SMHS Principal Settles Into Fast Lane

Issaic Gates greets students at San Marino High School during lunch last week. Gates is settling into his role as principal of the school after being hired this year.
Issaic Gates greets students at San Marino High School during lunch last week. Gates is settling into his role as principal of the school after being hired this year.

At eight weeks into the school year, Issaic Gates looks — and said he feels — more relaxed as the new principal of San Marino High School.
“It’s a different feeling than ‘Before Week 1,’” he said, mentally revisiting his first ‘first day’ at SMHS. “Before Week 1, you get the job and you’re just excited. I imagine it’s the mature version of ‘getting the car,’ but you’re getting your mom or dad’s car. Not a Yaris or a Corolla. A Mercedes or something. And the one thing you don’t want to do is wreck it. Then you start driving it and you get comfortable. You’ve touched the leather before.” Continue reading “SMHS Principal Settles Into Fast Lane”

SMUSD Lauds Its Education Scores

With the formal release of the state’s CAASPP scores, San Marino Unified School District brought its four principals out for a press conference extolling the success of their students.
Superintendent Alex Cherniss, in introducing the principals, credited the district’s students for taking advantage of being in what is routinely one of the best ranked unified school districts in the state. He characterized SMUSD as the four principals being head coaches to his general manager, each with their own sports team. Continue reading “SMUSD Lauds Its Education Scores”

LCUSD Scores 3rd Statewide in Student Assessment Testing

In something of a photo finish, La Cañada Unified School District placed third in the most recent statewide CAASPP scoring, released this week by the California Department of Education.
“We were very pleased with the performance and appreciative of all of our staff’s hard work to make sure the scores are so strong,” Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said. Continue reading “LCUSD Scores 3rd Statewide in Student Assessment Testing”

Groundbreaking for Athletic Complex Set for June

The San Marino Unified School District will break ground on its long-awaited Barth Athletic Complex at a ceremony scheduled for 4 p.m. on Monday, June 5.
The ceremony will be at the track and field behind the currently existing gym building at Huntington Middle School. The athletic complex will replace that building to give HMS its first true multipurpose athletic facility.
The $14 million project has garnered substantial donations from residents, most prominently an initial $3.5 million offering from the Barth family, who earned naming rights for the sum. They later pitched in another $2 million toward the project’s debt service if SMUSD does not pay off its financing by 2021.
The Sloan family added a half-million-dollar donation. The Barger family kicked in a $250,000 donation. Other donations include $50,000 from the Weiss family, $50,000 from the William Hurt Foundation and $25,000 from the Fletcher Jones Foundation on behalf of Pat Haden.
SMUSD has committed $2 million of its own money to the project and anticipates it will use $1.5 million in developer’s fees to pay toward debt service.
The ceremony is expected to last about an hour.

Four Outstanding Educators Spotlighted at San Marino Day

Photo by Carin Yates / OUTLOOK School representatives with the Outstanding Educator Award recipients include Valentine Principal Colleen Shields with teacher Laura Pollard; SMHS Principal Mary Johnson with counselor Mollie Beckler; Mayor Dr. Richard Sun; Carver Principal Michael Lin with counselor Linda Kuchmecki; HMS Principal Jason Kurtenbach with Computer Lab Director Quoc Hoang; and acting President of the Huntington Library Steve Hindle. See additional photos, page 8.
Photo by Carin Yates / OUTLOOK
School representatives with the Outstanding Educator Award recipients include Valentine Principal Colleen Shields with teacher Laura Pollard; SMHS Principal Mary Johnson with counselor Mollie Beckler; Mayor Dr. Richard Sun; Carver Principal Michael Lin with counselor Linda Kuchmecki; HMS Principal Jason Kurtenbach with Computer Lab Director Quoc Hoang; and acting President of the Huntington Library Steve Hindle. See additional photos, page 8.

The MVPs for each of San Marino Unified School District’s four schools were honored before the attendees of San Marino Day at the Huntington Library last week.
Each received an award as an “Outstanding Educator” from the district and the city, and will be rewarded with $1,250 each to go toward a project or program at their school. Continue reading “Four Outstanding Educators Spotlighted at San Marino Day”

SMHS Principal to Retire This Year

Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson

Teachers and students returned from spring break this week to learn that Mary Johnson, who has served as San Marino High School’s principal for 13 years, will retire at the end of this school year.

“With mixed emotions, I announced to the high school staff today that I will be retiring on June 30 at the end of this school year,” Johnson said in her prepared announcement. “The past 13 years at San Marino High School have been a gift in my life and it is not easy to say goodbye to our dedicated staff, amazing students, exceptional parents and community members who cannot do enough for our school. I thank you for welcoming me to the school and community. I shall hold you in my heart forever.” Continue reading “SMHS Principal to Retire This Year”

In With the New PTA Presidents

Photo by Staci Moraza / OUTLOOK

San Marino Unified School District’s incoming PTA presidents include (from left) Kathryn Oliveros (Carver Elementary School), Laurie Modean (Huntington Middle School), Jennifer Chuang (PTA Council), Michiko Lee (Valentine Elementary School) and Karen Wicke (San Marino High School). The new presidents will lead their respective boards for the 2017-18 school year.

School Ratings: New System, Same Results

Although the state no longer ranks individual school districts or schools in its annual evaluation system, San Marino Unified School District continues to distinguish itself as one of California’s high-performing districts.
The California School Dashboard, which has replaced the Academic Performance Index, uses state and local data to illustrate each public school district’s performance in a variety of areas relative to its improvement or regression from the previous year. Continue reading “School Ratings: New System, Same Results”