School District Panel Will Seek to Fight Bias on Many Fronts

Vivian Ekchian, is superintendent of the Glendale Unified School District.

The Glendale Unified School District has announced that it is convening a working group that will focus on providing a culturally relevant and responsive education for all students.
The group will be made up of students, teachers, school and district administrators, staff members, community members and parents and guardians. Some of the areas of focus will include eliminating bias in curriculums and educational materials; providing professional development to ensure culturally competent leadership; actively recruiting a more diverse workforce; monitoring student discipline data to ensure students of color are not disproportionately penalized; and continuing the use of practices to build community, strengthen school culture, and repair relationships.
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GUSD Passes Budget With $20 Million Deficit

The Glendale Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday adopted its budget for the 2020-21 school year “begrudgingly,” in the words of board member Greg Krikorian, who nevertheless had no other options given the state’s bleak financial situation.
The general fund portion of the budget is used to educate the district’s 26,000 students and includes a little over $289 million in revenues and more than $309 million in expenditures. The $20.3 million deficit is caused by the 10% cut to public education funding in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent May Revise budget proposal due to the COVID-19 health and financial crisis. The GUSD had until June 30 to submit a budget to the Los Angeles County Office of Education, or LACOE, a tenet that was satisfied by the unanimous vote.
As bad as it may appear, things could have been even direr.
Worst-case scenarios explained by Steve Dickinson, the district’s chief business and financial officer, projected deficits as high as $53 million for the upcoming school year. This week, however, the state legislature passed a budget bill that does not include any reductions to public education funding, but instead relies heavily on assumptions of California receiving billions of dollars in federal relief funds. Until the final state budget act is approved, GUSD and all school districts in the state will be planning for large budget reductions in the coming years. Continue reading “GUSD Passes Budget With $20 Million Deficit”

District Researching Options for Upcoming School Year

Hagop Eulmessekian, the GUSD’s director of student support services, offered a presentation on behalf of the district’s Return to School Task Force at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Local schools find themselves in the annual pause between graduation and the start of the next academic year, but Tuesday’s meeting of the Glendale Unified School District defied the typical tone of summer vacation that characterizes assemblies held this time of year.
The topic was pedestrian enough — a presentation by the district’s Return to School Task Force — but with less than two months remaining until the first day, the overwhelming sense of the unknown was palpable.
With a little time to plan, unlike the almost immediate shuttering of school facilities that took place in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset, board members nevertheless found themselves with at least as many questions as answers when it came to plotting a course for the upcoming 2021-21 school year.
“We will take the framework and the guidelines and vet them with board priorities to get a plan and bring it back to the board for approval,” said Hagop Eulmessekian, the GUSD’s director of student support services, who provided the task force’s report. Continue reading “District Researching Options for Upcoming School Year”

College Success Fund ‘Planting Seeds of Hope’

This Glendale 1st-grader hopes to use the $50 from the Student Success Fund to attend college and become a veterinarian, saying, “When I make animals feel better, I feel happy.”

Amid the requisite challenging financial news that accompanies every meeting in the COVID-19 era, the Glendale Unified School District launched a truly uplifting program on Thursday evening that pierced through the typical report of budget deficits and dwindling reserves.
It’s called the College Success Fund, a long-awaited new initiative that will provide each 1st-grader within GUSD with a $50 savings account to begin the long financial road toward post-secondary education.
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Board Discusses Schools’ Bleak Financial Forecast

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
A Glendale Unified School District maintenance worker places a congratulatory banner for the Class of 2020 on the GUSD Administrative Building, one of many remote acknowledgements thanks to the pandemic. The GUSD Board of Education this week had a sobering discussion on the fiscal fallout of the global crisis.

There is probably not a single meeting of a public agency in the nation that doesn’t include the inevitable grim financial forecast, and Tuesday’s Glendale Unified School District Board of Education session was no different, as historic budget shortfalls were discussed.
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Huntington Hospital Offers COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Dr. Kimberly Shriner is an infectious disease specialist at Huntington Hospital.

