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Fontana High School Achieves Re-designation as AVID National Demonstration School

FONTANA, CA- Fontana High School has been re-designated as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) National Demonstration School, retaining the status it has held since 2006 as a high- achieving academic organization and exemplary learning center for other schools and districts across the nation to model after.

Fontana High is one of about 5,600 AVID schools in 44 states, the District of Columbia and 16 countries and U.S. territories to achieve the elite status, demonstrating its proven ability to employ AVID tools school-wide to boost the number of students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities.

“It is a tremendous honor to be re-selected as a National Demonstration School and sustain a strong program that has helped catapult our students to post-secondary success and opened up a wealth of opportunities,” Fohi Principal Ofelia Hinojosa said. “We are proud of our teachers, counselors and staff who constantly work to engage and empower our students and are committed to ensuring a college- ready student body.”

Fohi was among 75 schools in the nation to be recognized earlier this year as a Schoolwide Site of Distinction, a new honor given to a select few AVID schools for their extensive commitment to providing students with college preparation resources. The distinction put Fohi’s college and career readiness program in the top 2 percent of all AVID programs in the nation.

“This re-designation is a testament to the flourishing culture of continued support Fohi nurtures to ensure our students are well-prepared for collegiate life,” Fontana Unified Interim Superintendent Randal Bassett said. “From guiding our teachers and staff with professional development to helping them refine AVID strategies in the classroom, Fohi continues to be a premier institution that positively influences our students’ dreams to pursue higher education. Congratulations to the Fohi team.”

The AVID program is designed to narrow the achievement gap between the lowest- and highest- performing students and increase the number who enroll in four-year colleges. At Fohi, 26.2 percent of students are in the AVID program, 50.3 percent of AVID students make up the total enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, 100 percent of AVID students apply to four-year universities and 98.6 percent are accepted. Additionally, all AVID tutors at the school are Fohi graduates.

Fohi puts AVID principles into practice in every class, implementing collaborative study groups, tutorials, self-assessments and focused note-taking techniques that promote quality reading strategies.

The school has implemented a college-going culture through rigor and high expectations for all students, all while providing motivation, guidance and support to students as they pursue post-secondary opportunities.

“Fohi’s AVID program effectively demonstrates the dedication our teachers and staff have to supporting all students, increasing access to high-quality educational programs and rigorous coursework, and providing our students an environment that is conducive to their academic growth,” Fontana Unified Co- Interim Superintendent Dr. John Porter said. “We are proud that one of our schools can continue to serve as a model of exemplary leadership.”

West Valley Water District Announces New Veterans Hiring Program

RIALTO, CA.– The West Valley Water District (WVWD) recently announced the modification of its recruitment practices to include a Veterans’ Preference component.

The program, modeled after the State of California’s program, will automatically place eligible veterans applying for WVWD jobs in the top ranking for consideration for employment with the agency. 

“This is something that has long been a goal of mine personally,” stated WVWD Board Member Rafael Trujillo, “Helping our veterans find gainful employment when they return home is the least we can do as a grateful nation.”

Veterans will be granted preference under the program as follows: Any veteran, widow or widower of a veteran, or spouse of a 100 percent disabled veteran, who achieves a passing score in an entrance examination, shall be ranked in the top rank of the resulting eligibility list. 

All open exams/eligibility lists will award Veterans’ Preference, regardless of the classification.

Any veteran who has been dishonorably discharged or released is not eligible for Veterans’ Preference.

Veterans’ Preference is not granted once a person achieves permanent status.

WVWD Board President Dr. Clifford O. Young, Sr. noted, “The Board of Directors is pleased to partner with our veterans and honor their sacrifices for our country.”

Bernard LaFayette Jr. Wins Gandhi Award

Lexington, KY—University Press of Kentucky author Bernard LaFayette Jr., whose memoir In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma was released in paperback earlier this year, has been awarded the 2016 Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace. He is also co-editor of The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Activism in the North. The award is presented by theGandhi Development Trust. The GDT was founded in 2002 by Ela Gandhi, the social activist granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi Development Trust’s mission is to promote a culture of peace, justice, non-violence, and ubuntu (human kindness); promoting Gandhian values of ahisma (non-violence), self-sufficiency, love, sarvodaya (good of all), compassion, and universality in order to reach their core vision of a peaceful, just, and non-violent world.

The Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace was established in 2003 to honor people who have surmounted religious and ethnic obstacles to promote democracy, peace, and justice through non-violent measures. GDT believes that the award should not merely be seen as an annual event, but rather a catalyst for initiating non-violence, ubuntu, and nation building under the influence of non-violent leaders. LaFayette was chosen as this year’s winner in recognition of his outstanding work towards the promotion of peace, reconciliation, and justice both locally and internationally in his capacity as a civil rights activist.

LaFayette’s memoir, In Peace and Freedom, recounts that career as an activist. He was a cofounder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a leader in the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins, a Freedom Rider, an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the national coordinator of the Poor People’s Campaign. At the age of twenty-two, he assumed the directorship of the Alabama Voter Registration Project in Selma—a city that had previously been removed from the organization’s list due to the dangers of operating there.

LaFayette was one of the primary organizers of the 1965 Selma voting rights movement and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, and his memoir, written with Kathryn Lee Johnson, shares the inspiring story of his struggles there. When he arrived in 1963, Selma was a small, quiet, rural town. By 1965, it had made its mark in history and was nationally recognized as a battleground in the fight for racial equality and the site of one of the most important victories for social change in our nation.

The award was presented on November 7, 2016, in Durban, South Africa.