Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 8:19 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 
 

Lompoc Campus Ready To Move Full STEAM Ahead

La Honda Elementary School gets new name to match focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math

Principal Bree Valla wields the scissors for the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating La Honda STEAM Academy on Monday while standing with Pat Nuernberg, Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, as students surrounded them.
Principal Bree Valla wields the scissors for the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating La Honda STEAM Academy on Monday while standing with Pat Nuernberg, Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, as students surrounded them. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Students returning to La Honda Elementary School in Lompoc will see a new name that adds up to new focus..

School district officials, community leaders, staff, students and parents gathered Monday afternoon to celebrate the new La Honda STEAM Academy and new focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. 

A pair of ribbon-cutting ceremonies took place, first with Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce officials and school staff, and again with students and chamber officials.

Principal Bree Valla credited the many supporters of La Honda. 

“Together we can ensure that our students get a rigorous education and leave to middle school fully prepared,” she said.

The transitional kindergarten through sixth-grade campus will have approximately 500 students when it begins the new school school Tuesday morning. 

“Let’s go full STEAM ahead,” Valla said to applause. 

Monday’s events included a PTA meeting in the multipurpose room plus a chance to interact with representatives of various community organizations that provide support to students and family. 

The event came the day before students at La Honda and the remainder of Lompoc Unified School District return to school for the new year Tuesday.

“The most exciting thing is the fact this is a staff driven initiative,” Valla said. “It was the teachers who came behind it and decided that this is what’s best for kids. So that’s what makes it awesome. 

Parents and students look up classroom assignments at La Honda STEAM Academy, which this year will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Click to view larger
Parents and students look up classroom assignments at La Honda STEAM Academy, which this year will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s a team approach,” she added.

“When you deal with science and technology you need to start young,” added Ken Ostini, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce. “You don’t start when you’re in high school. You’re too late.”

From kindergartners and older, La Honda students will get a hands-on approach to their education so they will see how what they're learning is applicable to the real world, she added. 

Despite the focus, students will still learn state standards, the principal added.

“It’s just a different approach to addressing those standards,” Valla said. 

The new STEAM academy is one way the Lompoc Unified School District is focusing on science and math, with instructional math coaches to be deployed at its elementary and middle schools.

“I recognize that, in today's economy, math and science play a pivotal role in the strength of our economy,” Superintendent Trevor McDonald said.

“By aggressively exposing our students to math and science, I am seeking to remove the fear from these subjects in order to give our students the opportunity to fall in love with these critical subjects.”

This is not the first academy in the district. Last year, the district launched a performing and visual arts academy at Los Berros School.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

La Honda STEAM Academy Principal Bree Valla speaks during Monday’s ribbon cutting ceremony. Click to view larger
La Honda STEAM Academy Principal Bree Valla speaks during Monday’s ribbon cutting ceremony. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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