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Check out the latest Buena Park School District news here!

Buena Park School District’s Youngest Students Build Academic Foundations at Corey Preschool
Raymond Mendoza

At Corey Elementary School, students as young as two years old are building social skills, learning to read, expanding their language skills and readying themselves for academic success thanks to a revamped preschool program.

Buena Park School District’s preschool program, including the program at Corey School, was recently expanded for the start of the 2022-23 school year to offer part- and full-day options, parent participation opportunities and accommodations for younger students.

Corey School Instructional Assistant Karina Castaneda and the rest of the preschool staff strive to offer a nurturing environment for students and their parents. Castaneda said one of the biggest components of preschool is when students connect with each other and learn about social-emotional growth.

“What I’ve seen in the first few weeks of school is that students really like connecting with each other and teachers,” Castaneda said. “It’s good to have students start school at such a young age because preschool is all about socializing and getting familiar with a school environment.”

Castaneda said the preschool program is also boosting communication rates in English Language (EL) learners since several instructors across the District speak Spanish, Korean and Tagalog. She said having the ability to speak a student’s first language creates a stronger bond between student and teacher and helps students understand academic concepts earlier.

“Connecting with our youngest learners, ages two to five, in their primary language is very important as their preschool experience may be their first structured learning experience in English,” Administrator of Early and Expanded Learning Mary Beckelheimer, who coordinates the District’s entire preschool program, said. “We consider fluency in a language other than English a true superpower in our society and we value staff who are dual and multilingual speakers.”

Corey School Principal LaRonda Ortega said the District’s preschool program was purposely built to address the needs of the community in terms of assisting with EL learners, social-emotional learning and extended care hours for working parents.

“Corey School’s preschool program is a bright example of the strong academic foundations that we’re building for our youngest students at Buena Park School District,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “Our District’s preschool program is full of thoughtful, caring instructors and we’re glad to have expanded the program to be nurturing even more students.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

PRESCHOOL1: Corey Elementary School student Ivanya B. learns social-emotional skills playing house with some of her fellow students during her school’s preschool program.

PRESCHOOL2: Corey Elementary School student Raymond O. is expanding his communication, reading and social skills and making new friends during his school’s new expanded preschool program.

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Buena Park School District Partners with City, Library, Police to Boost Literacy Rates
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District has teamed up with several local entities to boost focus on literacy through the “Leaders are Readers” campaign, which aims to showcase how reading can allow children to reach great heights.

Buena Park School District Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes met with leaders from the City of Buena Park, the Buena Park Library District, the Buena Park Police Department and Centralia Elementary School District on Aug. 9 to discuss what literacy meant to them.

“I want everyone in our community to know the wonderful opportunities that the Buena Park Library has available for anyone with a library card,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “Reading can take you to entirely new worlds, shape your creative mind and build the very foundations of your future. Reading is a fundamental cornerstone of all our lives.”

Buena Park Library District Director Helen Medina said the library is more than just books – it’s a place where the community can safely gather for fun activities, where teens can hang out and people of all ages can access tools and information to improve their lives. The library also loans out items like ukuleles, mobile hotspots, tablets and offers passes to California State Parks.

“Literacy has the power to open doors that would be unavailable otherwise,” Medina said. “In addition to providing career and education opportunities, reading for recreation can be enjoyable and exciting. It is important to foster a love of reading at a young age to encourage life-long learning.”

Buena Park Police Department Interim Chief of Police Frank Nunes said that being the child of immigrant parents who emphasized that literacy had a major effect on his life and career since it instilled a lifelong thirst for knowledge in him that drives him to this day.

Buena Park City Manager Aaron France said literacy promotes lifelong learning, making readers more aware of their local government and inspiring them to be more active participants in their communities.

“The Leaders are Readers campaign is an effort to demonstrate a passion for reading and the wonderful things that come as a result of reading,” said Norma Martinez, Centralia Elementary School District Superintendent. “Through reading, we can feed our thirst for knowledge. We can travel in our imaginations and can learn so many wonderful things.”

The Buena Park Library District is currently undergoing major renovations – including new heating, ventilation, air conditioning and plumbing systems. Guests will be able to enjoy the updates when the library opens on Sept. 12, 2022.

To sign up for a library card and start enjoying the facilities, programs and events: click here.

PHOTO CAPTION:

LIBRARY1: (Right to left) Buena Park City Manager Aaron France, Buena Park Police Department Interim Chief of Police Frank Nunes, Buena Park School District Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes, Centralia Elementary School District Superintendent Norma Martinez and Buena Park Library District Director Helen Medina outside of the Buena Park Library. These five are spearheading the Leaders are Readers campaign, bringing awareness to the positive effects of literacy.

