Norte Vista Academic Newsletter
IB Alumni Spotlight
The IB programs first IB spotlight is from Alejandra Rochford (formerly Alejandra Cortez). Ms. Rochford was in one of Norte Vista's earliest generations of IB students and utilized the Diploma program to its fullest.
Here is a bit of her story: “Before I could even apply for my current job, which I'll describe in a bit, I had to obtain a degree in a science field. I knew for years that I wanted to pursue forensics so I obtained a BS in Forensic Science and another in Biology from the University of New Haven. When I decided this was the school for me, I enrolled without even realizing where on the map it was. Turns out Connecticut is pretty far away from home, and freezing cold much of the year. Thankfully, I only had to endure that climate for 3 years because of the credits IB allowed me to carry into college. Those three years were no breeze, though. I had to work full-time, over-night, and I did not let go of running as I continued into collegiate cross country and track and field. Those who cared for me told me to stop running to make it easier on myself, but of course that's just not how I function. I was called "iron-willed", which sounds nice, but is really just another word for stubborn. Still, I didn't mind any words that tried to dissuade me from something I had already made up my mind about. Truth is, I knew what I wanted in my education and career goals better than anyone and I just kept going as long as the Lord kept providing. For the past 7 years I have been employed by the California Department of Justice as a forensic scientist. Amongst my casework I analyze blood and urine samples for alcohol content. I also provide training to officers in the use of a breath testing device for alcohol. Analyzing substances for the presence of illegal drugs is also on my list of duties. One of my favorite casework areas, though, is serial number restoration (mainly for firearms) and helping at crime scenes. I am still training to become a primary crime scene responder and am nearing completion of firearms examiner training. My job involves a lot of training and am constantly attending courses and training at my desk or out in the field. It has been a great career path that satisfies my desire to constantly learn and also serve my community in an underrated area of society. I recently returned to work from maternity leave and am enjoying the wonderful world of motherhood. Being able to raise a Christ-centered family is a dream I never really considered or expected to accomplish in my years growing up. I was always determined to achieve a career that seemed far-fetched, but this family life really seemed beyond my grasp given what I was used to in my childhood. I am so happy to report today, and hopefully I don't sound prideful, that I feel successful because of the love I am surrounded with at home and always in my heart through the faith I get to exercise by His grace. Even if I lost my job tomorrow, or the house we are buying fell through, I feel confident and comforted by the relationships I have been blessed to cultivate, knowing I'll be fully well despite any external and worldly measure of success. Thank you for this opportunity to share my life with you!”
IBNV Alumni Night
On December 8th, IB held an alumni panel that featured virtual and in-person panelist. Each of the graduates shared their stories of journeying from the IB Diploma program at Norte Vista to the next stops in life. There was a over 90 in the audience and many took the opportunity to ask questions of the graduates and to learn from their experiences.
Johana Agredano (IBNV 2022; UCR 2026): After graduating from the International Baccalaureate at Norte Vista (IBNV) Diploma Program, Johana began attending the University of California at Riverside (UCR) where she is majoring in education. Although her time on the college campus has been short, she has already begun to make an impact. She has joined Campus, Advocacy, Resources and Education (CARE), which works as an intervention and prevention support program committed to ending sexual violence at UCR. Additionally, Johana was chosen as a winner of the Manuela and Sosa scholarship, for which she wrote about how she plans to help the community via her career. Ms. Agredano had her high school career severely impacted by the pandemic, but made the best of it by finding a calling as a peer mentor. Once the school returned to in-person services, Johana worked tirelessly as a mentor to students that felt disconnected and were struggling. Her calm demeanor and empathy made her a regular presenter and facilitator of supports for students. Johana has an incredibly unique way of assisting students with their anxiety and self-doubts and hopes to put this to use as part of her career once she graduates college.
