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Three students from the Mt. Eden High School Instrumental Music Program were recently accepted into the 2018 National Honor Band of America and a fourth was accepted to the National Honor Orchestra of America.

Axel Garcia (trombone) and Diego Alfaro (trumpet) represent the top 12 young musicians in the U.S. for their chosen instrument, while Hammaad Hassan (percussion) represents the top eight. All three were selected for the National Honor Band. Meanwhile, Edwin Ramos, a violinist, will join the National Honor Orchestra -- an honor he has received for two years in a row. All four students are juniors at Mt. Eden High School in Hayward.

As part of the honor ensemble, the students will perform on a national stage at Music for All National Musical Festival set for March 15-17 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Kevin and Earl Cato are the respective band and orchestra directors for Mt. Eden High School and are proud of their students' accomplishment. "The accepted students are a great example of the many dedicated and talented members of our wonderfully extraordinary visual and fine arts programs at Mt. Eden High School," they said in a joint statement. "Truly, they're a testament that hard work, perseverance, and persistence will assist you in achieving your goals." The brothers have seen their Mt. Eden students selected for honor ensembles for ten consecutive years.


*Since the publication of this article, a fifth Mt. Eden student was selected for a national ensemble. Maxwell Finely plays the French horn.

Posted by: Dionicia Ramos, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 1/17/18

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Vocational program helps students with intellectual disabilities


HAYWARD — On the Hayward Adult School campus, tucked away down a dimly lit hall, there is a place where simple life lessons are taught.


Those lessons begin around 8 a.m. Monday through Friday, when the 13 students in Glenn Parado’s job transition program file into their classroom: a makeshift coffee shop called The Mocha Cafe, set up next to the Hayward Adult School bookstore.

Right off the bat, there is a checklist of things to be done as The Mocha Cafe opens for business at 8:30 a.m., and everybody has a role. Tables and chairs must be cleaned and set up. The espresso machine needs to be working. Pastries, condiments, snacks and bagels must be set out. And whole coffee beans need to be run through the coffee grinder.


It is an almost daily routine that is intended to prepare students with mild to severe intellectual disabilities for life after they age out of the public school system.


“We try to teach them how to behave when you’re at work or in class and things that a lot of people take for granted, such as having clean clothes when you come to school, wearing deodorant, brushing their teeth, washing their face and making sure their hair is clean,” Parado said in an interview at the coffee shop.

“Things that we take for granted are things that we need to reinforce and tell our students,” he said.


They are lessons that go beyond vocational tasks taught each day, such as how to make a variety of beverages, count money, stock inventory and merchandise products, Parado said. He is the third teacher to lead The Mocha Cafe program since it began in 1999.

“When I first started teaching and these issues would come up, I remember thinking, ‘I guess I need to talk about that because that’s an issue we need to deal with,’ ” Parado said.


“And then there’s also romantic relationships. Their developments are a little behind, but they’re almost at a junior high or early high school (level) as far as dealing with romantic relationships, so we kind of have to tell them how they should behave in that regard as well,” he said.


Parado, who has led efforts at The Mocha Cafe since 2011, said the coffee shop is part of the school district’s job transition program, provided under federal law for students with intellectual disabilities after they graduate from high school. Such programs are provided until the students are 22 years old and are designed to teach key independent living skills, such as positive job ethics, customer service etiquette and teamwork, Parado said.

“A majority of our customers are from the English as a second language program, which is right across the hall, and they go on break at 10:30 a.m.,” Parado said during a brief respite from the morning rush at the coffee shop.


“A couple of times, we’ve had the line come out to the door with all of these people wanting to get coffee for their break, and they’ll fill up all of the tables in here,” he said.


Students typically stay in The Mocha Cafe program for about two years before they are transferred to one of the four other adult transition programs offered by the school district for students 18 to 22 years old. Though most of his students are from Hayward, some have come from Castro Valley, San Lorenzo and San Leandro, Parado said.


“Technically we’re open to the public, so people could walk off the street to come and have a cup of coffee, but we have very limited hours … and we’re also kind of hidden because we’re inside of a neighborhood and inside of a school,” Parado said.


All proceeds from The Mocha Cafe go toward buying more supplies and subsidizing field trips for students, who have outings at nearby restaurants, bowling alleys, miniature golf courses and movie theaters. Students are taught how to catch AC Transit buses and BART trains during some field trips, Parado said.


Once students age out of the public school system, regional centers run by the state Department of Developmental Services helps place them in job programs or connect their families to additional services.

Some former students have been placed in jobs through Community Integrated Work Program in Hayward, which offers limited work hours to people with intellectual disabilities and support programs.


Other former students participate in Hayward Area Recreation and Park District programs at Sorensdale Recreation Center, including literacy, math, job preparation, communication, personal health, physical fitness, gardening, performing arts and music.

Parado also recalled running into two coffee shop alumni who now work at Lucky and Smart & Final.


“You know, at the end of the day, I’m tired but I’m happy, because I realize that I’m doing something pretty cool,” Parado said

“They’re just a joy to be around, and just seeing the students grow and learn skills that they’ll need as they get older makes it all worthwhile,” he said.


Plans are now in the works to open The Mocha Cafe’s second location in the Alameda County Office of Education office on Winton Avenue. It will be geared for people with intellectual disabilities who are at least 22 years old and have aged out of the public school system, Parado said.


“It has been about two years in the making, but there are different hurdles that they have to jump through, such as regulations, acquiring new equipment and remodeling the space for the cafe,” Parado said.


Where: Hayward Adult School, 22100 Princeton St., Hayward

When: 8:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Monday-Friday

Contact: 510-881-5914

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 2/17/17

Audience: Homepage and Homepage


By Jonathan Bloom

Friday, February 10, 2017 07:11PM

HAYWARD, Calif. (KGO) --



It's the result of a long class project for these Hayward seventh graders that's proving to be a lesson in science is and a lesson in life.

They built blue boxes that store energy from the sun during the day that can power these LED light bulbs at night.

"We learned lots of new things I never knew I would ever do," said Marisol Barajas, a seventh grader.

"I mean this is something that they're building, something that they're creating, and when the lights come on, it's that satisfaction that they're saying this is something I've done," explained Cesar Chavez Middle School Principal Sean Moffatt.

Called the solar suitcase, it is a hands-on engineering project, which already makes it a special treat for the students. But they say just as exciting is who this project will help now that it's complete.

It's off to Uganda, where 80 percent of kids in Eastern Africa, do not have light. That means high school students, for example, who are taking the college entrance exams, often study at gas stations after the sun goes down.

There are study halls, but they are dark at night because there is no electricity. The solar suitcases will light up those study halls.

The kits were paid for by PG&E. The training to build them comes from students at Cal State East Bay.

"When you have kids in a school that themselves have overwhelming poverty statistics and what they're excited about is helping kids that are less well off than themselves. That is truly inspirational to me," says Karina Garbesi, a professor of environmental studies at Cal State East Bay. It was her idea to work with the middle schools.

"It feels amazing, you know? I feel so happy that I'm helping others... half way around the world," said one student.

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 2/16/17

Audience: Homepage and Homepage

Two-year pilot project brings musical form to life



HAYWARD — It’s 9:30 a.m. Monday, and Bryan Holbrook’s second-period orchestra class is already off to a clangorous start at Winton Middle School.


After briefly discussing plans with his class about a possible band trip next year, Holbrook signals to his nearly two dozen students that the lesson for the day is about to begin.


