Thursday, May 3, 2018

Haydock Vision Expo and Academic Excellence

2nd Haydock Vision Expo

Haydock Academy of Arts and Sciences hosted its 2nd annual Haydock Vision Expo.  The Vision Expo was a celebration of the project based learning that is taking place at Haydock.  Project based learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by "working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem or challenge" (

Parents, students and the community were invited to the Haydock campus to hear student presentations and view the projects that the students have worked on for weeks, or even months.

There were also music and dance demonstrations, as well as stage performances by the marching band, choir, dance team and afterschool cheer squad.

Guests try out different musical instruments

Some of the project based learning that was on display during the Vision Expo included the following:

6th Grade Social Studies and ELA: Students worked in small groups to design and build aqueduct systems.  The premise was to be able to transport water from one source to two separate "cities."  The project correlated to what the students have been learning in their social studies classes about water usage in ancient civilizations.

Aqueduct PBL presentations and demos

6th Grade Science: Students in Ms. Patton, Ms. Castro and Ms. Singer's classes engineered and built mini houses in order to find ways to create homes that reduce the carbon footprint of a family. They experimented with ways to make one of their houses stay cooler than a house with a regular, black tar rooftop.  They also researched five other ways a household could reduce their footprint, such as having a garden to grow their own fruits and vegetables.
Some of the houses included roofs with reflective white paint or living roofs.

7th Grade Science:  Students learned about ecosystems and human impact on ecosystems through the lens of the Thomas Fire.  Students studied how non-native plants and human activity contributed to the severity of the fire.  Students also participated in community service by working with the Ventura Land Trust and Ventura Botanical Gardens to restore their preserves that burned during the Thomas Fire.  The students developed a brochure about the Thomas Fire and its affect on the local ecosystem and offered ways that we can help prevent future large-scale fires.

7th/8th Grade Special Education:  Students in Mr. Mondragon's classes have been raising trout in their classroom to learn about energy and matter in ecosystems.

8th Grade Science:  Students in Ms. Kaur's classes worked in small groups to design and construct roller coaster models.  Students focused on the question "how can we create the fastest, tallest and safest roller coaster ride?"  Students researched science topics such as kinetic and potential energy and Newton's Laws of Motion and applied what they learned to their designs. After testing and revising their models multiple times, the students created a brochure and movie about their learning process.

8th Grade English Language Arts:  Students in Mr. Driver and Ms. Hagerman's classes developed a series of questions and interviewed someone who had recently immigrated to the United States.  The PBL tied into a novel that the students had recently read that related to immigration.

8th Grade Math:  There was quite a crowd gathered in Haydock's athletic field to watch real live rocket launches!  The rocket project is part of an 8th grade math PBL where students construct and launch rockets to learn about quadratic equations and other math concepts.  Students in both Mr. Martinez and Mr. Steiner's classes participate in this project.

8th Grade Social Studies: Students made an infomercial related to Westward Expansion in the United States during the 1800s.  Students researched a territory, gathered information, and filmed an infomercial convincing "settlers" to move to their territory.

An important component of project based learning includes having students "make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom" (
The guests and parents who attended the Haydock Vision Expo provided a great audience for this!

Haydock also hosted a college fair during the Vision Expo, with representatives from National University, California State University Channel Islands, UC Santa Barbara, California Lutheran University, California State University Northridge, Oxnard College, Moorpark College, LaVerne College and Ventura College.
Parents and students learn more about the local colleges and universities.

Ventura Botanical Gardens

As part of their Thomas Fire project based learning project, students in the 7th grade science classes visited the Ventura Botanical Garden to participate in habitat restoration work.  

Students work to remove invasive weeds from around an aloe tree from South Africa.

The Ventura Botanical Gardens is a public garden located in Ventura that focuses on "the preservation, education, cultural contribution and enhancement of the entire community" (

The gardens represent the five Mediterranean climates around the world, with plants from areas such as Chile, South Africa, and California.

The majority of the gardens burned during the Thomas Fire, but many of the plants are beginning to resprout again.  Haydock students took an informational tour of the gardens and then helped with the removal of non-native, invasive plants.  To see our students in action, check out the following video:

To learn more about the Ventura Botanical Gardens, click here:  Ventura Botanical Gardens.

Celebrating Academic Excellence
Almost 400 students received academic excellence awards in a school wide celebration event.  Students, staff, parents and community members were present as Haydock students were honored for achieving honor roll and for their excellent grades.

Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE)
Haydock is proud to host the Parent Institute for Quality Education, or PIQE, program on our campus for the 7th year in a row.  The program focuses on "educating, empowering, and inspiring parents of K–12 school age children to take an active role in encouraging and enabling their children to: Stay in school; Improve their academic performance; Develop healthy and constructive relationships with their parents, teachers, and counselors; and, focus/prepare themselves for a post-secondary education" (
The parents attended the program every Tuesday night (over the course of 9 weeks) and participated in a variety of hands on activities.

This year's PIQE program just wrapped up and over 40 parents participated in the graduation ceremony, celebrating their successful completion of the course.

Reducing our Use of Plastic.
So far, Haydock students and staff have saved over 13,722 disposable plastic water bottles this year by using our reusable water bottles at our water refill stations.  Way to go Haydock!