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  • Buena Park Middle School
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Buena Park School District Welcomes New Assistant Principals to Middle Schools
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District has hired two new assistant principals for the 2022-23 school year, with Jaime Carbajal joining Gordon H. Beatty Middle School and Leticia Rojas leading Buena Park Middle School.

Rojas is a 10-year veteran in education, having worked as a visual arts teacher, a teacher on special assignment and career technical education pathway specialist. She said she is focused on being a positive influence in the community and supporting Principal Shin Park boost school events, support teachers and encourage student growth.

“The possibility of growth inspires me every day,” Rojas said. “Every day is a fresh start. Every school year we have the possibility to reflect, plan and grow as an organization for the constant improvement of our schools and success of students.”

Assistant Principal Rojas has a Bachelor of Arts in art education, a single subject credential in art and a master’s in educational administration (administrative credential), all from California State University, Long Beach.

Carbajal, who is starting his 16th year in education at Beatty Middle School, has worked as a student teacher, substitute teacher, history teacher and an assistant principal. Carbajal said the middle school years are the most pivotal time in development for students – noting that it is during this time when students form their personalities, passions and career interests.

“My main goals are to get to know the community and build the partnerships that will allow me to better serve its students,” Carbajal said. “I would like to expand on the existing services and opportunities that this school offers and work collaboratively to ensure that all students get what they need to be academically and socially successful.”

Assistant Principal Carbajal has a Bachelor of Arts in history and a teaching credential from the University of California, Irvine and an administrative credential from the Green Dot Administrator Induction Program.

“We are truly lucky to have both Jaime Carbajal and Leticia Rojas as assistant principals at both of our middle schools,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “They will be fantastic support to our amazing principals, teachers and administrators and I believe they will also become strong mentors to our students across both campuses.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

CARBAJAL: Gordon H. Beatty Middle School Assistant Principal Jaime Carbajal believes the middle school years are the most pivotal for student development.

ROJAS: Buena Park Middle School Assistant Principal Leticia Rojas vows to be a positive influence to her school’s community, providing encouragement to staff members and students.

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  • Buena Park Middle School
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Buena Park School District Celebrates First Day of 2022-23 School Year
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District’s eight campuses were alive with energy as students were welcomed back by new and returning teachers and administrators during first day of school celebrations on Aug. 16.

The District welcomed more than 4,200 students across its schools, each populated with colorful hand-made posters, welcoming them to yet another amazing school year.

At Whitaker School, parent Dave B. said he is excited to see his two sons grow not only academically, but also socially – building important people skills through interacting with new people and making friends. He said both of his sons are eager to learn more about math as well as play outside and get some exercise in the fresh air.

“I’m looking forward to having an expanded community – we have more than 620 students here at Whitaker School,” Principal Stephanie Williamson said. “We’re excited about our updated parking lot for better traffic flow and soon we’ll be breaking ground on a new playground set, solar panels and a new preschool.”

Meanwhile at Gordon H. Beatty Middle School, some 610 students were greeted by new Principal Joaquin Valdez and new Assistant Principal Jaime Carbajal. Principal Valdez said he looks forward to seeing students build the foundations for engagement with each other and their teachers, as well as integrating himself into the community.

“I’m happy and excited for my son to be back in school,” said Gina H., mother of eighth-grader Nathan H. “I’m happy because he’s back with his friends and learning and he just loves the robotics lab here at Gordon H. Beatty Middle School. Also, I met the new principal and assistant principal and they are both nice and welcoming.”

Gilbert Elementary School Principal Leslie Chavez, who welcomed some 520 Gilbert Grizzlies onto campus this year, said her students came energized and ready to learn.

“The start of the school year is always my favorite time of year because it’s when everyone has the most energy and I can feel the positivity in the air at all of our schools,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “We will continue to teach not only strong core academics, but also career and technical education skills that can be used in college and the workforce through our District’s Pathway Program.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

FIRSTDAY1: Third grade teacher Heather Robson shakes the hand of transitional kindergartener Jackson J., welcoming him to Whitaker Elementary School, the Buena Park School District and the start of the new school year.

FIRSTDAY2: (Right to left) Gordon H. Beatty Middle School eighth-graders Destiney A., Lauren G. and Rian B. celebrate the start of the first day of the 2022-23 school year.

FIRSTDAY3: Gilbert Elementary School fifth-grader Karen P. dashes up a new rope climbing activity on her school’s new playground equipment, newly furnished for the 2022-23 school year.

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New Gordon H. Beatty Middle School Principal to Focus on Aspirations, Personal Growth
Raymond Mendoza

Gordon H. Beatty Middle School’s new principal, Joaquin Valdez, lives to inspire his students – helping them turn turmoil into positivity and prepare themselves for college.

