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Audience: Homepage

Students from the Montebello Unified School District (MUSD) recently lent an artistic hand to the grand opening of the Montebello Mix, a newly redesigned shopping center located at the corner of Beverly and Montebello Boulevards.


The Montebello Mix, formerly known as the Montebello Mart, held its re-dedication ceremonies, Jan. 21, to mark the completion of the shopping center’s renovation, which today includes student artwork.


As part of the ceremonies, Montebello Mayor Vivian Romero and officials from Combined Properties, Inc., the owner of the property, honored MUSD student artists for their contributions to the shopping center.  The Mayor presented each student artist with a personally signed Certificate of Recognition on behalf of the City of Montebello.


Mounted replicas of student artwork are permanently displayed in the Montebello Mix Art Walk, which is located in the walkway adjacent to storefronts at the shopping center. Replicas of the student art contest winners can also be viewed at the MUSD District Office.


“Our students are very excited to know that their artwork now has a permanent place at the shopping center,” said Aida Hinojosa, Program Specialist, for the MUSD’s Pupil & Community Services Division, who coordinated the art contest. “The district would like to thank Combined Properties for sharing this amazing opportunity with our students. Students’ eyes lit up as their artwork was presented.”


Ms. Hinojosa worked with the Combined Properties to coordinate an art competition for students at district schools located in Montebello. More than 100 student entries of various grade levels were submitted under the theme, “The City of Montebello is Growing and Blossoming.”  Combined Properties reviewed each submission and selected the winning entries that are now on display at the shopping center.    


The winning entries were submitted by:

  • Sofia Fragoso, Grade 2, La Merced Elementary
  • Emilio Paredes, Grade 3, Wilcox Elementary
  • Kenneth B. Perez, Grade 4, La Merced Elementary
  • Ricardo Solano, Grade 4, La Merced Elementary
  • Kaitlyn A. Hernandez, Grade 4, Washington Elementary
  • Leslie Alejandra Pena, Grade 5, Fremont Elementary
  • Deziree Eni, Grade 6, La Merced Intermediate
  • Daniel Meneses, Grade 8, Eastmont Intermediate
  • Brianna Morales, Grade 12, Schurr High School


Brian Miller, Vice President of West Coast Asset Management for Combined Properties Inc., told the Whittier Daily News that public art was an important element of the shopping center’s redesign.


“Retail has evolved into an experience,” Miller said. “This is our second property that has locally-inspired art, which helps create a bond with the community.”


In addition to the art contest winners, Combined Properties acknowledged six MUSD students as Honorable Mentions.


  • Alekos Lopez-Aguayo, Grade 1, Washington Elementary
  • Emily Verdusco, Grade 1, La Merced Elementary
  • Donovan Murillo, Grade 2, Washington Elementary
  • Abcde Soto, Grade 4, La Merced Elementary
  • Karol Gonzalez, Grade 4, La Merced Elementary
  • Lizeth Chavez-Garcia, Grade 7, Montebello Intermediate School


District families and the Montebello community are encouraged to visit the Montebello Mix Art Walk and enjoy the work of up-and-coming student artists of MUSD.  

Posted by: MUSD Webmaster
Published: 1/27/17

Audience: Homepage


As part of its ongoing commitment to strengthen its relationship with the community, the Montebello Unified School District Police Department will visit Potrero Heights Elementary School to donate school supplies and athletic equipment during a presentation ceremony on Monday, Oct. 10.

MUSD Police Chief Linh Dinh, MUSD Police Department officers, the MUSD PD community and partner 4R Kids, 4R Future will present students with soccer balls, goals, cones and tetherballs. The organization also provides backpacks, school supplies and other sports equipment to students.

Presenters will also explain to students the importance of physical activity and the positive effects of health, mental alertness and learning.

This is the fourth year that MUSD Police will partner with 4 R Kids, 4 R Future to donate supplies and equipment to District schools.


8:15 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10


Potrero Heights Elementary School
8026 E. Hill Drive, Rosemead


Juliette Funes, 909-447-2404


Posted by: MUSD Webmaster
Published: 10/7/16

Audience: Homepage


The Montebello Unified School District is teaming up with its partners to bring the community together for the 8th annual War on Hunger Food Drive to assist needy local families.

