LCHS Sees Fewer Suspensions With Counseling Options

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Over the course of this school year, administrators at La Cañada High School made it a point to keep misbehaved students on campus whenever possible, said Assistant Principal Mary Hazlett, who is in charge of discipline.
There were fewer suspensions in 2016-17, she told La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board members Tuesday. She said there have been 13 “out-of-school” suspensions for a total of 41 days, and 13 “in-school” suspensions, totalling 26 days. (A year ago, there were 34 out-of-school suspensions for a total of 86 days.)
During an in-school suspension, students served their punishment in Hazlett’s office, where she and her assistants sought to help students process the situation and supervised them as they did schoolwork.
They’re guaranteed access to their assignments if they’re on campus, Hazlett added, whereas an out-of-school suspension allows teachers the opportunity to decide whether or not to give assignments to the student.
“We always want to try to keep the kids in school,” she said. “We’d rather have them in school and under our supervision. We don’t want them hanging out at home, unsupervised, if they need to process. We’d like to be there as counseling support as well, immediately after an offense.”
That’s so long as a student has not done something so egregious it warrants an automatic out-of-school suspension, such as fighting or bringing drugs, alcohol or weapons onto campus.
In lieu of suspensions, Hazlett has also offered seven families the option of free counseling sessions with an outside service, as well as after-school detention and Saturday school detention.
“That’s great, that you’ve been able to reduce it so significantly, in terms of out-of-school suspension,” Governing Board President Dan Jeffries said.
“The goal,” Hazlett said, “is always to provide learning and growing experiences for the students, as well as to provide for the safety and security for all.”

TEACHING CAROUSEL

LCHS and LCHS 7/8 will bring back one math teacher and welcome three new math teachers when the 2017-18 school year begins in August, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said.
India Dastic, Megan Dever and Jonathan Saavedra will begin their LCUSD careers, while Morgan Savage will return for a second stint.
“We know our students deserve the best possible instruction and we know parents are watching and are ever mindful,” Sinnette said. “So we’re incredibly happy.”
Assistant Superintendent Jeff Davis also announced that, with the board’s approval, the district is rescinding its layoff notices pertaining to world language and English instruction. Because of potentially diminished demand, those instructors could have experienced reduced hours, Davis said.
There still will be a partial cut, however, in the number of instructional hours dedicated to ceramics instruction, he said.
Also, the supervisor of operations at LCHS will be terminated in July, Davis said, adding that other employees will be asked to cover those duties as they did previously.
“Basically, looking at the budget deficit, this is one of the areas that’s been targeted,” Davis said.
English teacher Tracey Calhoun also will take her leave, she told the board, after accepting a teaching position with a boarding school elsewhere in California. She spoke of how valuable her time with the district was to her, and pleaded with administrators to hire a full-time replacement rather than a part-time candidate, which is what they’re seeking because of budget limitations, Sinnette said.

SAGEBRUSH REACTION

A week after the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization gave its preliminary blessing to the Sagebrush transfer, Jeffries offered an update from the perspective of the LCUSD.
“Our first and foremost goal and obligation has been and will continue to be to our current students,” he said of the decision, which — pending an environmental review and another vote by the committee and then by residents — could shift the 385 westernmost acres of La Cañada Flintridge from GUSD to LCUSD.
“One of the reasons why [the transfer] is important to us as a district is because of critical mass,” he added. “Our high school needs to have a certain number of students to provide all the opportunities we do. We need to maintain that.”
TECH UPGRADE

The board approved the replacement of all of the district’s wireless access points and the addition of access points at Palm Crest Elementary and LCHS. Digital Synergy will do the work in June and July, and it will cost the district $67,000 — with an Erate funding program covering 40% of the total $111,000, said Jamie Lewsadder, the district’s chief technology officer.

SHOWCASE CONTRIBUTION

Because it was staged in LCF this year, the annual Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts donated $10,000 to LCUSD art programs, Lewsadder said. Since 1948, the program has given more than $21 million in gifts and grants to support the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Walt Disney Concert Hall and local symphonic, cultural and educational programs.

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