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County Board Recognizes Classified Employees of the Year

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SAN BERNARDINO – This year’s five Classified Employees of the Year for schools and districts in San Bernardino County will be honored by the County Board of Education at its meeting on April 1.

The five recipients represent more than 18,500 classified workers across the county’s 33 school districts and more than 530 schools.

“Classified staff are critical to our schools being safe and functional every day so that students have facilities that promote academic achievement,” County Superintendent Gary Thomas said. “I want to be the first to congratulate this year’s recipients for the work they do for their schools and districts.”

This year’s Classified Employees of the Year were nominated by their school districts and selected by a judging panel for the statewide program, which was initiated five years ago. The county winners advance to a California Classified Employees of the Year competition. The state recipients will be announced later in the spring.

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union is a corporate sponsor for the county awards ceremony, which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on April 1. The County Board meeting will be held at the San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools’ Brier building, located at 760 E. Brier Drive in San Bernardino.

The county Classified School Employees of the Year, their positions and the schools and/or districts they represent are:

•Franklin Fox, custodian, at Rialto Middle School in the Rialto Unified School District;

•Roberta Huckeba, child nutrition worker, at Chapman Heights Elementary School in the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District;

•Debbie Long, clerk, at Chino Hills High School in the Chino Valley Unified School District;

•Gina Loring, library media technician, at Cucamonga Middle School in the Central School District;

•Anita Sida, bilingual aide, at Citrus Elementary School in the Fontana Unified School District;

In the category of Maintenance Operations and Facilities, Fox has spent the past three years at Rialto Middle School and has worked in the district for the past seven years. “Frank is not only an exemplary employee, but most importantly, he has contributed to the success and recognition of Rialto Middle,” wrote Arnie Ayala, principal at the school, in Fox’s nomination. “As our lead custodian, he needs little to no direction when it comes to his responsibilities. Frank has set the bar and will always be the standard.”

For Huckeba, she is the recipient in the category of Child Nutrition. For the past 17 years, she has worked in the Yucaipa-Calimesa district. “Roberta has been a leader in our department for years and a wonderful support for management to educate her peers. I cannot think of a more deserving classified employee than Roberta,” wrote Ann Aguilar, who is the child nutrition director for the district, in the nomination for Huckeba.

In the category of Office and Technical work, Long has been in her position as a clerk at Chino Hills High for the past nine years. “She is able to provide exemplary customer service, and with a smile. She is affectionately known as ‘school mom’ for both students and staff alike,” wrote Principal Jacqueline Perez in her nomination of Long. Added Athletic Director Derek Bub: “Debbie comes to work each day and consistently asks what she can do to help out more in each department.”

For Loring, she was selected as the recipient in the category of Support Services and Security. For the past 18 years, she has worked as a library media technician in the Central School District. Central Superintendent Donna Libutti said Loring is very active in the community of Rancho Cucamonga. “She continually thinks outside the box to seek new ways to support students in all areas including their academic, social and emotional growth and development,” Libutti wrote in her nomination of Loring.

The fifth County Classified Employee of the Year is Sida, who has been a bilingual aide in Fontana for the past 27 years. She was selected in the category of Para-educator and Instructional Assistant. Principal Kevin Tierney of Citrus Elementary said Sida’s insights and experience are valuable assets as a member of the school’s support team. “She takes on a variety of duties with a high level of skill and finesse,” he wrote in Sida’s nomination.

RPU Receives Honors in Annual American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards

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Riverside – Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) received four honors last week in the 2013 Inland Empire Ad Club/American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards competition for advertising and marketing items it created over the past year.

Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation (the oldest national advertising trade association), the IEAC/AAF ADDY Awards are the first of a three-tier national competition that recognizes creative excellence of all forms of advertising.

RPU, which creates a variety of informative materials each year, received Silver ADDY awards for its Green Action Plan, its 2012 Financial Report, and “Lighting Has Evolved” advertisement.

The utility also received Bronze ADDY recognition for its design of the Riverside Police Department’s “Safe In Our Arms Strategic Plan 2010-2015” report.

Pomona Minister Appointed Bishop of Brazil Ecclestiastical Jurisdiction

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On May 6, 2013 Bishop Terence P. Rhone, pastor of Mt. Sinai Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in Pomona will be honored at a celebratory inaugural banquet for his being appointed as Bishop of the Brazil Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction. On November 11, 2012, Dr. Rhone was appointed by COGIC Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake.

Dr. Rhone graduated from Oral Roberts University in 1986 Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and he obtained his medical degree from the Western University of Health Sciences in 1990. He is board certified in the disciplines of internal medicine and lung disease and currently practices in Downey, California as an internist and a specialist in lung disease and critical medicine.

For nearly 11 years, Dr. Rhone has served as Pastor of the Mt. Sinai Church of God in Christ in Pomona, California. Each year he leads a delegation to the foreign fields of the Republic of the Philippines and Brazil to conduct medical missions and ministry trainings during their annual Auxiliaries In Ministry Convention.

