EL SEGUNDO HERALD May 16, 2019 Page 5
Story and Photos by Gregg McMullin
The month of May is always an exciting
time of the year. It marks the second season
for high school teams and individuals advancing
to the CIF Southern Section playoffs. The
El Segundo High School track team made
history, the baseball team’s Cinderella season
ended in the quarterfinals and the softball
team has advanced to the semifinals.
Enjoys Historical Season
The track team has steadily made advancements
over the past several years thanks to
a staff assembled by head coach Marcos
Bolanos. John Lee and Lewis Hill coach
pole vault; Lawren Minor coaches jumps;
Jessica Davis, Justin Sydney and Darrick
Davis coach sprints; Jason Parker coaches
throws; and Bolanos mentors the distance
runners. Together they have been able to
build a program that in a few short years has
won a league title and more than doubled
the amount of athletes advancing to the CIF
prelims. The Eagles had 26 athletes in 24
events who qualified for the CIF Southern
Section Division 3 Prelims by placing in the
top three in each event.
The girls team won its first ever Ocean
League title and the following were individual
league champions: The 4x100 team of
Madeline Desemone, Leilanli Cooper, Tyler
Jones and Suey Diep set a school record.
Individual winners were Gabby Lee in the
1,600m, James Matlosz (3,200m), Celestina
Craft (high jump), Gabby Hume (discus) and
Tyler Jones (long jump). Nikki Fulcomer
won the1,600m and 800m races.
Others who advanced included Lauren
Davis, who was third in 100m and second
in the 200m. Isabella Mai and Sophia Zago
finished second and third respectively in the
800m. Gabby Lee took third in the 3,200m,
while Kaialani Breeden was second in the
high jump. Suey Diep was second in the triple
jump, Elyse Middleton third in the shotput,
and Gabriella Hume second in the shotputs.
On the boys’ side, they swept the pole vault
event with Dexter Koester breaking a 43-year
old school record of 14 feet. Sean Lee was
second, Charlie Taylor third and Sydney Chen
also did well. Cross country standout Arend
Verfaillie finished second in the 1,600m while
Elijah Dunn was stunning in the 100m.
Tyler Matlosz won the 3,200, 1,600 and
800 frosh/soph girls titles. Chelsie Charles
won the frosh/soph 100m. Sophia Jones
was the girls’ frosh/soph winner of the high
jump. Alyssa Castillon won the girls frosh/
soph shotput and finished third in the discus.
Eagles Impressive in CIF Playoffs
Wiseburn Board Tables Soccer
Field Financing, Gets Dana Update
By Duane Plank
As the 2018/19 school-year calendar winds
down, the Wiseburn School Board met last
Thursday night and viewed the annual presentation
from Dana Middle School. It also
again tabled a proposed financing plan for
the Wiseburn High School soccer field -- a
project that has lagged because of unforeseen
construction site circumstances, electrical
issues, cost overruns, soil degradation and
underlying underground pipe issues.
Wiseburn Unified School District Superintendent
Dr. Blake Silvers noted prior to
the meeting, “You get to the point where
you are out of money and then you need to
build the soccer field.” He pointed out that
it was a “perfect-storm” of issues that led to
the delay of the field construction. Silvers
said the approximate timeline for the field
being ready for play would be to have soccer
players on the pitch, hopefully for the
2019/2020 prep soccer season. The School
Board could potentially give its blessing to the
field financing plan at the May 30 meeting.
The Dana Middle School presentation
focused on revamping a campus advisory
program that had been labeled TLC (Targeted
Learning of Content) but has since been
rebranded as POD. Dana Assistant Principal
Lisa Wilberg and her team of teachers
Jessica Aguilar, Barry Williams and Aimee
Glotz explained to the Board the evolution
of the POD program and how it is helping
reach middle school students and enrich their
campus learning experiences.
Wilburg emailed that that program was
dubbed POD because the Dana students are
“dolphins” and that “dolphins swim in pods
in the wild, and we wanted this class to be
like a student’s family at school -- a place
of positive support.” Students meet with staff
for 45 minutes each school day.