“Mariachi! Mariachi! Go, go go,” he yells in quick succession.

His students then jump from their chairs and run to the back of the room, where their instruments are stored in gray metal lockers, and separate into several groups spread throughout the portable classroom — violin players on the left; double bass and guitarron players on the right; vihuela and piano players to the back of the room; and trumpet players to the front.


For the remaining 45 minutes of class, Holbrook made his way to each group to help students synchronize their instruments to the rhythm and beat of “De Colores,” a well-known traditional Spanish folk song. His instructions were frequently punctuated by a cacophony of musical notes played by various instruments or students talking to each other.


“I thrive in chaos mode, and that’s how I work best,” Holbrook said after class.


“It’s challenging because each group needs help in certain areas … and they have to learn that self-discipline to sort of say, ‘OK, he just showed me how to do this, and now I have to just do it and not goof around.’


“While we’re teaching them music skills, we’re teaching them life skills, too — how to be self-disciplined, motivate themselves and get through the tasks that have been assigned to them and come back with a little bit of a product that we can work with next time,” he said.

Integrating mariachi into the middle school’s newly reorganized music program is part of a pilot project that aims to shine a light on the traditional Mexican musical art form.


“It’s a two-for-one class combination that we’re doing, and there’s not a whole lot of other teachers in the district who’d be willing to work that kind of challenge in a normal classroom setting, so it’s kind of a unique thing, and I’m always gung-ho for that kind of stuff,” said Holbrook, who became Winton’s music instructor in August after leading Hayward High School’s band program from 2004 to 2013. He then helped shore up the district’s elementary school music program and taught at nine schools before taking the job at Winton.


“The orchestra class is doubling up as the mariachi class because they already have the violins in there anyway, and some of them are learning how to play vihuela, guitarron and trumpet. So depending on the week’s schedule, we turn ourselves into a mariachi class a couple of days a week, and on the other days, it’s an orchestra class,” he said.


The pilot program started last month after approval by school board trustees in September, who set aside about $4,000 for Holbrook to buy sheet music, five additional guitars and several traditional mariachi instruments, including the vihuela, a five-string, guitar-like instrument, and the guitarron, a deep-bodied, six-string acoustic bass instrument.


School board discussions about teaching mariachi at Hayward schools date back to at least 2015.


“I think that this is finally a step in the right direction,” Trustee Luis Reynoso said during the school board’s Sept. 14 meeting, where funding for the mariachi pilot program at Winton was approved.

“The majority of our students are Latino, but I think this program will pilot something for all of our students,” he said.


Winton Middle School Principal Lisa Tess said the concept has also been embraced by parents at the school, where at least 80 percent of the students are Latino, and is gaining some attention from nearby elementary schools.


“Our core belief is in the students, and I think that’s what we really share,” Tess said of Holbrook.


“We know the students can do it, so from there, we just have to figure out everything around it,” she said.


For the next five or six months, students in Holbrook’s orchestra class will learn the basics of mariachi, including instrument techniques, the instruments’ historical and cultural significance, songs and performance etiquette. Later this semester, Holbrook’s students will perform at a Cinco de Mayo event in May, alongside the school’s baile folklorico group, and hold a showcase performance for district administrators sometime in May or early June.


Though the pilot program is missing some key elements, including traditional mariachi uniforms and a harp, much of what is being accomplished now is building the foundation for what could pave the way for mariachi programs at other schools throughout the district by next year, Holbrook said.


“It’s not about the performance, it’s about the ‘in-formance,’ because my philosophy is that we teach these students, but we also teach the parents, administration and staff, so we educate everybody,” Holbrook said.


“Our performance is more informative than it is entertaining, so while we may not have a full-on song, we’ll perform for Cinco de Mayo, and it may be only three notes, but it’s going to be awesome. We can’t be afraid to let that be a satisfactory performance because, in our world and minds right now, we’re always looking for that final product. But people always forget about the journey that we take along that way. And we have a lot of successes that we need to celebrate during that time,” he said.


Contact Darin Moriki at 510-293-2480 or follow him at Twitter.com/darinmoriki.

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 2/3/17

Audience: Homepage and Homepage

Welcome to the third year of an artistic brawl, a bitter competition between clay-smeared, crosstown rivals looking for bragging rights — the Bay Area’s biggest (and probably only) birdhouse battle.

In one corner is Hayward’s Mount Eden High School, boasting avian domiciles in the shape of a cello and a red-veined eyeball.

In the other corner, Hayward’s Tennyson High, with its own birdhouse bonanza, including a yawning cat with a Mohawk and a 2-foot-tall feather-ready triplex in the shape of a snowman.

Don’t let the Mohawk fool you. This is a serious competition. After two years, the series is tied.




“It’s like the Axe,” said Mount Eden art teacher Geoffrey Landreau, referring to the prize awarded to the winner of football’s Big Game between Cal and Stanford. “Tennyson has our trophy, and we want it back. It’s bragging rights for a whole year.”


The student entries, about 80 in all, will be displayed Jan. 6 and 7 at Hayward’s Sun Gallery, where visitors can bid on them in a silent auction. The art pieces are functional and created to accommodate birds looking for a home in the unforgiving Bay Area housing market.


The school with the most cash at the end of the auction wins — and the loser has to fill the winner’s trophy with candy, Landreau said.


While pride of victory is a big deal, the teachers from the two schools say the event, officially titled the Build a Better Birdhouse Battle, offers students an opportunity to display their work in a gallery, meet potential buyers and understand the competitive art world.


“The competition not only drives the enthusiasm, but the quality,” said Joe Mielke, the Tennyson ceramics teacher. “It’s a good way to teach about the real world — if you’re going to make it in the mean streets, (the work) better be better than the guy next door.”


Students, including those in advanced ceramics and 3-D design classes, have to study architecture as well as the habits of local birds, Landreau said.


While the pieces are meant to be bird-worthy, he said, Mount Eden’s eyeball entry had a lattice-like back that could mean a leaky time for inhabitants. The same artist made a second, more traditional birdhouse with a sturdy roof and multicolored siding.

Student Arnold Singh, 15, made a birdhouse that looks like a wishing well, with an acrylic glass top and metal wiring to hang it. He came up with the idea after he remembered a dream he had when he was about 8.


In the dream, he was swimming in the ocean trying to save someone, but couldn’t find them. Instead, he found the wishing well and climbed in to rest, but he was scared.

“And then I thought, ‘Wait, this is a wishing well and I can just wish myself home,’” he said. “Then I woke up.”


His birdhouse is the well where he rested, he said.

“When I make art, it’s going to be personal,” the sophomore said. “It’s going to come from the heart.”


But he doesn’t mind selling it: “I feel worse when I hold onto art,” Arnold said. “It feels like I’m holding something back.”


Victor Medina, 15, who created a blue dolphin birdhouse, doesn’t mind selling his, either. But his mom does.


“She was like, ‘I think you should keep it and give it to me,’” he said with a slight smile and roll of the eyes.


The birdhouses typically sell for $20 to $40, though some go for as much as $75. One woman bought seven last year. The students keep the proceeds, but they are encouraged to donate at least a portion to a charity.


Charissa Garcia doesn’t know how much her birdhouse will fetch. It’s an elaborate cello, with green leaves etched into the sides. It took her two weeks to build, including several tries to attach the fingerboard.


“I wanted to create something unique,” she said.

