Diversity Plan’s Future Worries Some LCUSD Stakeholders

Outlook Valley Sun photo
Christina Hale-Elliott, a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, is shown at one of her workshops during the 2019-2020 school year.

It was “Back to School Night” last week for the La Cañada Unified School District, and parents like Vanessa Rosas hunkered down Thursday evening to take in what was going to be a virtual presentation of the annual event, this year’s program emphasizing the distance learning platform that has gripped the community in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.
She felt wary, as most parents do by now, of the way remote learning is affecting the morale and academic effectiveness of her youngsters, but when La Cañada High School 7/8 representatives dug in with a high-energy virtual presentation to help animate students and parents, she perked up.
Then her spirits crashed.
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Diversity Report Spurs LCUSD Board to Confront Inequity

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Consultant Christina Hale-Elliott (right), who contracted with the LCUSD in September 2019, is pictured with Superintendent Wendy Sinnette.

When it comes to racial diversity, equity and inclusion, the La Cañada Unified School District has been given a road map to improve its grade.
LCUSD Governing Board members showed enthusiasm Tuesday for embracing the beginnings of a plan to improve inclusion, empathy, tolerance and much more throughout the district, after listening to findings gathered over the course of a year by Pasadena-based Christina Hale-Elliott. Hired in September 2019 as the district’s first diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, she is the founder of Elliott Educational Services.
For more than two hours, board members leaned in as Hale-Elliott summarized her findings, based on data collected via numerous surveys, interviews and focus groups involving teachers, staff, students and parents throughout the district at the elementary, middle and high school levels. The report also drew on quantitative data provided by the LCUSD and the California Department of Education website.

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School Officials Introduce Initial Reopening Plans

Photo courtesy LCUSD
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette provided a photo showing how a classroom may look in the coming school year, in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

The La Cañada Unified School District’s plan to reopen schools is becoming clearer despite the uncertainty that lies ahead because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette previewed plans from the reopening committee — consisting of district board members, staff members, educators and parents — and addressed concerns from stakeholders during a virtual LCUSD Governing Board meeting on Tuesday.
More details of the committee’s plans will be presented at a meeting on July 14 so that the board can approve them. Sinnette preferred to show a plan early to allow parents and personnel to better prepare for the 2020-21 school year scheduled to begin on Aug. 17.
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District Diversity Consultant Shares Ideas About Race at Workshop

Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
Christina Hale-Elliott, La Cañada Unified School District’s first diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, leads a discussion on “How to Talk With Young Adults About Race” at the La Cañada High School cafeteria.

Talking to young children about race is a discussion to be held as soon as possible.
That’s the message La Cañada Unified School District’s diversity, equity and inclusion consultant Christina Hale-Elliott recently gave at a talk to a group of about 20 people. In the discussion, “How to Talk With Young Adults About Race,” Hale-Elliott addressed topics, including a brief history of racism, white privilege and the model minority myth. Children as young as 3 months start to display reactions to race, Hale-Elliott said. Continue reading “District Diversity Consultant Shares Ideas About Race at Workshop”

LCUSD Workshop Tackles Diversity, Inclusion

Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
Attendees from this week’s “Cultivating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” workshop listen to consultant Christina Hale-Elliott and LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette.

At the first workshop to cultivate feedback on diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the La Cañada Unified School District, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette laid out some pertinent themes for discussion, including student safety and how to better create an atmosphere of acceptance and empathy. Continue reading “LCUSD Workshop Tackles Diversity, Inclusion”