GUSD Expands Summer Offerings to Combat Learning Loss

The Glendale Unified School District will offer a variety of free, in-person programming this summer in an effort to help fill the educational and social gaps created this school year by circumstances resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Throughout June, July and August, the district will host programs for all levels of education and expand the offerings from prior programs, which were typically run through third parties outside of the district. In an effort to promote equity throughout the diverse school district, GUSD has taken over operation of those programs, including accelerated programs.
“These are the courses that have typically been offered through the Glendale Educational Foundation,” explained Chris Coulter, director of teaching and learning, at this week’s school board meeting, “which provides additional opportunities for students to take health for free. Health, math, science and history are the most common of the acceleration courses.”
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Teachers Union, School District Sign Tentative Agreement

By Zane Hill and Christian Leonard
Glendale News-Press

Following months of negotiations, the Glendale Unified School District and the teachers union have signed a tentative contract regarding instruction and safety protocols for the remainder of the academic year.
The tentative agreement, which must be ratified by the GUSD Board of Education and members of the Glendale Teachers Association before going into effect, would offer childcare for school-aged children of union members and provide Chromebooks and headsets for in-person students. Students and staff members would also be asked to opt in or out of a COVID-19 testing program; currently, coronavirus testing is voluntary.
Superintendent Vivian Ekchian said in an interview Thursday she was “incredibly excited” to have reached the agreement, which was struck Wednesday.

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City Council Officially Condemns Asian Hate

The City Council affirmed its commitment to fostering a city that is inclusive of its diversity this week, unequivocally condemning a national surge in hateful rhetoric and violence toward Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in a resolution.
The condemnation was issued a week after a 21-year-old white man killed eight people in a shooting spree in Atlanta-area spas, six of whom were Asian women. That tragedy followed a year in which Asian and Pacific Islander residents across the country have reported a rise in harassment and attacks by others, a trend corresponding to the coronavirus’ origins in China. In recent months, these attacks have grown increasingly violent and deadly.

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Area Teachers to Start Receiving COVID-19 Shots Next Week

USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and other institutions will begin vaccinating area elementary school teachers for COVID-19 next week, including Glendale Unified School District teachers who choose to sign up for the inoculation.
The hospital will take 350 teachers on Monday and another 350 on Thursday and aims to continue its vaccination work with additional teachers and members of the community, as eligibility increases. The concrete plan is a welcome development weeks after the initial rollout for vaccinating teachers was delayed because of supply issues.
Additionally, Adventist Health Glendale and Glendale Memorial Hospital also will be handling vaccinations for GUSD teachers.

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Local High Schools Gear Up for Return to Athletic Fields

Athletes and coaches throughout Los Angeles County finally heard the announcement they have been waiting for: High school athletics are officially a go.
L.A. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced Wednesday that the county would update its Protocols for Youth and Adult Sports League to align with the state’s guidelines, allowing outdoor sports to begin practice and competition this week.
It has been 11 months since an official high school game was played in L.A. County. Schools closed their doors last March to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and public health officials did not allow any competition or practice of any kind.

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District Applies for Waivers to Open Up Elementary Schools

Photo courtesy GUSD
After first getting a waiver to have some in-person instruction at Horace Mann Elementary School, the Glendale Unified School District plans to seek waivers for its remaining elementary schools.

The Glendale Unified School District will begin applying for waivers for the remainder of its elementary schools to resume limited
in-person instruction, weeks after the district piloted a reopening at s.
Meanwhile, district officials plan to keep a close eye on the ever-changing situation with regard to the pandemic and the plethora of restrictions it brings from county, state and federal leaders. For now, distance learning continues to be the primary teaching mechanism, and the board of education expects its next decision to be by March 12, the end of the third quarter and on the cusp of spring break.
“The end of the third quarter and the day before spring break seemed to be a good decision at the time,” Superintendent Vivian Ekchian said, “but I do want to repeat that if we maintain a purple tier as a school district and county, it will be difficult to make decisions any differently than what we’ve made so far.”

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GHS Pool Nearly Ready to Make a Splash

A project that was first conceived nearly a decade ago, the swimming pool being added to Glendale High School’s campus is just about ready to launch.
Pending approval from health inspectors, the pool is expected to be filled with water soon, after which the necessary sanitizing chemicals will be mixed and added to prepare it for use. The Glendale Unified School District anticipates that GHS’ swimming and water polo teams will be able to use it for workouts this spring.
“We’re getting close to wrapping it up,” said Hagop Kassabian, the GUSD administrator for planning, development and facilities. “All in all, I think we’re looking pretty good to have water in the pool by late February or early March.”

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GUSD Stays Course on Distance Learning

The Glendale Unified School District has committed to continuing distance teaching through at least March 12, with the current surge in coronavirus cases essentially pulling the plug on any potential plans to add more in-person programming at the start of 2021.
Superintendent Vivian Ekchian and the district’s board of education emphatically made that pledge at last week’s meeting, the last of 2020. As for wider in-person instruction, officials also acknowledged the very real possibility that they could move the goalposts further away as they approach March, depending on how Los Angeles County fares through the pandemic.
“We will continue to engage in distance learning,” Ekchian said. “We are not interested in bringing more personnel back to our campuses — teachers, counselors, nurses, itinerant personnel, teacher specialists — during a surge. We will have to hope for the best. March 12 is the end of the third quarter; it seems to be the best next step in terms of our making safe decisions for all employees, students and the community. We are not making decisions beyond that, because much can change between now and then.”

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GUSD’s Actions Amid Pandemic Earn Chamber’s Salute

Photo courtesy Steve Pierce
Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce President Mike Riley (second from right) presents school board President Armina Gharpetian, school board member Jennifer Freemon, and Glendale Unified School District Superintendent Vivian Ekchian with awards of recognition from the chamber.

For its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Glendale Unified School District was tabbed as the Organization of the Year by the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce in the group’s annual recognition awards last week.
One of the district’s board members, Jennifer Freemon, also was named Educator of the Year by the chamber. Overall, the organization handed out 10 awards in a virtual ceremony last week.
In its program, the chamber highlighted what it described as a nimble response by the GUSD when the pandemic struck in March, prompting school closures and stay-at-home orders from the county. The district distributed laptops for students to use in distance learning and prepared to-go breakfasts and lunches every day for all children in the city who needed them.

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Mountain Avenue Elementary Earns National Blue Ribbon Status

Mountain Avenue Elementary in La Crescenta has been recognized as a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, the Glendale Unified School District announced.
The National Blue Ribbon is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. The designation affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

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