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Hacienda La Puente Unified Awarded $850,000 in Community Project Funds During Annual Art Show
Andrea Torres

CITY OF INDUSTRY Hacienda La Puente Unified’s modernization efforts will shift into overdrive as it aims to transform Glen A. Wilson High School’s campus media center into a state-of-the-art space stocked with cutting-edge technology thanks to nearly $850,000 in Community Project Funds delivered by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez.

Funding for the media center project at Glen A. Wilson High was announced during the 22nd Annual 38th Congressional District Student Art Competition on April 26. The funds were presented in the form of a giant check and presented to Glen A. Wilson High School Principal Dr. Danielle Kenfield and District representatives moments after two Hacienda La Puente Unified students were named first- and second-place art show winners.

“What an amazing day for our school and District community,” Kenfield said. “First, our talented artists received the highest recognitions and scholarships for their exceptional pieces and then were presented with beautiful words and support from Congresswoman Linda Sánchez. Our students, staff, and community have long awaited such a renovation to modernize this highly utilized space on campus that will undoubtedly benefit and better serve our students and we are so grateful.”

Glen A. Wilson’s media center has served as a learning hub since the late 1960s and is still a meeting place for parent and community meetings and for students to collaborate on project work. The center is set to undergo significant upgrades beginning in the 2024-2025 school year and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2026.

Associate Superintendent of Business Services Manoj Roychowdhury applied for the grant in fall 2023, which included preliminary designs for the re-envisioned space and a detailed breakdown of prior funding sources from the District and the total amount requested to complete the project. The media center upgrades will feature a floorplan with open collaborative and individual areas for student work, partitioned offices for greater privacy, a standing desk work area, casual space with bean bag-style chairs, and large windows for increased natural light. 

"As we embark on this exciting journey of transformation, we are deeply grateful to the Wildcats community for their unwavering support," Roychowdhury said. "After five decades of serving you, we are thrilled to begin this project to upgrade the facilities, ensuring our Wildcats have a high-quality learning environment. The media center, the second largest building on campus and the cornerstone to many of the school's gatherings will soon be a space that encourages exploration, creation, and collaboration."

Each year, Sánchez hosts the Congressional District Student Art Competition event to recognize the artistic talent of youth in her district and to stress the importance of the arts in local schools. This year, Sánchez’s office received more than 115 art submissions for the district art contest. The competition was judged by a group of professional artists, including longtime local artist Wendy De Leon; entrepreneur, writer, and artist Frank Hahn; and international award-winning photographer Roberto Chavez. The three judges reviewed all pieces in six categories including drawing, photography, computer-generated art, painting, and mixed media. They evaluated students’ technical abilities, composition, and message.

Los Altos High School senior Amber Juarez won first place with a $1,000 scholarship, and Wilson High freshman Samantha Hung took second place with a $400 scholarship. As the grand prize winner, Juarez will represent the 38th District at the national Congressional Art Competition in Washington, D.C. Her piece, entitled “Love Sorrow,” will compete against student artwork from across the country and will be on display at the U.S. Capitol for one year. Hung, who took second place overall, won first place in the mixed media category for her piece entitled “Deep in the Temple.” 

This school year, Wilson High School was one of four Hacienda La Puente Union School District schools to earn a 2023 Blue Ribbon School distinction from the U.S. Department of Education in recognition of its academic excellence and success in closing achievement and opportunity gaps. Additionally, Kenfield was named one of the nine National Blue Ribbon School administrators to receive the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership from the U.S. Secretary of Education. In March, Wilson was also named a 2024 California Distinguished School by the California Department of Education for demonstrating exceptional student performance and achieving accelerated academic growth. 

“On behalf of the Board of Education and myself, I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Congresswoman Linda Sánchez for her unwavering support and belief in our mission,” Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez said. "We also extend our thanks to our Associate Superintendent of Business Services, Mr. Roychowdhury, for his hard work and dedication to make this possible. Lastly, thank you to our students for developing preliminary design renderings to help inspire the future of the modernized media center. At Hacienda La Puente Unified, we are committed to providing our students with top-notch facilities to ensure their academic and personal aspirations and we deeply value the support of our community in this endeavor. I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition.”