Huntington Hospital recently began a serologic testing program to identify individuals who have been exposed to – or recovered from – the coronavirus infection and may have developed potentially protective antibodies.
Protective antibody infusions are a well-established method to treat a variety of infections and current studies are showing the benefit for critically ill patients with COVID-19.
Huntington Hospital in Pasadena is an expanded access site for investigational therapies to treat coronavirus, including the use of convalescent plasma (CP) for the sickest patients.
Like many factors associated with the pandemic, there is a shortage of CP available for use.
“That is our rallying cry,” said Dr. Kimberly Shriner, an infectious disease specialist at Huntington Hospital. “If you had coronavirus or the antibodies, we are asking you to donate plasma through the Red Cross. Hopefully, there is something we can use.”
Shriner is part of a team that treats the between 60-70 COVID-19 patients who are currently hospitalized at Huntington, a number she said “is plateauing, but starting to go down.”
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GUSD High Schools Ranked Among Nation’s Best by U.S. News & World Report

Vivian Ekchian
Glendale Unified Superintendent

All four of the Glendale Unified School District’s comprehensive high schools rank among the nation’s best, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best High Schools ranking. Each ranked in the top 16% of the more than 24,000 schools that were evaluated.Clark Magnet High was the top GUSD representative, ranking in the top 2% nationally. Crescenta Valley High was in the top 4%, Hoover High ranked among the top 10%, and Glendale High was in the top 16%.
“The highest-ranked schools are those whose students excelled on state tests and performed beyond expectations; participated in and passed a variety of college-level exams; and graduated in high proportions,” according to U.S. News & World Report rankings methodology.
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Local Businessman Assists Single Parents During Pandemic

Mark Holdsworth

When the COVID-19 crisis hit and the “Safer at Home” order was delivered, a local businessman immediately recognized a need. Not for himself, mind you, but for those whom he predicted would be most challenged given the circumstances.
“In our view, single parents truly represent the most vulnerable,” said Mark Holdsworth, founder of the Holdsworth Group, a provider of capital and advisory services to family offices and high net-worth individuals, public and private companies, and boards of directors located in Pasadena. “We are also determined to assist those in the food and beverage and hospitality industries, because these were the first and hardest hit. Many of these people might not get their jobs back as some of their employers have shut down for good.” Continue reading “Local Businessman Assists Single Parents During Pandemic”

Fighting Pandemic ‘What We Signed Up For’

San Marino resident Dr. Madhu Anvekar, second from right, leads Huntington Hospital’s medical and administrative response to the COVID pandemic. Dhilan Anvekar (from left), Dr. Alexis Anvekar, Jayan Anvekar, Dr. Madhu Anvekar and Leela Anvekar.

These days, Dr. Madhu Anvekar spends about as much time at Huntington Hospital as he does in his San Marino home.
Even when he is able to get a few hours away from the hospital, that doesn’t mean he can spend substantial time with his family.
“Actually, this last week is the first time in quite a while that I have been able to see them,” said Anvekar, as he prepared for another in an endless line of shifts.
Trained in internal medicine, Anvekar is director of the hospital medicine program at Huntington, where he and his team of 12 are charged with caring for every COVID-19 patient in the hospital, excepting those in the intensive care unit. Concurrently, he serves on the COVID-19 response team, assisting in devising strategies to implement the massive administrative changes and planning necessary to address the pandemic. Continue reading “Fighting Pandemic ‘What We Signed Up For’”

COVID-19 Count Up to 11; City Council Preps for Financial Impact

With the city’s confirmed COVID-19 cases growing to 11 based on Tuesday’s announcement from the county, San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda encouraged residents to “stay the course” by adhering to social distancing recommendations and to avoid public gatherings whenever possible.
“We are still taking our cues from the experts and they are advising that we stay the course and continue on with our current procedures,” said Rueda in an interview.
Rueda took issue with several resistance efforts across the country by protestors demanding a rapid return to normalcy and a lifting of quarantine efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in strict guidelines against public or private congregation, known as “Safer at Home,” and has shut down all schools and businesses except those considered “essential” in order to contain its spread. Continue reading “COVID-19 Count Up to 11; City Council Preps for Financial Impact”