Service Center location still unresolved as residents voice opinions

A special gathering of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education was held on Tuesday, May 21, aimed at community members who live near San Antonio High School.

The residents were asked to voice their opinions with regards to the possible placement of a new CUSD Service Center at the local continuation high school. Several people showed displeasure at the idea, expressing that a single-family neighborhood such as theirs is an inappropriate venue for an industrial facility.

Rick Cota, Service Center Director, has noted that the new Service Center would be significantly streamlined, requiring no more than 6,000-feet of building space. He has also stressed the district has not made a decision with regards to Service Center placement, and is weighing all its options.

San Antonio High School neighbors have been asked to convene again at the Richard S. Kirkendall Education Center (170 W. San Jose Ave.) on Thursday, June 6, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., immediately preceding the regular school board meeting for a special study to review alternate options.

The need for a new Service Center has been at the forefront for district personnel since the current site was declared surplus at the February 21 school board meeting. The relocation became more pressing after an auction held last week, during which time the Service Center site—a 144,000-foot property located at 700 Baseline Ave.—was auctioned off in less than 5 minutes to D.R. Horton. The homebuilder met CUSD’s asking price of $7 million, accompanied by a $10,000 security deposit.

The school board will be asked to approve D.R. Horton’s offer at their regular meeting, which will start at 6:30 p.m, Thursday.

A round of applause

The Thursday, June 6 school board agenda is fairly lengthy one, considering that the end of the school year (June 13) is fast approaching.

A number of kudos will be in order, beginning with the board’s recognition of 4th through 6th graders who distinguished themselves by participating in the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s Math Field Day on April 27. Students from each grade level medaled in every event, bringing home 9 medals in all. The fourth and sixth grade teams were overall trophy winners.

The board will also recognize 7 students on Dave Chamberlain’s CHS Speech and Debate team—Sriharsh Rambhatla, Hannah Mathieson, Joe Hurley, Kathryn Davis, Diana Zhao, Vivian Luo and Andy Zhang—who have qualified to attend the National Championship Speech and Debate tournament to be held in Birmingham, Alabama on June 16-21.

Another group of students known for their skill in public speaking, the CHS Thespians, will be recognized for their strong performance at the California State Thespian Festival held in Upland on March 22-24. Theater director Krista Elhai will present the results of the festival, which drew over 11,000 high school thespians from all over the state. The results are already in for the CHS Theatre production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which was recognized as the Best Ensemble Chorus at the Jerry Herman High School Musical Theatre Awards of Los Angeles, held at the Pantages Theatre on May 19.

The school board will likewise tip their hats to Chaparral, Condit, Mountain View, Oakmont, Sycamore, Vista del Valle and Clareomont High schools for being named Honor Roll schools by the California Business for Education Excellence organization. They will also bid a fond adieu to this semester’s student board members, Carolyn Bird of Claremont High School and Aimee Orcasitas of San Antonio High School.

Presentations and recommendations

Danbury and Condit schools will be presenting updates on their respective Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSA). An SPSA is a report in which a school shares the progress it has made toward academic and behavioral goals set the previous year and discusses its new areas of focus.

While the aforementioned reports are for information only, the board will be asked to approve requests for a number of additional courses to be added at Claremont secondary schools aimed at whole child enrichment, career preparation or academic achievement. The staff of El Roble Intermediate School is proposing to add one additional elective course, Digital Photography. The class will allow students to hone their photography and design skills and to master the digital darkroom/photo manipulation course Adobe Photoshop, compiling the resulting work into a digital portfolio.

Proposed new courses at Claremont High School include golf, Expository Writing, Senior Foundations (course designed to help students prepare for transition to any post-secondary setting) and 2 sessions of Approaches to Learning, a class intended to “promote and model reasonable and reflective thinking, personal development and the acquisition of practical skills.” The latter class is required for all students in CHS’ International Baccalaureate program and is open to all CHS students.

The staff at San Antonio High School is proposing a number of courses to garner student interest and prepare students for careers. These include classes in Office applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Publisher plus an array of Career Technical Education (CTE) courses. The proposed CTE courses cover topics like careers in the health and wellness industries, the food and beverage industries and the hospitality and tourism industries. Other classes San Antonio staff hopes will make the grade include Small Business Entrepreneurship; Careers in the Laboratory and Forensics: Using Science to Solve a Mystery.

The final school board meeting of the year is set for Thursday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m.

—Sarah Torribio


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