The students aren’t the only ones participating in the battle. The three teachers, including Mount Eden ceramics teacher Marie Butler, craft birdhouses and compete separately.


Mielke’s entry got the most money last year, and he plans on a repeat with this year’s entry — a flying saucer with an alien peeking out the top. The win would come with the same bragging rights, as well as side-bet bottles of wine.


The teachers’ real joy, they said, is watching students circulate through the professional gallery with other artists.

“It’s really fun to see all the stuff they produce,” Butler said, “and to produce something the public is willing to buy.”


Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jtucker@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @jilltucker

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 12/27/16

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Click HERE to access the November On the Rise Newsletter 

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 11/3/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage



Kali Persall
Managing Editor
November 2, 2016


Ghouls, goblins and Mickey Mouse flocked to John Muir Elementary School in Hayward last Saturday to partake in a unique Trunk or Treat event geared toward special needs kids and their families.

Cars adorned with spider webs and Halloween decorations opened their trunks to offer candy, treats and games to costumed attendees. Local organizations like the Hayward Promise, Brews and Brats, Snappy’s Cafe, Made in Hayward and Autism Army volunteered, sponsored and participated in the event, which drew a crowd of around 500, according to Ria Lancaster, a parent of a child with autism and organizer of the event.


Lancaster said she wanted to provide a place where kids diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder could feel comfortable and accepted and where parents could network and support each other. Her inspiration was her seven-year-old son, Balian, who was diagnosed with autism in 2013.


Lancaster said she and her husband first noticed something different about Balian when he was about two and a half years old. At 19-20 months, he had been able to list all the letters of the alphabet and numbers up to 20 and his speech was considered advanced. A few months later, however, his speech became delayed and it became increasingly difficult for him to make eye contact.


According to the Center for Disease Control, one in 68 children have been diagnosed with autism. While some cases are identified as early as age two, most are not until after age four and children can exhibit a wide range of symptoms that vary in severity. About 44 percent of children who are diagnosed have tested with average to above average intellectual abilities.


When people hear the word “autistic,” many picture a child with severe social problems that doesn’t like to be touched and can’t connect well with others, but Lancaster said this isn’t the case with Balian. “Balian is really affectionate,” she explained. “He’s sensory seeking” and is drawn to clothes that have different textures. “When people see him he may not come across as special needs.” However he still faces a unique set of challenges that classify him as mild to moderate on the autism spectrum.


Balian still can’t speak easily and can only say up to four words, such as “I want popsicle please,” explained Lancaster. He attends a special day class at East Avenue Elementary in Hayward that caters to students with autism. The day class employs one teacher and three aids and accepts no more than nine kids at a time, in order to provide the students with one-on-one attention.

Balian also receives in-home Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy three hours a day, four days a week after school. This treatment helps children learn “socially significant behaviors” such as reading, academic and social skills and applied living behaviors, according to the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.

Lancaster said that each time they meet, they set up a new goal for Balian and review his progress every three months. Through ABA therapy, Balian was potty-trained and just met his most recent goal: learning how to greet people. “When you see one autistic kid, it’s completely different compared to another,” said Lancaster. “It’s like night and day.”


Lancaster said resources for parents that have autistic children are lacking in the Bay Area and she primarily connects with other parents through event pages on Facebook.

In 2013, the same year that Balian was diagnosed, Lancaster established Twinkies Krafts, a nonprofit that provides local events in the Hayward community for special needs kids and their parents. The Trunk or Treat event was the first ever hosted by the organization.


Lancaster also used to create and sell handmade autism-awareness jewelry and crafts through her Twinkies Krafts profile on Etsy and donated 75 percent of the proceeds to Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, which she said helped Balian with speech lessons and occupational therapy when he was first diagnosed.

“I want to have these kids be more involved in the community,” said Lancaster. “Yeah, we exist, and yeah, we’re different. Spreading awareness is great, but what these kids really need is acceptance.”

Other Trunk or Treat tablers took to creative means to cast a spotlight on autism last weekend. Bruce Bookman, a software quality assurance engineer from Los Gatos doubling as a spray paint artist, sold abstract spray paint creations that range in subject matter from planets to dolphins leaping against a sunset.

Inspired by street artists at a festival, Bookman learned the techniques on YouTube and has been painting for the past three months. Each creation he said, takes no more than an hour. According to his website, Art2BenefitAutism.com, Bookman donates five percent of the proceeds directly to the Autism Science Foundation, a nonprofit that provides funding to scientists researching causes and treatments for autism.


Matthew Pizzi, a fifth grader at Prince of Peace Lutheran School in Fremont, better known as “Matty the Magician” to his classmates, performed magic tricks at the event. His favorite, according to his mother Pam Pizzi, is the trick where he lights an ordinary piece of paper on fire and turns it into money.


Pizzi has performed at his school every year since the first grade and has even opened for the Bay Area’s own renowned, award-winning magician Dan Chan the Magic Man.


Event-goers also had the opportunity to take pictures on a Honda CBR1000RR motorcycle supplied by Marty Seagraves, creator of the Autism Army group, which aims to raise awareness about autism by bringing motorcycles to special needs camps, as well as car and bike shows. The group was started in 2007 and was inspired by Seagraves’ son, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was two years old.


“My son has autism,” he said. “I just wanted to get off the couch and do something about it.” When Seagraves’ son was diagnosed, he was a late talker and tongue-tied and doctors predicted that he would never be social, said Seagraves. Today, he is 13 years old, high-functioning and is mainstreamed in a “regular” junior high school.


“We just take it day by day, you know?” said Seagraves. “We tell people, they’re all different, all the kids are different just like me and you. We’re different people and so are they. It’s more acceptance than awareness now, because awareness has been so prominent that everyone actually needs to move toward acceptance through their communities. Everyone I meet knows someone on the spectrum.”

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 11/3/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage



After over 4 months in the making... Hayward High School art students in Andrew Kong Knight's "Greatest Art Class in the Universe" GACU, with the supervision and kind guidance of mosaic master Christine Pacheco, complete a permanent outdoor mosaic art work for the courtyard area of Highland Villas brand new housing community. 


Click HERE to access Channel 7 news coverage on the project. 

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 10/28/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage

Prop. 51 sparks debate about the best way to fix California schools



Park Elementary School in Hayward is a cheerful place. The halls are dotted with murals of tiny green handprints and scribbled-on schoolwork, and the principal makes her rounds through the halls helping kids tie their shoes.


There’s an outdoor garden, a new recycling program, and a soccer field where kids can run around to their hearts content.  But take a closer look, and you'll see that some parts of the building need an upgrade  — upgrades that the school district just can’t really afford at the moment.

Steven Fallon is the director for Maintenance, Operations Transportation and Security for the Hayward Unified School District. Park Elementary is one of the older schools in the area, and its age shows. He points out dry rot in some of the doorways and cracked asphalt in an outdoor play area he wishes he had the money to fix.

“We'll patch it as best we can,” he tells me. “But it would cost approximately $350,000 to $400,000 per school.”

Park Elementary is one of over 30 schools in the district, which means funding gets prioritized towards the most urgent projects. Beyond that, money is tight. Fallon tells me that when there are budget cuts, maintenance is usually the first thing to go.

“We’ve lost 21 positions in maintenance over five years,” he tells me.

Another concern of his is deferred maintenance. The longer schools wait on construction projects, often the more expensive they become. Fallon estimates that the district is most likely in need of 10 new roofs — a cost that will rise if they’re not dealt with soon.