Since 2009, Montebello Unified has helped thousands of students and families who have struggled throughout California’s budget crisis. This year, MUSD students, teachers, staff, community members, sponsors and elected officials will again rally together to support the initiative, which raises roughly 50,000 pounds of food every year.

The War on Hunger 2016 Food Drive will take place Oct. 12 through Nov. 4.

To commence the month of giving, the event will include comments from District leaders and community partners, a student performance and MUSD students showing their support of the project. Throughout the month and at all MUSD school sites, students and staff will be able to donate non-perishable food items or donate funds to help local hungry families.

Montebello Unified School District’s partners are Camino Federal Credit Union, Heart of Compassion Distribution and Montebello Council Parent Teacher Association.

Please note: All those attending the kickoff are asked to bring a non-perishable food item (canned goods, bagged rice or beans, etc.) to donate.


Wednesday, Oct. 12
Reception: 8:30 a.m.
Program: 9 a.m


Eastmont Intermediate School
400 N. Bradshawe Ave.


MUSD Board of Education
MUSD Administration
CSEA Members
AMSA Members
MTA Members
Heart of Compassion Pastor John Velasco
Camino Federal Credit Union CEO Ernesto Flores
MCPTA President Patricia Torres and Members
MUSD Students


Students donating food items to kick off the MUSD War on Hunger Food Drive to help their local community and a student dance performance.


DONATION DROP-OFF: Monetary and non-perishable food donations can be made in person at the following locations:

Camino Federal Credit Union

520 N. Taylor Ave.

Montebello, CA 90640

MUSD District Office

123 S. Montebello Blvd.                                                  

Montebello, CA 90640

Families may be able to pick up food items at the Heart of Compassion Distribution Center or may contact Rose Hernandez, Program Liaison at 323-887-2133.

Posted by: MUSD Webmaster
Published: 10/4/16

Audience: Homepage

Potrero Heights Elementary Principal Lili Atoyan and Angelica Paz, a teacher on special assignment, hold a banner the school received in recognition of its Honor Roll distinction.

Potrero Heights Elementary has been named a 2015 California Honor Roll campus for demonstrating consistently high levels of academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time and closing achievement gaps.

The Honor Roll is presented by the Educational Results Partnership and the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE), groups which campaign for cooperation between educators and businesses to improve student achievement in public schools.

Potrero Heights Elementary Principal Lili Atoyan attributed her school’s listing on the Honor Roll to its strong California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) English language arts and math scores taken in spring 2015, adding that her teachers collaborate to build a rigorous curriculum that prepares all students for college and careers.

“I’m very proud of our teaching and support staff,” Atoyan said. “They have the students’ best interest in mind and they work very hard to help foster learning in all of our students. Our staff and teachers are dedicated, committed professionals.”

Using the test scores they received in summer 2015, Potrero Heights teachers developed a plan to help students meet California’s new English language arts standards. Teachers who cover fourth to fifth grade at Potrero Heights use strategies from Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) to emphasize organization, notetaking and strong writing skills, while teachers in other grade levels utilize thinking maps and strategies that focus on vocabulary development to enhance student writing.

During the 2015-16 school year, teachers submitted students’ writing samples each month to Atoyan, who selected a few examples and honored the outstanding writers at an assembly.

Reviewing every Potrero Heights student’s writing required a lot of reading, but Atoyan said it’s very rewarding to see the growth and mastery students attain over time.

Potrero Heights Elementary also works hard to create a college-going culture so students know going to college is important, expected and possible.

“They know that everything they learn now is building a foundation for getting into and preparing for college,” Atoyan said.

The Educational Results Partnership is a national alliance of businesses and educators dedicated to improving educational productivity, and the CBEE comprises a group of California business leaders committed to improving public schools, closing the achievement gap and ensuring college readiness and success.

Potrero Heights previously made the Honor Roll in 2009 and 2010.

“The District is committed to providing all students with the highest quality education, and we are already seeing higher levels of student achievement throughout our classrooms,” Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said. “I look forward to seeing many more Montebello Unified schools being named Honor Roll recipients because of our hardworking teachers and students.”

Posted by: MUSD Webmaster
Published: 9/19/16

Audience: Homepage

With overflowing backpacks filled with pencils, notebooks and binders, Montebello Unified, the third-largest district in Los Angeles County, kicked off another great school year on Aug. 18, welcoming back 53,000 students from transitional kindergarten to adult school.

