Monday Message 2019-2020




November 18, 2019


Superintendent’s Message - Dr. Mary Sieu

(Follow me on Twitter: @abcsupt)

Superintendent’s Message - Dr. Mary Sieu

(Follow me on Twitter: @abcsupt)


I was honored to attend the 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools Ceremony with Gonsalves ES and Leal ES on Nov. 14-15, 2019. The two-day event was held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Gonsalves ES Principal Robert Benko, teacher Dana Brickner, Leal ES Principal P.A. White, President Ernie Nishii, and I attended the sessions on Thursday and Friday as well as the presentation of the 2019 National Blue Ribbon School Awards on Friday. The keynote speaker on Thursday, Nov. 14 was Erin Gruwell, teacher from “Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart.” The keynote speaker on Friday, Nov. 15 was Rodney Robinson, 2019 National Teacher of the Year.


The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized great American schools since 1982. They recognize public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The National Blue Ribbon School Award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. Only ½ of 1% receive this national recognition.  Congratulations Gonsalves ES and Leal ES!


News About Our Schools and/or District


Academic Achievement for All:


Wittmann ES & Whitney HS - On November 10, Wittmann ES & Whitney HS competed in the First Lego League (FLL) Robotics competition in Torrance. Both schools performed well with Wittmann ES’s Ted X Team finishing 8th place and STEM Warriors finishing 18th. Whitney HS teams finished 9th and 11th respectively. Wittmann’s STEM Warriors received the Judges Award for their exemplary teamwork during the competition. The Wittmann ES and Whitney HS teams had a joint partnership supporting each other throughout the FLL season. The Wittmann ES teams were coached by Luc Garcia-Oleary, Varun Bharadwaj, and the Whitney Robotics Team, who spent months preparing for the competition.

Picture Album Link below:

Wittmann FLL Photos & Videos 2019


Professional Growth for Employees:


Tracy HS Learns About Trauma Informed Care – Dr. Flojuane Cofer from Public Health Advocates worked with Tracy High School staff on trauma informed care. The staff learned a variety of tools to help students including identifying sources of trauma and their associated health outcomes, understanding how trauma affects brain function and student engagement, and how to develop strategies that help avoid triggering students who have experienced trauma.


Family and Community Engagement:


Congresswoman Sanchez Visits Tracy HS – On November 6, Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez visited Tracy HS to learn more about this award-winning school. She spent time on campus learning about the school’s programs, and was interviewed by the THSTV team. Board Clerk Sophia Tse joined Principal Ricardo Brown in providing the Congresswoman a tour of the campus.


Juarez Academy - Juarez Academy hosted a school visit from Paramount Unified School District on Tuesday, November 5. The purpose of the visit was to learn how Juarez Academy has transformed their school into an Engineering & Technology academy and how that has positively impacted school culture. Visitors from Paramount included the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Director of K-5 Schools, the Facilitator of Professional Development and an Elementary Principal. The Juarez team shared their (now) 6-year journey from rebranding on through 5 iterations of their hallmark Engineering Showcase event. They shared lessons learned, how they continue to focus on using the Engineering Design Process as a problem-solving framework for students and allowed their guests to tour the campus to see it all in action.  


BRIDGES Academy – BRIDGES Academy staff, located on the Cabrillo Lane campus, coordinated their first Career Day on Friday, November 8. The students had visits and conversations with a Los Angeles County sheriff, a Delta Airline pilot, a cosmetology teacher, an Air Force commander, and a veterinarian technician. The students were inspired by the stories of how these professionals overcame personal adversities and/or professional challenges as they progressed toward their career goals. It was a very successful event.


ABC Flu Clinic - On Thursday, November 7, Health Services nurses had a very successful ABC Flu Clinic at Hawaiian ES. One of the District’s nurses was able to secure donations of flu vaccine from Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). Our schools advertised the clinic, a notice was sent out via Peachjar, and Aeries to parents offering free flu vaccinations. Our nurses vaccinated 276 students and their families. Thank you to our school nurses for making this happen.


Education Commandments – Parents from Hawaiian Gardens and Lakewood graduated from the 10 Education Commandments Program. The last class in the series, held at Fedde Academy, concluded with a ceremony celebrating the parents’ achievement. Both Karina Martir, Principal at Melbourne ES, and Adria Molina, Interim Principal at Fedde Academy, were on hand to congratulate parents. This program is designed to engage parents, empowering them to be the best advocates for their students.


System to Support Student Success:


Bite of Reality at Artesia HS On November 6, over 300 Artesia HS seniors took part in a new financial awareness program called Bite of Reality. This program gives students a glimpse into what life might be in the future, complete with a job, family, and all of the needs that come with them. About 40 volunteers from both the District and the community assisted with the event. You can view a video about the event at


Highlights from the November 5, 2019, Board of Education Meeting:


  •     The Board recognized the seven 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists from the District
  •     The Schools of Choice Board Advisory Ad Hoc Committee presented their proposed plan
  •   The Board approved a revised Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 5116.1 covering Intradistrict Open Enrollment
  •   The Board approved a revised Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 3515 regarding campus security
  •     A recent Districtwide Solar Feasibility Study was shared with the Board, who provided consensus to move forward with the program