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Stories and photos from across Apple Valley Unified School District.


posted Apr 20, 2017, 2:12 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Apr 20, 2017, 2:20 PM ]

Three parent volunteers with the Cougar mascot and Principal McCall.

Families in the library, at the day of the child event. Some are hula hooping, some are reading, and some are playing games.
Photos: Top- The GHHS Cougar, Principal Chuck McCall, and GHHS Family Center volunteers prepare to greet families at the Day of the Child event. Left- Families experience multiple cultures at the first annual Day of the Child Event. Right-Students proudly display their new books, alongside the GHHS Cougar mascot. 

The Granite Hills High School Regional Family Center hosted their first annual Day of the Child event this week, celebrating literacy, language, and culture around the world. The event took place on April 19 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and was attended by students and parents from various schools within Apple Valley Unified School District.

The Family Center teamed up with the school’s Cougar Tutors, SCADA program, History Department, Foreign Languages, Black Student Union, and Valew Quality Trucking Bodies to transform the Granite Hills Library into Two students holding their new books, with the Cougar mascot. multiple international cities, in which visitors had the opportunity to experience literature and culture from around the world. Books were donated by a variety of organizations and each highlighted a variety of cultures and languages.

Each student in attendance was placed into a drawing to receive a bicycle, donated by Dr. Sheila Cherian. A second grade student from Vanguard Preparatory School was the lucky winner. 

Zayra Hall, Family Center Director at Granite Hills High School, said that the positive response from families was incredible and she hopes to bring the event back to the campus next year. For more information about the Granite Hills Day of the Child or the GHHS Regional Family Center, contact 760-961-2290 ext. 2409.

Thank you to all of the students, staff, parent volunteers, and community partners who worked so hard to make this event a success!


posted Apr 18, 2017, 8:28 AM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Apr 18, 2017, 8:35 AM ]

California Honor Roll Logo: "2016 California Honor Roll School"

Apple Valley Unified School District received word on Monday that Apple Valley High School and Rio Vista School of Applied Learning had been selected by Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE)  as two of 1,866 public schools in California to receive the title of 2016 Honor Roll school.

The Honor Roll is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and highlight successful practices that improve outcomes for students. Schools receiving this distinction from leaders in the California academic and business communities have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time and reduction in achievement gaps among student populations. For High Schools, the Honor Roll recognition also includes measures of college readiness. The Honor Roll is comprised of two different awards, the “Star Schools” Award and “Scholar Schools” Award. Star Schools, such as AVHS and Rio Vista, are those with significant populations of socio-economically disadvantaged students that have shown a significant increase in grade-level proficiency over time. Scholar Schools are schools that are showing significant levels of academic achievement, but do not have a significant socio-economically disadvantaged student population.

 “We are so proud to be recognized by leaders in the California business community as an Honor Roll school,” said Kristin Hernandez, AVUSD Public Information Officer. “Our teachers and administrators work tirelessly to keep the focus on high expectations and student academic achievement and to continuously improve our practices. This hard work and dedication is paying off for all of our students, no matter their background.”

“We are proud to recognize those schools and school districts who are succeeding in putting their students on a path of productivity that not only leads to success in the classroom, but also prepares them to contribute to and benefit from a more productive economy,” said Greg Jones, ERP and CBEE Board Chairman. “Leadership from both education and the business community is critical to linking success from one system to the next, and ensuring that students have the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve a college degree and the financial security of a living wage job.”

 “The Honor Roll proves that many schools are doing well, even those with high numbers of historically disadvantaged students,” said Jim Lanich, ERP President and CEO.  “These schools are clearly doing something right and all schools, no matter what zip code they are in, can achieve this kind of success. School and school district leadership have a great opportunity to find out what’s working at these Honor Roll schools and replicate it.”

The California Honor Roll program is made possible with generous support from numerous businesses and organizations including Automobile Club of Southern California, Macy’s, Wells Fargo, Enterprise Holdings Foundation, and several private foundations. Chevron Corporation provides support for the STEM Honor Roll.

A full list of the Honor Roll schools, districts, and the STEM awardees can be found at or follow Jim Lanich, President and CEO at @JLanich or email


posted Apr 17, 2017, 1:54 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Apr 17, 2017, 2:00 PM ]

Two high school students look through a microscope.
Photo: Top Left-Two Apple Valley High School students show off their skills in Forensics at the third annual High Desert Regional Science Olympiad. Bottom Right- Five schools gather for this year's Regional Science Olympiad. Photos courtesy of AVHS. 

Apple Valley High School hosted the third annual High Desert Regional Science Olympiad on Saturday, April 8. Teams from five local schools, including Apple Valley High School, Sultana High School, Academy for Academic Excellence, University Preparatory High School, and Hesperia High School competed in 11 STEM-aligned events, including bridge construction, bottle rocket construction, air trajectories, Chemistry Lab, Disease Detective, a science quiz bowl and a forensic lab.

“I enjoyed my experience.  I was able to apply Science concepts I learned in the classroom,” AVHS student Stephanie said.

