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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

News & Updates

News & Updates

Buena High School Senior's Art to be Hung in Capitol Building in D.C. - Friday, June 7, 2019

Together We Are One Art PieceVUSD STUDENT ART TO BE HUNG IN CAPITOL BUILDING

Madison Lonis, Buena High School senior, selected to go to Washington, D.C.

Each spring, the Congressional Institute of the U.S. Congress sponsors a nationwide high school visual arts competition for students in grades 9-12 to recognize artistic talent in each Congressional District (CD). A panel of local artists selected this year's winner for Congresswoman Julia Brownley's district, Buena High School Senior, Madison Lonis. Madison's piece, Together We Are One will be publicly displayed at the U.S. Capitol Building for one year. Madison will be attending a reception, in her honor, on June 24 in Washington, D.C. 

“I am always in awe of the level of artistic talent and creativity that Ventura County high school students display during the Congressional Art Competition,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “This is an important reminder of how the arts can play a critical role in improving young people’s ability to communicate their lived experiences and cultural awareness.”

 

"Madison's drive is incomparable; no other student has ever come in with the same work ethic.  She is constantly seeking out new opportunities," stated Mrs. Rapattoni, Madison's art teacher. "She made this piece for others. She can see others vision and visually communicate that, which is very impressive for someone her age."

"This piece, driven by the prompt of "perspective on peace," is meant to convey that no matter what your background might be, together we are a whole. Together we create one giant community even though we are little communities within cities and countries; together, we are all one," stated Madison. 

From a young age, Madison has been very creative, creating characters, and exploring different art styles, including watercolors and digital art.  She loves dance, music, and performing.  She was recently cast in Buena High School's Spring Show, Chicago.  Madison has had more than her fair share of challenges over the years but is looking forward to graduation and what is next for her.  After going to Washington, D.C., she plans on going to Ventura College and pursuing a studio arts degree; she will continue to study dance and is opening her own graphic design business in which she will illustrate children's books and already has her first client.  Once she completes her degree at Ventura College, she plans to transfer to a four-year university; her dream school is Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. 

"My best advice to an incoming freshman is going to sound corny, don't give up.  Reach for the stars until your arms hurt.  There will be people who tell you cannot do it; you will have internalized thoughts that say you cannot do it, always push harder than you believe you can push. Art is a hard industry, but if you love it, and it is your passion, show it off, really integrate yourself as deep into the arts as you can, and keep thriving and striving. Breathe art, breathe opportunity, breathe hope because you can do it, you just have to believe," stated Madison.

Two other VUSD students were chosen as honorable mentions; Madeleine Espinosa and Jagger Dadigan both from Foothill Technology High School.  Their pieces will be displayed in the Congresswoman’s district office. 

 
BOVA QUINTUPLETS GRADUATE VUSD - Thursday, June 6, 2019

Pictured L-R: Sam, Abby, Katie, Nate and EmilineBOVA QUINTUPLETS GRADUATE
The five siblings will graduate from Foothill Technology High School on June 13

On Thursday, June 13, at 1 pm Foothill Technology High School and its Principal Joe Bova will be graduating its senior class and along with it, the quintuplets whose story local Venturans have followed since birth.  Abby (Abigail), Emiline, Katie (Kathryn), Nate (Nathaniel) and Sam (Samuel) will walk across the stage and accept their diplomas from their father, Joe Bova before heading out on individual college adventures. 

Ventura residents first learned of the “Bova Clan” when a kindergarten teacher at Junipero Serra Elementary, Lynn Bova, gave birth to quintuplets in March of 2001 at Community Memorial Hospital. Joe Bova, who works at the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD), was quoted as saying, “We’re not going to figure out how to handle it, we are just going to do it.” Adding to their small family of three, Ryan was one and a half at the time; this attitude seems to be what has gotten the family through 18 years of sports, activities, and homework.  This good-natured bunch credits their parents for the hard work and sacrifice that went into raising six children.

“They have been really supportive. I have no idea how our parents have done it, making sure all of our schedules were correct and getting us to all of the things we were involved in over the last 18 years,” stated Abby, with the others aggressively nodding. “Our parents’ dedication and how they have cared for us, has formed who we are now as a family and how we treat and care about each other. Prioritizing family came from them.”

