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”

SMUSD to Explore Ways to Secure SMHS, HMS

Citing the past installations of safety and security measures at both of the district’s elementary schools, the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education will revisit the conversation of securing its campuses, this time focusing on Huntington Middle School and San Marino High School.
This focus emerged from the conversation the board had with district staff at its meeting this week. The presentation highlighted the various ways the district protected itself and its students from potential violent incidents, particularly in light of the mass shooting that killed 17 people at a Florida school on Feb. 14. Continue reading “SMUSD to Explore Ways to Secure SMHS, HMS”

After Outcry, SMUSD Tables Bond Vote

Shelley Ryan
Shelley Ryan

Following weeks of debate within the community, the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education will wait to call an election to vote on $148 million in bonds for the purposes of funding a host of facilities projects.
“We are going to continue the discussion, but we did pull the actual voting off the table,” Board President Shelley Ryan said Monday, ahead of the Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening (after The Outlook’s deadline). Continue reading “After Outcry, SMUSD Tables Bond Vote”

Investigations of SMUSD Board Member Continue

Officials are withholding comment on a pair of investigations into a member of the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education other than to acknowledge those investigations are ongoing.
A third-party investigative firm is handling a misconduct investigation into board member Chris Norgaard on behalf of the school district, according to a statement made last week. That statement qualified the misconduct as sexual harassment. Continue reading “Investigations of SMUSD Board Member Continue”

No Shortage of Opinions as Residents Discuss Bond

Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK About 100 residents showed up at a community-organized Town Hall meeting Monday at the Hill-Harbison House, where there was informative and, at times, impassioned discussion of the proposed school bond.
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
About 100 residents showed up at a community-organized Town Hall meeting Monday at the Hill-Harbison House, where there was informative and, at times, impassioned discussion of the proposed school bond.

A town hall-style meeting Monday regarding the bond election being proposed by the San Marino Unified School District proved simultaneously informative and incendiary as officials carefully answered questions and some audience members voiced their impatience.
Amid the sometimes chaotic and other times agreeable line of questioning and answering, Board of Education President Shelley Ryan pledged to voice the concerns to her four peers on the board — they all were absent for fear of running afoul of the Brown Act — and continue listening to concerned residents. The audience at Hill-Harbison House included lifetime residents, parents who moved to San Marino for its schools, and community and business leaders. Continue reading “No Shortage of Opinions as Residents Discuss Bond”

SMUSD Board Talks Up $148 Million Bond

Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK Local resident Zillah Tobiano is among many audience members at a recent Board of Education meeting who expressed concerns regarding a bond election being considered by San Marino Unified School District.
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
Local resident Zillah Tobiano is among many audience members at a recent Board of Education meeting who expressed concerns regarding a bond election being considered by San Marino Unified School District.

The San Marino Unified School District Board of Education had its first reading of a resolution calling for a bond election last week, but it may have a hill to climb to convince at least 55% of voters to approve the measure once it reaches a ballot box.
Opinions varied among the standing room-only audience — some were all-in on the measure and others wanted nothing to do with it — but the consensus appeared to be that most were unsure how they felt amid concerns about the scale of the proposed bonds and the perceived suddenness of the measure. Continue reading “SMUSD Board Talks Up $148 Million Bond”