District Narrows Contact Tracing to Keep Kids in Class

First published in the Oct. 9 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

After starting out the school year quarantining entire classrooms after a potential COVID-19 exposure, the Glendale Unified School District has recently begun implementing new guidelines to keep more students in the classroom.
The policy change, approved by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, comes after about two months of the district requiring entire classrooms at a time to stay home for up to a 10-day quarantine period. Continue reading “District Narrows Contact Tracing to Keep Kids in Class”

National Merit Names 9 GUSD Semifinalists

First published in the Oct. 2 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Nine students from the Glendale Unified School District were recently selected as National Merit Semifinalists and will now compete to be finalists for the annual scholarships.
GUSD’s semifinalists include Miriam Awan, Ellena Kim, Nathan Kim, David Yoon Kim and Seon-Jae Yoon from Crescenta Valley High School; Abdullah Ahmed and Matthew Keshishian from Clark Magnet High School; Lilly Armstrong from Glendale High School; and Sarine Maridirosian from Hoover High School. They join approximately 16,000 qualifying students nationwide and represent fewer than 1% of U.S. high school seniors competing for about 7,500 scholarships. Semifinalists qualify by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and earning scores that are among the highest in the state.
Finalists are expected to be announced in the spring.

GUSD, Teachers in Accord on Virus Precautions

First published in the Sept. 25 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

The Glendale Unified School District and the union representing its teachers agreed this week to a series of policies and protocols codifying COVID-19-related safety measures that will last for the remainder of the school year.
Meanwhile, the district and the Glendale Teachers Association continued to discuss what is expected to be an agreement addressing the effects that quarantining has on classroom instruction.
The understanding reached this week, in short, has the district aligning with applicable guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. It does not address other related issues, such as instructional policy in the event of student quarantines, nor does it impose any new vaccination mandates. Continue reading “GUSD, Teachers in Accord on Virus Precautions”

GUSD Teacher of the Year ‘Model for Excellence’

First published in the Sept. 18 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

For the second time, kindergarten teacher Roxanne O’Rourke has been recognized as teacher of the year for the Glendale Unified School District and will now represent the city in the contest at the county level.
O’Rourke, who teaches at Horace Mann Elementary School, was awarded as teacher of the year in the spring but was formally recognized by the GUSD Board of Education this week as the Los Angeles County Office of Education prepares to designate the county’s teacher of the year. O’Rourke earned the accolade for her leadership in the early spring, when her school received a waiver to open doors for students to re-enter classrooms and kick off hybrid instruction. Continue reading “GUSD Teacher of the Year ‘Model for Excellence’”

GUSD to Require COVID Vaccinations for Employees

First published in the Sept. 4 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

Joining a growing number of educational institutions throughout California, the Glendale Unified School District this week approved a mandate that its employees all be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The GUSD Board of Education unanimously voted to require that all district staff prove that they have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single Johnson & Johnson inoculation by Nov. 1. Previously, the district had required that nonvaccinated faculty and staff members undergo weekly coronavirus testing. Continue reading “GUSD to Require COVID Vaccinations for Employees”

GUSD Discloses 43 COVID Cases Since Start of School

The Glendale Unified School District has identified nearly four dozen cases of COVID-19 among students and employees in its first eight days of school, according to a dashboard it uses to monitor the disease on its campuses.
The cases have resulted in more than 3,300 identified exposures, as determined by contact tracing, although it was unclear how many of them were required to quarantine. Presently, the dashboard does not differentiate exposure by vaccination status, which affects whether the exposed subjects need to isolate themselves.
In the meantime, the district and the Glendale Teachers Association continue to hammer out a deal on how students are to continue their education when quarantining. GUSD is currently proposing that students in quarantine — which is likely to include entire classes — temporarily transition to a remote, online class model similar to how schools operated the previous school year. Continue reading “GUSD Discloses 43 COVID Cases Since Start of School”

Officials Urge Free Vaccines Amid COVID Surge

Accompanied by a parent or an adult sibling or by their entire family, students 12 years and older stepped up for a COVID vaccination that would protect them as schools reopen.
With an alarming surge in the city’s infection rate, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health partnered with the Glendale Unified School District to provide walk-up vaccination clinics at each of the public middle and high schools.

Continue reading “Officials Urge Free Vaccines Amid COVID Surge”

GUSD Orders Weekly Tests for Unvaccinated Teachers

This article was originally published in the Glendale News-Press on Aug. 14

Unvaccinated teachers and other employees of the Glendale Unified School District will be required to undergo weekly testing for the coronavirus when the school year begins Wednesday, the school board decided this week.
Employees who can provide proof of their vaccination to the district will be exempt from mandatory testing, though they will still be encouraged to take tests periodically even if just for surveillance purposes. The GUSD Board of Education made the decision this week amid a COVID-19 surge being driven by the virus’ Delta variant.
District Superintendent Vivian Ekchian and the school board took action ahead of an announcement by Gov. Gavin Newsom this past Wednesday that all grade school educators in the state — public and private — must be fully vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. On Friday, the Los Angeles Unified School District went a step further and issued a strict vaccination mandate for its employees effective Oct. 15.

Continue reading “GUSD Orders Weekly Tests for Unvaccinated Teachers”

Foothill Area Community Transition Services Spring Graduation

Demetrius Hernandez and Arina Farewell

Foothill Area Community Transition Services (FACTS) held its 2021 spring graduation on Friday, June 11, at the Glendale High School’s Moyse Field. “We are so proud of our graduates,” said Principal Tammy Taylor. “They have shown such persistence and resilience this year and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate their accomplishments.”
FACTS presented graduation certificates to 21 students during the ceremony, which included a welcome from Assistant Principal Evan Robb and opening remarks from Principal Taylor.

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Crescenta Valley High School Graduation 2021

Brendon Pehar, Sebastian Deleon, Shant Kevorkian, Nicole Cazian, Anthony Kabadayan, Evan Aceytuno, Luca Cuneo and Brandon Hwang

More than 600 Crescenta Valley High School students graduated on the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium’s field in a morning ceremony on Friday, June 11. CVHS senior class of 2021 officers Andrew Alan Kim, Chloe Ataya, Sebastian DeLeon and Brendon Pehar participated in the ceremony, while classmates Angela Ter-Vardanyan and Shant Kevorkian each delivered a senior address.
Principal Linda Junge presented the Class of 2021, GUSD Superintendent Vivian Ekchian recognized the class, and Nayiri Nahabedian and Gregory Krikorian helped present diplomas.

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