WVUSD Parent Symposium on safety, wellness

Paul Kanarek, co-founder of the California branch of The Princeton Review and a nationally recognized expert in the fields of both testing and college admissions, spoke at the Walnut Valley Unified School District’s Parent Symposium about emotional intelligence versus intelligence quotient and how both elements connect to life success.

The event, held on Oct. 6 at the Walnut High School gym,  featured several speakers who offered insight on student life at individual sessions.  Topics included safety and wellness, potential dangers of social media and the hazards of juuling and vaping.

Kanarek, the first speaker, explained that emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to recognize and understand themselves.

“There’s a pretty strong correlation between someone’s E.I. and someone’s eventual success,” Kanarek said.

The group of students with the highest retention level, Kanarek said, are Advancement Via Individual Determination students, not necessarily high school valedictorians, AVID students are more emotionally intelligent.

“AVID kids don’t take any AP classes. AVID kids very rarely get A’s… but AVID kids have the highest rate of retention once they get to college. Why? Because AVID kids never quit,” Kanarek said.

After his speech, attendees filed out of the gym and onto their first session. Diamond Bar High School GLC Marc Natividad spoke along with DBHS assistant principal David Hong on juuling and vaping and its harmful effects on a teenager’s body. They discussed what vaping is, how JUUL advertises to appeal to teenagers and what the FDA is doing to fight back.

“At least they’re seeing that these are harmful,” Natividad said. “At least students are having facts put right in front of them. And at least then they’re being given that knowledge to make informed decisions.”

In session two, deputy Aaron Scheller, Dr. Danny Kim and Dr. Jeanette Koh covered student safety and wellness in Walnut Valley Unified School District.

According to Kim, WVUSD has been focusing on five areas this past year: student achievement, leadership development, fiscal stability, strengthening relationships and safety and wellness. Their main focus was safety and wellness due to the prevalence of school shootings.

“The main goal for our school district is to strengthen the physical safety, social awareness, and emotional wellness of all Walnut Valley students, staff and community members,” Kim said.

Koh talked about student wellness and social and emotional learning. Each school, Koh said, provides resources to students to help them cope with emotional issues. These resources include the Wellness Center and counselors.

“If you focus on the child’s emotional wellness, it has a positive effect on their academic achievement,” Koh said.

According to Scheller, the Sheriff Department hopes  to have a working relationship with the students as well as the staff and schools.

The deputies participate in several lectures around WVUSD, such as speaking in events like Red Ribbon Week and addressing cyberbullying. According to Scheller, the involvement is helping strengthen student relationships with the law.

“It’s working well with the school district to create those relationships where… law enforcement can be seen as somebody [students] can look up to. And if they need to talk to us, they can.”

Tehmina Fasih, a parent who attended the session on safety and wellness, said she found the event helpful.

“I got information first hand from the deputy, from Dr. Kim, and then the presenter,” Fasih said. “Because they are the main people who are organizing how to plan safety for [dangerous] events, they are constantly preparing the kids and staff for such events.”