LCUSD Diversity Ideas Prompt Dissent, Calls for Caution

More than a month after a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant presented her extensive findings to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board, and a week after the LCUSD entrusted Superintendent Wendy Sinnette with overseeing progress on DEI, parents and community members have galvanized over the matter — some in opposition.
Two LCUSD Governing Board members, President Joe Radabaugh and Kaitzer Puglia, have been tabbed to lead a committee that will help frame DEI initiatives, which ultimately will fall to the entire board to approve or not.
In a combined statement last week, Sinnette and Radabaugh emphasized there will be more involved discussion on the topic of any DEI objectives and priorities, saying:
“We listen carefully to all voices in the community and strive for the best possible outcomes. One of the consistent things we heard related to DEI is that we seek more in-depth community input on the objectives and priorities before we finalize and the board approves. We agree with that feedback and feel a DEI committee comprised of a cross-section of the community is a critical means to that end.”
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Jericho Road Helps Pave Nonprofits’ Route to Success

Melanie Goodyear

When Jericho Road Pasadena first opened its doors in 2010, effects of the Great Recession were still being felt and many local nonprofits were in upheaval, closing or restructuring.
Now, as the organization celebrates its 10th anniversary, Executive Director Melanie Goodyear can draw some comparisons between that economic crisis and the current pandemic-induced recession, but noted that nonprofits are by and large much healthier and better informed. And that, in part, is because of Jericho Road.
“It’s really reassuring to hear about how many nonprofit organizations are not just surviving but are really rising to the occasion, pivoting operations and doing great work,” said Goodyear, sitting down to discuss the way in which her nonprofit has Continue reading “Jericho Road Helps Pave Nonprofits’ Route to Success”

Diversity Plan’s Future Worries Some LCUSD Stakeholders

Outlook Valley Sun photo
Christina Hale-Elliott, a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, is shown at one of her workshops during the 2019-2020 school year.

It was “Back to School Night” last week for the La Cañada Unified School District, and parents like Vanessa Rosas hunkered down Thursday evening to take in what was going to be a virtual presentation of the annual event, this year’s program emphasizing the distance learning platform that has gripped the community in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.
She felt wary, as most parents do by now, of the way remote learning is affecting the morale and academic effectiveness of her youngsters, but when La Cañada High School 7/8 representatives dug in with a high-energy virtual presentation to help animate students and parents, she perked up.
Then her spirits crashed.
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Nonprofits Join Forces as Homelessness Crisis Looms

Photo by Erin Rodick / OUTLOOK
Door of Hope Executive Director Megan Katerjian and Stars Executive Director Nancy Stiles have created a partnership to expand the nonprofits’ impact as more of their clients face difficulty paying rent while the pandemic drags on.

Since the onset of COVID-19 and the pandemic-induced recession, many Pasadena nonprofits have kicked into emergency mode in anticipation of accelerated needs among the clients they typically serve.
Some organizations — like Stars, which focuses on services for youth, and Door of Hope, a homelessness prevention agency — have thought outside the box to create partnerships in the time of crisis.
“We are stronger together right now. I think many nonprofits in the Pasadena area are looking to further their impact during COVID and really increasing their collaborations,” said Stars Executive Director Nancy Stiles. “There are all kinds of intersections when it comes to the nonprofit world.”
When Door of Hope Executive Director Megan Katerjian became aware of predictions of an eviction crisis throughout Los Angeles County, she and her team began to reach out to alumni of their well-established program who might be facing reduced income due to the furloughs imposed in many industries.

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St. Francis Investigates Racist Comments During Virtual Mass

St. Francis High School officials said they continue to investigate hate-filled, racist posts that were anonymously sent during the school’s livestreamed Mass last Thursday, noting that the administration is “heartbroken and embarrassed” and committed to identifying those responsible.
The school is engaged in addressing racism-related issues and raising awareness among all its constituents, officials added, though they said SFHS students are not believed to be responsible for the comments.
Staff, students and community members expressed dismay when, during the school’s worship, a stream of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic comments flooded the online chat function and were visible to participants in the virtual Mass.
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Local Disney Animation Editor Wins Emmy