The Dana administrators felt that the TLC
program had hit a stalemate, with rebranding
and new practices a necessity because
students were drifting from established Dana
“signature practices.” There was diminished
“school connectedness” and the “overcoming
of disparate activities” that left all involved
feeling unsuccessful and in need of fresh ideas.
The POD program is in place to implement
the signature practices, including personalizing
the middle school experience; and developing
and strengthening student ownership of behavior
as well as their ownership of learning.
The presenters spoke of the success in
the program in building connectedness; and
POD competitions, including the success of
Literacy Week and spirited math competitions
as well as POD sessions stressing bullying
prevention. The 15-minute presentation ended
with slides portraying teacher-participant
satisfaction with the nascent program, including
a seventh grade teacher who opined, “I
like PODS 20/20 & Flex structure…We use
flex-time for bonding as well, but if students
need time to meet their goals, we have the
student ownership of the learning option too.”
School Board President JoAnne Kaneda
lauded the POD program, commenting on
the power of positive feedback for students.
“You never know what someone is going to
remember,” she said.
The Board later in the meeting tabled the
proposed plan to fund the construction of
the soccer field, which would have entailed
the District signing a lease agreement with
Dexter Koester equaled his school record of 14 feet at the CIF-SS Finals.
Lauren Davis holds off Leuzinger’s Jailah Collins in the CIF-SS Division 3 200-Meter Dash.
See Eagles, page 7
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ES School Board Welcomes New
Middle School Principal
By Duane Plank
During Tuesday evening’s 75-minute El
Segundo School Board meeting, the members
ratified the selection of Nicole Duquette to take
over the principal reins at El Segundo Middle
School (ESMS) for the 2019/20 school year.
Ali Rabiei is currently the interim principal, a
position he assumed in November when there
was a shuffling of the deck in the El Segundo
Unified School District (ESUSD) administration,
with the unexpected resignation of El
Segundo High School (ESHS) Principal Dr.
Jennifer Hawn. Hawn’s resignation prompted
the elevation of at-the-time ESMS Principal Dr.
Melissa Gooden to the ESHS principal post on
an interim basis, but the latter has now been
selected for the full-time position.
Duquette comes to ESUSD after serving for
seven years as an assistant principal and working
two years as a TK-8 Arts School principal
in Pasadena, with a teaching background in
English, History and Student Government. She
received a Bachelor’s Degree from Arizona
State University and a Master’s Degree in
Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona
University. Duquette thanked the Board for
selecting her and noted she is “just dying” to
start working in her new post.
Also announced at the beginning of the open
session of the meeting were the selections of
the new Director of Operations Rabiei, who
briefly spoke to the Board and said that he
couldn’t “thank the District enough for this
opportunity. I will not let you down.” Rabiei,
who has worked in the District since 2011,
added, “It’s all about the kids.”
The Board also approved interim ESMS
Assistant Principal Sarah Davlantis for the
permanent position. She initially transitioned
to the interim role after Hawn left the District
Eagles’ Nest Preschool Director Guadalupe
Grijalva helmed Tuesday’s main special presentation,
the annual state of the school address.
It began with a quick overview of 2018/19
session and schedule options that have been
available this schoolyear, and then highlighted
professional development options such as
playground and safety training, CPR/First
Aid certifications and other training sessions
that the Eagles’ Nest staff has been afforded.
Grijalya shared the 2018/19 self-assessment
data with the Board, including self-awareness
and positive self-concepts, emerging motor skill
proficiency, reinforcement of communication
and language skills as well as fostering literacy
skills, and also mathematical concepts. The
presentation not only touched on the parental
participation opportunities available, including
volunteering and participating in classroom
activities, but pointed out parental survey
results that skewed highly positive. A stellar
100 percent of respondents answered that they
are satisfied with the overall quality of the
programs at Eagles’ Nest, and a similar 100
percent said they feel that their children are
“safe and happy in our preschool.”
The presentation then highlighted the success
of the school’s PTO program, which
raised $25,000 towards enrichment programs.
These included sports clinics, camps, a sea life
See ESUSD, page 13
See WUSD, page 12