For more information about the Celebratory Inaugural Banquet, please refer to the website at www.cogicbrazilbanquet.com or call Event Chairperson, Mary L. Paige, at (909) 868-0224.

Assemblymember Medina Welcomes Community to Open House

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On Friday, March 15, Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside) hosted an Open House at his district office in Riverside. Community leaders, friends, and neighbors attended the event in order to visit the District Office and discuss state and local issues with Assemblymember Medina.

“I was delighted to meet with constituents and community members to discuss important issues facing our district and California,” said Medina.

The Open House was a great success with over 250 guests attending the event. The guests had the opportunity to meet the Assemblymember and discuss the work he is doing on behalf of the 61st Assembly District. As well, guests met with the district staff, were given tours of the office, and received a firsthand experience of the District Office.

Medina’s district office is located at 1223 University Avenue, Suite 230, Riverside.

S.B. County Superintendent Delivers State of Education Address

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Incorporating the themes of leadership, advocacy and service, San Bernardino County Superintendent Gary Thomas recently delivered his fifth annual State of Education Address.

“We know that distinguished, bold and active leadership aspires to transform lives through education,” Thomas said. “That advocacy shapes policy, as well the lives of students and families; and with both innovative and responsive service, it keeps students at the heart of our calling and work.”

Thomas delivered his speech at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts in downtown San Bernardino. Greg Devereaux, Chief Executive Officer, San Bernardino County, emceed the event and introduced Thomas.

Several hundred community members attended the event, including elected county leaders, community and business partners, teachers, superintendents, classified staff and board of education members.

In his speech, Thomas introduced video presentations of students, representing different focuses of his speech from college and career preparation and school safety to student activities and programs.

“The students represented today are only seven of the more than 414,000 public school students in our county, and they only represent a microcosm of the diverse populations we serve,” he said. “We are aiming high and see it as a moral obligation to work across boundaries to support the success of every child.”

Strong leadership from the classroom to the administrative offices and across the county’s 33 school districts takes a cooperative spirit, which is taking shape in San Bernardino County. Thomas highlighted the collaborative efforts under way with the countywide vision project, citing the work of Devereaux at the county, as well as newly appointed President Tomás Morales of California State University, San Bernardino, who co-chairs the project’s education element group with Thomas.

“We want to create broad-based support for a countywide goal where all sectors of the community partner to support the success of every child from cradle to career,” Thomas said. “Education lays a foundation for the fundamental future success of our county and region.”

Support from the public in passing Proposition 30 in November is the first good news about the state budget that Thomas can report since he began his tenure as county superintendent.

He also said that Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed new overhaul of school funding through the Local Control Funding Formula finally begins to address the state’s inequitable and outdated system. The proposed formula recognizes the needs of disadvantaged students, but in no way adequately funds the needs of California’s public education system.

“I am hopeful that the tables have turned and we are seeing the beginning of a reinvestment in public education in California,” he said. “One thing is for sure: a strong finance system for our schools is essential to meet the need of preparing students for college and careers, and for schools to succeed in teaching to a more rigorous set of Common Core standards.”

With the new Common Core standards on target to be fully implemented statewide by the 2014- 15 academic year, an emphasis on project-based learning and a heavy emphasis on increasing use of technology will be cornerstones to the new standards.

Along with the new focus through Common Core, increasing graduation rates with the goal of providing more post-secondary educational opportunities for county students will remain top priorities. In a recent Forbes.com report, this region ranked as second- fastest in the country for growing high-tech jobs.

Having strong science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM curriculum in schools is paramount to continuing to fuel the trend for creating more high-tech opportunities. Preparing students for post-secondary educational and career opportunities is one of the strategies County Schools adopted as part of its strategic planning process in 2012.

“The gap between the demands of California’s economy and the supply of college-educated workers represents a serious hurdle to an economically viable future for our state as a whole, and particularly for the Inland Empire region,” Thomas said.

Dropout rates in the county have been decreasing – down to 15.3 percent during the most recently reported data in 2010-11 – while grad rates have been on the rise, up to 74 percent.

On the subject of school safety, Thomas said the collaborative nature in the county among educators, law enforcement and justice have made differences in protecting students and staff on campuses. Being even more vigilant, schools need to rehearse scenarios about active shooters on their campuses just like drills that have been done in the past concerning fires and earthquakes.

“My office has pledged to work with the district attorney, county sheriff and other public safety partners to tackle challenging issues that threaten the safety and well being of our children,” he said.

In conclusion, Thomas wants to provide educational opportunities for all students to achieve.

“At County Schools, we see it as our purpose to lead, to advocate and to serve - on behalf of students and on behalf of you,” he said. “We believe that through this stewardship and through our commitments we can deliver on this promise and transform lives through education.”

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BVN National News Wire