But Hayward isn’t the only school district that’s finding it hard to fund construction and maintenance projects. Across the state, there’s a lot of need. Californians haven’t voted on a school construction bond in 10 years, and state funding has dried up. Proposition 51, a statewide measure on this November’s ballot, would replenish those coffers, with nine billion dollars worth of general-obligation bonds.


Most of this money would be set aside for K-12 schools: building new facilities, and modernizing old ones like Park Elementary. Another big chunk would be spent on community colleges, and a smaller portion would go to charter schools and career technical programs.


The State Legislative Analyst’s office predicts that if Proposition 51 passes, it would cost the state $17.6 billion with interest.


Inequity in schools

According to Jeff Vincent, the Deputy Director at U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Cities and Schools, there isn’t that much centralized data on the state of infrastructure on public schools in California. So he and his colleagues have spent a lot of their time trying to find out what they can about maintenance spending and construction.  

“Our research has shown that over half of schools in the state are pretty significantly underinvesting in their school buildings,” he tells me. “And this really raises concerns about what are the conditions and qualities of these schools? Are they safe and healthy, are the educationally appropriate?”

Part of Vincent’s research is understanding the ways school construction projects can exacerbate inequality.

“School districts serving more low-income children who qualify for free and reduced lunch? They're actually spending more per student out of their operating budget on their facilities than higher income school districts are. And this raised big flags for us,” he says.


Without state funding, local communities have to raise the money for construction on their own, through local developer fees and local bond measures. This leaves poorer communities at a disadvantage. A school like Park Elementary — where most kids qualify for free and reduced lunch — can’t just tap into a pool of money when they need to build new doorways.


But that doesn’t mean if state funding gets introduced into the mix through Proposition 51 this disparity will disappear.

“An equitable approach to allocating state funds is not baked into the program,” says Vincent.  


The way state money gets allocated is through something called the School Facilities Program. It’s essentially a first-come, first-serve, grant-matching program. That means schools have to apply, get in line, and show the state they can match most or all of the money they’d receive. Because of this, critics of Proposition 51 say it doesn’t go far enough to be equitable. Wealthier schools have more resources to make this a lived reality.



School construction bonds haven’t always been a contentious issue, says Jeff Vincent.


“All four of the last school construction bonds that have passed in the state of California have had very broad support across the aisle and with governors,” he says. “And we're now at a time when this new one, Prop 51, doesn't have that.”

Governor Jerry Brown is a particularly vocal opponent, in part because most of the funding for this proposition comes from construction companies and developers, who stand to benefit economically from this money. It’s one of the aspects that’s making some voters wary, along with the concern that the neediest schools won’t be prioritized. 


“If Prop 51 fails, the inequities across districts are most certainly to widen, and are we willing to pay that price?” asks Jeff Vincent. “If Proposition 51 passes, it will definitely provide funding to assist districts with a lot of those needs across the state. Will it go far enough? No it won't.”


It’s a tough choice to make. Voters can either deprive schools of much-needed money, in hopes that desperation sparks reform, or voters can sign off on a costly bond that might not go where it really needs to.


Regardless of the outcome, both sides agree: it’s time to have a long, hard look at school maintenance and construction and how much the state should help pay for it. Because what’s at stake is kids’ long-term health and safety.


Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 10/28/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage


4,000 Youth Enrichment Program (YEP!) Students Rally to Keep the

Lights On Afterschool through Celebrations

Hundreds Join Call for 'Afterschool for All'


Hayward, CA – Hundreds of children, parents, business and community leaders in Hayward will come together on October 20, 2016 for community celebrations of Lights On Afterschool.  Events will take place at all 29 schools sites across the Hayward Unified School District to celebrate the achievements of afterschool students and draw attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon.


The gathering was one of more than 8,000 such events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school. Speakers at the rally celebrated the many benefits of afterschool programs, and encouraged lawmakers, businesses and other to support afterschool funding.


Participants in the YEP's Lights On Afterschool event will engage in a variety of activities including, a Veggie Party, a Fitness Event, and an Information Booth.  Some students will write messages to the next president ahead of the upcoming election, while principals, parents and students discuss the importance of afterschool programs.  Organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool has been celebrated annually since 2000.  This year, more than one million Americans took part in the only nationwide rally for afterschool programs.


Recent data from America After 3PM, the research series on afterschool programs commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, shows a vast unmet demand for afterschool programs nationwide. In California, 25% (1,661,374) of California's children participate in an afterschool program, yet 49% (2,435,254) of California’s children would be enrolled if a program were available. Further, 90% percent of California’s parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program, and 80% percent agree that afterschool programs give working parents peace of mind.  More work needs to be done to meet the great need for afterschool programs that keep California kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

In March, the Afterschool Alliance released a new report on the state of afterschool programs in rural America. Drawing on data from America After 3PM, the report found widespread support for afterschool, with 85 percent of parents saying they are satisfied with their child's program. However, for every child in a program, three are waiting to become available. That's 3.1 million children in rural communities who still wait to access the benefits of an afterschool program.


Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool and America After 3PM is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.


After school programs are an extraordinary part of a child's journey in life,” says Lisa Brunner, Board President for the Hayward Unified School District.  “It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs offer a range of supports to children and families. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough afterschool programs, and too many kids are home alone in the afternoons or on the streets where they can be exposed to crime or at-risk. We must open more programs and make sure lawmakers invest more in afterschool. I am personally committed to doing all I can to ensure that, in the very near future, every Made in Hayward child who needs an afterschool program has one.”


“We are all very proud of our Made in Hayward afterschool students and staff,” said Christy Gerren, Director of Student and Parent Support Programs.  “There's no reason that learning should stop at 3 p.m., particularly if the alternative is unsupervised time in front of a television set, or any of the dangerous or unhealthy behaviors that can ensnare children in the afternoons. Like so many other afterschool programs around the nation, ours is supported by grant funding from the After School Education & Safety (ASES) and the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative including the 21 Century High School After School Safety Initiative. Since its creation, it has provided funding to allow millions of children to attend after school.  We need to grow this funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs.”


About the Youth Enrichment Program (YEP)

The Youth Enrichment Program (YEP) is a collaborative effort between the Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) and The City of Hayward. The Hayward Public Agency Liaison Committee originated the initial concept for the program in January 1996. There are 29 sites serving elementary, middle and high school students in the district. Last school year the programs served over 4,000 students from K thru 12th grade. The students participated in: educational, literacy, enrichment and recreational programs.  (Additional information can be added or removed this was captured from the YEP webpage) The mission of the YEP is to use the resources, energy and talents of the entire Hayward community to provide enrichment activities for our youth and to create a safe environment for children to interact and learn.  http://www.husd.us/husdyep


Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 10/18/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Photo by Ria Lancaster/Contributor


Kali Persall
Managing Editor
September 21, 2016


When the sun sets over the Hayward Hills, the majority of people head home from work, cook dinner and settle in for the night, but not artist Andrew Kong Knight.

At nightfall, the Hayward native can often be found dressed in his painting “uniform,” consisting of a sun visor, headphones and paint-spattered clothes perched precariously 30-40 feet high on scaffolding while he transforms the side of an ordinary building into a work of art.


Knight sometimes works through the night, illuminated by artificial light, to create the unique murals that adorn utility boxes and the sides of movie theaters throughout Hayward.

“I guess it’s my obsessive compulsive disorder,” joked Knight. “In the mural world there’s not as many people out at night, it’s more peaceful and it’s quieter and I can really go in my zone.”