"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others" ~ Jonathan Swift

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Service and STEAM Learning

Ventura Land Trust Field Trips
Students in the 7th grade science classes visited the Ventura Land Trust's Big Rock preserve over the course of several community service field trips.
Ventura Land Trust Conservation Director Dash Dunkell teaches students about the local ecosystem.

During the field trip students were able to learn first-hand about the impact of the Thomas Fire on the preserve and how non-native plants are affecting the Ventura river ecosystem.  Students also participated in restoration work on the preserve, assisting with watering newly planted plants and spreading mulch over the burned ground.
The mulch will help to prevent erosion in the area and will also help to retain moisture in the soil to help the new plants become established.

This community service field trip ties into a 7th grade NGSS science project based learning project that focuses on the impact of the Thomas Fire.  Students are learning about the impacts of the Thomas Fire and how disruptions to the ecosystem through invasive species, fire suppression, and human impact contributed to the severity of the fire.  
Students add mulch to burned areas.  The preserve is adjacent to a popular bike path.

The students also had a guest speaker from the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy who spoke to the students about the impact of non-native plants on the Santa Clara River.

Guest Hannah Garcia from the Santa Clara River Conservancy presents about Arundo, a highly invasive plant.

The students are currently developing a brochure that informs the public about the causes of the Thomas fire, provides fire safety information and emphasizes the importance of native plants.
The Ventura River in the Big Rock Preserve

The Big Rock Preserve

To learn more about the Ventura Land Trust and the Santa Clara River Conservancy, click on the following links:
Ventura Land Trust
Santa Clara River Conservancy

Shakespeare at Haydock

On February 14th, the Kingsmen Shakespeare Educational Tour visited the Haydock campus to provide workshops to students in their English classes.  They concluded their visit with a performance of The Twelfth Night for the 7th grade classes.
To read the Ventura County article about this, click here:  Shakespeare Tour

Kick Ash Event

Students in the Haydock Friday Night Live (FNL) club attended a special event at the Ventura County of Education with other middle and high school students from all over Ventura County.   The event focused on tobacco-related health risks and gave the students a chance to "network with each other about how to effect positive change in their own healthy behaviors, in their schools, and within their communities."  Students heard a presentation from world-renowned Dr. Victor DeNoble, a former researcher for the tobacco industry.

 Afterwards, students participated in hands-on training and team-building activities.  The workshops focused on "advocacy, effective presentations, social media, video production and journalism" (information from  Our Haydock FNL students lead several of these workshops.

NAVSEA Tri-Warfare Center Middle School Engineering Challenge

A team of five students from Mr. Steiner's math classes participated in a county wide engineering event on the Point Mugu naval base.  The students worked in teams to see which team could design and construct the strongest bridgehead using dried spaghetti pasta and epoxy.
(Photo by Karen Brown, taken from
Students also took part of guided tours of the base, learning about the different STEM careers that the base offers.
To learn more about this event, click here:  Tri-Warfare Middle School Challenge

Owl Pellet Dissection Lab
Students in Mr. Thacker's classes learned about animals and ecosystems through a hands-on owl pellet dissection lab.

Mount Rushmore Revised

As part of a school wide advisory activity in honor of President's Day, students had the opportunity to create a "revised version" of Mt. Rushmore.

The students decided which four people they would choose for their version of Mt. Rushmore and then they created an image of their sculpture.

The images included drawings, digital illustrations, 3-D sculptures and more.  They also wrote  2-3 paragraphs describing why they chose these particular people for their models.

"Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Science and the Arts at Haydock

Roller Coaster Project Based Learning
Ms. Kaur's 8th grade science classes finished a month long project based learning project where they worked in small groups to design and construct roller coaster models.  Students focused on the question "how can we create the fastest, tallest and safest roller coaster ride?"  Students researched science topics such as kinetic and potential energy and Newton's Laws of Motion and applied what they learned to their designs.

After testing and revising their models multiple times, the students created a brochure and movie about their learning process.  The students presented their roller coasters to Haydock staff and 7th grade students.  To learn more about this project, please check out the following video:

Ceiling Tiles
Ms. Dempsey's advanced art classes just completed an elevated art project: the students painted a series of mini murals that are on display in Haydock's front and back offices.

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The murals are renditions of modern artist Charley Harper's work featuring local native animals.  Charley Harper was known for his wildlife art work and he has created artwork for children's books, the National Park Service, zoos and other organizations.

The artwork that was used to help create the murals was donated to Haydock by Pomegranate, a family-owned company based out of Oregon.

Two of the murals also depict artwork from the "We the People" campaign series by artist Shepard Fairy.

Board Room Display

The amazing art work of Haydock Academy of Arts and Sciences students is on display at the district office board room.  The art work was produced by students of all grade levels in Ms. Dempsey's art classes.
The art work includes:

Left:  Acrylic painting of silhouettes and people in motion.
Right:  A 6th grade art project focused on the work of Picasso.

Students created poetry by blocking out words from a page from a novel.  Then the students illustrated their poetry through painting.

Photobombing Series:  Students "photobombed" themselves into famous paintings through the use of graphic art iPad apps.  See if you can spot the student in each painting...

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.