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

 HLPUSD_WILSON1: Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, District representatives, and Glen A. Wilson High School administrators receive $850,000 in Community Project Funds during the 22nd Annual 38th Congressional District Student Art Competition on April 26.

 

HLPUSD_WILSON2: Hacienda La Puente Unified celebrates its first and second-place art competition winners' achievements at a Student Art Competition on April 26.

 

Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Recognized for Student Attendance Strategies
Andrea Torres

Hacienda La Puente Unified School District's School Attendance Review Board (SARB) has been honored as a Model SARB for initiatives and practices that significantly contribute to reducing chronic absenteeism rates and improving overall student attendance.

Hacienda La Puente Unified is one of 23 districts recognized by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and State SARB for demonstrating outstanding efforts to decrease reliance on conventional attendance incentives, such as suspensions and expulsions, by placing a focus on prevention and positive measures.

HLPUSD's achievements were celebrated at the California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance (CASCWA) State Conference on April 26 in Monterey, where the District formally accepted the award.

“We are overjoyed to be recognized for the hard work and dedication of our entire team,” Dr. Karen Dabney-Lieras, Executive Director of Family Services and SARB Chairperson said. “Addressing the root causes of absenteeism and nurturing the individual needs of students and their families is essential. Supports we offer throughout the SARB process ensure that our students are present, ready to learn and on a path to success.”

The Model SARB Recognition Program is a multi-tiered framework consisting of early intervention, professional development and added staff, and family engagement and school connectedness. Hacienda La Puente Unified aims to foster a District-wide culture of attendance and create welcoming, engaging school environments that motivate students to come to school daily through these models. All Hacienda La Puente campuses additionally host annual activities recognizing students for exemplary attendance.

“Our collective efforts to make learning an enjoyable and engaging experience for students, whether it be the vast college and career offerings or social-emotional resources, has a significant impact on their attendance and academic achievement,” Board of Education President Christine H. Salazar said. “We are committed to innovative and compassionate approaches that pave the way for a brighter future for all our students.”

The District meets the needs of students at the academic and social-emotional level, particularly through an array of tutoring, counseling, and college and career services that ensure students feel valued and connected to their school community. Efforts towards positive intervention improve attendance rates and greatly contribute to the District’s high graduation rates.

“At Hacienda La Puente, we believe that every student deserves the opportunity to succeed, and regular school attendance is a crucial part of that success,” Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez said. “This recognition affirms our efforts toward fostering strong connections between students, families, and educators. We are honored and remain steadfast in our commitment to our students’ well-being and academic progress.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

HLPUSD_SARB: Executive Director of Family Services Dr. Karen Dabney-Lieras and SARB Chair (left) and Student and Family Services Counselor and SARB Co-Chair Ms. Vanessa Ortiz (right) accept the Model SARB award at the CASCWA State Conference on April 26.

HLPUSD_SARB2: Hacienda La Puente Unified's Workman Elementary School celebrates Attendance Awareness Month by creating poster boards to highlight the importance of showing up to school during an awareness campaign in Sept. 2023. 

 

Hacienda La Puente Unified Recognizes Student Success During Senior Award Night Ceremonies
Andrea Torres

 

Hacienda La Puente Unified’s four comprehensive high schools held Senior Award Nights on May 14 and 16, presenting certificates, stoles, and scholarships to students who have achieved academic, athletic, artistic, and philanthropic excellence. 

Each high school’s gym was filled with celebratory spirit as the audience applauded each scholar called to the podium to receive honors from teachers, principals, HLPUSD Board members, and District sponsors.

The awards included the District Scholar Award, bestowed on students with a 3.8 GPA or higher; the California State Seal of Biliteracy Award; Athlete of the Year Awards; Department Awards; the Civic Engagement Award; Career Technical Education (CTE) Awards; District scholarships; and more.

