Weekly roundup: Anaheim Union High School District’s farm addresses food insecurity, Dr. Al Mijares’ anniversary, and more

Magnolia High School’s Agriscience Community Center provided more than 300 boxes of fruits and vegetables for district families and staff this summer.

A year after the Anaheim Union High School District unveiled Magnolia High School’s Agriscience Community Center, the staff and students had more than 300 boxes filled with fresh produce to show as fruits of their labor.

The center includes a two-and-a-half acre area located roughly three miles west of Disneyland. Its creation stemmed from a district initiative to create a working farm and space to address food insecurity in the community, facilitate lesson plans about agricultural practices, benefit the environment and teach students about environmental justice.

“It’s the first of its kind in the country,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Matsuda. “It’s designed to be an urban agriscience laboratory. This is going to transform the community from a food desert to a food and health care oasis.”

This summer, students in the district worked together on creating a business idea to sell boxes of fruits and vegetables that were grown at the farm. In turn, the students used the proceeds they earned to donate hundreds of pounds of produce to local community centers that service families in need.

Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:

Al Mijares swearing in ceremony 2
Dr. Al Mijares was appointed as Orange County superintendent of schools in August 2012 and elected to full terms in 2014, 2018 and 2022.
  • The month of August marks 10 years since Dr. Al Mijares took his oath of office to become the Orange County Superintendent of Schools. He was elected by voters in three separate elections after his initial appointment.
  • Dr. Mijares issued a statement filled with reflections and hope to welcome students, educators and staff as they enter the 2022-23 school year.
  • Families with students attending the Ocean View School District will not need to add school supplies to their shopping lists this year. The district plans on providing essential school supplies to all students.
  • Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials are continuing to amp up their efforts to ensure campuses are prepared for any emergency. The district has plans to hold three more safety meetings with the community this fall.
  • Residents from a senior living community included hand-written cards in every backpack they filled for students attending Palmyra Elementary School in the Orange Unified School District.
  • A bill that would change the way the Orange County Board of Education’s five members would have been elected did not get enough votes in the California Legislature. As the OC Register reported, SB 286 sought to move the county board race to the November election, which typically draws a larger and more politically diverse block of voters.
  • Hundreds of students attending the Orange County Classical Academy started the school year with at-home independent studies or attended classes at a church in Irvine. As the OC Register reported, the public charter school was unable to get necessary fire hydrants installed to prior to the start of school.
  • In response to declining enrollment rates and chronic absenteeism, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District connected with 10 students who were consistently missing from school and determined they are living in poor conditions and are not receiving adequate care.
  • Technical assistance and grants of up to $750,000 to help school districts open more dual-language immersion programs will not be available after a Senate bill fizzled in the California State Assembly this month.
  • U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona believes the way to address teacher shortages is through competitive pay and providing better working conditions. He calls lowering standards for teachers “unfortunate.”

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