The siblings also credit their incredible teachers and the opportunities that have been offered to them and their classmates at VUSD with being ready for the next steps in their educational careers.  All five played basketball for Foothill and all credit the excellent coaching they received on and off the court for “teaching us to be good people, and how to be serious about the sport while also having fun.”  “All of our children were able to find the right fit for themselves, which is important and one of the unique qualities of VUSD- the ability to find the right fit for each student/family.  From sports to academic programs to services, they found special programs that fit their interests and needs,” stated Lynn.

The siblings will be transitioning out on their own after graduation. Their older brother Ryan is currently attending Whitworth University in Washington and majoring in Biology. Abby will be attending Westmont College in Santa Barbara and hopes to walk-on to the basketball team.  Emiline and Katie will be heading off together to George Fox University in Oregon. Emiline will be studying Biology and like Abby, hopes to walk-on to the basketball team, while Katie will be majoring in Nursing, with a focus on emergency room work.  Nate will be staying closer to home and attending Ventura College while he pursues his passion in Kinesiology and plans on transferring to obtain his degree in Physical Therapy or Athletic Training.  Sam, the comedian of the group, will be going the furthest away, and will be attending Syracuse University in New York to study Communications and laughs that he, like his sisters, will be attempting to walk-on to Syracuse’s powerhouse basketball team, or after further thought, he may just walk to the gym to watch a game or two. Lynn will continue teaching at Juanamaria Elementary School, and Joe will continue to work as the Principal of Foothill Technology High School.

The siblings, who genuinely enjoy each other’s company, plan to communicate regularly, talking about group chats and late night phone calls. “We are most comfortable with each other.  We talk about everything, and I think we will be sharing all of our college experiences as we adjust to being without each other every day,” said Nate. While being a family with quintuplets makes this family unique, the special thing about the Bova family is the sum of all of its parts. “We wouldn’t be who we are without any one of us. Each person brings something crazy, fun, inspiring, and challenging,” stated Lynn.



 
Eyes on the Westside - Wednesday, June 5, 2019

EYES ON THE WESTSIDE
Temporary art installation in Ventura will be a first for De Anza Academy of Technology and Arts

Students at De Anza Academy of Technology and Arts (DATA) will install their first temporary art project, Eyes on the Westside on the streets of Ventura on Saturday, June 8, 2019, 11 am at 481 N. Ventura Ave.  The public is invited to be a part of this community event. This art installation intends to put the Westside’s diversity and community on display. DATA’s piece is a part of a larger project by JR, artist & TED prizewinner, titled INSIDE OUT, which is a global platform for people to share their untold stories and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art. Eyes on the Westside, which will measure 70 ft.by 30 ft., will be up for approximately six months and was the brainchild of DATA eighth grade student Ruby Lacques.

“My mom introduced me to JR and the INSIDE OUT project a few years ago.  I asked my art teacher, Ms. Bandringa, about doing an installation in our community and being a part of this worldwide project.  I grew up here and feel that our community is lacking representation of its diversity. I want people to walk by and see the faces of diverse children and know that they are our future. It was important to me that they be children from the Westside,” stated Ruby Lacques.

As the portraits of children on the Westside are pasted up, the hope is to see everyone as valuable and equal and to bring people together to help chase away racial discrimination. Five seventh and eighth grade students have taken ownership over this project; Ruby, Lukas, Cash, Carina, and Naia, from developing the why, to photographing and editing all of the art that will be installed, and they are most proud of the way they are impacting the thinking of their fellow students and community members.

“I wanted to show the students this idea of what a community building installation could be for a school. I wanted the students to lead the project while providing as much support as possible.  We are lucky to have a strong leader like Principal Guerrero. He made the unimaginable, possible,” stated Ms. Bandringa, DATA art teacher.   

DATA’s project was a community collaboration between the Ventura Unified School District, City of Ventura, Westside Community Development Corporation, and Local 805 Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. "Each INSIDE OUT group action around the world is documented, archived, and exhibited online. Over 260,000 people have participated in 129 countries.  The INSIDE OUT project has traveled from Ecuador to Nepal, from Mexico to Palestine, inspiring group actions on varied themes such as hope, diversity, and climate change." For more information on this project visit, http://www.insideoutproject.net/en/group-actions/united-states-ventura.



 

 
New Principal Announcement - Tuesday, May 28, 2019

New Principal Announcement at Ventura Unified School District
VUSD announces new Principal at DeAnza Middle School

The District is pleased to announce that Ms. Marissa Cervantes will serve as the new Principal of DeAnza (DATA) Middle School beginning July 1, 2019.  The VUSD Board of Education, by a 5-0 vote, approved Ms. Cervantes at the Tuesday, May 28, 2019 Board meeting. Ms. Cervantes will replace Hector Guerrero, who was recently announced as the new Principal for El Camino High School and Director of Educational Options.

