YMCA Foothills Launches Free PE Program

First published in the Nov. 20 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

In an effort to help kids stay active, the YMCA of the Foothills is launching their free P.L.A.Y. Program that will serve as an alternative space for Los Angeles Unified School District and Glendale Unified School District students — kindergarten through 6th-grade — to exercise and develop physically.
This physical education program will take place Monday, Nov. 29, through Dec. 15 at the Verdugo Hills Family YMCA location.
Two sessions will be offered each week on Monday and Wednesday. Grades K-2 will have PE from 3-3:45 p.m. and grades 3-6 from 4-4:45 p.m.
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GUSD OKs New District Map

First published in the Nov. 20 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

The Glendale Unified School District approved its redistricting map this week, making a pair of light shifts to help bring its five trustee areas into population and demographic compliance.
To balance populations, school board members agreed to shift around 16 blocks of District C to District B and nine from District E to District D. Prior boundaries otherwise remain in place, and the geometric effect is to make the affected districts more compact.
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Doctor Works to Allay Fear of COVID Vaccines for Children

First published in the Nov. 20 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Dr. Christine Mirzaian wanted to set an example for other parents.
So as soon as COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for children, the pediatrician brought her 5-year-old daughter to work, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, to get round one of the shot.
After bearing witness to how the coronavirus has devastated Southern California for 19 months, the Glendale native and resident said she didn’t have to think twice about it.
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Day of the Dead Embraces Souls of the Past

First published in the Nov. 13 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

The spirits of the departed recently returned to their loved ones for Dia de los Muertos, some visiting Glendale Central Library on their journey to reconnect with the living.
With special offerings galore, the library’s community altar was filled last weekend with sentimental and decorative items brought in love to welcome those from the afterlife, some of which included photos, flowers, sage, a ball of yarn with knitting needles, sugar skulls and a pair of skeleton figures sitting back to back.
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GUSD Faces Declining Numbers

First published in the Nov. 13 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Glendale Unified School District officials are mulling over how to stymie a declining enrollment rate that, during the coronavirus pandemic, has brought the large system to less than 25,000 students.
Although the district is adding new students each year, those numbers have not been enough to replace its losses — generally through graduation, but more recently also through transfers. After enrolling 26,119 students in the 2015-16 school year, officials report there are currently 24,233 students at GUSD schools.
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Verdugo Woodlands School Aided by Assistance League

First published in the Oct. 23 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Assistance League of Glendale recently donated $2,000 to Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School to buy books for its school library, as part of its sponsorship of Authors and Illustrators Day.
Authors and Illustrators Day is a program in which professionals visiting the Glendale Unified School District elementary schools to teach the students they, too, can become an author or draw the pictures for the sorts of books they enjoy reading. The four authors coming to Verdugo Woodlands this year include Tao Nyeu (for students in grades TK-K), Caroline Arnold (grades 1-2), Michelle Markel (grades 3-4) and Tracy Holczer (grades 5-6).
The authors’ visit will be Tuesday, Nov. 2. Once Upon a Time in Montrose is ordering the books in anticipation of an after-school sale and book-signing event that day.
This event is funded by the Thrift Alley, Assistance League’s shop, at 314 Harvard St. It is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Thrift Alley continues to accept donations of items to be made available to customers for affordable prices.
For more information about Assistance League call President Carol Svatora at (586) 202-8764.

District Narrows Contact Tracing to Keep Kids in Class

First published in the Oct. 9 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

After starting out the school year quarantining entire classrooms after a potential COVID-19 exposure, the Glendale Unified School District has recently begun implementing new guidelines to keep more students in the classroom.
The policy change, approved by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, comes after about two months of the district requiring entire classrooms at a time to stay home for up to a 10-day quarantine period. Continue reading “District Narrows Contact Tracing to Keep Kids in Class”

National Merit Names 9 GUSD Semifinalists

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Nine students from the Glendale Unified School District were recently selected as National Merit Semifinalists and will now compete to be finalists for the annual scholarships.
GUSD’s semifinalists include Miriam Awan, Ellena Kim, Nathan Kim, David Yoon Kim and Seon-Jae Yoon from Crescenta Valley High School; Abdullah Ahmed and Matthew Keshishian from Clark Magnet High School; Lilly Armstrong from Glendale High School; and Sarine Maridirosian from Hoover High School. They join approximately 16,000 qualifying students nationwide and represent fewer than 1% of U.S. high school seniors competing for about 7,500 scholarships. Semifinalists qualify by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and earning scores that are among the highest in the state.
Finalists are expected to be announced in the spring.

GUSD, Teachers in Accord on Virus Precautions

First published in the Sept. 25 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

The Glendale Unified School District and the union representing its teachers agreed this week to a series of policies and protocols codifying COVID-19-related safety measures that will last for the remainder of the school year.
Meanwhile, the district and the Glendale Teachers Association continued to discuss what is expected to be an agreement addressing the effects that quarantining has on classroom instruction.
The understanding reached this week, in short, has the district aligning with applicable guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. It does not address other related issues, such as instructional policy in the event of student quarantines, nor does it impose any new vaccination mandates. Continue reading “GUSD, Teachers in Accord on Virus Precautions”

GUSD Teacher of the Year ‘Model for Excellence’

First published in the Sept. 18 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

For the second time, kindergarten teacher Roxanne O’Rourke has been recognized as teacher of the year for the Glendale Unified School District and will now represent the city in the contest at the county level.
O’Rourke, who teaches at Horace Mann Elementary School, was awarded as teacher of the year in the spring but was formally recognized by the GUSD Board of Education this week as the Los Angeles County Office of Education prepares to designate the county’s teacher of the year. O’Rourke earned the accolade for her leadership in the early spring, when her school received a waiver to open doors for students to re-enter classrooms and kick off hybrid instruction. Continue reading “GUSD Teacher of the Year ‘Model for Excellence’”