Knight, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has established himself as an esteemed artist in the Bay Area. When he’s not teaching art at Hayward High School, a position he has held for the past 20 years, he’s painting murals on commission with the city’s Mural Art Program, which commissioned over a dozen artists last year, not including subcontractors and volunteers.

Knight has produced an estimated 50 commissioned pieces for the city of Hayward in the past eight years. One of his most recent creations is the “Faces of Hayward” series, comprised of 25 individual mural portraits that feature ordinary people who live and work in Hayward. The pieces are scattered throughout the city.

Stacey Bristow, deputy director of development services for the city of Hayward, said that the project launched in April 2009 with the goal of discouraging graffiti vandalism in Hayward. Bristow shared that there is an underground respect for art, and the murals have already made a difference. Roughly 98 percent of the time murals are installed, they aren’t tagged.


Historically, a federal grant and redevelopment funds covered the program; however, funding sources are changing and the city has been funding them through a variety of resources, including capital projects, grants and sales tax measures. The program is looking to transition to a primarily grant-based funding system in the future.

There are roughly 160 murals in Hayward, which equals 150,000 square feet of art, according to Bristow. The Mural Project states that commercial buildings, schools, utility boxes, fire hydrants, benches, underpasses and sidewalk fixtures are fair game.

The largest mural in the “Faces of Hayward” series, titled “One Love, One Family: Faces of Hayward, CA,” located next to Firestone Tires at the corner of Fletcher Ln., facing Mission Blvd., features 17 portraits. He calls it “the mother,” or headquarters of the series.


Each portrait is strikingly unique and true to the individual, yet they all have something in common: each subject has a strong connection to Hayward and embodies diversity through their ages, genders and ethnicities.


Hayward is the sixth largest city in the Bay Area, with 150,000 residents, according to City of Hayward data. Hayward was ranked the second most racially and ethnically diverse city in the U.S. by the Census Bureau in 2005 and has maintained this reputation over the past decade, a classification that Knight finds inspirational.

Knight visits local organizations and events, and consults his students for suggestions when looking for subjects for the portrait series. He focuses on choosing people of different ages, genders and ethnicities to represent the city’s rich culture. Knight likens the process to that of a casting director in a movie. He prefers to meet his subjects in person so he can get to know their personalities firsthand, which is reflected in his art. He works primarily off of photographs, rather than in-person sittings.

“I try to capture their spirit,” he said. “I try to capture a certain joy in everyone. You know like when someone smiles, you smile; when someone laughs, you laugh.” Knight hopes to inspire positive feelings in those who view his art.


Knight also considers his pieces to be education tools and conversation starters. For example, the 3,500 square feet. “Hayward Gateway Mural,” located at Foothill Blvd. and City Center Dr. across from the abandoned Mervyn’s building, transports viewers into the lesser-seen rolling hills and grassy marshlands of the city. This is the largest mural in Hayward and was Knight’s first. It took him a year to complete.


The 1920s art deco style “Hayward Meets Hollywood” mural adorning the Cinema Place Parking Structure at the corner of Foothill Blvd and C St. has also sparked curiosity about some of the buildings that appear in the background of the painting, such as the All Saints Church and the new and old city halls.

An extensive process accompanies each mural. It includes laying base colors, drawing out designs, painting and varnishing. The painting alone can take as little as a day and as long as a week and the entire thing can take years to fully complete.

Knight works primarily with acrylic or oil paints and his style is often monochromatic. He shared that the use of one tone is not only easier to paint, but it also serves as a social statement. “It doesn’t matter what color we are, I’ll paint you in green or blue,” said Knight. Sepia paintings are his favorite because they look rich, like an old photograph, and emit a golden hue.


Knight says that placement is another important element of his creations: the style of mural should speak to the architecture around it. “I think you can’t help it as an artist–you can’t help but have a style,” he said. “If you have everyone in a room drawing an apple, everyone’s gonna draw it their own way.”


Knight doesn’t shy from dipping his toes into different art mediums. He is currently working on his first tile mosaic — a 6-foot piece — with students from Hayward High at the Highland Villas situated just behind the East Bay campus on Hayward Blvd.


The mosaic will feature icons specific to Hayward, like the Hayward water tower and Hayward/San Mateo Bridge, oak trees, the Hayward Hills and a California poppy as the focal point, Knight shared. The official unveiling of the finished piece will take place on Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the housing complex. “I try to do stuff that’s important for our community that has some kind of message or meaning to it,” said Knight.

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 10/4/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage

By Aaron PeroPublished: October 3, 2016, 12:02 pm


(KRON) KRON4’s is proud to honor E. Ronnie Cato as our teacher of the week for October 3, 2016.

Cato teaches high school music grades 9-12 in Hayward.



Here is the winning nomination:

Why are you nominating this educator?: Mr.Cato is an extraordinary, outgoing, and most talented teacher because he inspires to continue with Music and do bigger thing in life. I would say that this man changed my life and he helped me become a grown woman I am today. I have a very hard time focusing and I always think I’m useless because of the family problems I’m going through but this man is the only one who never stopped believing in me, stood by my side, and pushed me to be better. He keeps motivating me and he helps me with everything. He’s the teacher who I can tell everything, vent on, and he’s like my 2nd father figure. Music makes me feel better because I know that’s the only way I can express my feelings,emotions and make other people happy. Mr.Cato teaches elementary and high school students and he’s very hardworking. He always believed in me even though my parents does not appreciate my passion for music. Mr. E Ronnie Cato is one of a kind, caring, kind, entertaining, funny, smart, and talented.

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 10/4/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage

Congratulations Hayward Unified School District teacher's Mia Buljan and Nancy Wright, for being a finalist for the state's Presidential Award for Excellence


California Department of Education News Release 

Release: #16-61


SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated nine outstanding elementary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2016 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).


“I congratulate these remarkable teachers whose dedication and innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college,” said Torlakson. “These teachers are among the best of the best in their field and an inspiration to their students and colleagues.”


The California Department of Education (CDE) partnered with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher.


Each applicant must demonstrate a mastery of math or science, appropriate use of instructional methods and strategies, lifelong learning, and leadership in education outside the classroom. State finalists were selected by a panel of their peers who reviewed each candidate's content knowledge, teaching effectiveness, achievement results, and professional involvement.

Mathematics Finalists

Anamarie (Mia) Buljan is a second grade teacher at Glassbrook Elementary School in the Hayward Unified School District. She has been teaching for 18 years. She has been a district math coach as well as the Coordinator of Professional Development and the Director of Primary Education for the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative. Buljan has written the yearly Tool Kits for teachers for the second grade Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS) assessments. Her teaching has been featured on the Inside Mathematics Web site at http://www.insidemathematics.org/.


Gabriela Cardenas is a first/second/multiage dual language demonstration teacher at the UCLA Lab School in Los Angeles and has been teaching for 11 years. At UCLA, she has presented on Cognitively Guided Instruction (an inquiry-based approach to teaching mathematics) in a Spanish dual language immersion classroom and has presented at the 2016 Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) meeting in Los Angeles. She has also mentored UCLA students interested in teaching.


Rebecca Jones is a fifth grade teacher at Ocean Air School in the Del Mar Union School District in San Diego and has been teaching for 15 years. She has been a Cognitive Guided Instruction math lead teacher and has led staff development throughout the district, county, and state. Jones served on the district’s math committee, and her school was selected as one of the National Blue Ribbon Schools.