“Ms. Cervantes is a highly talented educator who has the experience, skills, talents, and abilities to do an excellent job serving the DeAnza school community. We are looking forward to her joining our VUSD team, stated Dr. Jeff Davis, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources.

Ms. Cervantes has 15 years of experience in the field of education.  She spent the early part of her career in Santa Paula working as the Director of the Summer Algebra Academy, as an Outreach Counselor at Renaissance High School, and as a Program Specialist/Counselor at Santa Paula High School.  She then worked as an Assistant Principal for six years at Pacifica High School in the Oxnard Union High School District and is completing her second year as Assistant Principal at Blackstock Junior High School in the Hueneme Elementary School District. 

Ms. Cervantes, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, holds a B.A. in Sociology, an M.S. in School Counseling, and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from California State University, Northridge, as well as, an Administrative Services Credential from California State University, Channel Islands. She also received the Association of California School Administrators Region XIII Co-Secondary Administrator Award in 2015.



 
WILLIAMSON FAMILY LEGACY LIVES ON AT VUSD - Monday, May 20, 2019

          

     FAMILY LEGACY LIVES ON AT VUSD

When asked how she, her husband John, and their son Matt all became teachers in the Ventura Unified School District, Trisha Williamson responded, “Education does not run in our family; it gallops.”

Trisha is celebrating her 31st year as an educator at Portola Elementary School, and her husband John, found a home as a Math teacher at ATLAS Elementary after serving as an administrator at a private school and substituting at various schools while he obtained his credential.  “I remember John’s interview,” stated Jennifer Duston, ATLAS Principal.  “We were a few questions in, and I asked John, why do you want to come to ATLAS?  He said, ‘I want to find a home.  A place I can make a difference.’ Something clicked, I knew then and there that John was the perfect fit for our school and I wasn’t wrong,”

Trisha and John’s son Matt, a fifth generation teacher, is currently finishing one of the most important assignments of his career, serving as Mr. 2.0.  Mr. 2.0 is in reference to his father, whose class Matt recently took over when his father was diagnosed with cancer.  John had been serving in his tenth year at ATLAS Elementary School when the diagnosis first came through.  “We thought it would be something we would deal with for a month or two and continue to live our lives,” Trisha said.  Principal Duston called Matt to see if he wanted to substitute teach in his dad’s fifth-grade math class. He had been substitute teaching at the school on and off for two years, and it seemed like a good fit for the month his dad would be out.  Matt jumped at the chance, and the students were happy that Mr. 2.0 would be filling in. 

“Unfortunately, every time we thought everything was on the right track, we would get knocked down again,” Trisha said.  One month turned into two, and instead of returning to the classroom in November, John passed away in March. “My goal was to have a Williamson in that room to finish out the year with his class.  My dad had these same students in the fourth grade, they knew him well, respected and loved him and this was going to be just as hard on them as it was on us. His classroom was his legacy”, stated Matt. “Up until the last few days of his life he always talked about his classroom, that was everything to him, his students.”

Matt continues his dad’s legacy, returning to the classroom only two days after his father passed.  “John wanted the focus to stay on the students. He did not want a funeral because he knew that that would take people out of their classrooms. He was adamant about that,” stated Trisha.  Matt’s focus is now on ensuring that this fifth-grade class has all the support they need during their transition to middle school. “I want to provide some stability for them, to be there to talk to, that is such a big part of the job.  They are scared of what lies ahead in middle school.  I need to be there and show up for them, no matter what is happening in my life,” stated Matt.  These same students are helping Matt and Trisha during their transition without John. “The children have been a big dose of normal for us.  Portola, ATLAS, and the entire district have been phenomenal in supporting all three of us through John’s illness. We never felt alone,” Trisha said. 

Trisha and Matt are finishing off the school year before they head out to Washington D.C. with Matt’s girlfriend Amy, also an educator.  Trisha and John loved to travel together, and before he passed, John made them promise they would go to D.C. as a family.  They are looking forward to the trip and honoring John’s memory.  “We have to remember how much he loved us and how much he loved teaching and honor his wishes; to teach on,” said Trisha.  Trisha will continue working as a teacher at Portola and Matt is hoping the future brings a home, much like his dad’s, as he applies to local middle and high school teaching positions for the fall. “I want to make a difference like Dad, that is very important to me, to continue the legacy that he began,” stated Matt.

