scholars have been engaging, experiencing, and connecting during our New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) Spring Showcase held May 2. During the event, students, teachers, and administrators presented demonstrations, projects, and various initiatives worked on throughout the school year. Click here to watch a video recapping the fun-filled event.

Our graduating students radiated joy and pride as they celebrated their accomplishments during senior sunsets, proms, pep rallies, and visits to local elementary and middle schools, igniting a spark of excitement in the young scholars about their futures at HLPUSD.

Our District community, a vital part of our students' success, also gathered to celebrate our Class of 2024 during our annual Senior Award Nights on May 14 and 16. During the event, students were presented with certificates, stoles, and scholarships for achieving academic, athletic, artistic, and philanthropic excellence. Each high school’s gym was filled with celebratory spirit as the audience, including HLPUSD Board members, teachers, principals, and District sponsors applauded each scholar called to the podium. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all our generous donors who support our students each year. Check out our photo gallery to view photos from the award ceremonies. 

In heartfelt recognition of Classified School Employees Week, our campuses showered their classified employees with gifts, flowers, and hand-written notes.

The District also delivered cookies to all schools and job sites – a small token of our immense gratitude for the hard work and dedication of our staff.

We also took a moment to express our deep gratitude to our exceptional employees and the entire school community, celebrating School Principals Day, National School Lunch Hero Day, Mother’s Day, and Teachers Day, acknowledging their invaluable contributions to our District.

I want to give a shout-out to our students from Mesa Robles, who secured a remarkable third place out of more than 200 competing teams across Los Angeles County during the Conga Kids Finale. Your hard work and dedication this year have been truly commendable. I also want to applaud our Student Chef Cook-Off Contest finalists from Mesa Robles and Glen A. Wilson High School. Your culinary skills have been recognized by students from across the District, and we are eagerly awaiting the cook-off contest on June 13 to taste your delicious and nutritious menu items.

We ended our festivities by celebrating our Class of 2024 graduates with five high-spirited commencement ceremonies and recognizing our promoting students with events honoring their academic achievements. 

Thank you to our Board of Education, students, teachers, staff, administrators, and community members for your hard work and dedication to ensuring this school year’s success.

Hacienda La Puente Unified remains committed to providing enriching learning opportunities for students in the summer months, and we look forward to seeing you all for the 2024-25 school year in August!

As always, we are #ProudtobeHLPUSD.

Sincerely,

Superintendent

Dr. Alfonso Jiménez

HLPMay24SupesUpdate.pdf

Hacienda La Puente Unified Celebrates Class of 2024 with High-Spirited Commencement Ceremonies
Andrea Torres

Hacienda La Puente Unified celebrated its Class of 2024 graduates during five vibrant commencement ceremonies on May 21 and 23, with District representatives proudly presenting diplomas to the graduates, who were donned in their caps and gowns, as the atmosphere was filled with anticipation and pride.

The District honored nearly 1,200 graduates from its four comprehensive high schools and alternative high school. Valley, William Workman and La Puente high schools held their ceremonies on May 21, followed by Glen A. Wilson and Los Altos high schools on May 23.

The festivities included stirring solo vocal and instrumental performances, motivational speeches from valedictorians, salutatorians, and leadership students, acceptance by Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez, and conferral and closing remarks from Board President Christine H. Salazar.

"On behalf of the entire Board of Education, I want to congratulate our promoting and graduating Class of 2024 on reaching this significant milestone," Salazar said. "As we heard during each ceremony, this class was the last graduating class affected by the pandemic during their high school years. You all experienced your first year of high school online and showed great resilience and unity as you returned to campuses for your sophomore year. We are immensely proud of all your successes and wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors."

During the ceremonies, principals invited graduates who received the School Scholar Award, given to students with a 3.5 GPA or higher, the District Scholar Award, presented to students with a 3.8 GPA or higher, and the California State Seal of Biliteracy Award to stand and receive a round of applause from the audience. Graduates joining the United States Armed Forces also received recognition alongside veteran teachers, staff, and audience members.

After last school year's success in including alma mater support, the District welcomed elementary and middle school principals to participate in the ceremonies. Principals exchanged high-fives and fist bumps with students, celebrating the graduates' journey from elementary to high school.

For the grand finale, Glen A. Wilson and William Workman high schools continued their longstanding tradition, singing and performing their alma mater songs alongside graduates and school staff. La Puente High School graduates threw their caps in the air, celebrated with peers, and eagerly exited the field to see their families.

Valley Alternative High School’s community celebrated with photo opportunities and balloon arches outside the community center. Los Altos High School surprised students with a dazzling fireworks display, filling the night sky with bursts of color and light. Each ceremony concluded with the sounds of leadership students leading their peers and attendees to participate in their school chants one last time.

Hacienda La Puente Unified Class of 2024 graduates boast academic, athletic, and civic achievements, and will continue their educational journey at more than 150 esteemed colleges and four-year universities.

“This group of remarkable scholars has shown great determination, resilience, and heart over the past four years, navigating their academic careers, excelling in extracurricular activities, and setting a positive example for younger HLPUSD students,” Jiménez said. “I am beyond proud of our graduating students and hope they will one day give back to the Hacienda La Puente Unified community and share their success stories with future generations. We wish you nothing but success in your college and career endeavors. Congratulations, Class of 2024!”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

HLPUSD_GRADUATION1: Los Altos High School Class of 2024 graduates celebrate their most recent accomplishment in front of a crowd of nearly 6,000 attendees during a commencement ceremony on May 23.

HLPUSD_GRADUATION2: Glen A. Wilson High School Class of 2024 graduate Emily Axelrod celebrates her accomplishment during a commencement ceremony on May 23.

HLPUSD_GRADUATION3: La Puente High School graduates receive alma mater support and a handshake from principal Dr. Lisa Lopez after receiving their diploma during a commencement ceremony on May 21. 

HLPUSD_GRADUATION4: William Workman High School Class of 2024 graduate Emmanuel Solorzano delivers a lively speech during a commencement ceremony on May 21.

HLPUSD_GRADUATION5: Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez congratulates a Valley Alternative High School graduate during a commencement ceremony on May 21.