Nancy Villalta is a fourth grade teacher at Moffett Elementary School in the Lennox School District in Los Angeles County. She is a member of the Instructional Leadership Corps, which is an initiative by Stanford University and the California Teachers Association to provide teachers professional development on implementing Common Core Standards. Villalta has been a Math Resource teacher and coach for the district and has been a master teacher for student teachers. She has also presented professional development for her own schools and at Santa Monica City College.


Science Finalists

Dr. Susan Barkdoll is a third grade teacher at North Verdemont Elementary School in the San Bernardino City Unified School District and has been teaching 29 years. At her school site, Dr. Barkdoll raised funds for technology, science, and professional training in science education. She incorporates science education through literature, art, social studies, and mathematics. She also engages with the Engineering Department at California Polytechnic University as a liaison with graduate students completing senior projects in aquaponics.


Saroda Chattopadhyay teaches grades one through six at Grimmer Elementary School in the Fremont Unified School District. She has been teaching for 10 years. Her students utilize Google Apps for Education and various other software to increase their technology skills through collaborative projects. Chattopadhyay holds a master’s of science in electronics and a master’s in telecommunication systems.


Scott MacMillan teaches grades kindergarten through sixth at Heron School in the Natomas Unified School District and has been teaching for 18 years. He plans, develops, and teaches science and engineering labs to students. This includes students with special needs, English language learners, and those in the Gifted and Talented Education program. MacMillan has been a workshop leader at various conferences. He was an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Coordinator.


Julie McGough is a first/second grade combination teacher at Valley Oaks Elementary School in Clovis Unified School District. She has been teaching for 18 years. McGough is a Master Teacher for California State University, Fresno and Fresno Pacific University. She presented at the National Science Teachers Association Conference in 2016 and has multiple publications. McGough has written regarding the power of questioning and will have publications regarding the power of investigating and the power of assessing. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in philosophy in science education.


Nancy Wright teaches grades three through six at Lorin Eden Elementary School in the Hayward Unified School District and has been teaching for six years. She leads the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards for her district by founding and facilitating the district Science Advisory Panel. Wright creates coherence in science instruction district-wide by planning and delivering all science professional development for kindergarten through grade 12 science teachers.


The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. PAEMST was enacted by Congress in 1983 and authorizes the President each year to bestow up to 108 awards. PAEMST awards primary and secondary teachers in alternate years. Awards are given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Department of Defense Schools, and the U.S. territories.

For more information, visit the CDE’s Presidential Awards for Math and Science Teaching Web page athttp://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/pa/, or the PAEMST Web site at https://www.paemst.org/.


Contact: Dina Fong
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 9/26/16

Audience: Homepage, Communications, News, Homepage and News


California Dairy Families, Oakland Raiders and the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition provided financial and in-kind resources through Fuel Up to Play 60 Program



The Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) was presented with a $10,000 ‘Hometown Grant’ from Real California Milk, representing the state’s dairy families, and the Oakland Raiders, to expand nutrition and physical activity programs in schools throughout the district. The donation was made in a celebration on September 26 at Southgate Elementary School, which had the highest increase and overall highest elementary state test scores in the district. HUSD received an additional $10,000 in resources from The National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition in support of the Presidential Youth Fitness program, a national fitness and education assessment initiative.


"Our school district strives to instill characteristics amongst our Made in Hayward students which will allow them to be great leaders in their communities," said Hayward Unified School District Acting Superintendent Matt Wayne. "With the help of $20,000 in financial and in-kind resources to achieve student fitness and wellness goals, we can focus on ensuring healthy minds and healthy bodies.”


The ‘Hometown Grant,’ and match means students in the Hayward Unified School District will join the 13 million students who are eating healthier, 16 million students who are being more active and 130,000 adults who are enrolled and empowering youth in the United States through one national program – Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60).


“We are thrilled to award Hayward Unified School District with a Hometown Grant to promote in-school nutrition and physical activity programs in their schools, which might not be available otherwise,” said Jennifer Giambroni, Director of Communications for the CMAB. “FUTP 60 is just one way to show our dairy families’ commitment to helping the next generation learn how to eat healthy and make healthy lifestyle choices for life.”


Developed by FUTP 60 and the National Football League (NFL), the ‘Hometown Grant’ program provides teams and dairy organizations like Real California Milk with the opportunity to identify deserving schools in their area and provide them with funding to help meet their health and wellness goals. Each of the 32 NFL Clubs, Fuel Up to Play 60 and local dairy representatives are providing $10,000 grants in communities throughout the country totaling a $320,000 investment in youth health and wellness. For the 2016 season, the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition is matching the NFL’s donation of $10,000 in resources to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the President’s Council of Fitness, Sports and Nutrition which is the nation’s youth fitness education and assessment program.


national in-school nutrition and The is the nation’s largest in-school wellness program creating real transformational change in more than 73,000 schools nationwide. Fuel Up to Play 60, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Dairy CouncilCreated in partnership by the NFL and
physical-activity program is activated in California by the state’s dairy farm families. Since fall 2014, FUTP 60 has helped to award more than $430,000 in grants to schools throughout California in support of their wellness goals.



About the Oakland Raiders

The Raiders — who began play in the American Football League in 1960 — are in their 56th year of professional football competition, including the last 46 as a member of the National Football League. Over six memorable decades the Raiders have won an American Football League Championship, four American Football Conference Championships, three World Championships of Professional Football, participated in five Super Bowls, played in 14 Championship games, won or tied for 17 Division Championships, had 21 playoff seasons, finished 35 seasons at .500 or better and played in 40 postseason games. With their appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII, the Raiders became the only NFL team to play in Super Bowls in four different decades. In addition, the Raiders are proud to contribute to youth initiatives, community development, environmental concerns and multicultural awareness and global outreach. The Silver and Black maintains a global presence and communicates with the worldwide Raider Nation through the team's official web site and social media properties. For more information, please visit www.raiders.com.


About the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB)

The California Milk Advisory Board (Real California Milk)), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state’s dairy farm families. With headquarters in Tracy, the CMAB is one of the largest agricultural marketing boards in the United States. The CMAB executes advertising, public relations, research and retail and foodservice promotional programs on behalf of California dairy products, including Real California Milk and Real California Cheese, throughout the U.S. and internationally. For more information and to connect with the CMAB through social media, visit RealCaliforniaMilk.com, like at Facebook, view videos at YouTube, follow at Twitter and Instagram, and pin at Pinterest.


About Fuel Up to Play 60

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Football League (NFL) and National Dairy Council (NDC), which was founded by America’s dairy farmers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. The program additionally encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As a result of the program, last year 14 million students made better food choices and are getting more physically active during the school day. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Association/Foundation, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.


About National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition

The National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition believes that the strongest America is one where every citizen has the opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle. As the official foundation of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, the National Foundation is the only congressionally chartered nonprofit with the sole focus to help more Americans be active, play sports & eat healthy. Through private donations and partnerships, the Foundation supports programs and initiatives that educate, engage, and empower Americans of all backgrounds and abilities to adopt a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit fitness.foundation.



Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 9/26/16

Audience: Homepage, Made in Hayward, Communications, Made in Hayward, News, Homepage and News




On Thursday, September 22, AT&T, Hayward Promise Neighborhood (HPN), Hayward Unified School District, City of Hayward representatives and students came together at Tennyson High School to celebrate the announcement that California State University East Bay Foundation has been selected as one of 18 recipients nationwide to share a $10 million from AT&T through the Aspire Connect to Success Competition.