Hacienda La Puente Unified’s Class of 2024 graduation ceremonies will be held on May 21 and 23. 

Click here to view our photo gallery recapping the celebrations!

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

HLPUSD_SENIORAWARDSNIGHT1:  Los Altos High School recognize its CTE graduating Class of 2024 students during a Senior Night celebration on May 16.



HLPUSD_SENIORAWARDSNIGHT2: Glen A. Wilson High School seniors Lauren Sanchez and Bradley Co receive the 2024 State of the District Scholarship presented by Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez during a Senior Night ceremony on May 16. 

HLPUSD_SENIORAWARDSNIGHT3: Student athletes from William Workman High School receive certificates for being named Montview All-League Scholars during a Senior Awards Night ceremony on May 14.


HLPUSD_SENIORAWARDSNIGHT4: Three La Puente High School seniors receive the 2024 Victor De La Cruz Alvarez Memorial Scholarship during a Senior Awards Night presented by Sparks Middle School Principal Dr. David Nieto and La Puente High School Principal Dr. Lisa Lopez on May 14. 

Hacienda La Puente Unified High School Earns 2024 California Democracy School for Strong Civic Leadership
Andrea Torres

La Puente High School is one of only four schools recognized as a 2024 California Democracy School by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), receiving the honor for its high-quality civic learning, commitment to strengthening democracy, and pursuit of happiness for future generations across the District community. 

The award-winning schools were honored during LACOE’s 2024 California Civic Learning Student Showcase and Award Ceremony at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library Museum on May 11, where students, families, principal Dr. Lisa Lopez and District representatives gathered to learn more about the students’ initiatives throughout the 2023-24 school year and celebrate their successes.

During the event, La Puente students were highlighted for their civic engagement projects, including investigated and proposed city solutions, robust volunteer and community service endeavors, and school safety enhancements. 

“Thank you to LACOE for putting on this spectacular event that recognizes our students’ exemplary work and commitment to better our schools, community and country,” Lopez said. “I have confidence in our future knowing our students are finding joy and passion in becoming civically engaged citizens and finding solutions to real-world problems.”

As part of the selection process, LACOE official Michelle M. Herczog, Ed.D., Coordinator III, History Social Science, completed a site visit on April 11, where she evaluated the school’s civic outcomes, school environment and sustainability, and more. To help complete the assessment, Herczog met with student leaders and educators from various civic-action clubs and programs to learn more about their extensive civic education curriculum, ethnic studies coursework, and engagement with local government and the community at large.

City of la Puente Mayor and La Puente High School alumnus Gabriel Quinones was also present during the site visit, where he advocated for the school’s continuous partnership and commitment to civic excellence.

“It has been such a privilege to work with our local schools,” Quinones said. “I enjoy connecting our students from La Puente to city projects and events. I am proud of the partnership between the City of La Puente and our Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.”

La Puente has a long history of civic learning opportunities that include the Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program that motivates young people to be better citizens. The character development and citizenship program is also the only one available to students in the District. In addition, La Puente is one of nine schools in the District that has implemented the California School Board Association Golden Bell award-winning program, Project Life Experience About Democracy (LEAD), a civic action program designed to amplify the student voice and promote change.


At the heart of the school's dedication to social justice is the Dream Resource Center, a safe space funded by the District and the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations' community-centered program, LA vs. Hate.

The nonprofit organization 211-LA and the Helpline Youth Counseling program also support the facility, which provides social, emotional, and academic services, snacks, workshops and supplies for students experiencing bullying and exclusion. The center collaborates closely with other campus advocacy groups, staff, and local officials to host events throughout the school year designed to boost inclusivity and self-expression and combat discrimination across the District.

The California Democracy School Project, originally funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, is designed to institutionalize civic learning in elementary, middle, or high schools to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship in a digital and evolving economy. The Project is directed by the LACOE with support from the Los Angeles County Education Foundation.

