News Feed

Stories and photos from across Apple Valley Unified School District.

AVUSD news has moved

posted Aug 24, 2017, 7:58 AM by Kristin Hernandez

Our news feed has moved! Visit to read the latest news from AVUSD. 
This blog will make it easier for our families to stay up-to-date with our district, as we prepare to launch our new website this fall. 


posted Jun 12, 2017, 7:29 AM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jun 12, 2017, 7:56 AM ]

An antigravity harness designed by Noah Oliver, GHHS alumni.
Photo: An anti-gravity harness system that will to allow infants and children with limited mobility to walk on their own, designed by Noah Oliver, Armando Garcia Jr., Khaled Alosaimi, Eileen Baker, and Hasan Farman. Photo courtesy of Noah Oliver. 

Noah Oliver is developing a mechanism that will allow individuals with limited mobility to move freely through their homes.  The 2013 graduate of Granite Hills High School will be working on the project as a research assistant, while completing his graduate program in Mechanical Engineering at Northern Arizona University.

Oliver has been studying mechanical engineering at NAU for the past four years and received his bachelor’s degree this spring. For his senior capstone project, Oliver teamed up with several other engineering students to create an anti-gravity harness system that would allow children and infants with limited mobility to walk on their own. After presenting the project at an end of the year symposium, an engineering professor offered Oliver an opportunity to expand upon this mechanism through a position as a research assistant.  Oliver excitedly accepted the opportunity to tackle this project, which will not only provide him with valuable hands-on experience but will also provide funding for his graduate program.

“The idea behind it is to be able to set up this entire system within an entire household so an adult…can use this system and traverse their entire home by themselves and be able to go from room-to-room,” he said. “We want to figure out how to make it easier for the user to get through each room.”

Oliver’s passion for engineering first sparked while taking a physics course at Granite Hills High School. “That got me interested in the field,” he said. “I’ve always been mechanically adept and I like to know how things are put together and how things work. I wanted more understanding. (The class) kind of pushed me into it.”

“I really didn’t think I’d be able to get into engineering during my senior year of high school,” he said. “I decided to go out on a limb and try to do something I thought I’d enjoy.”

Oliver added that his time on the Granite Hills track and cross country teams taught him valuable lessons in teamwork and time management, which served him well in college. “(Athletics) really helped me work with different people from different backgrounds and that has helped me to this day. It comes up all the time in engineering classes. You get put in a group project that who you don’t know who anybody is and you get to work with them all semester and all year. Being able to adapt to those situations where you can work with different people is helpful,” he said. “It was a nice transition scheduling-wise. I know it’s a big thing transitioning to college from high school because you don’t have that eight to two schedule every day. Your schedule can vary so much from semester to semester that it’s hard to keep track of yourself and be able to make sure that you’re on top of things. That was a big help also.”

Oliver is scheduled to begin his graduate studies in mechanical engineering at NAU this fall and is expected to graduate in 2019. He hopes to pursue a career in developing, designing, and manufacturing devices.



posted Jun 9, 2017, 8:11 AM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jun 9, 2017, 8:12 AM ]

Silhouette of Joshua Tree against a sunset.
Photo by Makailla Muir, Apple Valley High School

Five Apple Valley High School students will have their photography displayed at the California State Capitol this summer, after being chosen as finalists in the LegiSchool Project’s “California Through My Eyes” photography contest. The photos have been published on the LegiSchool blog and will be displayed in the third floor annex of the California State Capitol Building from June 15 through July 15.

CAMP (Computer and Media Pathway) Academy students Gabriel Cacace, Amanda Cinco, Makailla Muir, Arthur Nazabal and William Villarino were each selected out of 520 students from 57 schools across the state to have their photographs featured at the Capitol. The photography contest challenged students to capture images pertinent to California and accompany them with a brief artist statement.  A panel of judges then narrowed down the photos to the top 12%.

“I am so proud of my students’ hard work,” CAMP teacher Gretchen Peratt said. “In CAMP, we teach them the variety of computer and multimedia. Some take a liking to a specific type, while others excel at all. I love their minds and that they always exceed my expectations through their hard work ethic, learned skills, and commitment.”