Tony Molina

There’s nothing quite like winning an Emmy during a global pandemic.
Though Anthony Molina, a La Crescenta resident, feels honored and is thankful to his colleagues, family and, of course, the academy, tweeting out his acceptance speech instead of gracing a stage to warm applause was, well, a little weird, he joked.
“It was a pretty surreal moment to top off what has been a crazy, strange year,” said Molina, who, after much pacing at his home office during the online ceremony, realized he had won outstanding editor for an animated program, which was also the first time in Emmy history the category existed. “It is kind of funny to say that my very first Emmy was through a tweet.”
Molina, who has worked at Disney for a decade, won at the 47th Daytime Emmy Awards for an episode from “Disney Mickey Mouse” — a series that incorporates vintage animation and humor into contemporary settings — called “Carried Away,” which featured the final recording by the late Russi Taylor, a longtime Glendale resident who voiced Minnie Mouse for 30 years.

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St. Francis Graduate Wins Emmy for Disney Episode

Anthony Molina

There’s nothing quite like winning an Emmy during a global pandemic.
Though Anthony Molina, a St. Francis High School graduate and area resident, feels honored and is thankful to his colleagues, family and, of course, the academy, tweeting out his acceptance speech instead of gracing a stage to warm applause was, well, a little weird, he joked.
“It was a pretty surreal moment to top off what has been a crazy, strange year,” said Molina, who, after much pacing at his home office during the online ceremony, realized he had won outstanding editor for an animated program, which was also the first time in Emmy history the category existed. “It is kind of funny to say that my very first Emmy was through a tweet.”
Molina, who has worked at Disney for a decade, won at the 47th Daytime Emmy Awards for an episode from “Disney Mickey Mouse” — a series that incorporates vintage animation and humor into contemporary settings — called “Carried Away,” which featured the final recording by the late Russi Taylor, who voiced Minnie Mouse for 30 years.
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Diversity Report Spurs LCUSD Board to Confront Inequity

File photo
Consultant Christina Hale-Elliott (right), who contracted with the LCUSD in September 2019, is pictured with Superintendent Wendy Sinnette.

When it comes to racial diversity, equity and inclusion, the La Cañada Unified School District has been given a road map to improve its grade.
LCUSD Governing Board members showed enthusiasm Tuesday for embracing the beginnings of a plan to improve inclusion, empathy, tolerance and much more throughout the district, after listening to findings gathered over the course of a year by Pasadena-based Christina Hale-Elliott. Hired in September 2019 as the district’s first diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, she is the founder of Elliott Educational Services.
For more than two hours, board members leaned in as Hale-Elliott summarized her findings, based on data collected via numerous surveys, interviews and focus groups involving teachers, staff, students and parents throughout the district at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The report also drew on quantitative data provided by the LCUSD and the California Department of Education website.

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Longtime ArtCenter Chair Steps Back, but Looks Forward

OUTLOOK photo
Robert C. Davidson Jr. and his wife, Faye, are avid art collectors and philanthropists. Bob Davidson recently stepped down as chairman of the ArtCenter College of Design Board of Trustees.

When Robert C. Davidson Jr. sold his business and retired as CEO from one of the largest African American-owned manufacturing companies in California more than a decade ago, he set out with a new purpose: to encourage and inspire young people, especially the underprivileged, through educational opportunities.
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USC-VHH Sets Baby Birth Record Despite Pandemic

Photo courtesy Keck Medicine of USC
A new mother and her baby are pictured with USC Verdugo Hills Hospital nurse Kristin Anderson.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital has doubled down on its commitment to safely help mothers bring their bundles of joy into the world.
In fact, USC-VHH delivered 61 babies in July, the most it has welcomed in any month in the last seven years and more than double the number of births in the same period in 2019.
Part of the reason for that increase is the hospital’s growing reputation for creating a supportive environment for expectant mothers and fathers and having state-of-the-art medical care, like the neonatal intensive care unit’s specialized staff and equipment to treat ill or premature newborns, USC-VHH officials said. The unit opened in 2018.
“We have developed a wonderful relationship with our obstetricians and created a collaborative, supportive environment for them and the mothers who entrust them to deliver their babies. We have focused on adding additional support, the NICU and laborists, to provide a higher level of care capabilities,” said Kenny Pawlek, USC-VHH’s chief operating officer. “During COVID-19, we’ve stressed safety for our moms, parents, babies, MDs, nursing team and employees.”

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