Sinnette Promises to Focus on Climate, Tech, Support

La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette told the Governing Board she wants to home in on climate, technology, instruction and supporting her staff this school year.
At Tuesday’s Governing Board meeting, and as part of an annual presentation, she detailed eight goals, which included establishing a Superintendent’s Representative Council. The group will meet quarterly and include representatives from the La Cañada Teachers Association, the board and the LCUSD administrative cabinet.
“This is largely in response to some of the ups and downs we had with negotiations, teachers and classified staff not feeling like they had a voice to drive the agendas or work of the district,” Sinnette said. “This council will collect input and communicate pertinent information … and it will also be a vehicle to discuss challenges and discuss opportunities. The input from the council will drive the [district’s] agenda.”
Sinnette said the district will publish minutes of all the meetings as well as action plans stemming from those discussions, “so people can see results based on their recommendations.”
The board asked Sinnette to review disciplinary policies in the district for grades 7-12, and to ensure that those procedures are legal and defensible, contain clear alternatives to suspension and are progressive discipline approaches while providing for consistent application.
“So, no matter who a student is assigned to, the treatment or the consequences … would be similar, with any administrator on that team,” Sinnette said.
She said she also strives to establish a committee to review and update the district’s annual Panorama Ed Survey instruments so that they reflect the best practices in survey design and research.
“When we revise the surveys, we’ll make sure they’re much more relevant and research-based,” said Sinnette, adding that the district won’t totally revamp the questionnaires because consistency over the years helps produce reliable data.

ENROLLMENT UP

LCUSD’s overall enrollment is up to 4,122 — 42 more than a year ago. Included in that total are 118 permitted students, Sinnette said.
She also said that while enrollment is up at elementary schools, there are two fewer full-time employees on those campuses. Also, the high school introduced a new elective but no new full-time teachers.
“That shows major efficiencies,” said Sinnette, explaining the district was able to pull it off without increasing class size but by adjusting scheduling.

REPRESENTING THE STUDENTS

Alex Zhao, this year’s student representative, was introduced to the board Tuesday. The senior, a nationally ranked Lincoln-Douglas debater, will further polish his oratory chops at board meetings this year, sharing highlights of campus activities.
Co-president of La Cañada High School’s Speech and Debate team, Zhao has represented the school for each of the past two years at the prestigious Tournament of Champions in Kentucky.
He also founded the hiking club on campus.

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