Gabriel Astilleros (IBNV 2020; UCR 2024): After graduating from the International Baccalaureate at Norte Vista (IBNV) Diploma Program, Gabriel began attending the University of California at Riverside (UCR). Graduating in 2020 meant that Mr. Astilleros had the incredible challenge of finishing high school in a virtual setting and then navigating into college in the same manner. The transition was incredibly difficult and led to some initial academic struggles that put him on academic probation. Showing the same resilience that he had in high school, Gabriel turned things around is now on the dean’s list, while focusing his studies on sociology, Spanish literature and law/society. Additionally, he is part of MECHA de UCR, where he has an active role in such outreach efforts as the Youth Empowerment Conference. Mr. Astilleros was a very focused high school student and graduated as a valedictorian. After completing he studies, he plans to work in the mental health services arena as either a school counselor or a social worker for troubled teens.
Alfredo Castro (IBNV 2018; UCSD 2022) After graduating from the International Baccalaureate at Norte Vista (IBNV) Diploma Program, Alfredo began attending the University of California San Diego, where he pursued an interest in biology. Mr. Castro recently graduated with a degree in molecular and cell biology. During his time at UCSD, he worked as a research assistant at the Wu Lab studying neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This work even included co-authoring a paper to be published in a scientific journal this year. Additionally, Alfredo was part of the first cohort for the Mentorship for Advancing Diversity in Undergraduate Research (MADURA) program, which assisted in widening his network of neurodegenerative disease studies. Mr. Castro was a model of resilience in high school and overcame a difficult few semesters to climb all the way to graduating with a valedictorian status. He kept focused on his passions and, at the conclusion of college, was offered a junior specialist position in the Moasser Lab at the University of California San Francisco. He accepted the job and moved to San Francisco two weeks after graduation to begin his career.
Dr. Jack Collora (IBNV 2013; UCLA 2017; Yale University 2022:) After graduating from the International Baccalaureate at Norte Vista (IBNV) Diploma Program, Jack attended UCLA, where he pursued his interests in science. He graduated with a major in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics and with a minor in biomedical research. Dr. Collora went on to Yale University, where he continued following his passion for science and went on to graduate with a PhD in microbiology. Along the way, Jack developed gene therapy approaches to cure sickle cell disease at UCLA and used cutting-edge genomics to understand HIV-1 infected cells in vivo at Yale. Among many accomplishments, he won a Care Fellowship, a Gruber Science Fellowship, an Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Poster Award for work on lentiviral vectors, three New Investigator Awards to the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, and the Uta Von Schwedler prize for retrovirology. While Jack had a consistent love of science, high school did not come easy to him. It took him time to find a way to connect to the high school and many of the other students, but eventually did and became a great giver and role model. Dr. Collora’s next step is to the legal field, where he will help translate science into patents.
Alejandra Rochford (IBNV 2012; University of New Haven (2015): After graduating from the International Baccalaureate at Norte Vista (IBNV) Diploma Program, Alejandra began attending the University of New Haven, where she pursued her passion to study forensic sciences. Despite working full-time and being a college athlete in the areas of cross-country and track and field, Ms. Rochford teamed a strong work ethic and her IB Diploma college credit to graduate in just three years with a degree in forensic science and a degree in biology. Prior to her pursuits in college, Alejandra was relentless in her focus on her future. She wanted to be a forensic scientist and chose to go to one of the best schools to pursue that dream, despite it being on the other side of the country in Connecticut. Upon completion of her degrees, Ms. Rochford returned to California to accept her dream job as a forensic scientist for the California Department of Justice. She has spent the last seven years in this role. Amongst her casework, she analyzes blood and urine samples for alcohol content, provides training to officers in forensic collection, does serial number restoration (mainly for firearms) and helps at crime scenes. She is currently training to become a primary crime scene responder and is nearing completion of firearms examiner training. Her job involves a lot of training and fieldwork that satisfies her desire to constantly learn and serve her community.