With the passage of the $300 million Measure GS bond with a 77 percent approval rate, the District is planning facilities upgrades at all campuses to enhance libraries, computer and science labs, air conditioning units and much more. A majority of the funds will focus on technology upgrades, ensuring students know how to navigate the software and devices they will encounter in careers.

“We are dedicated in maintaining the high-quality classrooms and tools our teachers and staff deserve for all their hard work in preparing our students for their future,” Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said. “We are all very excited to witness the great accomplishments of our students, teachers and staff that will be coming our way soon. Good luck, everyone.”

In addition, football, soccer and track-and-field athletes look forward to competing on three recently completed fields at Bell Gardens High School, Montebello High School and Schurr High School, with all Montebello Unified students excited to represent their schools on home turf.

Posted by: MUSD Webmaster
Published: 9/19/16

Audience: Homepage

EAI-student.jpgRosario Meneses, a seventh-grader at Eastmont Intermediate School, was handed a huge $5,000 check at center court during halftime of a Los Angeles Sparks game on July 10 for winning the team’s 2016 #WeAreGirls essay writing contest.




This was the first year the LA Sparks held the #WeAreGirls essay writing contest, looking to empower young girls to write about their inspirations.

In her essay, Rosario shared that joining the school’s cheerleading squad encouraged her to be more outgoing to support her team. She also said being in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college preparatory program helped her become more organized.

Rosario, who maintained a GPA above 3.5 last year, said she hopes to attend UCLA or Harvard University, keeping her grades up by always completing her homework before cheerleading practice.

“I think AVID is fun because it’s like a game and a challenge for me,” Rosario said. “My mom and teachers have shown me that going to college will help me get a better job, so I want to work as hard as I can now to get there some day.”

In the fall, she plans to start a community service club with her friends.

Rosario’s teacher, Monique Lopez, advised her to enter the contest because of how hard she works at school, cheerleading and helping her mother donate clothes and food to the poor.Lopez developed a close relationship with the Meneses family through teaching Rosario and her brother.

“They are truly a deserving family and I think this scholarship is the work of a higher power,” Lopez said. “I think her dad was looking out for her.”

Lopez drove Rosario and her family to the Staples Center on the night of the award ceremony and stood by while the seventh-grader received her award.

“I was almost in tears,” Lopez said. “I was so proud. I had never seen her smile so big. She really was the center of attention in this big stadium, which was almost full. I just thought to myself this is just the beginning for her because she’s going to go on to college.”

Eastmont Intermediate School principal Cecilia Ramirez believes that promoting opportunities for students to communicate through writing is integral to ensuring college and career readiness.

“We are so proud that Rosario took the initiative to submit her essay and that the Los Angeles Sparks recognized her great effort,” Ramirez said. “She has inspired our entire school community!”

Rosario plans to save most of the $5,000 for college but may use some before then for school supplies and books.

“The District cares deeply about seeing every student succeed and it’s wonderful to have organizations like the Los Angeles Sparks that take a special interest in supporting young girls,” Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said. “I join the entire Montebello Unified family in congratulating Rosario and her family on this achievement.”

Posted by: MUSD Webmaster
Published: 8/31/16

Audience: Homepage


Margie Torrez’s Culinary, Hospitality Opportunities Pathway (CHOP) students at Bell Gardens High School constructed a succulent garden as their social justice project after they attended the Rise Up for Humanity youth conference.


When Bell Gardens High School students returned to campus this month, they were greeted by a drought-tolerant garden and a video on Latino heritage meant to foster a more positive and tolerant outlook amongst students on campus.

Both are projects created by forty students who attended the first Rise Up for Humanity youth conference, held for 200 students to raise consciousness on societal issues and build a progressive youth network in Los Angeles County.

At the conference, students took part in various workshops that focused on topics related to homophobia, racism, media literacy, knowing your rights and more. Students also learned to change the narrative related to social justice issues through artistic tools such as video production, photography, song writing, poetry, writing, murals, gardening, cooking, yoga, meditation and theater.

The goal of the event, held in spring, was to inspire students to develop human relations projects through these various forms of art at their schools.