The LegiSchool Project is a civic education collaboration between California State University, Sacramento, and the California State Legislature, administered by the Center for California Studies.  The Project's mission is to engage young people in matters of public policy and state government by creating opportunities for students and state leaders to meet and share ideas on the problems affecting Californians. For more information visit


posted Jun 8, 2017, 9:34 AM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jun 8, 2017, 9:36 AM ]

Children eating lunch at school.

Apple Valley Unified School District announces its policy to serve nutritious meals every school day under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and/or Afterschool Snack Program. Effective July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if the household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines.



Eligibility Scale for

Lunch, Breakfast, and Milk


Eligibility Scale for

Lunch and Breakfast

Household size



Twice Per Month

Every Two Weeks







Every Two Weeks



$ 15,678

$ 1,307

$   654

$  603

$  302

$ 22,311

$ 1,860

$   930

$   859

$  430














































































For each additional family member, add:


$  5,434

$    453

$   227

$   209

$    105

$  7,733

$    645

$    323

$   298

$   149

Households do not need to turn in an application when the household receives a notification letter saying that all children automatically qualify for free meals when any household member receives benefits from CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR. Children who meet the definition of foster, homeless, migrant, or runaway, and children enrolled in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals. Contact school officials if any child in the household is not on the notification letter. The household must let school officials know if they do not want to receive free or reduced-price meals.

Meal applications are available online at , in school offices and at the Nutrition Office at 22974 Bear Valley Road, Apple Valley, CA 92308. A letter informing parents or guardians of the availability of free and reduced price meals is sent to all families in the parent packet.  Households that want to apply for meal benefits, must fill out one application for all children in the household. For a simple and secure method to apply, use our online application at For families unable to apply online, a paper application may be obtained at the school site or Nutrition Office. Contact the Nutrition Services office at 760-247-8001x336, 352, or 416 for help filling out the application. The Nutrition Office will let you know if your application is approved or denied for free or reduced-price meals. 

Households may turn in an application at any time during the school year. If you are not eligible now, but your household income goes down, household size goes up, or a household member starts receiving CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR, you may turn in an application at that time. Information given on the application will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school officials. The last four digits of the Social Security number from any adult household or checking that you do not have a Social Security number is required if you include income on the application.

Households that receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits, may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals by filling out an application.

Foster children are eligible for free meals and may be included as a household member if the foster family chooses to also apply for the non-foster children on the same application. Including foster children as a household member may help the non-foster children qualify for free or reduced-price meals. If the non-foster children are not eligible, this does not keep foster children from receiving free meals.

Your child’s eligibility status from last school year will continue into the new school year for up to 30 school days or until the school processes your new application, or your child is otherwise certified for free or reduced-price meals. After the 30 school days, your child will have to pay full price for meals, unless the household receives a notification letter for free or reduced-price meals. School officials do not have to send reminder or expired eligibility notices.

If you do not agree with the decision or results of verification, you may discuss it with school officials. You also have the right to a fair hearing, which may be requested by calling or writing the hearing official: Rose Stark, 22974 Bear Valley Road, Apple Valley CA 92308, 760-247-8001.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:(1)      mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture          Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights          1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)       fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3)       email: institution is an equal opportunity provider. The USDA does not require that the full statement be in the same font size as the text of the material, but it must be prominently displayed in the document. The full nondiscrimination statement cannot be modified.



posted May 31, 2017, 10:18 AM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated May 31, 2017, 10:20 AM ]

Ryan Williams in his office at High Desert Premier Academy.
On May 18, the AVUSD Board of Trustees named Ryan Williams principal of High Desert Premier Academy effective immediately. Williams has worked as a teacher at HDPA since 2009 and is excited to build upon the school’s academic programs, independent study options, extracurricular activities, and overall campus climate. 

“We’re just pumped up for the new year,” Williams said. “It’s neat to see the staff excited. The staff really wants to take all of the things we talked about in our WASC accreditation process and put them into action. And that’s what’s going to reach our kids. They need involvement and real world application…once we show them that, they really buy in and get excited and it effects how they live the rest of their lives.”