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) is located in Southern California, in the coastal city of Ventura, approximately 70 miles north of Los Angeles.  The district is made up of an early childhood education program, 26 elementary, middle, and high schools, with more than 16,000 school-age students, an adult education center, 2,000 staff, and a wealth of parents and community members who all strive to help our children find their passion—academically and personally. For more information visit www.venturausd.org or call 805-641-5000.


 
$18,000 in Grants Awarded to VUSD Teachers - Thursday, May 16, 2019


VENTURA EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP AWARDS $18,000 TO VUSD TEACHERS THROUGH THE THINK BIG GRANT PROGRAM

 

The VEP Board has announced that the Partnership has awarded Think Big Grants of $6000 each to three innovative Ventura Unified School District teachers. Think Big Grants range over a two year span. They are collaborative and bring together teachers, community members and students. They cross grade levels and subjects. VEP had 22 applications for three grants. The process involved a written application and an interview. Six of the 22 applicants were interviewed. The three recipients are:

Alex Wulff- DATA Middle School-SPARK VUSD will encourage and facilitate innovative practices throughout VUSD by establishing a student hosted "Makerspace" training and support center for all Ventura Unified teachers.

Petra McCullough- ATLAS Elementary School- "The Story Time Could Tell." Students will explore the concept that Earth is organized into different systems by solving real-world problems, collecting data, organizing ideas, making predictions, collaborating as a team, and using time-lapse video.

 Kristen Pelfrey- Foothill Technology High School- CREATE: Collaborative Responses (using) Electronics Art Technology Entrepreneurship- All 9th graders are CREATors producing individual and collaborative responses to prompts in a classroom makerspace.

Madhu Bajaj, President of the Ventura Education Partnership commented. "while we love our regular VEPGrants program which offer up to $1000 for classroom grants and will continue to offer those once a year, we wanted to do something more to support highly innovative educators. The Think Big Grants gave us the opportunity to invest in transformative projects that are collaborative and impact a large number of students. We look forward to sharing project results in the near future and expanding this new offering over time."

Many community businesses and organizations support this program through their funding of VEPGrants. Some of them include MJP Technologies, Community Memorial Health System, Aera Energy, Mountains to Beach Marathon, the Rotary Club of Ventura and the Ventura Kiwanis Club. The Ventura Education Partnership connects community resources to support and sustain innovation in education to benefit VUSD students.

 The VEPGrant program will be spotlighted at the inaugural "LAUNCH" event on June 20, 2019. This event will be held at the Ventura Masonic Center at 5:30 pm. LAUNCH will celebrate passionate educators who tell their stories of inspired classroom innovation. For more information contact: VenturaEducationPartnership.org 


 
Ventura High's Derek Pekar Soars to Masters - Thursday, May 16, 2019


PEKAR AND VENTURA HIGH SCHOOL HEAD TO MASTERS

VENTURA, CA, May 15, 2019-Before Derek Pekar heads off to the University of Virginia this fall to begin his college career; he still has work to complete for the Ventura High School (VHS) Track & Field team in the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD). He will participate in the Track & Field Masters Meet at El Camino College this Saturday, May 18.  The journey to the Masters has been a long and determined one for Pekar who competed in four events in the finals, which is rare for a high school student athlete and assisted with VHS’ first CIF Division 2 Boys Track and Field Championship in 20 years last weekend at Southern Sectionals.

 “He is really good at having fun when he competes.  He always wants to do his very best but if he doesn’t hit a big mark, his attitude is always, okay what is next,” stated VHS Track & Field Coach Kory Anderson.  “He has worked very hard the last few years to get where he is.”

Derek began the sport when he was six with the local track and field club, the Ventura Tigres.  As with all good youth sports programs, Tigres, made track and field fun and from there his love of the sport progressed. He began his VHS career in 2015. “I was nervous.  I knew as a freshman coming into a very successful program and working with Coach Kory Anderson I had to hold my own, I didn’t want to let them down,” stated Pekar. “Coach Anderson is real with me. He is proud of me when I do well but he will be honest with me on what I need to do differently.  He has played a major part in my success.  He helped me take my athletic career to the next level.”

 Pekar also cites his parents as a key reason why he continues to do what he loves.  “My parents combined might have missed two meets in my entire life. Not many kids can say that and I am very grateful. My parents balance each other out really well.  My dad helps to push me when I need it and my mom gives me the space I need to make decisions.”