“It was a very inspiring experience,” said Margie Torrez, Bell Gardens High Culinary, Hospitality Opportunities Pathway (CHOP) teacher. “It made students and teachers more conscious of these social justice issues that are occurring in our society now.”

While students took part in their workshops, teachers networked with one another about methods to incorporate social justice-based student projects within their curriculum.

Upon returning to campus, Torrez brainstormed a social justice project to pursue with her students, deciding on a garden built with homemade cinderblocks to house succulents, a drought-tolerant plant.

“We wanted to beautify the campus and decided on a garden because the environmental pathway gardens on campus are hidden away, but this one is out in the open for everyone to see,” Torrez said.

Bell Gardens history teacher and boys soccer coach Miguel Ruiz attended the conference with five students – three from his Advanced Placement World History class and two from the soccer team.
“They’ve shown tremendous leadership skills and initiative in the classroom and on the field,” he said. “They decided to produce a video that brings awareness about being Latino and the issues they face that are affecting our community.”

Ruiz said the conference, with its clear and powerful message, exposed the students to something new.

“The conference opened up my eyes in appreciating the school I’m at,” said Anali Cabrera, a junior in Ruiz’s AP World History class. “I didn’t really appreciate Bell Gardens High as much as I do now, I’ve learned to appreciate where I come from and getting everything I can from my education.”

Montebello Unified Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said opportunities like the Rise Up for Humanity youth conference motivate students to take pride in their campus and make them excited to attend school.

“It’s important for students to understand social justice and how to advocate for themselves,” she said. “I am very proud of our teachers who have made this lesson a priority for their students. I look forward to seeing how these projects impact their fellow classmates.”


Bell Gardens High junior Heidi Venegas talks about her Latino heritage pride in a video created by Miguel Ruiz’s students as a social justice project after attending the Rise Up for Humanity youth conference.


Posted by: MUSD Webmaster
Published: 8/31/16

Audience: Homepage

Bell Gardens High School teacher Elizabeth Lowe has been named one of just five California winners of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Teacher Advocacy Award, an honor that recognizes exceptional AVID educators and comes with a $10,000 prize for expanding the program at her school.

Lowe was honored in front of 3,000 educators on July 12 at the Sacramento Summer Institute, where winners were celebrated for showing leadership in supporting AVID’s mission to help all students become ready for college. AVID is a nonprofit, college-readiness system that works to increase the number of students who enroll in four-year colleges.

“To be recognized for this award, and stand alongside the most exceptional leaders of the AVID program, speaks to the work that we’ve done as a District in preparing students for college,” said Lowe, who teaches 11th- and 12-grade geoscience at BGHS. “It was very special to go to Sacramento and speak with people like former Sen. Gary K. Hart, who is one of the judges of this award and reminded us that aiding students is always the ultimate goal.”

Lowe coordinates the AVID program for Bell Gardens High, overseeing 650 students, seven teachers and all course sections that make up the curriculum. Many of her contributions happen behind the scenes as she supports the system’s educators and ensures there are no barriers when it comes to student success.

The Teacher Advocacy Award was established in 2013 by an anonymous donor who wanted to give back to educators in California, especially those who work with the AVID program. All recipients of the honor are nominated by colleagues and are given two years to use the funds for use in advancing their school’s AVID program.

Among Lowe’s early ideas for the money are new signs at the school promoting college and a mural to symbolize that Bell Gardens High is a burgeoning college-preparatory campus.

Lowe’s teaching and guidance practices have been recognized throughout the District, with Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith commending Lowe’s dedication to always helping students achieve their higher education goals.

“From classroom walk-throughs, teaching parents to understand transcripts and working with administrators on new advanced placement classes, Elizabeth has helped change the trajectory of BGHS and our District,” Contreras Smith said. “Her tireless work has helped build a strong college-readiness system which continues to impact the lives of our students within the AVID program and beyond.”

















Bell Gardens High geoscience teacher Elizabeth Lowe, left, accepts her certificate for the Teacher Advocacy Award from AVID’s California Division Assistant Director Gail Shenkman at the Sacramento Summer Institute on July 12. Lowe is one of five California AVID educators awarded $10,000 for AVID implementation and growth at their schools.

Posted by: MUSD Webmaster
Published: 8/8/16