LCUSD Hears Finance Plan, Agrees to Tackle Project Priority List

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette jots down ideas related to the purpose of learning spaces during a public brainstorming session at Monday’s La Cañada Unified School District study session about the recently passed $149 million school bond.

The La Cañada Unified School District seems primed to first tackle the topics of safety, security and sewers with some of the $149 million stemming from Measure LCF, the bond approved overwhelmingly by voters in November.
In a study session Monday, board members listened to a municipal market update and finance plan from Adam Bauer, president of Fieldman, Rolapp and Associates. He said current interest rates are favorable, but that board members shouldn’t feel rushed to act.
“There are times when I’m at this podium saying, ‘Move and move quickly,’” he said. “That’s not what I’m saying here. It would be prudent to move if you know what your projects are and you’re ready to do it, but this isn’t one of those situations where I’m saying ‘You have a once-in-a-three-year opportunity, don’t let it go.’ I say take your time and do what you need to do and it’s not going to be a dramatic impact.” Continue reading “LCUSD Hears Finance Plan, Agrees to Tackle Project Priority List”

LCUSD Says Late Start Reaction Trending Positive

Midway through the school year, La Cañada High School and 7/8 students seem to be taking the experiment of late start well, although administrators await the winter and spring sports seasons to hit their stride for additional input.
Jim Cartnal, executive director of pupil and personnel programs and services for LCUSD, shared preliminary data at Tuesday’s La Cañada Unified Governing Board meeting. Surveys have indicated the students are “by and large” in favor of the later school start times of 8:30 a.m. as opposed to 7:45 a.m., even if it didn’t necessarily mean they were getting additional sleep as intended.
“Openly, it’s a mixed bag,” Cartnal said. “Kids are getting some more sleep, but not all kids are getting more sleep.” Continue reading “LCUSD Says Late Start Reaction Trending Positive”

A Look Back at 2017’s Top Stories in LCF

It was a busy year in La Cañada Flintridge. Residents came together to mourn losses and celebrate victories, they made their voices heard at the polls and in public hearings, they made history in real estate and sports, and, at La Cañada High School, students were instructed to try to get a little more sleep.
Here are the 17 most important local stories of 2017:

1. LCF Loses Dave Spence
Dave Spence suffered a fatal heart attack at his home May 16. The devoted city councilman and six-time mayor was 80.
In March, he’d been re-elected for a seventh term as a member of the City Council, on which he’d served since 1992: “In my opinion, La Cañada Flintridge is one of the greatest cities in this state,” Spence said during his last campaign.

Photos by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Mayor Michael Davitt speaks at the funeral of longtime City Councilman Dave Spence in May at La Cañada Presbyterian Church.

Continue reading “A Look Back at 2017’s Top Stories in LCF”

LCHS Family Lawsuit vs. School District Set for Trial Jan. 22

The family of a La Cañada High School special education student is suing the school district, claiming that negligence by district employees resulted in the boy being seriously injured when he fell from the bleachers during an assembly on May 20, 2016 in Hotchkin Gymnasium.
The case is scheduled to go to trial Jan. 22. Attorney Robert Glassman will argue that the district’s failure to install guardrails on the bleachers from which Ethan Kalnins, who suffers from cerebral palsy, fell. The fall caused a fractured hip and led to resulting physical, emotional and psychological duress, Glassman said.

Guardrails have been added to the bleachers in Hotchkin Gymnasium at La Cañada High School following a lawsuit that stemmed from the fall that injured student Ethan Kalnins, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Continue reading “LCHS Family Lawsuit vs. School District Set for Trial Jan. 22”

Church Leaders, Educators Discuss Youth Challenges

Photo courtesy Todd Reynolds
Among those who attended a recent summit of church and educational leaders are (front row, from left) Wendy Sinnette, Kip Glazer, Rosemary Johnston, D.J. Severin, Tanya Wilson, Sister Celeste Botello, Allison Clay, Father Christopher Iwancio, Will Moffitt, Lucinda Guarino and the Rev. Chuck Osburn. Back: Connie Knight, Peter Bachmann, Ian McFeat, Katie Phillips-Rector, David Gill, Jim Cartnal, the Rev. Anthony Keller, Rick Callister, Kyle Sears, Andrew Shaw, Eddie Mariel, the Rev. Msgr. Antonio Cacciapuoti and the Rev. Jeff Hoffmeyer.

