New All-Electric School Buses to Reduce Cost and Pollution at Lynwood Unified
Lynwood Unified School District will reduce air pollution and save approximately $20,000 annually when it adds two all-electric school buses to its fleet this coming school year thanks to a pair of grants from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Project (HVIP).
“We’re excited to be adding environmentally friendly transportation to our District and evolving in a direction that will best serve our community,” LUSD Superintendent Gudiel Crosthwaite said. “These are necessary steps in keeping our District safe for our students.”
The eLion Type C buses are expected to arrive this fall, pending the issuance of the nearly $800,00 in grants, but Lynwood Unified staff members received an early preview on July 19 when they rode in an electric bus prototype. The group of about 30 aboard the bus included Lynwood Transportation Department members, representatives from the First Priority GreenFleet bus provider and Ev Connect charging service, along with SCAQMD members.
Capable of accommodating more than 70 passengers each, the eLion buses offer wide 18-inch aisles, roomier than the standard 12-inch space, for comfortable student mobility. The electric motor features a quiet ride. The buses will be capable of traveling 75 miles while fully charged at one of the stations that will be installed at the District’s bus barn.
“We will be operating on a smart charging system that communicates to the bus and the driver and keeps them aware of time, distance and safety features,” Lynwood Director of Maintenance Operations & Transportation Gustavo Gonzalez said. “Our drivers are looking forward to receiving new training and upgrading the transportation of our students.”
The eLion vehicles will save the District fuel and maintenance costs as the electric buses don’t require oil or transmission fluid and offer longer use of brakes. Most importantly, children of the District will be less exposed to smog-forming pollution emitted by diesel buses.
Fifty-one public school districts applied for the SCAQMD grant. Lynwood was one of just 16 to earn the award, which includes $496,000 for the vehicles and $40,000 for charging stations. The HVIP grant will award $260,000.
The District plans to eventually upgrade its entire fleet to electric buses for safer and more energy-efficient travel.
“Our new vehicles will allow us to continue delivering on the promise of a safer learning environment at Lynwood Unified,” LUSD Board President Alma Delia-Renteria said. “We are pleased to be growing as a District alongside our students and improving the quality of their school experience.”
Lynwood Science Camp Inspires Future Female Scientists and Entrepreneurs
Rosa Parks Elementary sixth-grader Daja Ford had never considered becoming a business owner, but all that changed after she applied science to create her very own Sniffalicious perfume line during the District’s weeklong Girls Pursuing Science (GPS) Camp.
Daja was one of nearly 30 Lynwood Unified female students in grades four to eight inspired by the joys of science during the first-year camp held from July 10-14 at Hosler Middle School. GPS founder Jacquelyn Thomas led the program’s science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) curriculum.
“Making new things and learning what chemicals can be mixed together was my favorite part,” Daja said. “I never thought I would be making my own perfume.”
Guided by Thomas, Lynwood Director of Equity Patricia Brent-Sanco and District staff members, students created cosmetic products and ultimately used them to brand their own businesses. Mixing wax, oil and flavoring ingredients, the young scientists produced lip balm during one session and also whipped up hair gel, bath bombs and perfume.
Lynwood Middle School seventh-grader Alondra Lopez used her cosmetics to create Al’s Products, with a distinctive purple, blue and pink logo, and said she would like to help break the stereotype that girls don’t pursue science.
“We wanted the week to be about showing the students new ways to explore STEAM,” Thomas said. “The world has changed so much and it’s become mandatory that young learners be able to problem solve and think critically in order to thrive.”
GPS was launched in 2014 with the purpose of helping girls become more engaged in scientific inquiry and Lynwood adopted the program for this year’s inaugural summer event. The STEAM curriculum includes research activities, software applications and the business component that encourages students to thrive in the marketplace. Lynwood has placed its own emphasis on science and recently opened a robotics computer lab at Washington Elementary School.
“The GPS program is sending a message to our female students that there are no barriers to the careers they can pursue,” LUSD Superintendent Gudiel Crosthwaite said. “The curriculum is engaging and allows our young learners to use their creativity to experience science in an exciting way.”
Lynwood’s GPS camp also focused on serving students in need. Foster youth were solicited for the program and made up about a third of the total attendance. Each day, the District provided free breakfast and lunch to all students.
“I think it’s amazing that our GPS summer program is encouraging so many young female students to consider science and entrepreneurship as career options,” LUSD Board President Alma Delia-Renteria said. “This is only the beginning of a program we believe will nurture future leaders.”
Lynwood Unified Summer School Students Bolster Reading Skills during Scholastic Literacy Event
Students tugged at their parents’ shirt sleeves, pulling them through a colorful, mountainous collection of 2,300 books piled high all around them in the Lynwood Unified School District Office on June 28.
These Lynwood Unified summer school students – more than 250 of them – had full access to pick out three books to take home as part of the District’s inaugural Scholastic Literacy Event, where parents, guardians and District personnel encouraged students to always maintain strong literacy skills.
“It all starts with reading – it is the foundation for learning,” Lynwood Unified Director of Equity and Literacy Event coordinator Patricia Brent-Sanco said. “A child’s life can open up when they open a book, and you must learn to read to qualify for 21st-century careers. We want to get students and their parents excited for reading so that it will always be an integral part of their lives.”