Daisy Savedra (IBNV 2020; CBU 2025): After graduating from the International Baccalaureate at Norte Vista (IBNV) Diploma Program, Daisy began attending California Baptist University. Being a high school graduate in 2020 meant that Ms. Savedra had the very difficult task of missing a traditional graduation ceremony (as well as so many other senior activities), while also having to spend her first year of college in a virtual setting. That said, she did not allow the challenges to set her back at all. She immediately began focusing on her future and began pursuing a major in English and a minor in Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). High school was not always easy for her, but Daisy learned to become an expert at utilizing mentors and being coachable. With her lowest grades occurring in her sophomore year, many students would have given up on post-secondary pursuits. Instead, Ms. Savedra decided to dedicate herself and went from needing to make-up sophomore English credit to a 4.0 GPA Diploma Candidate in her junior year. She also became one of the first people we reach out to when needing motivation or mentoring for current students. Daisy is currently working as an AVID tutor, waitress and an occasional petsitter, while also being part of CBUs integrated credential program, which allows her to work on her teaching credential while also completing her bachelor’s degree. She hopes to begin teaching in her community as early as the 2024-2025 academic year.
Dia De Los Muertos Altars
Dr. Flores and his students, with the help of Norte Vista Spanish teachers, HERS, Dreamers, AVID, PALS, Puente, Ethnic Studies, NOVI Dreamers, Chicano Studies, and the Learning Center hosted and created Dia De Los Muertos Alters for celebration of Day of the Dead.
English Language Arts
Literary Christmas Ornaments
ELA fun in Mrs. Stebbing's class. Students had the opportunity to create literary ornaments to display in class.
Avid Shoebox Project
Mr. Reyes and NOVIs AVID students are in the midst of their Shoebox Project and are working to meet their goal of providing all foster students in our district with a gift box this Christmas. AVID students worked hard to create and fill the shoeboxes and to make sure all students receive a special box of joy this holiday season.
A Christmas shoebox is a shoebox wrapped like a Christmas present, but with a lid that opens. Inside it contains stocking stuffer type gifts that can be transported easily. Completed shoeboxes will be delivered to the school sites in the district before mid December and left as a pickup for the students.
Trustee Lizeth Vega and Riverside City Councilmember Steve Hemenway joined Mr. Reyes and NOVI's AVID students to help prepare and deliver the Shoebox gifts to Alvord schools.
Saturday Academy is an opportunity for students to have ADDITIONAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES to catch up and improve their grade or for enrichment. This is a great opportunity to connect and become a part of something bigger.
Saturday Academy with Mr. Reyes
Saturday Academy with Ms. Putnam and Ms. Chappell and Mr. Mosqueda
Math tutoring with Ms. Brenenstall
Saturday Academy Scientific Investigation with Mr. Simmons
Saturday Academy IB help center with Mrs. Vasquez
Norte Vista Student Incentives!
This month's PBIS Value was No Missing Assignment November. Students who achieved the goal of having no missing assignments were entered into a raffle for a free lunch from the taco truck. Two hundred and fifty meals were provided to students.
Student Achievement Awards!
Norte Vista's Renaissance celebrated student success on progress reports this month. Students received a certificate and a Super Star ticket for the following grade point averages on their second progress report:
Gold: GPA 3.5 to 5.0
Silver: GPA 3.0 to 3.49
Bronze: GPA 2.5 to 2.49
Norte Vista's Guidance counseling team hosted a Cocoa Cram event this month. All students were invited to join them for some hot cocoa, a piece of pan dulce, and relaxation before the start of final exams. Over 814 students attended the event!
Norte Vista Professional Development
ELA Special Education teachers worked on creating Designated ELD lessons for their students this month.
Semantic Gradients | Classroom Strategy | Reading Rockets
Semantic gradients are a way to broaden and deepen students' understanding of related words. Students consider a continuum of words by order of degree. Semantic gradients often begin with antonyms, or opposites, at each end of the continuum. This strategy helps students distinguish between shades of meaning.