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Stories and photos from across Apple Valley Unified School District.


posted Jan 17, 2017, 2:24 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jan 17, 2017, 3:43 PM ]


Large group of students wearing hard hats at CERT training.

We are so proud of this group of students for taking initiative and practicing emergency preparedness! Over the weekend, students from Apple Valley High School, Granite Hills High School and the Academy for Academic Excellence attended Teen CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training with the Town of Apple Valley and the Apple Valley Fire Protection District. 



posted Jan 17, 2017, 8:00 AM by Kristin Hernandez

Granite Hills High School 2016-2017 Cheerleading Squad
The Granite Hills High School Competition Cheerleading Squad received first place at a divisional competition, held Jan. 14 at Elenor Roosevelt High School in Corona.  In addition to this honor, the squad also received a "Most Enthusiastic Team" trophy, and individual awards for tumbling, jumps, and stunting. 

"This has been an amazing start for us and we hope to keep bringing in the awards in our next eight scheduled competitions of the season," Coach Jennifer Hunt said. 

Congratulations, Cougars!


posted Jan 13, 2017, 2:08 PM by Kristin Hernandez

On Jan. 12, students at Phoenix Academy showcased their science fair projects and were interviewed by volunteer judges. An award ceremony was held later that evening to recognize the students for their hard work and to announce the projects that would advance to the district-wide science fair in March. Great job to all of the students who participated!

Two students explain their science fair project to a judge.

A row of science fair displays.


posted Jan 13, 2017, 8:12 AM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jan 13, 2017, 8:12 AM ]

The public is invited to review the proposed high school textbooks and supplemental curriculum in the areas of English Language Arts, mathematics, history, science, and foreign language.

These materials may be reviewed at the Apple Valley Unified School District Educational Support Center, Educational Services Department, located at 12555 Navajo Road, Apple Valley, on Monday, January 30, 2017 and Tuesday, January 31, 2017 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.


posted Jan 12, 2017, 3:07 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jan 12, 2017, 3:07 PM ]

Students listen to an instructor talk about aviation.
Photo: HDPA students participate in the after-school Aviation Career Academy.

High Desert Premier Academy will now offer after school programming, thanks to a partnership with Millionaire Mind Kids. The program will take place Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 3-5 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 1:30-3:30 p.m.  

The after school program will consist of a series of extracurricular and enrichment courses. The first series in the program, an Aviation Career Academy, launched on Jan. 9. Additional planned programs for 2017 include Leadership Academy, Entrepreneurial Boot Camp and Robotics. All programs are contingent upon enrollment numbers. High school students will also have the opportunity to receive community service credits through completion of these programs. 

The program is the result of the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). “We are making strides towards increasing student achievement, increasing attendance and enrollment,” Delores Williams, President and CEO of Millionaire Mind Kids, said.


posted Jan 12, 2017, 10:18 AM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jan 12, 2017, 10:19 AM ]

Abbie Searls provides input on how students are connected to school.
Photo: (Top Center) A Desert Knolls Elementary student provides input on how students are connected to school. (Left) Pat Schlosser, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, leads a discussion on classroom engagement. (Bottom Right) A student jots down his thoughts on classroom engagement. 

Pat Schlosser, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, leads a discussion on classroom engagement. Student representatives from each of Apple Valley Unified School District’s schools assembled at the Educational Support Center this week for the first meeting of the Superintendent’s Advisory Council. The council spent the morning with Superintendent Tom Hoegerman and the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Pat Schlosser, to give input on a broad variety of topics including:

  • Classroom Engagement

  • Technology in the Classroom

  • School Climate

  • Career Exploration

    A student jots down his thoughts on classroom engagement.

“We intend for this powerful group of students to be an important voice in the school district in the months to come,” Schlosser said.

The students were each selected by their respective school principal and will continue to meet periodically throughout the year to share and discuss ideas, potential problems, and possible solutions.

Mariana Academy AVID Program hosts 12 Japanese exchange students

posted Jan 6, 2017, 3:26 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jan 6, 2017, 3:26 PM ]

Japanese exchange students performing a traditional dance. A Japanese exchange student writes an American name in Japanese calligraphy.

Photos: (Left) Visiting students perform a traditional dance. (Right) An exchange student writes an Apple Valley student's name in Japanese calligraphy. 
On Friday, Jan. 6, Mariana Academy hosted 12 Japanese foreign exchange students for the day. The students spent the day “shadowing” Mariana’s seventh and eighth grade AVID students. They ended the day by sharing traditional song and dance, and teaching Mariana students Japanese calligraphy.


"The Japanese students will get the opportunity to experience an American school and our students will get a brief experience in their culture,” Kristin Dupree, Principal at Mariana Academy, said.  “We are hoping that this gives our AVID students a connection to the world beyond the high desert and broadens their awareness of cultural differences and similarities."

