Derek Chip, Rosa Estrada Named Employees of the Month

Special Education teacher Derek Chip and English Language instructional aide Rosa “Rosie” Estrada are named district Employees of the Month at school board meeting on Thursday, November 14.
With friends and family looking on, both awardees were presented their awards by Lucerne Valley Unified School District Superintendent Peter Livingston and congratulated by members of the Board of Trustees.
Mr. Chip, who came aboard the staff of Lucerne Valley Middle High School this school year, was named the Certificated Employee of the Month. Mr. Livingston shared the nomination letter.
“Special education teachers like Derek Chip are an integral part of the educational process,” the superintendent said. “It takes a highly dedicated and driven person like him with a unique combination of traits to positively influence student achievement. He has truly done an exceptional job working with our SAI (Specialized Academic Instruction) students as well as the entire Special Education Department.”
Importantly, Mr. Chip has recently added SEL (Social Emotional Learning) classes to his teaching load. Each student at the Middle/High School has an opportunity to attend his modules. “In the classroom, Mr. Chip has the ability to adapt his lessons in creative ways to highlight the learning strengths of each individual student. He always finds a way to include all students in the learning process, which at times may involve teaching the same material in four or five different ways.”
The teacher seeks new teaching techniques, thinks outside the box, and demonstrates dedication and commitment to being the best teacher he can be, Mr. Livingston said.
Ms. Estrada, the Classified Employee of the Month, is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty,” Mr. Livingston said.
“Rosie has no hesitation with filling in wherever she may be needed. She handles a huge portion of our translating here at the school for many of our parents. Rosa helps make everyone feel welcome here at LVES. Rosa is a strong influencing factor when it comes to our Intervention Program and our EL program. Rosa supports most all of our EL students with a kind and gentle heart.”



School district enrollment continues to be at its highest number in years with October’s figure at 835, one above the previous month’s enrollment, according to Mr. Livingston. The 2019-20 school year started with a student enrollment of 803, a sizable jump from 738 the previous August. LVUSD’s student population has been rising steadily over the past five years after a low in May 2016 of 669.
In discussion/action items, four members of the governing board — Jim Harvey, Chelsea LaGrange, Jessica Risler and Tom Courtney — approved Alta Vista Innovation High School’s charter school petition for five more years effective July 1, 2020. (Board member Ruben Medina was absent.) Public hearings were also held for charter renewals of Sky Mountain and Gorman Learning Center SBSC.
The school board also voted unanimously to hire teacher Racquel Chagoya under a Provisional Internship Permit, approved a special services agreement with Patrick Leier to provide consulting services related to the administration and oversight of the district’s charter schools, approved raising the classified substitute rates to meet the requirements of Senate Bill 3, and approved the contract with After-School All-Stars for the district’s after-school program.
The board also discussed and voted on moving the next regular meeting date from December 12 to December 9 to better accommodate board members’ schedules.


LVMS student representative Gabe Castillo, LVHS representative JT Mills, AVID representatives Davianna Enderle and Savannah Porter, and FFA representative Katelyn Miller gave PowerPoint updates on happenings at Lucerne Valley Middle High School.
School site administrators shared exciting news on campus.
Lucerne Valley Elementary School Principal Burt Umstead said the school welcomed two new staff members, participated in the Great California Shake Out, and will participate in teacher collaboration with Victorville Elementary School. He also said 5th graders had a great time at the recent science camp at Big Bear Lake and Literacy Night, which had begun earlier that night, was well-received.
Lucerne Valley Middle High School Principal Nate Lambdin said, “So many great things are happening.” The school conducted its first Parent University session, which provides parents with information about college opportunities for their students. He also talked about the new Zen garden going in at the middle school. The garden is the result of longtime teacher Naomi Oyadomari’s recent educational trip to Japan. The school is planning on holding a garden dedication ceremony.

Special Education teacher Derek Chip and English Language instructional aide Rosa “Rosie” Estrada are named district Employees of the Month at school board meeting on Thursday, November 14. From left to right, Superintendent Peter Livingston, school board president Jim Harvey, board member Tom Courtney, Derek Chip, Rosie Estrada, Chelsea LaGrange, and Jessica Risler. Photo courtesy Doug Beaton