Parents Irritated Over Construction Delay at Disney Elementary

Parents showed their vexation to Burbank Unified School District officials over yet another delay of the Walt Disney Elementary School modernization project during a virtual Governing Board meeting on Thursday, asking staff and board members for answers and to not keep its stakeholders in the dark.
“I’m grateful to everyone for every single sleepless hour that has gone into thinking, creating, planning and executing our current education plan,” an emotional parent told the board. “What I would like to ask tonight is that the same passion, drive, perseverance and take-charge attitude be used to get the construction started and completed at Disney Elementary.

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Students in Special Categories May Soon Return to Campus

Nearly 60 schools notified Los Angeles County of their intent to reopen this week at limited capacity, and the La Cañada Unified School District isn’t far from doing the same.
Public Health announced earlier this month that schools could reopen small classes for students with individual education plans, students in special education and English-language learners beginning Sept. 14.
In an email to the Outlook Valley Sun, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said she anticipates “the first few cohorts of [LCUSD] students may return to campuses at the end of September or early October.”
“We are in the process of bargaining the effects of working conditions with [teachers and employees associations] to allow this to happen,” Sinnette said. “The cohort restrictions are strict and once a teacher joins an in-person cohort, they are prohibited from delivering in-person instruction or assessments to any student outside the cohort. So our first priority will be to bring back to campus cohorts of our highest at-risk, highest-level-of-need students.
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Providence High Helps Students Engage Safely With Social Media

The era of COVID-19 has left most Americans isolated at home with their own electronic devices, increasing the use of social media, especially among adolescents.
And the only school in the nation governed by a health-care system is doing its part to help its students navigate past the pitfalls of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, where young users sometimes put up deceptive faces and bullying is common.
Providence High School, which is affiliated with the Providence hospital chain, recently became the first school in the state to form a partnership with Half the Story, a nonprofit organization that believes in digital well-being and encourages youth to share their lives unfiltered — their passions, hidden talents and struggles — to connect with others on a more human level.

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BUSD Discusses Limited Return to Campus

Los Angeles County took a step on Wednesday toward reopening schools by announcing that on-campus services can be offered to small cohorts of students in special education, individualized education plans and English as a second language programs beginning Monday Sept. 14.
However, Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill advised BUSD families and the board of education that hurdles must be cleared before such a move can be made locally.

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Baffert’s Derby Win an Authentic Milestone

Photo courtesy Coglianese Photos / Adam Coglianese
Trainer Bob Baffert (right), shown exulting after a victory by Justify in a 2018 Triple Crown race, recorded his sixth Kentucky Derby win on Saturday, courtesy of Authentic.

Authentic grabbed the lead shortly after the start and held off a stretch bid from odds-on favorite Tiz the Law by 1¼ lengths to win the 146th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby in Louisville on Saturday — a feat with special meaning in La Cañada Flintridge.
Trained by LCF resident Bob Baffert and ridden by John Velazquez, Authentic covered a mile and quarter in 2:00.61 over a fast track.
“I’ve been fortunate to have these great jockeys win these races,” Baffert said. “But that was won by Johnny. John, that race will go down as one of the top — just the way he handled a horse like [Authentic]. … But it’s one of those things where it never gets old. [I’m] just very fortunate and blessed to be in this position.”
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LCUSD Grapples With Approach to Diversity Plan

One month after diversity, equity and inclusion consultant Christina Hale-Elliott presented her findings — collected over a year — to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board, that panel on Tuesday returned to a discussion of the matter and took what it considered a step toward achieving DEI goals.
During a virtual meeting, the board decided to include progress on DEI as one of Superintendent Wendy Sinnette’s objectives for this school year, to help the district sketch a “road map to a road map,” according to board President Joe Radabaugh.
“I am supportive of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Radabaugh, who will partner with board member Kaitzer Puglia to work with Sinnette in framing the specifics of the DEI goals of creating a welcoming environment for all stakeholders regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or other factors. “It really fits with our historic focus on the whole child, not just academic excellence but making them good people and preparing them for the future, especially staging them for success in an ever increasingly diverse world.”
Board member Dan Jeffries noted it’s a tradition for the LCUSD to place issues that “we consider to be very important” on the superintendent’s short list of goals. Sinnette did not provide details about the next step but acknowledged the importance of Hale-Elliott’s three-year implementation plan, which “identifies clear actions, strategies and deliverables” each year, helping staff members determine the effectiveness of actions and services in meeting the goals. Any plans will be reviewed and voted on by the board.
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School District Signals Intent to Strengthen Efforts on Equity