The visiting students were selected for the study abroad trip through their school and will spend the week participating in ESL courses and experiencing local culture and tourism.

Registration Open for Winter 2017 Love and Logic Class

posted Jan 3, 2017, 11:01 AM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jan 3, 2017, 11:03 AM ]

Love and Logic logo- heart
Registration is now open for the Winter 2017 session of “Parenting the Love and Logic Way”, a practical and entertaining six-week parenting class designed by the Love and Logic Institute. The course will be facilitated by AVUSD teachers Grover Swick, Kate Swick and Derek Castellanos.

Parents will learn practical approaches to:

·      Avoid un-winnable power-struggles and arguments

·      Stay calm when your kids do incredibly upsetting things

·      Set enforceable limits

·      Avoid enabling and begin empowering

·      Help your kids learn from mistakes rather than repeating them

·      Raise kids who are family members rather than dictators

·      And much more! 

The class will meet on Thursdays from 6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m. at the Paul Swick Family Center at Yucca Loma Elementary School on the following dates: Jan. 12, Jan. 19, Jan. 26, Feb. 2, Feb. 9 and Feb. 16.

The class is free, but there is a one-time workbook fee of $10.  Free childcare is available for students in grades K-8. 

Visit to register. For questions, contact Valerie Smith at 760-240-5606 or 

Office of Traffic Safety partners with Granite Hills High School, Friday night Live Youth to reduce underage drinking

posted Dec 15, 2016, 2:31 PM by Kristin Hernandez

Granite Hills Cougar Logo
On Dec. 15, Granite Hills High School announced that they were selected as recipients of a $2500 grant to support the implementation of underage drinking prevention projects. The grant will fund the GHHS Peer Helpers as they address this important public safety issue in the community. The grant funds are provided through the California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP), with financial support from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), which is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This year, the CFNLP will provide these funds to 34 sites in 25 counties throughout the state.


According to a report on underage drinking by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, on average, alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 4,358 young people under age 21 each year. Studies also show that young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times as likely to develop alcoholism later in their life. Another CDC study reveals that, in 2010 the estimated national economic cost of excessive underage drinking was $24 billion.


“This grant will help us educate everyone. We do not want to lose any students, staff or community members to substance abuse,” Daisy Vargas, GHHS Peer Leader Advisor, said.


These mini-grants will provide an opportunity for Friday Night Live (FNL) youth to partner with local law enforcement, parents and community members to implement two significant youth-led prevention campaigns and two specific activities to reach parent populations. These projects aim to reduce underage drinking through education, outreach, and environmental prevention strategies. Granite Hills will implement a “Safe and Sober” campaign, in which Peer Helpers will promote the importance of being sober to prevent underage drinking during the holidays, spring break, prom and graduation


“Youth respond to other youth much better than adult driven and delivered messages,” says Dr. Jim Kooler, CFNLP Administrator. “And by supporting them with the skills and opportunities to make positive changes in their communities, we will see results that matter.”


Back in October, GHHS students participated in “Roadwatch”, an annual observational survey administered by the CFNLP. For one hour, students observed 190 incidents of distracted driving near their campus, ranging from talking and texting on cell phones to eating and personal grooming. The group was one of over 115 California sites that observed a total of 12,852 distracted driving behaviors on that day.


“Distractions are still present among our local drivers. After our observation (earlier this year) we know where to start as we drew attention to the issue of distracted driving”,  Kenny Biggs, GHHS senior, said.


Granite Hills High School’s Friday Night Live Chapter is part of the San Bernardino County Friday Night Live Partnership, a program of the San Bernardino County, Dept. of Public Health. Friday Night Live builds partnerships for positive and healthy youth development, which engage youth as active leaders and resources in their community. For more information on Granite Hills’ Peer Helpers or FNL programs, contact Daisy Vargas at 760 961-2290 x2222 or For more information about the San Bernardino County FNL Partnership contact Bernadette Beltran at 909 387-4823,  or


Teams compete at Silverado's Sweet Genius Bakery Competition

posted Dec 8, 2016, 3:03 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Dec 8, 2016, 3:50 PM ]

On Dec. 8, students from Apple Valley High School and Granite Hills High School competed in Silverado High School’s five-school Sweet Genius Bakery Competition. Granite Hills High School's team of four students were awarded 2nd Place! Congratulations to both teams on a (delicious) job well done! 

Andrew Mora chops chocolate into chunks.
Andrew Mora chops a chocolate bar into chunks for Granite Hills High School's entry. 

Chocolate Chunks
Chocolate chunks for Granite Hills High School's entry. 

Taylor Blaty and Julia Schroeder make cookies.
Taylor Blaty and Julia Schroeder roll out dough for Apple Valley High School's entry. 

Nicholas Griffith cooking.
Nicholas Griffith stirs a homemade chocolate sauce. 

Competition trophy, created by Apple Valley High School students. 

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