Almost 200 parents and guardians accompanied their children to the event, taking pictures with Clifford the Big Red Dog and listening to stories from District staff about learning to read and the importance of literacy.
“I really love books, so it was fun for me and my family to come and pick up some new ones,” incoming Hosler Middle School seventh-grader Susana Zelaya said. “I was surprised at how many good stories there were to choose from.”
Librarians from Lynwood Unified school sites assisted students in selecting their books. Students were able to pick out one book that correlated with their grade-level learning curriculum, and two fun tales like the “How do Dinosaurs Say Good Night,” “Olaf’s Night Before Christmas” from Disney’s “Frozen,” and “Shake to Assemble” featuring Marvel’s Hulk.
All 2,300 books were donated by Scholastic, Read Lead, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lakeshore Learning and Feed the Children.
“This truly was a community-focused event, and we were all thrilled to see so many students and parents here,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “This was only our first time doing this event, so I know next year will be even larger and will spread the importance of reading to even more students in Lynwood Unified.”
Scholastic Literacy Events are specially designed to empower families to support their children’s academic achievement through interactive activities – giving them the tools and skills necessary to build a culture of literacy at home.
“It gives me the best feeling to see students get so excited about reading and learning,” Lynwood Unified Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said. “Reading is fundamental for all learning, and this is a very important step for younger students to start their successful educational journeys.”
Lynwood High Students Win City Art Contest, $1,000 Scholarships
Three Lynwood High School arts students caught the community’s attention with their inspiring designs and were named contest winners for helping design the city’s new “Welcome to Lynwood” sign.
Sophomores Bryada Overstreet, Beatriz Soto and Stephanie Martinez won for their individual sketches that encompassed the history, atmosphere and values of Lynwood. The students were recognized and received $1,000 scholarships at a City Council meeting.
“I recently moved to Lynwood from Louisiana and I was a bit intimidated at first,” Overstreet said. “For my sketch, I drew two hands shaking because it reminds me of when I first moved here, and how I was grateful to have other students and teachers embrace me with open arms and show me this new place.”
Lynwood Mayor Maria T. Santillan-Beas invited all students from the Lynwood Unified School District to participate in the contest and help create a new design for the city’s welcome sign. The winning pieces will be used as inspiration for the city-hired professional graphic designer.
“We are proud to have our students’ talent recognized on a citywide scale,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “As a District, it is important for our students to gain experience in their desired professions while they are in high school and we are excited that our community has given these students this opportunity.”
The competition was judged by Santillan-Beas, city officials, two community members, a local artist, a representative from a Lynwood art gallery and Lynwood High School art teacher Luis Vega.
Overstreet and Soto used pencil, pen and colored pencils to compose their sketches while Martinez used her graphic design experience to submit a computer-generated piece. The students worked on the pieces for a few weeks before submitting on March 27.
“Competitions like this one allow students to apply the skills they learn in class to real-life situations. They play the role of a graphic designer or architect, and they have to read guidelines, research, brainstorm, design and present,” Vega said. “It helps them realize the importance of the art skills they learn, and it builds confidence and motivates them to participate in similar projects.”
Mark Flores, Lynwood’s director of recreation and community services and lead organizer for the contest, said the city received more than 60 entries. Criteria included use of the phrase “Welcome to Lynwood,” images or words that depict the city promoting cultural, economic and educational opportunities and capture general community appeal.
The city is looking for a graphic designer to complete the construction of the design and determining how many signs it will place throughout the city. The new signs should be installed in about four months.
“As a District, we strive to encourage creativity and passion in everything our students do,” Lynwood Unified Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said. “This was the perfect opportunity for the students to give back to the city and to further foster mutual support between Lynwood schools and the surrounding community.”
Lynwood Unified Educators, Admin Teach One Another Technological Tools of the Trade
One hundred educators learned how to create lesson plans using Google Slides and implement collaborative testing with Kahoot! and Quizzizz on June 16 at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies for Lynwood Unified’s second annual Lynwood Educators’ Technology Summit (LETS), where LUSD instructors and representatives from global technology companies presented methods for integrating technology into the classroom.
“Technology is a huge part of every career out there, so it is essential for our teachers to be knowledgeable in these latest tech areas,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “Our top priority is preparing our students for college and careers, and they are showing us that they are leaving our campuses equipped for today’s workforce thanks to our teachers and administrators.”
K-12 teachers from Lynwood Unified schools discussed how they have implemented Google Suite, Web 2.0 tools and coding in their classrooms, while education representatives from Edlio, Newsela, Google and Apple shared about creative test-taking platforms, Google Slides and using iPads to teach students the essences of block coding.
“Our LETS conference really is a celebration of the entire teaching journey,” Lynwood Unified digital learning coach Kathleen Graham said. “It is important for us to share with the Lynwood community and the world what Lynwood Unified is capable of. Our teachers are making the learning process more enjoyable than they ever imagined through technology and online resources.”
Lynwood Unified spent an entire year planning for the LETS conference, gauging teacher understanding of technology and coordinating with industry professionals to host workshops.
“This conference is so valuable for our teachers and administrators, because we want to make sure all students are technology confident by the time they leave our district,” Lynwood Unified Board President Alma-Delia Renteria said. “This is the future of education, and I am so proud to see our teachers and administrators tackle these complex teaching methods head-on.”
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Community News (Lynwood Unified School District)