“On behalf of the entire Board of Education, I want to congratulate the La Puente High School community for working together to continuously achieve their school’s mission of not only reinforcing but elevating their commitment to civic excellence,” Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez said. “At Hacienda La Puente Unified, we pride ourselves on being partners in community and encourage all students to identify their values, lead with empathy and have the confidence to create the change they wish to see in the world.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

HLPUSD_LPHS1: La Puente High School was named a 2024 California Democracy School during the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s California Civic Learning Student Showcase and Award Ceremony on May 11.

HLPUSD_LPHS2: La Puente High School Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) were recognized for their outstanding leadership and dedication to civics while performing the Presentation of Colors during a Board of Education meeting on May 9.

HLPUSD_LPHS3: La Puente High School students and Principal Dr. Lisa Lopez celebrate the unveiling of the Dream Resource Center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in April 2023.

HLPUSD_LPHS4: Hacienda La Puente Unified administrators, City of La Puente first responders, military personnel, and community members gather in honor of those who lost their lives during an annual La Puente High School 9/11 Remembrance event on Sept. 12.

 

Hacienda La Puente Unified Students to Benefit from $21 Million Community Schools Grant
Andrea Torres

Hacienda La Puente Unified has been chosen as a recipient of the California Community Schools Partnership Program's (CCSPP) third cohort, an esteemed honor that includes $21.3 million in state board-approved community school implementation grants, highlighting the District's commitment to advancing innovative student learning initiatives and developing mental health and community engagement solutions.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and the California State Board of Education (SBE) announced the expansion of the CCSPP and its recipients on May 8, with 17 schools from Hacienda La Puente Unified among those celebrated. The District plans to follow the community schools model to strengthen enrichment programs, increase student academic support, and improve resources for students and families.

"On behalf of our entire Board of Education, we are elated to receive this funding, which will help support our continuous work to provide comprehensive support and crucial community services to our students and families," Board President Christine H. Salazar said. “At Hacienda La Puente Unified, we are dedicated to creating a nurturing and inclusive learning environment that prioritizes the well-being and success of every student." 

The grant, which will be distributed over five years, will begin with a planning phase this summer and continue through the first half of the 2024-25 school year. Following the CCSPP framework, the District will partner with education, county, and other nonprofit entities to introduce a range of services and resources to its campuses, including expanded health services – both physical and mental – enhanced instructional support services, and increased family and community engagement initiatives.

Over the course of the five years, each site will strengthen its existing community school efforts by leveraging the expertise of community school professionals. These specialists will play a crucial role in partnering with stakeholders and community agencies to address students' academic, physical, and social-emotional needs. Their involvement aims to ensure a holistic approach to education, reassuring District stakeholders about the effective use of the grant.

The Board of Education formally announced the grant to the greater community during the District's regular Board meeting on May 9. The news was shared through a lively video montage featuring clips of students engaged in learning activities inside and outside the classroom. The video concluded with a message from Thurmond commending the District's leaders for their dedication to transformative learning experiences.

"At Hacienda La Puente Unified, we focus on addressing the needs of the whole child, working to ensure our students have the learning experiences and support to succeed in school and life," Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez said. "We are thrilled to receive this grant and we look forward to expanding our efforts in supporting the holistic development of our students and fostering stronger connections with our families and community." 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

HLPUSD_COMMUNITYSCHOOLS1: Hacienda La Puente Unified administrators, students and community members celebrate the District being named a community schools grant recipient during a Board meeting on May 9.

 

HLPUSD_COMMUNITYSCHOOLS2: Hacienda La Puente Unified Board President Christine H. Salazar and Superintendent Dr. Alfonso Jiménez cheer as State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announces the District as a community schools grant recipient during a lively video at a Board meeting on May 9.

HLPUSD_COMMUNITYSCHOOLS3: Hacienda La Puente Unified celebrates being a chosen recipient of the California Community Schools Partnership Program during a Board meeting on May 9.