 Pekar just made another life-changing decision; he has signed with the University of Virginia. “I chose the University of Virginia because of its academics but also because they have a very good track team, top 20, in a very competitive conference, ACC. I really liked the coaches and other athletes and I will be going to school with another athlete that I have competed against locally in the past, it will be great to have another decathlete to train with,” stated Pekar.  Pekar also recognizes that without the excellent education that he has received at all of the schools he has attended in VUSD that he would not be prepared for college. “I have had a lot of great teachers, but the one teacher who challenged me the most had to be Ms. Jones, without a doubt.  My junior year English class was hard but it prepared me for what’s next,” said Pekar.

Kristin Pekar, Derek’s mom and VUSD middle school teacher says, “He has been the essence of grit this year, giving up and sacrificing for what he wants.  He has had such focus and drive with athletics and has balanced that with a challenging academic load, it has been incredible to watch. He has great decision-making skills and his dad and I are super proud of him.”

When asked what advice he would give to an incoming 9th-grade athlete, Pekar said, “Do what you love. If you are playing a sport because someone else told you to play it or you are good at it, but you do not love it, then find what you love. Oh and my mom always tells me, ‘Drive safely, make someone smile, and make good choices.’ That’s good advice too.”

As Coach Anderson contemplates a track team without Pekar next year, he said, “We are going to miss him. He is excellent with the freshmen.  He knows what he is talking about and the students that were here and listening to him are going to be that much better down the road because they came into contact with him.”

UPDATE: 

Derek performed very well at Masters.  He finished fourth in the boys 110 hurdles (14.57) and fifth in the pole vault (14-09) and long jump (22-08.75) and will be headed to CIF- State Championship on Friday and Saturday, May 24 & 25 at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High in Clovis, CA.  

Derek’s teammate Carlos Aviles, a senior headed to The Ohio State, took fifth in the shot put (59-07) and third in the discus (180-11) and will also be moving on to state, as will, junior Madeleine Locher, who became the first girl in program history to win a CIF-SS title in the 3,200 last week, and  finished fourth in the event at Masters with a time of 10:30.73.

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) is located in Southern California, in the coastal city of Ventura, approximately 70 miles north of Los Angeles.  The district is made up of an early childhood education program, 26 elementary, middle, and high schools, with more than 16,000 school-age students, an adult education center, 2,000 staff, and a wealth of parents and community members who all strive to help our children find their passion—academically and personally. For more information visit www.venturausd.org or call 805-641-5000.


 
RESTRUCTURING OF POSITIONS BRINGS NEW FOCUS TO DISTRICT - Tuesday, May 14, 2019


RESTRUCTURING OF POSITIONS BRINGS NEW FOCUS TO DISTRICT

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) Board of Education has voted, 5-0, to restructure current positions and vacancies providing for new job descriptions that will focus on three priority areas.  At the May 14, 2019 Board of Education meeting, it was announced that Rebecca Chandler will serve in the new role of Chief Innovation Officer; Cheryl Burns will assume the role of Assistant Director of Student Support Services and Hector Guerrero will serve as Director of Educational Options.  All three will have a start date of July 1, 2019.

As a means of achieving this restructuring, the District is taking advantage of vacant positions by redefining three currently allocated positions to provide targeted support where the District needs it most.  Rebecca Chandler, the new Chief Innovation Officer, will report directly to Dr. Rice and will focus her attention on promoting new and compelling career education programs and pathways; fostering innovation across the District and programs, and raising funds through grant-writing and business partnerships.  Rebecca currently serves the Oxnard Union High School District as their Director of Career Education and formerly was a leader in the VC Innovates consortium run through the Ventura County Office of Education.

“We are extremely excited to focus our current resources on the priorities of the board and the community to better serve our students with more targeted support without adding new staff positions to the District office,” stated Superintendent Dr. Roger Rice.

Cheryl Burns, the new Assistant Director of Student Support Services, currently serving as principal of El Camino High School will now focus her attention on the social and emotional learning initiatives presently taking place in the schools and provide much-needed support to the Director of Student Support Services, Cynthia Frutos.

Hector Guerrero, the new Director of Educational Options, currently serves as Principal of DATA Middle School in VUSD and will now serve as site leader at El Camino High School. In addition, Guerrero will oversee all alternative education programs at a time when the District is restructuring what alternative education looks like for its students and will work directly with the Alternative Education Task Force.

“The people who are moving into these positions are just stellar. The restructuring was done with careful thought and discussion, and will allow us to be very intentional in the work we are doing for the District and our students,” stated Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Dr. Jeff Davis.


