Settlement Conference Planned in Norgaard Dispute

Lawyers for a variety of San Marino Unified School District officials and the school board member who is suing them plan to meet for a settlement conference this month, a development that delayed a special school board meeting in which the plaintiff faced possible censure from his colleagues.
In addition, counsel for the defense filed a motion this week indicating its plans to request the dismissal of the lawsuit at a Sept. 6 hearing, citing what it says are shortcomings in the allegations. Continue reading “Settlement Conference Planned in Norgaard Dispute”

Gates Makes Strides in First Year at SMHS

Photo courtesy Terry Fouché San Marino High School Principal Issaic Gates sited this photograph, taken during his first commencement at the school, as his favorite picture from his first year as the school’s principal.
Photo courtesy Terry Fouché
San Marino High School Principal Issaic Gates sited this photograph, taken during his first commencement at the school, as his favorite picture from his first year as the school’s principal.

About a year ago, Issaic Gates compared being hired as the new principal for San Marino High School to being given the keys to mom and dad’s car, specifically a Mercedes-Benz. Continue reading “Gates Makes Strides in First Year at SMHS”

School Officials, Norgaard Spar Over Restraining Order Request

Attorneys for San Marino school board member Chris Norgaard said this week that a statement filed in court by Superintendent Alex Cherniss is a public smear against the longtime official and also disputed an assertion that Norgaard’s application for a restraining order was untimely.
Norgaard’s request for a temporary restraining order — the second he has filed this month in federal court, after an earlier application was rejected — seeks to allow Norgaard to take part in meetings with the four other school board members to evaluate Cherniss’ job performance, even though Norgaard is now suing all of them for alleged defamation and violations of his civil rights. Continue reading “School Officials, Norgaard Spar Over Restraining Order Request”

U.S. News & World Report Ranks SMHS

*non-magnet or non-charter schools Source: U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools
*non-magnet or non-charter schools
Source: U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools

It’s a gold medal for San Marino High School, at least according to the latest U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools ranking it compiles annually.
The San Marino Unified School District high school ranked 61st in all of California (which includes charter and magnet schools); U.S. News ranked nearly 700 high schools in this state, of which 85 — including SMHS — earned gold medal accolades for being among the nation’s top 500 high schools in terms of college readiness. Continue reading “U.S. News & World Report Ranks SMHS”

District Looking at New Time Allocations for Homework

As the current school year came to an end, it was clear the topic of homework will soldier on through the summer months for the San Marino Unified School District’s administrators, teachers and parents.
A town hall-style meeting last week reflected as much, although the needle did seem to move closer to some sort of consensus between the argument of reducing homework loads and the idea of making homework more meaningful to the students. Continue reading “District Looking at New Time Allocations for Homework”

Schools Foundation Allots $2 Million to Fund Teaching, Enrichment

The San Marino Schools Foundation Board of Trustees last week allocated more than $2 million to fund teaching positions and other enrichment services for the San Marino Unified School District, making good on its annual commitment and adding more for good measure.
“These funds directly support teacher positions, helping to reduce classroom sizes so that students receive individualized attention from teachers,” said John Simpson, SMSF president. “In addition, we awarded funding for enrichment services that would have been vacated without the generous support of families and the general community.” Continue reading “Schools Foundation Allots $2 Million to Fund Teaching, Enrichment”

Student Wellness Initiative Excites at SMUSD

San Marino High School Principal Issaic Gates called his work developing the San Marino Unified School District Student Wellness Initiative “potentially the most impactful” he’s done in his career.
At the SMUSD Board of Education meeting on May 22, Gates and Liz Hollingsworth, a former Carver Elementary School principal and current special projects consultant for the district, plan to bolster their proposal for the initiative by advancing a dedicated staffing plan to make it happen. Continue reading “Student Wellness Initiative Excites at SMUSD”

SMUSD, Norgaard Reach Impasse on Cherniss Evaluation

Embattled school board member Chris Norgaard, who is claiming damages against the San Marino Unified School District in a legal complaint regarding a sexual harassment investigation, has agreed to recuse himself from closed session meetings regarding the potential litigation, but not from evaluations on Superintendent Alex Cherniss — who also is a defendant in Norgaard’s complaint.
Simultaneously, the SMUSD Board of Education was scheduled to take up two items regarding these issues at its meeting Tuesday — the establishment of two committees, one addressing specifically Norgaard’s threat of litigation and another to conduct Cherniss’ annual performance review. Continue reading “SMUSD, Norgaard Reach Impasse on Cherniss Evaluation”

Following Investigations, Norgaard Seeks Damages

After the district attorney declined to file criminal charges against him, school board member Chris Norgaard submitted a legal complaint against the San Marino Unified School District, Superintendent Alex Cherniss and Assistant Superintendent Linda de la Torre over the district’s sexual harassment investigation into him.
Cherniss, de la Torre and SMUSD have until Tuesday, June 19, to respond to the complaints, after which the matter enters the court system unless the parties reach a settlement. Continue reading “Following Investigations, Norgaard Seeks Damages”