“Adversity is something that many of us experience and the ability to see the brighter side of things or the opportunity to see the glass as half full allows us to keep moving forward,” Valdez said. “The ability to trust that things will get better no matter how hard or difficult of a situation you are experiencing is what keeps me moving forward.”

Principal Valdez started his 17-year educational career as a counselor, encouraging students to think about their futures and careers. He has served as an academic counselor and a California High School Exit Exam counselor before becoming an assistant principal.

Valdez said what drew him to Buena Park School District is how its unique Pathway Programs are teaching students about robotics, multimedia, visual and performing arts, engineering and more to prepare them for college.

Beyond boosting academics, Valdez will focus on social-emotional learning to find new ways to mitigate student stress, while also building new relationships through positive behavioral interventions and support.

Principal Valdez has a Bachelor of Science in human services in mental health from California State University, Fullerton with a second major in Chicano studies, an administrative credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills, a master’s degree in counseling (school counseling and pupil personnel services credential) from California State University, Long Beach and a doctorate in educational leadership in higher education from USC. 

“Principal Valdez is an amazing educator and I know his supportive and encouraging background is going to fit right in at Beatty Middle School,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “I know our community is going to respond well to his personable style and formidable leadership skills.”

PHOTO CAPTION:

VALDEZ1: Gordon H. Beatty Middle School’s new principal, Joaquin Valdez.
 

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Buena Park School District Welcomes New Emery School Principal
Raymond Mendoza

Longtime educator Jeselle Mata has been selected as Charles G. Emery Elementary School's new principal, bringing 17 years of educational experience to the role and eagerness to build connections and foster a culture of success for all students.

Principal Mata has taught various grade levels including in public and private schools for South Whittier School District, Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Mata said her daily inspiration lies in providing a brighter future for young students.

“What excites me about Buena Park School District is the commitment to students,” Mata said. “The District is centered on educating the whole child and supporting students in discovering their strengths as future leaders.”

Principal Mata is trained in a variety of areas including Advancement Via Individual Determination to boost college readiness, Write from the Beginning for English language arts improvement, Cognitively Guided Instruction for student-centered math teaching, and Capturing Kids’ Hearts for educator training and professional development in social-emotional learning.

“My focus as a school leader is to collaborate with parents, teachers, and staff to improve our school, our classrooms, and our students' learning,” Mata said. “My main goal for my first year is to connect with the community: building a bridge between home and school so that all families feel welcomed and supported at Emery.”

Principal Mata has a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism from California State University, Los Angeles, an administrative credential from Cal Poly Pomona, and a master’s degree in education and multiple subject teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University.

When she is not working hard at leading Emery School, Principal Mata enjoys visiting Disneyland with her husband and three children.

“We are all so excited to welcome Principal Mata to the Buena Park School District community,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “We know her extensive experience, positive attitude and fantastic goals will fit Emery’s atmosphere of success.”

PHOTO CAPTION:

PRINCIPALMATA1: Charles G. Emery Elementary School’s New Principal: Jeselle Mata

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Student picture
Raymond Mendoza

Buena Park School District is providing more than 200 students with additional support in math, reading, English Language Development, and college and career readiness through its Summer Academy.

The academy, which runs through July 14 at Charles G. Emery Elementary School and Gordon H. Beatty Middle School, provides incoming first through eighth-graders with more opportunities to continue academic excellence while also having fun.

Each day, both schools’ programs provide additional assistance to the District’s English Language Learners with targeted instruction to increase reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Students are also learning how to use a variety of apps from the District’s Apple Coaches to incorporate music, art, and skills to help with college and career readiness.

Each Wednesday, students are encouraged to participate in Spirit Wednesday and dress according to various themes, such as “Our Futures are So Bright” and “We are College Bound.” Students are also given Mindful Minutes, and nutrition breaks to ensure they stay healthy.

Incoming fourth-grader Clay H. said his favorite aspect of the Summer Academy is learning how to play different musical instruments with GarageBand – a computer program he is learning thanks to the school’s Apple Coaches.

“Our Summer Academy is a fantastic way for students to continue their academic excellence while helping others prepare for the coming school year,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “Summer Academy is just one of the many ways Buena Park School District builds strong foundations for our students while also preparing them for high school, college, and beyond.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

Student picture

SUMMER1: Incoming fourth-grader Clay H. learns to play the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese bowed instrument, on his iPad through GarageBand during Buena Park School District’s Summer Academy.

SUMMER2: Incoming first-grader Scarlett P. works on her English language arts skills during Buena Park School District’s Summer Academy.
 

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