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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Letters to the Editor

Opinion About Advocates
It appears that those advocating the diversity plan in our schools are more interested in teaching kids what to think rather than how to think.

Trent Sanders
La Cañada Flintridge


DEI Consultant Thanks Community for Its Support
I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for the many members of the greater La Cañada Unified School District community who have extended their support over the past several weeks — support for me, but more importantly, for the critical work of cultivating equitable spaces for learning where every student is seen, supported and feels a sense of belonging. Through the letters to the editor, comments during school board meetings and direct emails, students, parents, staff, alumni and community members have raised their voices in support of a humanizing approach to education, Continue reading “Letters to the Editor”

Daniel Steven MacGregor – Obituary

Dan MacGregor, beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother, passed away on September 1st, 2020.
Dan was born in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and went to Georgia Tech on a baseball and basketball scholarship, then got a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from USC.
He met and married his wife Judy in 1958. Dan worked at JPL from 1966-1976 and then he and Judy opened MacGregor Realty at 845 Foothill Blvd. MacGregor Realty closed when Dan and Judy retired in 2010. Dan was a long time resident of La Cañada, living here for over 50 years. Dan was loved by the real estate community and he loved them back.
Dan’s wife Judy passed away two years ago, and now they can be together. Dan is survived by his daughter Sherise and son-in-law Scott, his son Steve, brother Brian and brother Jim, and his grandchildren Grayson, Raine, Rowan, Zarina, and Luke.

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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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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Multi-City Board Outlines New Vision on Transportation

City Councilwoman Terry Walker represents the city on the governing board for the Arroyo Verdugo Communities Joint Powers Authority.

A board made up of officials from La Cañada Flintridge and nearby cities is crafting a new strategic plan, potentially expanding its role in coordinating transportation initiatives in the area.
Members of the governing board for the Arroyo Verdugo Communities Joint Powers Authority expressed interest at a meeting on Aug. 6 in moving beyond traffic and infrastructure concerns to consider other types of transportation, such as light rail and bicycles, for local development, as well as environment-related projects.
The joint powers authority was formed in 2017 and includes officials from LCF, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank and the Los Angeles County Fifth Supervisorial District, which takes in La Crescenta and Montrose. City Councilwoman Terry Walker serves as LCF’s representative on the governing board.

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Spartan PTSA Kicks Off Unique School Year

By Betty Bredemann
La Cañada High School PTSA

Photo courtesy Betty Bredenann
“We miss our students” banner hangs at La Cañada High School.

The La Cañada High School 9-12 PTSA is excited to welcome back families, students, teachers and staff to the 2020-21 school year. The first day of distance learning will be Monday, Aug. 17.
“Although school will look and feel quite different in the coming weeks, PTSA looks forward to continuing to support and strengthen the LCHS community despite the unique situation we all find ourselves in,” incoming PTSA President Kelly Davis said.
With a new year comes the Spartan order form, where parents are encouraged to purchase their PTSA membership, directory and spirit wear, sponsor Home Tour, donate and volunteer. Visit lchsptsa.org to show support.

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Power of Community Boosts Donations to LCFEF

Thanks to generous donations during the 2019-20 school year, the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation — with a boost of $380,000 from its endowment fund — will contribute more than $2.3 million to the La Cañada Unified School District this fall. That’s the Power of Community, and it’s a ray of inspiration in an otherwise gloomy fiscal and emotionally taxing year.
As LCF students return to learning, LCFEF remains dedicated to preserving the high-quality education this community expects. This is a resilient community; during the 2008 recession and over these past few months, increased donations poured in to support local schools. Because of your generosity and support, the school district can continue to strive even if faced with uncertain state and federal funding over the next few years.
The value of an exceptional public school education is critically apparent now. Students’
learning experiences may look different, but that doesn’t make them less rigorous than what this community has grown used to. The foundation needs support regardless of when students eventually return to campuses, or if they learn solely via distance or in a hybrid model.

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USC Honors Local Leader for Her Research

Michele Kipke

Citing the “enormous impact” Michele Kipke’s research work has had for more than three decades, USC recently bestowed its prestigious Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship on the local leader.
Kipke, a La Cañada Flintridge native and La Cañada High School graduate who is serving this year as president of the South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education, said in an interview that it was “an incredible honor” to receive the award. She is a professor of pediatrics and preventative medicine at Keck School of Medicine and also serves as vice chair of research with the pediatrics department at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“Part of what’s very special about that is being recognized by your peers that you’re really making a difference and that your work is impactful and significant and is changing the field, whatever that is,” Kipke said. “As a researcher, you really want to know your work is making a difference. I definitely want to know that my work is making a difference in the lives of children and families.”

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