The Burbank Unified School District is taking a stand on current social issues unfolding in the nation, updating its stakeholders and board of education on the work of the district’s equity, diversity and inclusion committee.
“We know we have a lot of challenges in this country, in our city and in our district,” Superintendent Matt Hill said Thursday at a board meeting. “So we have to acknowledge those challenges and then we have to be able as [a California Teachers Association consultant] talks about going through a healing process and making sure we do that in a thoughtful manner. And then have clear action items on how we move forward to become more of an anti-racist school district.”

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Pirates’ Turley Shows Survivor’s Grit

Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Nik Turley, who played in the Crescenta Valley Little League, has reestablished himself in the major leagues this summer. In one stretch, he made six appearances without giving up an earned run.

July’s opening day ceremonies and games marked not only the return of Major League Baseball and a semblance of normalcy in a world of COVID-19, but the beginning of Nik Turley’s comeback tour.
“That was my first opening day,” said Turley, a journeyman pitcher who earned a spot on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ season-opening roster, a first in the Crescenta Valley Little League product’s career. “With no fans, it was a different experience for an opening day, but it was pretty special for me.”
It was especially momentous for Turley, 30, because he had not pitched in the major leagues since 2017 due to a suspension and Tommy John surgery. The Pirates claimed him off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, with whom he made his MLB debut, two years ago and made a place for the left-hander on their 30-man roster.

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Officials Caution Against Risky Labor Day Gatherings

Recent community transmission data has indicated a decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County, a trend that public health officials strongly hope to see continue during the holiday weekend — and they’ve urged area residents to help avoid a reversal of the progress.
“As we approach the Labor Day weekend and as we plan for how our county will reopen schools and more businesses, we must learn from our past,” Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said in a statement released on Monday. “Gatherings — parties, cookouts and the other activities we usually do with non-household members on holidays — can easily lead to increase in transmission, hospitalizations and death.”
The department this week urged residents to “heed the lessons learned from the spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths that occurred after the previous holidays” and find alternative ways to celebrate “without going to parties and barbecues hosted by non-household members.”
“As we look at the possibility of reopening more businesses and, eventually, schools, there is a lot at stake,” Ferrer said Tuesday, returning to the theme. “Increased numbers of people being around one another can result in more transmission of COVID-19, at a time where we need to be doubling down on our efforts to slow the spread. Our past weekend inspections demonstrated that 20% of restaurants and 17% of markets are still not in compliance with the Health Officer Orders. This does not help us get our numbers down.”
La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Michael Davitt echoed Ferrer’s proclamation of following health guidelines this holiday weekend.
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City Panel Advises Against Ending Pact With Sheriff’s Dept.

As demonstrations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and police reform take place throughout the nation, a subcommittee of the La Cañada Flintridge Public Safety Commission has released a report addressing concerns over the city’s contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
During a telephone meeting on Tuesday, the subcommittee consisting of chair Marilyn Smith and Maureen Siegel-Sprowles advised against terminating the city’s contract with the department after speaking with representatives from La Cañada BLM; Save Our Sheriff; Sheriffs Appreciated, Friendly and Engaged; the department; and the city staff.
“We spent a lot of time on this,” Smith said, “and I think our focus from the beginning was to be as evidence-based as possible, to find facts, to drown out the noise and just go with where the facts take us.”
The full commission unanimously approved the adoption of the report and its recommendations. The 11-page document will be sent to staff members and presented to the City Council, which will determine whether to place it on a future agenda.
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