 
Ventura High School Honors Wind Ensemble - Tuesday, May 7, 2019

VENTURA HIGH SCHOOL SHINES AT GRAND NATIONALS

The Ventura High School (VHS) Honors Wind Ensemble returned from the Dixie Classic Grand Nationals in Atlanta, GA this week. The VSH group, made up of 52 students, was selected to perform in the prestigious grand finale of this two-day event that saw15 schools and 19 performing groups. Ventura High School is the only group from California to appear in the last 20 years.  They performed at Grand Nationals four years ago and again this year.

The team had two weeks to prepare for the Grand Nationals. They performed March from Symphonic Metamorphosis by Paul Hindemith, Sunrise at Angel’s’ Gate by Philip Sparke, and Rocky Point Holiday by Ron Nelson. This festival splits up groups based on music ability before participating, and the event requires several years of superior ratings at national invitational festivals as prerequisites.  Based on their performance at the national level, the Ventura High team placed into Division 6, the Professional/Collegiate Level and performed in front of hundreds of musicians in Atlanta’s Symphony Hall. Ventura High earned Superior ratings, which translates into Gold, and they scored above a 96%. In addition to the group’s success, Noah Laber received recognition as Outstanding Soloist.

“The clinicians and judges told me that no one else is doing what our students are doing, it is remarkable and uplifting to see this caliber of training and performance,’ stated Ventura High School Music Director Paul Hunt.

In addition to performing, the students received a private clinic with a musician from Emory University and were able to watch the Atlanta Symphony perform. 

“We are incredibly proud of our student musicians, our music Director Mr. Paul Hunt, and the entire music team for this extraordinary accomplishment. They consistently bring out the very best of their superior rated musicianship and character by working tirelessly with each other note-by-note, measure-by-measure, day in and day out. They are a total exemplar of our programs and community,” stated Principal Carlos Cohen.

The Ventura High Wind Honors Ensemble will be performing their last free public concert of the year on Thursday, May 23 at the Ventura High School Auditorium at 7 pm. For more information on Ventura High School and their outstanding Music Program visit https://www.venturausd.org/ventura/home.aspx or contact Music Director Paul Hunt at paul.hunt@venturausd.org.  

 
6th Grade Bicycle Education Program - Friday, May 3, 2019

VUSD 6TH GRADE STUDENTS TAKE TO THE ROAD FOR COMMUNITY RIDE

Eight years in the making, perseverance pays off. A sixth-grade bicycle education program, entirely grant-funded, debuted in the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) this month. A collaborative effort between the City of Ventura, VUSD, Channel Islands Bike Club, BikeVentura, REI, and CycleCalCoast, this program involves approximately 900, sixth-grade students, at Anacapa, Balboa, and Cabrillo middle schools, on how to be safe road-users on and off a bicycle.

“One of the most wonderful things about this education program is the collaboration with different organizations within the bicycle community. We are teaching these young cyclists how to be safe road-users on and off a bicycle,” said Jeff Hereford, City of Ventura Principal Transportation Engineer, “Instilling these skills now will help them as they bicycle to school, for fun, and as they become future road users.”

The Nelson/Nygaard consultant team has developed a one to two-week physical education (PE) course along with VUSD and City of Ventura staff. The Local League of American Bicyclist Certified Instructors, from BikeVentura, along with PE teachers will conduct classes, which began in April and will go through June.

A fleet of discounted REI bicycles and helmets has been purchased for use and travels to each school site for instruction, through a private grant from local Channel Islands Bike Club as well as a grant through Ventura County Transportation Commission for the development of the curriculum and purchase of a bike trailer.

 The bicycle education grant, which was awarded in 2011, is a bicycle program targeting sixth-grade students.  It will educate and encourage students by providing practical class and hands-on bicycle safety training.  In addition to basic on-road skills, this training will raise the confidence levels of students and their parents, which is a key factor in increasing the number of students cycling to school.

“We are fortunate to be offering this program which will educate and encourage students by providing practical class and hands-on bicycle safety training.  In addition to necessary on-road skills, this training will raise the confidence levels of students and their parents, which is a key factor in increasing the number of students cycling to school,” stated Eric Reynolds, VUSD Risk Manager.

For more information on VUSD or this Bicycle Education Program, reach out to Marieanne Quiroz, VUSD Communications Coordinator at 805-641-5000 x 1019 or Marieanne.quiroz@venturausd.org


 
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