Raymond Stavers, AVHS science teacher and High Desert Regional Coordinator, brought the event to the region in 2015. Stavers said AVHS is the unofficial regional host for the High Desert and that the school will need to show growth over the next two years to become an official regional Science Olympiad location. Since its start, the event has grown from three high schools with a total of 15 competingstudents to five high schools with a total of 36 students.

Group photo of the 36 students and their coaches who participated in the 2017 Science Olympiad.

Student projects were each given a gold, silver or bronze award, as decided by a panel of faculty members. Sultana High School took 

home this year’s highest prize with a total of 101 points. Apple Valley took second place with 87 points and University Preparatory took third place with 61 points.

 “I am looking forward to working with the five schools again next year and invite any other schools to join the High Desert Science Olympiad Family,” Stavers said.  “The students are the future of this nation and the Science Olympiad will help foster the brightest and the best of our future Scientists and Engineers.”  

Stavers invites any interested schools or sponsors to contact him at  

Mobile Library comes to Phoenix Academy

posted Apr 13, 2017, 1:01 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Apr 13, 2017, 1:03 PM ]

Robert Lovingood gives "high-fives" to students at Phoenix Academy.
Photos: Top- Supervisor Robert Lovingood gives "high fives" to students at Phoenix Academy. Right- A representative from the San Bernardino County Library reads "Giraffes Can't Dance" to students. Left- Wacko the Magician impresses the crowd with an optical illusion. 

This week, students at Phoenix Academy had the exciting opportunity to experience a mobile library and meet with First District Board of Supervisors Robert Lovingood

Earlier this year, Violet Carter's first grade class wrote letters to Lovingood's office asking when the Apple Valley Library would reopen. The local library temporarily closed two years ago, due to roof damage caused by harsh winds. Prior to the closure, classes from Phoenix Academy would occasionally take "walking field trips" to the nearby library. The letters caught the attention of Lovingood and the County Library system and sparked an idea to bring a mobile library experience to the school. A County Library staff member reads a story to students at Phoenix Academy. This is the first time that the San Bernardino County Library has brought a mobile library to a school and they are hopeful that this may be the first of many similar experiences at more schools. 

The two-day Library Festival kicked off on Tuesday, April 11, with a mobile library organized by the San Bernardino County Library. Classes rotated through the library, at which students had the opportunity to check out books and hear a story read by county library staff. The school's second grade students received a special surprise 
Wacko the Magician makes a funny face.
when Mr.Lovingood arrived to say hello. Following his visit to the Mobile Library, Lovingood and Principal Mariana Torres visited the first grade class that had written the letters to Lovingood's office. The second day of the Library Festival included a "Magic Show" by Wacko the Magician. 

Phoenix Academy and Apple Valley Unified School District would like to extend a huge thank you to Supervisor Lovingood's Office and to the San Bernardino County Library for organizing such an exciting and impactful day for our students!


posted Apr 6, 2017, 3:19 PM by Kristin Hernandez

After school directors take a photo while touring Phoenix Academy's ASES program.
After school representatives join Phoenix Academy Principal Mariana Torres and Site Coordinators Stephanie White and Natalie Ratliff for a tour of the Phoenix Academy A.S.E.S. Program.  

On April 5, Apple Valley Unified School District hosted the San Bernardino County After School Director's Meeting.  The meeting was attended by directors and representatives from several school districts in San Bernardino County, as well as the California Department of Education, and was facilitated by John Duran, County Lead for After School Programs at the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Office. Following the meeting, participants joined Phoenix Academy Principal Mariana Torres and Site Coordinators Stephanie White and Natalie Ratliff for a tour of the Phoenix Academy A.S.E.S. Program.  

What a great day of collaboration and celebration with representatives from after school programs across our county! 


posted Apr 6, 2017, 9:52 AM by Kristin Hernandez

Three students receive their science fair awards.

Photo: Sweepstake Awardees Kavish Loomba, Sierra Franco, and Kimy Alexi Buere with their awards. Courtesy of San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

SAN BERNARDINO – Six Apple Valley Unified School District students received gold medals following the 35th annual Inland Science and Engineering Fair on April 4-5 for the three-county region. The students were among 39 students from San Bernardino County who were selected out of 375 projects from approximately 450 students in San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono (SIM) counties that competed at the event. 

Individual and group projects were judged in 22 categories of science - from microbiology to zoology, math and physics to electronics, and consumer sciences to earth sciences

The gold-medal recipients in the Junior and Senior Divisions advance to California State Science Fair, which will be held in Los Angeles in May. There were three divisions of competition in the event at the National Orange Show Events Center: Elementary (fourth- and fifth-graders), Junior (sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders) and Senior (ninth- through 12th-graders). All of AVUSD's gold recipients are eligible to advance to the state-wide competition. 

Apple Valley Unified's 2017 San Bernardino County Gold Medalists

Fatimah Bari

Kimy Alexi Buere

Sierra Franco

Kavish Loomba

Gabriel Reder

Varun Salwan

Sweepstakes Awards

Nine San Bernardino County students won Sweepstakes Awards for the outstanding project in their respective divisions. Apple Valley Unified School District had three winners:  Kimy Alexi Buere, Sierra Franco and Kavish Loomba.