Along with his dedicated team of teachers, Williams hopes to strengthen the school’s current academic offerings and push the Victor Valley College Bridge program, which allows high school students to receive dual credit for college courses. The team also plans to bring ASB to the middle grades, add additional after-school enrichment activities, and give students access to more “real world” experiences such as field trips to local industry and job skill training. 

Williams also hopes to continue the tradition of parent connection on campus and encouraged families to get involved. “Our parent group has been extremely active and we want to expand so parents who work during the day can also be involved,” Williams said. “We’re going to have some of those parent meetings in the evening so parents can come in a relaxed setting and have access to the principal and be able to discuss not only their kids’ issues, but the whole school environment.”

“My motto is ‘find the motivator, save the student’ and that’s what it’s all about,” he added. “We’re about finding what motivates the kids and meeting the kids there to get them tied into their academics.”

Williams first came to AVUSD in 1992 as a teacher at Apple Valley Middle School. During his 25 years of experience with AVUSD, Williams has taught students in nearly every grade between kindergarten and 12th grade. In addition to his teaching experience, Williams also worked as an assistant principal at Vista Campana Middle School. Prior to his career in education, Williams served in the United States Air Force for 11 years. He received his associate’s degree at Victor Valley College and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at California State University San Bernardino. He has four grown sons who each graduated from AVUSD schools. 


posted May 26, 2017, 11:35 AM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated May 26, 2017, 11:36 AM ]

Three paneled cardboard project displays. Civil Rights projects displayed on tables.
Students at Granite Hills High School brought a Civil Rights Exhibit to the AVUSD Educational Support Center on May 26.

The "Movement" exhibit was open for display during the entire day, allowing staff, parents, students and community members the opportunity to view the gallery of projects. In preparation for the exhibit, students in Ms. Chaires and Mr. Rivera's history classes each chose a major event, advocate, or a case related to the US Civil Rights Era, or any other US movement in our nation's history toward establishing equality. Students researched their topics and developed written outlines, which eventually came to life through visual aids.

Some examples of project topics/displays included:

-Chicano movement and activists

-Stonewall Riots

-Malcom X

-East LA Walkout

-Brown vs. Board of Education

-LGBT movement

-LA Riots

-Zoot Suit Riots

-Women's Movements/events and activists

-Freedom Writers

-Black Panthers

-Rosa Parks

-Coretta Scott King


posted May 25, 2017, 12:57 PM by Kristin Hernandez   [ updated Jun 6, 2017, 8:03 AM ]

Marcos Clark, Tony Penna, Tom Hoegerman, Valerie Smith, Jen Waite, Rafael Velasco, Jim Hopper, Norma Armenta, and student April L
Photos: Main- (Left to Right) Marcos Clark (Principal of Yucca Loma, effective July 1), Tony Penna (Liberty Utilities), Tom Hoegerman (Superintendent, AVUSD), Valerie Smith (Paul Swick Family Center Director, Yucca Loma), Jen Waite (parent volunteer), Rafael Velasco (Contemporary Landscaping), Jim Hopper (Director of Facilities and Maintenance, AVUSD), Norma Armenta (Liberty Utilities), and a first grade student. 

Left-Valerie Smith, Family Center Director, explains the plans for the garden renovation, which include a greenhouse and a water efficient irrigation system. 

Right-Students in Ms. Phillips' class participate in the "ground breaking". 

Valerie Smith, Family Center Director, explains the plans for the garden renovation, which include a greenhouse and a water efficient irrigation system.
On May 23, students, teachers, administrators, and community partners gathered to celebrate the scheduled renovation of the Yucca Loma School Garden at a special Ground Breaking Ceremony. The brief ceremony was led by Valerie Smith, Paul Swick Family Center Director at Yucca Loma Elementary School, and was attended by Principal Rey Rodriguez, future Principal Marcos Clark, Superintendent Tom Hoegerman, Director of AVUSD Facilities and Maintenance Jim Hopper, Tony Penna and Norma Armenta of Liberty Utilities, Rafael Velasco of Contemporary Landscaping, parent volunteer Jen Waite, and Ms. Phillips’ first grade class.