AT&T presented the California State University East Bay Foundation with a $500,000 check contribution to support its Hayward Promise Neighborhood Initiative, which aims to improve the lives and academics of more than 11,000 residents and 6,000 Made in Hayward students in the ethnically diverse, low-income Jackson Triangle neighborhood.


The Connect to Success Award is part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature philanthropic initiative to help students succeed in school and beyond.


Thank you, AT&T, Hayward Promise Neighborhood & CSUEB for continuing to believe in the Made in Hayward students and their pathway to being college and career ready.


Tennyson High School Drop-Out Prevention Program Statistic - 
Did you know that last year at this time Tennyson high school had a 91.7% attendance rate and this year they have increased to 93.7%, that is a 1.7% increase or 30 more students per day attending all classes!



Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 9/26/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage

Fathers took center stage on the first day of school throughout the Hayward Unified School District last Thursday.


In collaboration with the Black Star Project, HUSD teamed up to encourage fathers and men to participate in the 2016 version of the “Million Father March,” with a special event at Longwood Elementary School in North Hayward that featured speakers and messages about the importance of men’s involvement in children’s education.


The purpose of the event was to encourage all men and fathers around the country to take their children or relatives to school and be involved with their education, in hopes of having one million fathers participate nationwide. “Research shows that children whose fathers take an active role in their educational lives earn better grades, score higher on tests, enjoy school more and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college,” HUSD media contact Sabrina Aranda said. “Additionally, children have fewer behavior problems when fathers listen to and talk with them regularly and are active in their lives.”


The event took place in almost 600 cities across the country and was expected to have one million men participate, not including women and children, which, if included, puts that total well over the million mark. These numbers were up from one million men, women and children who participated in 2014 in 525 cities, according to the HUSD.


The special event at Longwood explained the purpose of the march and elaborated on the importance of male involvement in their children’s education and lives.


“I did it last year too, it’s cool to see all the dad’s come together,” parent Samuel Navarez said. “I didn’t have a dad so I made sure I was going to be in my kids’ lives every day. I bring my kids to school every day but it’s cool to know it means a lot.”


According to Black Star Project coordinator D. Israel, the event was based on the original Million Man March in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 16, 1995. The original march was organized by Louis Farrakhan, an American religious leader, and was supposed to showcase the positive impact of African American men, something that Farrakhan felt was being lied about by the media.

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 9/1/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage
By Darin Moriki, dmoriki@bayareanewsgroup.com
The Mercury News
Posted:Thu Sep 01 10:14:28 MDT 2016

On most mornings, Paolo Ferretti is at work by the time his children wake up, but he made a special point to take them to school with his wife on the first day of classes as part of the Million Father March.

The Hayward Unified School District's annual back-to-school event, now in its sixth year, encourages men to accompany children to their first day of school as a way of building family bonds and bolstering educational involvement

"You have a peace of mind knowing that the kids are at school and they're safe, and going to be in a safe learning environment," Ferretti said as his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, Gabriel, 11, Michael, 10, stood outside Longwood Elementary School.

The Million Father March is the brainchild of the Black Star Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit that, according to its website, seeks to provide "educational services that improve the lives of less-advantaged black communities and to close the racial academic achievement gap."

Hayward school board trustee William McGee said he discovered the Million Father March by chance nearly six years ago, when he ran into organizers at an educational conference. He brought the idea back to Hayward school administrators, and it quickly took hold.

"By default, a lot of times mothers or women are automatically in the lives of their children educationally," McGee said at an Aug. 25 back-to-school assembly for Longwood Elementary parents.

"Fathers, we know, want to be there, but sometimes they have to work, and they're the ones having to do different things, and they can't get here, so we brought this march to our district six years ago," he said.

The school district estimates more than 1,000 Hayward parents participated in the annual march last year.

"We also encourage everyone, including fathers, brothers and uncles, to volunteer in our schools, because it really makes a difference," McGee said.

"We've seen that, when the men are more active in the educational part of their child's life, the child does a lot better," he said.

Acting Hayward schools Superintendent Matt Wayne said the march hits home for him as the father of a 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.

"My daughter isn't quite as excited to have me walk her to school and hold her hand anymore, but I've got to tell you, taking her to school is so important," Wayne told parents at the assembly.

"When she went to middle school, I stopped taking her to school because it was in a different direction from my house, but now that she's in high school, I'm taking her to school again -- it's only about 15 minutes in the morning, but that is incredibly precious time, because that's time that I have just with her alone" he said.

"Most of the rest of the time, like on the weekends or after school, she's with her friends, on her phone or doing different things, but in the morning, we have this opportunity to go to school together and we really talk and share, so it keeps that connection," Wayne said.

Hayward resident Cleveland Mitchell lives close to Longwood Elementary and said he tries to find time to take his sons, Kyree, 6, and, Albert, 7, to school in the morning.

"There's some pretty good love to see all of the parents out here and officers from the community," Mitchell said.

"Our kids are our future, and we need to be a part of that -- it's as simple as that," he said.

Contact Darin Moriki at 510-293-2480 or follow him at Twitter.com/darinmoriki

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 9/1/16

Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Hayward Unified School District Students Make Gains in State Assessment

State Test Scores Indicate Academic Improvements


August 23, 2016 (Hayward) - The California Department of Education (CDE) released today the results of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). The computer-based assessments, administered to students last spring, indicate their progress in learning new, more rigorous academic standards designed to prepare them for college and careers in the 21st century. These tests include a wider variety of questions than the multiple choice tests they replaced, requiring students to explain how they solve problems, think critically, and write analytically.


Celebrating Growth


With the 2014-15 school year being the baseline year, the second year of CAASPP testing allows for districts to measure growth. Hayward Unified School District is proud to announce that Hayward students meeting or exceeding standards rose from 32% in 2015 to 36% in 2016 in ELA. In Math, this percentage rose from 21% to 23%. This compares to 3% growth in ELA in Alameda County and 2% in Math. At the school level, 23 of the 30 Hayward schools saw growth in ELA, while 18 of the 30 Hayward schools saw growth in Math.


In addition to overall growth, English Learners and every statistically significant ethnic subgroup in Hayward demonstrated growth in both ELA and Math.  We are proud that in Hayward the difference between the lowest and highest achieving ethnic subgroups narrowed in both ELA and Math.  “Hayward is a wonderfully diverse community and we are committed to ensuring that all students are successful in our schools,” says Acting Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne.  “We still have much work to do, but we are encouraged by the positive achievement trend we are seeing.” 


HUSD also has more students achieving at higher levels. The 12 students who earned perfect scores in ELA and Math is up from 4 students in 2015. This follows a trend in Hayward of growth at all levels. The number of students exceeding standards in either ELA or Math is up from 789 in 2015 to 1,025 in 2016 (an increase of 30%), while the number of students exceeding standards in both ELA and Math is up from 401 in 2015 to 523 in 2016 (also an increase of 30%). “Our goal is to graduate all students with the problem solving and critical thinking skills they need for college and a 21st century career. We are excited about celebrating the many students in our district who demonstrated exceptional achievement, including the twelve students who earned perfect scores on both ELA and Math” says Board President Lisa Brunner for the Hayward Unified School District.


