Hathaway-Sycamores, PUSD Partner to Help Students’ Mental Health

Photo courtesy Hathaway-Sycamores
Hathaway-Sycamores Assistant Vice President of School-Based Services Shefali D’Sa and School-Based Services Director Shannon San Pedro.

After a year of social distancing and remote learning, the mental health issues that children and teenagers are experiencing are soaring.
“Not only do students miss their friends and struggle with virtual learning, but many also have experienced deaths and job losses in their families, loss of housing (or fear of eviction) and food insecurity,” according to a Hathaway-Sycamores statement. “The stress, depression, and anxiety our youth are suffering is unprecedented and can lead to serious consequences. In fact, according to the CDC, attempted suicide and suicide are on the rise and are currently the second leading cause of death for teens.”
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PUSD Moves To Safely Reopen Middle and High Schools

Brian McDonald

The Pasadena Unified School District and United Teachers of Pasadena (UTP) reached an agreement on reopening middle and high schools for in-person instruction, setting the date for student cohorts to begin returning to campus on April 20.
“We’re very pleased to come to this agreement with UTP,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald. “Teachers and other employees represented by UTP are a vital link to student learning. Our goal has always been to work collaboratively with our labor partners in coming to a solution that benefits our entire PUSD community.”
As previously announced, PUSD student cohorts in preschool through second grade will begin returning April 13. Student cohorts in grades 3-5 return April 20.
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PUSD Superintendent Finding Positives in a Difficult Time

Brian McDonald

Like many other districts in the area, the Pasadena Unified School District began the academic year with remote learning on Monday, in keeping with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s guidelines preventing schools in counties on the state’s COVID-19 watch list from delivering in-person instruction.
Closures in March due to the coronavirus forced many schools to pivot into uncharted territory with distance learning, but the PUSD believes it’s ready and is optimistic about the road ahead.
“We’re excited to see our students reconnect, learn and advance in the new school year,” Superintendent Brian McDonald said in a letter to the community this week. “Although we are beginning with extraordinary circumstances, the entire PUSD team is committed to providing a quality education for all of our students. We’re eager to engage students in meaningful learning so that every student has opportunities to fulfill their potential.”
However, he recognized that there may be a few challenges and asked parents and students to be patient as the district works through them.

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Heading Down the Home Stretch of the School Year

By Brian McDonald
PUSD superintendent

Brian McDonald

Gov. Newsom released the state’s revised May budget proposal for 2020-21 that seeks to avoid permanent cuts to public education while dealing with the impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on the state’s economy. For PUSD this means that instead of facing a projected $35 million in reduction in state funding, we now estimate a $15 million reduction in state funding. We are examining in detail the revised budget and will continue to advocate on behalf of our students and educators in the coming weeks. Budgets are a reflection of values, and we are asking the state and federal governments to show their commitment to students and the future of this country.
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Pasadena Center Operating Company Extends Meal Program to Aid PUSD Families

In an effort to continue aiding the Pasadena community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pasadena Center Operating Company (PCOC) and Centerplate, the exclusive food and beverage provider for the Pasadena Convention Center and Pasadena Civic Auditorium, will continue providing healthy meals for students and families of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). The meals are distributed over four weekends, which started in late April. The meal program will be paid for by the City of Pasadena.
Each weekend, 15 PCOC staff members will volunteer to transport, set up and distribute the meals (1,400 per day; 2,800 in total per weekend) at four of seven PUSD distribution locations. The healthy. pre-packaged meals include premium deli sandwiches carved in house, fruit, cookies, juice or milk.
Since the Operating Company’s initial outreach of support to the Pasadena community, the PCOC and Centerplate have prepared, delivered and distributed more than 11,000 nutritious meals to PUSD students and families. From March 28 to April 19, 20 PCOC staff members spent 490 hours volunteering at four of the meal distribution locations, including aiding the PUSD during their weekly Grab N’ Go program. In addition, in-kind services for the entire meal program is currently nearing $20,000 and growing.
“The Pasadena Center Operating Company is pleased to help in this ongoing time of need and we are beyond grateful for the positive support from the city of Pasadena and our partners at Centerplate,” said Michael Ross, CEO of the PCOC. “We are fortunate to have the resources and volunteers to make this all possible and continue being a beacon of hope and support for those in need.”

PUSD Teacher Appreciation Week

Elizabeth Pomeroy

By Elizabeth Pomeroy
Special to The Outlook

“If you can read this,” said the bumper sticker, “thank a teacher!”
There could not be a better moment for us to commemorate Teacher Appreciation Week, because the faculty of PUSD schools are stepping up to unprecedented challenges in these times. As a 10-year board member of the Pasadena Unified School District and a teacher myself, I am truly impressed with the resilience and heart of our own teachers. Continue reading “PUSD Teacher Appreciation Week”

PUSD’s ‘State of the Schools’ Delivered

Patrick Cahalan
PUSD Board of Education President

By Patrick Cahalan

These are extraordinary times.
When I began the first iteration of planning for this State of the Schools, my intention was to talk about the children of the Pasadena Unified School District, their instruction, and the involvement of the parent community at a gathering of our community. The considerable investment of our parent community, primarily through PTA, School Site Councils and participation in district advisory boards, is deserving of an event and a recognition worthy of its contribution. While this is still the case, the changes that our district, our state, and our country have experienced since March have been unlike anything else in the last century. The focus of this State of the Schools must, therefore, be focused on our response to the coronavirus pandemic and PUSD’s role in leading our community’s return to normal times. Continue reading “PUSD’s ‘State of the Schools’ Delivered”

Rose Bowl Aquatics Director Leaves Legacy After 30 Years

Rose Bowl Aquatics Center Executive Director Kurt Knop and Board Chair Pat Amsbry (from left) are planning a celebration for Mary Pinola, who recently retired after nearly 30 years as director of development, leaving a legacy of educational programming at the nonprofit.

After nearly 30 years of working as director of development at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, it seems fitting that one of Mary Pinola’s favorite memories is a simple one, albeit repeated by nearly 30,000 children during her tenure.
It’s the moment a 3rd grader edges up to the end of a diving platform — gingerly, small toes curling over the edge — and then takes a leap into the deep end. It’s a leap of faith, both in the ability at having learned to swim and in the confidence that will last a lifetime, cheered on by the instructor in the water and teachers watching from the pool’s edge. Continue reading “Rose Bowl Aquatics Director Leaves Legacy After 30 Years”

CIS Academy Teacher Nominated for Prestigious Educator Award

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many educators to pivot in their teaching methods and be even more creative in reaching and supporting students. In the midst of what has been a chaotic experience for many, the Pasadena Unified School District has announced some news that shines a light on the unwavering commitment that CIS Academy teacher, Gareth Siegel, displays every day. For his efforts, Siegel has been nominated for the esteemed Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award.
This prestigious honor is “in recognition of your impact as an educator, leader and role model,” according to the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS).
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PUSD Superintendent Offers Update to Families

Brian McDonald

By Brian McDonald
Superintendent, Pasadena Unified School District

Since schools were dismissed, PUSD has served more than 61,000 meals to children in our community. The number of meals served has been rising every week and we remain committed to serving our students and families.
I want to thank PUSD food service workers, volunteers, and all those carrying out essential duties for their work in support of our students and families. I also want to thank all of you for staying at home to flatten the curve and protect our entire community. Your steadfast resolve demonstrates the best of PUSD and the abiding care that we have for each other. It is what makes PUSD remarkable and what will lead us to meeting in person again. Continue reading “PUSD Superintendent Offers Update to Families”