William S. Hart Union High School District

Santa Clarita, CA

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March 12, 2014 Vol. XIV, No. 11

March 14th, 2014

Talented Students Perform at 33rd Annual Honor Band Concert
Junior high and high school students from throughout the Hart School District and Castaic Middle School showcased their amazing musical talents at the Hart School District Honor Band Concert earlier this month. More than 175 students performed to a full house of parents and community supporters in the 800-seat Hart High School Auditorium. This program saw more than 700 highly talented students audition for one of the 86 junior high positions and 92 high school positions. Students had the unique opportunity to perform under the direction of guest conductors, who are highly regarded in their field. Both bands performed difficult musical pieces with precision, maturity and grace. The guest conductors this year were Dr. Eric Hammer from University of the Pacific in Stockton, directing the high school honor band, and Angela Woo, director of instrumental music at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, directing the junior high school honor band. Performing arts are an integral program in the District. Schools offer students the opportunity to try their hand at a variety of classes, including theater arts, choir, music appreciation, marching band, drum line, jazz band, orchestra, dance, color guard, cheerleading and more. The Honor Band program is designed to provide a challenging and exciting concert band experience for students. This year, Rancho Pico Junior High 8th grade student Jennifer No, principal chair flute for two years, received the District Junior High Honor Band award. No received a $300 gift card from Nick Rail Music. West Ranch High School senior Gwang Kim, principal trombone, was awarded the prestigious Robert K. Downs Memorial Music Scholarship Award for $500. G. Kim has also participated in the California All-State Honor Band. Two students were awarded $300 scholarships to continue their music studies, Eugene Kim, Valencia High School and Alice Kim, West Ranch High School.  Graduating seniors received participation awards for four to six years as Honor Band participants, including: Greg Weiland, 4 years; Alexa Huffman, 4 years and Dena Giovinazzo, 6 years from Hart High School; Eugene Kim, 6 years from Valencia High School; Spencer Pierson, 4 years; Dean Risse, 4 years; Alice Kim, 4 years;  Kristina Dorough, 6 years; Issac Nam, 5 years; Amy Kotzman, 6 years and Gwang Kim, 5 years from West Ranch High School and Jonathan Veurink, 5 years from Saugus High School. (Photos: top, high school honor band, center, along with guest conductor; bottom, junior high school honor band.)

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Bowman Earns California Model Continuation School Award
Bowman High School has been selected as a Model Continuation School for 2014 by the California Department of Education. The award is for a three-year term, adding to the streak of consecutively earning this status every term for the past 14 years. The process to become a Model Continuation School involves a comprehensive written application, which includes over 60 quality indicators, including student achievement data, graduation rates,  and supporting statements from staff, students, parents, community members, and business stakeholders. After a rigorous screening of Bowman’s application by a panel of experts, a validation site visit by a trained, Model Continuation School Visiting Team occurred. State superintendent Tom Torlakson said, “the innovative programs at your school demonstrate an enduring commitment to provide young people with the educational options and support services they need to successfully complete high school, transition to higher education and enter the workforce. “We are extremely proud of our teachers and students who worked hard for this achievement,” Bowman principal Robin Geissler said. “Bowman is one of only 25 schools of 479 continuation high schools to receive this designation.”

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Superintendent Challinor Recognized by the City
Rob Challinor, Superintendent of the Hart School District was recognized at a City Council meeting last month for his service to the community and partnering with the City of Santa Clarita to launch the Heroin Kills campaign and Drug Free Youth in Town (DFYIT) program. The DFYIT program, along with the Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Reduction and Education (CADRE) program are a community effort, and include the support and involvement of the SCV Sheriff’s Department. Some of the components to the program to prevent drug use are voluntary random drug testing, counseling and assessment for treatment, referral and a three-day intensive intervention program for first time offenders of alcohol and drug related incidents. DFYIT was launched in 2012 throughout the Hart School District junior high and high schools, with a staff advisor at each site. The program is run by kids for kids, and it promotes a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. What makes DFYIT unique is the fact that there is limited adult involvement. The idea is that students will band together with other students and together they will give each other reasons to stay drug free. High school students in the DFYIT clubs are now taking their message of a drug and alcohol free lifestyle on the road to feeder elementary schools, giving the program ongoing strength and building momentum. “If the program prevents any child from taking a wrong turn toward a life of drugs, it is a program that makes sense for students and parents and will continue to be supported by the District,” Challinor said. The Hart School District received a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association in the student services category for these programs in fall 2013. (Photo left to right: Councilman Frank Ferry, Councilman Bob Kellar, Superintendent Challinor, Mayor Laurene Weste, Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean.)

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Students SOAR to New Heights at LA Marathon XXIX
Nineteen Hart School District students successfully completed the 29th running of the Los Angeles Marathon amidst an international field of more than 25,000 participants. Sponsored by Students Off And Running (SOAR), a division of the Santa Clarita Track Club, this program dedicates itself to offering SCV youth the opportunity to participate in a fully supported, 24-week, 380 mile marathon training program while challenging themselves to accomplish something truly extraordinary in a non-competitive arena. Head coach and program director Kevin Sarkissian shared his thoughts just after safely bringing in his last student runner Sunday, “We couldn’t be more proud of the level of determination our students showed today,” Sarkissian said. “Just committing to the SOAR program is tough enough considering all these kids have going on at home and in school. Couple that with a long, tough training season, and you really get an understanding why today gives collective testament to their inner strength. It’s not often that you see the average teenager getting out of bed at 2 am to run 26.2 miles, it just doesn’t happen.” Less than 1% of Americans ever complete a full marathon. SOAR is not about recruiting seasoned high school athletes; the program looks for any youth with heart, who are willing to commit to a truly life changing experience. Now celebrating its seventh year of success, the results continue to impress with the program reporting an astounding 100% marathon completion rate for all SOAR participants since the program began in 2007. In addition, parents, teachers, and students report better focus in school, increased positive social interaction, and dramatic improvement in overall physical health. For more information on supporting or participating in the program visit www.soar-sc.org or contact Kevin Sarkissian at 661-877-7024 for more information.

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Contact for more information: Gail Pinsker, Public Relations Officer,
gpinsker@hartdistrict.org, 661.259.0033 x 227
William S. Hart Union School District website: www.hartdistrict.org