Ms. Gloria Prada, Hayward director of Assessment, Research, and Evaluation, is “grateful to Hayward teachers for the increasingly smooth implementation of the computerized testing, which has resulted in impressively high rates of participation.” Every school in Hayward, with the exception of its continuation high school, met the State mandated participation rate of 95%. This includes the three comprehensive high schools that did not meet this requirement in 2015.


Facing the Challenges Ahead


While HUSD demonstrated improvement during the 2015-16 school year, the District still has much work to do to ensure that all students master the state standards.  Currently, HUSD only has a third of students meeting or exceeding standards in ELA and a quarter of students meeting or exceeding standards in Math. While the District has shown improvement, measures of success on the CAASPP are still too low. Students across Alameda County met or exceeded standards at a rate 55% in ELA and 46% in Math. In addition, students across the State of California scored 49% in ELA and 37% in Math.


In order to accelerate student achievement, the District is focused on a few key initiatives to support teaching and learning. These include...

  • Professional development for staff on academically engaging units and lessons
  • A focus on math and how to teach it in culturally relevant ways
  • Support on how to integrate English Language Development into every lesson
  • An African-American Student Achievement Initiative that involves staff and community members
  • A community schools approach that connects families to resources to ensure students come to class ready to learn
  • Innovative college and career readiness programs such as our Middle College program in which middle school students take community college classes, a Latinas in STEM mentoring program, a College Bound Hayward program that includes students and families, and the first Puente program at the middle school level in the state


“We have committed teachers, excellent school leaders, and a supportive parent community who wants the best for our Made in Hayward children,” stated Acting Superintendent Wayne. “For example, yesterday we had over 500 elementary teachers participate in professional development focused on math instruction.  We are ready to go for the 2016-17 school year and embrace the challenges ahead of us.”


HUSD Results for 2016 Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments by Grade Level


ELA Standard Met or Exceeded (%)








Grade 3



Grade 4



Grade 5



Grade 6



Grade 7



Grade 8



Grade 11



















Math Standard Met or Exceeded (%)








Grade 3



Grade 4



Grade 5



Grade 6



Grade 7



Grade 8



Grade 11



















The CDE’s CAASPP Results websites contains the results broken down by grade, gender, ethnic groups, and demographics. Click here to read more and view charts which provide additional information on the district, county, state and individual schools.


About The Hayward Unified School District:  The Hayward Unified School District serves approximately 22,000 students ranging from Preschool to 12th grade at 33 schools in the city of Hayward, CA. For more information, please visit us online at www.husd.k12.ca.us.  





Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 8/24/16

Audience: New SP, Homepage, Communications, News, New SP, Homepage and News

One Million Fathers Asked to Lead

the Nation Back to School this Fall


600 Cities to Participate in the Largest, Organized

Back-to-School Effort in the United States


Media contact:  Sabrina Aranda

                          Cell (510) 999-4032   E-mail:  saranda@husd.us


WHAT: Million Father March provides an escort of safety, support, and encouragement to students of all ages on their first day of school

WHEN: Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 7:30 A.M. – 9:00 A.M.

WHERE: Longwood Elementary School, 850 Longwood Ave, Hayward, CA 94541





HAYWARD, CALIF. –The Hayward Unified School District will participate in the annual Million Father March 2016 an event organized by the Black Star Project on the first day of school in nearly 600 cities across America.  The Million Father March has become a special day that fathers and men use to make a commitment to their children, their families, their communities and their country with their dynamic presence at a school.  This is the real Father’s Day! The Hayward Unified School District encourages fathers and men to participate in the Million Father March 2016 and take their children or a child to school on the first day- August 25.


The Million Father March 2016 will play out at thousands of schools across American. An estimate 1 million men, women and children participated nationwide in 525 cities in 2014. This year, an estimate 1,000,000 men from 600 cities are expected to participate. The Million Father March provides an escort of safety, support, and encouragement to children of all ages on their first day of school.


Research shows that children whose fathers take an active role in their educational lives earn better grades, score higher on tests, enjoy school more and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college.  Additionally, children have fewer behavior problems when fathers listen to and talk with them regularly and are active in their lives.  A good father is part of a good parent team and is critical to creating a strong family structure.  Strong family structures produce children who are more academically proficient, socially developed, and self-assured.  Such children become adults who are valuable assets to their communities.  “Not only are our students excited, but fathers and males figures in their lives are excited as well. We issue this strong call to action for them to participate – on the first day and every day- in the educational lives of their students,” says trustee William McGee for the Hayward Unified School District.


Participants in the event include fathers, grandfathers, foster fathers, stepfathers, uncles, cousins, big brothers, significant male caregivers, mentors and family friends.   Although this event is created by Black men, people of any gender and ethnic identification are also encouraged to take their children to school on the first school day.  Businesses are asked to give fathers and men two hours off that morning, with pay, to take their children to school.  Participating men will also be encouraged to volunteer at schools throughout the year.  A special effort will be made to coordinate Latino Fathers in La Marcha De Un Millón De Padres.


The 2016 Million Father March is sponsored in part by The Black Star Project and the Hayward Unified School District. Please email disrael@husd.k12.ca.us call 510-723-3857 ext. 34182 for more information about The March.  


Hayward Unified School District will support this event at all school sites, with a special event scheduled at Longwood Elementary School on Thursday, August 25, 2016 from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM.







Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 8/21/16

Audience: Homepage, Communications, News, Homepage and News

Cal State East Bay and Hayward Unified School District, partners in the Hayward Promise Neighborhood Initiative, have come together to launch the Farmers to Pioneers program — a pathway for first-generation Hayward High School students to begin college at Cal State East Bay.


According to organizers, the intention of Farmers to Pioneers is to help students and their parents develop the skills and motivation necessary for student success in higher education. The program promotes academic achievement in school course work, community leadership, family engagement and a “college-going culture.”


“Farmers to Pioneers is a natural extension of the work Cal State East Bay is doing with Hayward Promise Neighborhood, ensuring all students who want to go to college have the tools and resources needed to become successful in college, and transition to a rewarding career,” said Carolyn Nelson, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs for Cal State East Bay.


The name Farmers to Pioneers is a reference to the two schools' mascots — the Hayward High Farmers and the Cal State East Bay Pioneers. 


Through Farmers to Pioneers students will receive:

  • academic tutoring and study skills
  • mentoring
  • personal values and career assessments
  • job exploration and shadowing opportunities
  • college campus visits
  • financial aid information/application assistance and much more

A key component of Farmers to Pioneers is the inclusion of parents. Students receive weekly academic support and participate in various workshops once a month.


Simultaneously, their parents are enrolled in workshops designed to ensure they too are prepared to support their students in transitioning into college.


“By high school, parents are typically disengaged with their child’s academics,” said Hope Cranford, outreach and admissions coordinator for CSUEB’s Educational Opportunity Program. “High school is a crucial time for parents to be involved because their child is making academic, social and personal decisions that will impact the rest of their life.”

“Parent involvement is vital because it creates a strong foundation for parents to truly understand what is needed for their child to thrive in college,” added Janevette Cole, Hayward Promise Neighborhood community resident engagement specialist.


In its inaugural year, Farmers to Pioneers launched with 22 10th grade students from Hayward High School. The goal is to recruit 20 new first-generation, low-income and foster youth each academic year, who will participate in the program until high school graduation. Following graduation, each student will have the opportunity to automatically enroll in Cal State East Bay’s Educational Opportunity Program as a college freshman.

Posted by: Sabrina Aranda, District Admin, Hayward Unified School District
Published: 8/21/16