The regional fair is sponsored by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Inyo County Office of Education, Mono County Superintendent of Schools and Professional Engineers of California Government.


posted Apr 5, 2017, 3:40 PM by Kristin Hernandez

Three students standing in front of a display of paper cranes.
Photo: Rancho Verde's Read 180 Readers of the Month show off a wall of paper cranes, each symbolizing books their classmates have read. 

Rancho Verde Elementary School's Read 180 room is filled with nearly 1000 paper cranes, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the program's fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students. 

Earlier this year, teacher Christie Beal read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes to the students in her Read 180 class. The story is about a young Japanese girl who acquires leukemia during a time of war, and places an emphasis on cranes as a symbol of hope. Beal put a plan in place to give her students hope as they continued to improve their reading skills. For every book a student read, they had the opportunity to make a paper crane with their name and the name of the book they read, and hang it in the classroom. The class is nearing 1000 cranes and is expected to reach their goal soon. 

Great job, Rancho Verde Readers!

Registration Open for Spring 2017 Love and Logic Class

posted Apr 3, 2017, 3:51 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Apr 4, 2017, 9:10 AM ]

Love and Logic Logo
Registration is now open for the Spring 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: April 6, April 13, April 20, April 27, May 4, and May 11

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

Registration forms are attached. You can also register online. For questions, contact Valerie Smith at 760-240-5606 or 


posted Mar 23, 2017, 12:29 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Mar 23, 2017, 12:42 PM ]

4 girls in front of a March of Dimes banner
Students walk together at Desert Knolls' March for Babies event.

Photos: Top and Left-Students at Desert Knolls show their support for March of Dimes by participating in their own March for Babies event. Right: The AVUSD Educational Support Center celebrates Purple for Preemies Day on March 22. 

Students and staff across Apple Valley Unified School District are wearing Purple for Preemies and showing their support for the March of Dimes.

“March of Dimes works hard to combat premature birth and birth defects, and is a fantastic partner in our efforts to support all students from cradle to career,” Kristin Hernandez, AVUSD Public Information Officer, said. “We recognize that these babies are our future students, future leaders, and the future of our community, and we want to give all moms and babies a healthy start.”

The fundraising efforts all lead up to the annual March for Babies-High Desert, which will take place on April 22 at Victor Valley College. Schools will be showing their support by wearing purple and participating in their own March for Babies events, which will emulate the larger event for the public. Students who donate any amount will be able to write their name on a pledge card, which will be posted on campus.

"Our K-8 schools all participate in Character Counts and one of the Six Pillars of Character is Citizenship--which also happens to be the purple pillar," Hernandez said. "These events are a perfect way to put this pillar into practice."

District Office staff wearing purple for premature babies. Group photo.

Desert Knolls Elementary School kicked off the district's series of March for Babies student events on March 23 and raised $1446 for the cause. Mariana Academy, Phoenix Academy, Rancho Verde Elementary, Rio Vista School of Applied Learning, Sandia Academy, Sitting Bull Academy, Sycamore Rocks Elementary, Vanguard Preparatory, and Yucca Loma Elementary will all follow with their own fundraising walks on March 24. Apple Valley High School, Granite Hills High School, and High Desert Premier Academy are also joining the cause by selling March of Dimes bracelets and hosting their own awareness campaigns.

Staff and family members from each of the district’s schools and administrative offices will also be participating in the annual March for Babies event this April. This year's Ambassador Family is the Hernandez Family, and our district's own Kristin Hernandez, AVUSD Public Information Officer. Hernandez has been asked to share about her son, Ethan, at the event, in hopes of raising awareness about premature birth and infant loss.

March of Dimes is a national nonprofit organization that focuses on the prevention of premature birth and infant mortality. For more information, visit or


posted Mar 22, 2017, 3:34 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Mar 22, 2017, 3:36 PM ]

The cast of Sycamore Rocks' The Lion King sing "Hakuna Matata"

Top: The cast of Sycamore Rocks Elementary's The Lion King KIDS sing "Hakuna Matata". Right: A scene from the finale of Sycamore Rocks' The Lion King KIDS.

The cast of Sycamore Rocks' The Lion King KIDS.
Sycamore Rocks Elementary School is bringing the Lion King to life! 

On March 23 and 24, the school's 4th, 5th, and 6th grade performing arts group will perform The Lion King KIDS, based on the beloved Broadway production. The performance is complete with colorful costumes, vibrant sets, familiar musical numbers, and incredible choreography. The musical is directed by Head Director Barbara Woods, Co-Director Lori Mearig, and Assistant Directors Sherri Phillips, Holly Blagg, Marissa Moses, and Jessica Ward, with choreography by Amanda Rubio.

Students and teachers had the opportunity to have an early look at the stunning performance during the school day on March 20 and 21. 

For ticket sales and more information, contact 760-240-3332.

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