LCUSD Defends DEI Initiative, Approves Oversight

First published in the Sept. 30 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board dedicated the majority of its five-hour meeting Tuesday to formally address the elephant in the classroom that has become critical race theory amid efforts to create curriculum including diversity, equity and inclusion.
Some stakeholders have voiced concerns and reignited accusations regarding whether critical race theory — an academic movement developed decades ago that examines the dynamics of how race and racism are expressed throughout American history and its institutions, especially law — is being taught in the classroom. A series of edited videos was leaked online in early August, allegedly showing a private book club meeting among La Cañada Elementary School teachers and administrators discussing “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DeAngelo, a professor who researched whiteness studies and critical discourse analysis.
Continue reading “LCUSD Defends DEI Initiative, Approves Oversight”

LCUSD Cautiously Advances DEI Initiative

The issue that is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) dominated the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board meeting yet again on Tuesday with dozens of stakeholders reiterating their stance against the initiative.
The board was expected to discuss and adopt the district’s DEI framework and guiding principles for the initiative, as well as its mission statement and definitions, but the panel balked at fully adopting each document due to the language used and a perceived lack of clarity.
Board members ultimately decided to table the framework for adoption at a future meeting, but they did partially approve the other agenda item. They did move forward on approving the mission statement and definition of diversity, but asked staff to work further on the definitions for equity and inclusion.
Josh Epstein, who was elected to the Governing Board last November, said he was conflicted about the decision and wanted the community to know that there is a sense of urgency in moving forward with the DEI initiative.
Continue reading “LCUSD Cautiously Advances DEI Initiative”

LCUSD Presents Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Framework

Nearly six months after including it as one of her goals for the academic year, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette presented to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board the framework, commitment statement and three-year implementation plan of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative on Tuesday.
A virtual special meeting was held to allow the board to dive deep into the documents submitted by district staff. There were a total of 25 pages that included the district’s objectives and reasoning for DEI. The framework was a first-read item on the agenda, and the commitment statement, created to define DEI, and three-year plan were discussion items.
“It’s our desire to clearly articulate what this DEI work is, what its objectives are and in the design, we are also affirming and characterizing what it is not,” Sinnette said.
Continue reading “LCUSD Presents Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Framework”

In Big Election Turnout, Locals Largely Favored Biden

Well, it’s official: La Cañada Flintridge residents care, and they show it by voting.
The final outstanding ballots from this year’s November general election were certified by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office this week, and vote tallies indicate more LCF residents voted in this presidential election than any in recent history, with the majority supporting the Democratic candidate.
Continue reading “In Big Election Turnout, Locals Largely Favored Biden”

Epstein, Anderson Lead in Voting for Two LCUSD Board Seats


Early returns in the race involving four candidates for two seats on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board showed Josh Epstein and Caroline Anderson with sizable leads.

As of 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Epstein had 4,287 votes, Anderson had tallied 4,279, Jeremiah Arnold had garnered 3,093 and Belinda Randolph had 2,727.

The two seats were available because Ellen Multari’s term ended (after she resigned following a move out of the district) and Brent Kuszyk decided not to seek reelection.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office has stated it will update results by 4 p.m.

Grateful for LCUSD Candidates and Right to Vote (Use It)

Charlie Plowman

It’s election season … and we are in the midst of competitive federal and state races and propositions. But this article is going to emphasize “local,” and that obviously means our La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board race.
For starters, we should all be thankful to have four candidates who want to give of their time and energy to help our students. Caroline Anderson, Jeremiah Arnold, Josh Epstein and Belinda Randolph should be commended for their willingness to donate hundreds (or is it thousands?) of hours over the next four years.
The two open school board seats aren’t salaried positions. These four individuals care about our community and youth so much that they are willing to endure the criticism that is inevitable during a four-year term so they can “give back.”
This race for the governing board positions is competitive, to say the least. Four candidates, two seats.

Continue reading “Grateful for LCUSD Candidates and Right to Vote (Use It)”

Governing Board Candidates Report on Donations

Jeremiah Arnold, one of four candidates looking to nab one of two open seats on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board, raised more than $27,500 in campaign contributions through the most recent reporting period, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office.
Arnold’s campaign coffers, according to documents recording donations made through Sept. 19, were bolstered by a $9,500 loan from himself and about $2,700 in non-monetary contributions — such as bumper stickers and yard signs paid for by supporters. His campaign had also spent the most money for that period, with much of the approximately $15,600 — which also includes non-monetary contributions — going to advertising, including a rented billboard.
Continue reading “Governing Board Candidates Report on Donations”

They’re Back Training Live on the Field, Court and Pool

Photo by Oscar Areliz / OUTLOOK VALLEY SUN
The La Cañada High School varsity girls’ volleyball team warms up by running around the outdoor basketball courts on Tuesday.

For the first time in nearly seven months to the day, La Cañada High School student-athletes greeted their coaches in person and trained with their fellow teammates on Monday.
Administrators and coaches’ detailed plan of reopening the stadium and facilities for outdoor practices in accordance to the county Department of Public Health’s Reopening Protocol for Youth Sports Leagues was approved by the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board during a virtual meeting on Sept. 29, and LCHS Principal Jim Cartnal said they “had a really great rollout.”
“First and foremost, it was great to see coaches and students we’ve missed for months,” Cartnal said over the phone on Tuesday. “We closed on March 13 [due to COVID-19] and today is Oct. 13. It’s almost kind of synchronicity to being away when we are back almost to the day.”

Continue reading “They’re Back Training Live on the Field, Court and Pool”

School Leaders Caution Against ‘Falsehoods’ About DEI

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board said this week that the diversity, equity and inclusion report given by a consultant at an August board meeting is being translated into Korean and Chinese, and that edition will be shared with the LCUSD community once completed.
In a joint statement, district Superintendent Wendy Sinnette and board President Joe Radabaugh also addressed questions the board has received regarding DEI and some of the rumors or falsehoods allegedly circulating ahead of the election for two board seats on Nov. 3. They recommended that residents who need clarification on the meaning of DEI or the district’s intentions reach out directly to a board member or staff.
Continue reading “School Leaders Caution Against ‘Falsehoods’ About DEI”