Church leaders in La Cañada Flintridge recently invited educational leaders to lunch at La Cañada Presbyterian Church. The purpose was to better understand the challenges facing today’s youth and to identify some ways the local churches can be more helpful to students and their families.
Principals, headmasters, counselors and disciplinarians shared many of the most acute and many of the most pervasive challenges their students are facing in their learning experience. The collective wisdom of these educational leaders proved valuable to church leaders and will help them reshape their efforts with young people and their families going forward.
Representatives from La Cañada Unified School District, St. Francis High School, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Flintridge Preparatory School and the Community Prevention Council had unique perspectives and shared some common challenges — stress, anxiety and depression were common, as were various destructive coping mechanisms (substance abuse, technology and social media abuse, and self-isolation).
Continue reading “Church Leaders, Educators Discuss Youth Challenges”

LCUSD Receives ‘Very High’ Ratings in Education Performance

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK La Cañada Unified School District will use data provided by the California School Dashboard system to assess growth in various areas.
Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
La Cañada Unified School District will use data provided by the California School Dashboard system to assess growth in various areas.

The California Department of Education sent out report cards last week, and as usual, La Cañada Unified School District earned high marks. The district received the highest rating possible in nine of 11 measures that are intended to offer a thorough analysis of educational goals.
The new California School Dashboard report, released on Dec. 7, indicated that LCUSD students’ scores slipped slightly in some areas, but they still maintained “very high” performances in the prioritized areas of English language arts, mathematics, graduation rates and English-learning progress. The district’s low level of suspension rates increased slightly. Continue reading “LCUSD Receives ‘Very High’ Ratings in Education Performance”

LCF Residents Keep Abreast of Fire News

La Cañada Flintridge residents kept a wary eye this week on the Creek Fire raging, uncontained, in the hills near Sylmar and Sunland. By midday Wednesday, it had burned more than 11,000 acres, destroyed at least 30 structures and spurred widespread evacuations.
Though it didn’t immediately threaten LCF, the blaze affected business in town, where traffic slowed because of Tuesday’s 210 Freeway closure.
La Cañada Unified School District managed to find substitutes Tuesday to fill in for at least six staffers who couldn’t make it to work because of the fire and at least 16 others who left at midday to evacuate their homes, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said. Continue reading “LCF Residents Keep Abreast of Fire News”

Sagal’s School Board Term Ends, Radabaugh’s Begins

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board swears in (from left) Joe Radabaugh, Kaitzer Puglia and Dan Jeffries.

Following last month’s election, the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board on Tuesday welcomed Joe Radabaugh, welcomed the return of Dan Jeffries and Kaitzer Puglia and bid farewell to David Sagal, who opted not to run again and finished his first and only four-year term.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette thanked Sagal, a Warner Bros. executive and music arts proponent, for efforts that included serving as board president during a contentious and ultimately successful contract negotiation with teachers in 2016. She also announced that he and his wife, McNally, will receive the district’s distinguished Golden Apple Award later this year in recognition for their service. Continue reading “Sagal’s School Board Term Ends, Radabaugh’s Begins”

CEC, LCUSD Celebrate 20 Years Together

CEC 20th anniversary cake

Students across all three La Cañada Unified School District’s elementary school campuses simultaneously celebrated an important anniversary on Friday, partying in honor of the 20-year-old partnership between the Child Educational Center and the district.
Currently, almost 650 LCUSD students are served at three sites, where CEC has instilled its progressive, holistic approach by providing extended care and education from transitional kindergarten through 6th grade. Continue reading “CEC, LCUSD Celebrate 20 Years Together”

Measure LCF Questions Answered

Editor’s note: La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette offers answers in response to eight questions about Measure LCF posed in a letter to the editor published in the Oct. 19 edition of the Outlook.

Wendy Sinnette

A letter posed several good questions about Measure LCF. We believe all local voters should have the information they need to cast an informed vote. Below are the questions posed and answers.

Q. Is there a published list of specific projects that will be funded by Measure LCF?
A. Yes. Measure LCF is the result of a Facility Master Planning process we conducted over the past year. This plan was developed with input from more than 350 parents, teachers, staff, students and community members and was unanimously adopted by the Board of Education at a public meeting in June. This 202-page document, which is available at lcusd.net, includes detailed descriptions, drawings and cost estimates for the projects. A summary of these same projects is also included as an exhibit in the legally binding text of Measure LCF, the full text of which can be found on pages 17 and 18 of the official sample ballot.

Continue reading “Measure LCF Questions Answered”