The La Cañada Unified School District governing board has hit the ground running in 2021 having already convened for three virtual meetings the past month. The challenges from 2020 carried over into the new year, and recently appointed board president Kaitzer Puglia is ready to tackle them and move the district forward.
“[January] and [February] are really tough,” Puglia said, “but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations are coming. We have got to take care of our teachers, staff and administrators. They are working so hard, and we need to take care of them so they can take care of our students.”
Getting students back into classrooms safely is one of several goals for the new board president, but as a professor in education and child development at Pasadena City College, Puglia understands that can happen only when the concerns of those providing instruction are addressed.
Continue reading “Board President Puglia Dives Into Challenges for Schools”
PTAs throughout California recently gave Founders Day awards to volunteers, teachers and/or staff members in special recognition of outstanding service to children and youth. On Tuesday, the Palm Crest Elementary PTA announced its 2020-21 Founders Day Award recipients. The five individuals honored include parent volunteers Ricardo Mendoza and Jennifer Wolpert, PCR technologist Omar Torres, and teachers Kelly Hu (5th grade) and Joan Patterson (1st grade).
Californians aged 65 years and older have moved up in the long line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that they are now eligible for the scarce vaccine.
“There is no higher priority than efficiently and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences,” he said in a statement. “To those not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn is coming. We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccines into the state.”
Though many health-care workers and long-term care residents — who remain as the highest priority — have yet to be vaccinated due to a slow rollout, state officials said giving individuals 65 years and older — about 6.6 million residents — eligibility could relieve hospitals flooded with coronavirus patients.
Continue reading “Next in Line: COVID Vaccines for Residents 65 and Older”
In its first official meeting of the year, the La Canada Unified School District governing board had much to discuss since it last convened on Dec. 15.
In the past month, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have spiked throughout Los Angeles County at an alarming rate, and the board deliberated over the possible suspension of the few on-campus activities currently underway, most notably those at La Cañada High School, on Tuesday.
Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Department of Public Health director, strongly recommended to district leaders in a conference call last week that they shut down schools for the remainder of the month due to the holiday surge.
The Los Angeles Unified School District shut down all of its campuses last month, and other districts have followed its lead, especially after last week’s call with public health officials.
Continue reading “LCUSD Mulls Closing Campus Activities Amid Virus Spike”
Jim Cartnal had a Zoom meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 6. The La Cañada High School principal looked forward to talking to a group of students supporting the Challenge Success initiative, which promotes a balanced, academically fulfilling life for kids.
His eagerness quickly turned to concern as he was notified by friends and family of what was happening more than 2,600 miles away. A violent mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol to disrupt the counting of electoral votes.
“Should we meet or just go home and focus on our families?” Cartnal thought. He ultimately decided to shorten the meeting and allow the students to be with their families.
He reflected on the alarming riot and sent an email to families the following day, advising parents that they limit their children’s exposure to media and have a conversation with them about the events that transpired.
Cartnal also held a Zoom meeting with teachers and administrators last Thursday and encouraged them to slightly alter their lesson plans and create an open virtual space for students to process and reflect on what happened the previous day.
Continue reading “Capitol Riot Becomes Teaching Moment at LCHS”
On Nov. 20, the La Cañada High School PTSA honored 26 Students of the Quarter. Student members coordinated a breakfast burrito drive-thru (from Lucky Boy Pasadena) at the LCHS lower parking lot. Via personalized videos, teachers delivered messages of praise, in lieu of the usual in-person ceremony. Teacher’s congratulated these outstanding students for working especially hard during this unique school year thus far.
A group of signs that recently were displayed at La Cañada Flintridge Town Center depict racist and hurtful slurs that La Cañada High School students say they have heard and that students have also anonymously posted to the Instagram page at racism_at_lchs, a local activist group said.
The signs were left near the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Angeles Crest Highway after a La Cañada BLM demonstration and were taken down the next morning by Town Center staff.
According to a statement by La Cañada BLM, which was formed as part of a local outcry after George Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis in May, the messages on cardboard were left by current or former LCUSD students.
Earlier this week, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette had a small bounce in her step.
After steering the district through a historic pandemic and confronting barriers to a return to on-campus education, Sinnette applied on Monday for waivers from Los Angeles County to allow in-person instruction for TK-grade 2 at all three district elementary schools. LCUSD likely is one of the first public school districts, if not the first, in the county to apply for the waivers, which will help increase the potential of approval, she noted.
“It really is a huge accomplishment,” said Sinnette, beaming as she lightly waved the paperwork in her hand. “I have to give a shoutout to the California School Employees Association Chapter 122,” which gave a formal letter of support to the district, one of the requirements to file for a waiver.
Continue reading “LCUSD Leader Embraces Goals, Growth”
For the first time in nearly seven months to the day, La Cañada High School student-athletes greeted their coaches in person and trained with their fellow teammates on Monday.
Administrators and coaches’ detailed plan of reopening the stadium and facilities for outdoor practices in accordance to the county Department of Public Health’s Reopening Protocol for Youth Sports Leagues was approved by the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board during a virtual meeting on Sept. 29, and LCHS Principal Jim Cartnal said they “had a really great rollout.”
“First and foremost, it was great to see coaches and students we’ve missed for months,” Cartnal said over the phone on Tuesday. “We closed on March 13 [due to COVID-19] and today is Oct. 13. It’s almost kind of synchronicity to being away when we are back almost to the day.”