Smith opened the ceremony by recognizing Mojave Water Agency, Liberty Utilities, Contemporary Landscaping, and the students, staff, and parents at Yucca Loma for helping to make this project possible. Following the opening remarks, students were able to participate in the “ground breaking” by digging in a designated sandbox with plastic garden shovels. 

The renovations were made possible through funding provided by Mojave Water Agency, in partnership with Liberty Utilities. The renovation includes a green house and water efficient irrigation, and will allow the school to grow additional foods for school families while simultaneously providing a water efficient environment in which to grow them. The renovations are scheduled to begin May 30 and are projected to be complete by the end of June 2017.

Students dig in the sandbox with blue plastic shovels.
“The Yucca Loma School Garden has been a wonderful place for our community to gather, learn, exercise, and receive access to healthy foods, and we are so excited to see that impact grow even larger with this renovation,” said Kristin Hernandez, AVUSD Public Information Officer. “We would like to thank our community partners for their support and their generosity, which will allow for us to serve even more families while conserving more water.”

“Liberty Utilities Apple Valley is proud to support the Yucca Loma Elementary School Garden expansion,” said Norma Armenta, Conservation Specialist with Liberty Utilities.  “The garden will serve students, parents and the community in many ways including as a venue for hosting educational workshops on how to create a garden and teaching the importance of sustainability and using water responsibly. In addition, the garden’s harvest will be shared with the school’s families for healthy eating.” 

The Yucca Loma Garden was created 10 years ago in an attempt to encourage healthy eating and provide nutritious food for families in need. Since then, the garden has expanded to serve families from schools across the district and has become a popular location for family events, nutrition education, and physical activity classes.

“School-based projects are so important,” said Kimberly Cox, Mojave Water Agency Board President. “Teaching young students the natural beauty of native plants while teaching water conservation prepares the next generation to be good water stewards.”


posted May 22, 2017, 7:56 AM by Kristin Hernandez

Congratulations to Kaly Gasparico and Graham Gillespie, recipients of the 2017 Shirley Richard Memorial Scholarship.



posted May 19, 2017, 11:09 AM by Kristin Hernandez

Last night’s Board Meeting focused on the achievements of the Apple Valley’s students throughout the 2016-2017 school year. The Board of Trustees was joined by district and school administrators to recognize students for accomplishments related to robotics, environmental science, SkillsUSA, History Day, HOSA, Future Farmers of America, Academic Pentathlon, and the County Science Fair.

Four students hold their awards.
Representatives from Vanguard Preparatory School's Academic Pentathlon Teams. Vanguard Preparatory's 6th Grade Academic Pentathlon Team and 7th Grade Academic Pentathlon Team each came in 1st place overall. 

Four students holding their awards.
County Science Fair participants from Sitting Bull Academy and Yucca Loma Elementary. Students pictured were selected to complete at the county-wide competition after being selected from their schools to showcase their projects at the district-wide science fair.

Group photo of Apple Valley High School's HOSA team with their awards.
HOSA students from Apple Valley High School. Each of the students pictured received an award or special recognition at the Cal HOSA 2017 State Leadership Competition and three will advance to Nationals. 

Group photo of Apple Valley High School's SkillsUSA students with their awards.
Apple Valley High School's SkillsUSA competitors. All students pictured received Gold, Silver, or Bronze awards. Two students will advance to Nationals this summer. 

Arthur Sanchez with his award.
Arthur is one part of the six-member Chapter Business Team that will represent Granite Hills High School at SkillsUSA Nationals this summer. 

More photos are available at


posted May 16, 2017, 11:40 AM by Kristin Hernandez

The public is invited to attend public hearings at 6:00 p.m., on Thursday, June 1, 2017 in Conference Room A of the Educational Support Center at 12555 Navajo Road, Apple Valley. 


The purpose of public hearings is to solicit the recommendations and comments of the public regarding:

·      The actions and expenditures proposed to be included in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) for Apple Valley Unified School District. 

·      The actions and expenditures proposed for the use of the Educator Effectiveness Grant.

·      The actions and expenditures proposed for the use of the College Readiness Block Grant Fund.

·      The request for the State Board of Education to consider a waiver of Education Code 35330.

1-10 of 88