LCUSD Names Saks as High School Athletic Director

Carrie Saks

The La Cañada Unified School District has selected Carrie Saks as La Cañada High School 7-12 athletic director for the 2020-21 school year, and the hiring was approved last week by the district’s Governing Board, the school said in a statement.
Saks, who will assume the position at LCHS in late summer of 2020, has five years of experience teaching in public education. She started her career in the Westminster and Santa Monica/Malibu school districts and transitioned to LCUSD in 2014-15. Saks taught reading intervention at La Cañada Elementary School, and then joined the boys and girls volleyball coaching staff at LCHS 7/8 that same year. Her service and dedication to the district was honored in 2017 when Saks received the LCHS 7/8 PTA Founders’ Day Award. In 2016, she took on the role of LCHS 7/8 athletic director.
As part of her new position, Saks will oversee athletics for the entire campus, grades 7-12.
Continue reading “LCUSD Names Saks as High School Athletic Director”

LCHS Principals’ ‘Cartnal and Gold’ Podcast Debuts

La Cañada High School Principal Jim Cartnal and LCHS 7/8 Principal Jarrett Gold
OUTLOOK photo
La Cañada High School Principal Jim Cartnal and LCHS 7/8 Principal Jarrett Gold have a new podcast titled “Cartnal and Gold” available on the LCHS and LCHS 7/8 websites as well as Spotify.

La Cañada High School has officially joined the podcast craze with its new show, “Cartnal and Gold,” a tool to spread news about school activities and objectives as well as students’ accomplishments, using a medium with which youth are familiar.
LCHS Principal Jim Cartnal and LCHS 7/8 Principal Jarrett Gold’s podcast debuted recently on both schools’ websites and Spotify.
The show’s name, displayed in its logo over a crossed-out “Cardinal,” arose from La Cañada Unified School District webmaster Toby Lewsadder’s inspiration.
“The school colors are cardinal and gold,” Cartnal said in a recent interview. “That was Toby’s idea. We have heard positive feedback so far.” Continue reading “LCHS Principals’ ‘Cartnal and Gold’ Podcast Debuts”

LCHS Seeks to Reintroduce Peer Counseling Class

Hoping to cultivate student wellness, school district officials recommended at Tuesday’s Governing Board meeting that the district reintroduce a peer counseling elective for the upcoming academic year.
“The goal here is to have a class which, in essence, trains schools in peer counseling skills for about three quarters and the last quarter [students will] begin to work with students,” said Jim Cartnal, the La Cañada Unified School District’s executive director of pupil and personnel programs and services. Continue reading “LCHS Seeks to Reintroduce Peer Counseling Class”

LCHS Students Seek to Inspire at Science Camp

Members of La Cañada High School’s Science National Honors Society are serving as mentors at a summer camp this week, teaching 4th-, 5th- and 6th-graders through activities such as slime-making, tower-building and aluminum-foil boat racing for 1½ hours each afternoon.
LCHS students began planning the camp about three weeks ago, brainstorming a “whiteboard full of ideas,” said society member Jon Potter, a senior. The mentors were excited about working with youngsters because they had all been inspired by outreach programs in elementary school and wanted to provide that same spark for the younger students. Continue reading “LCHS Students Seek to Inspire at Science Camp”

LCUSD Task Force Tackles Student Safety, Traffic, Wellness

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette addresses the newly formed community task force at its first meeting last week on Thursday, May 24. The task force was created to help the La Cañada Unified School District improve its safety, security and student wellness policies.

The especially sobering thing about discussing safety, security and student well-being is how deep those conversations go, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said last week during the first meeting of the district’s task force to address those topics.
“Everything’s connected,” she said. “And as soon as you talk about one thing, it makes you think of another. The work will never be done, but it’s really empowering to have such wonderful people here committed to doing the work.”
Twenty-three members of the community — including parents, students, administrators, teachers and staff members — joined district administrators and Governing Board members in the district’s meeting room on Thursday, May 24. They signed up for subcommittees and got an overview of what they’re expected to accomplish in the next year. Continue reading “LCUSD Task Force Tackles Student Safety, Traffic, Wellness”

School Board Likes Late Start in 2018-19

After hearing that students at La Cañada High School are getting more sleep this school year, Governing Board members voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend that the school bring back its “late start” bell schedule next fall.
For 2017-18, La Cañada Unified School District became one of the first districts in the state to start the school day at its high school at 8:30 a.m. (later than the previous 7:45 a.m. start). The initiative was inspired by the Challenge Success program, which is focused on improving students’ overall well-being.
A series of surveys were conducted and an oversight committee composed of students, parents, faculty and administrators met four times to evaluate the later start, said Jim Cartnal, executive director of pupil and personnel programs and services. Continue reading “School Board Likes Late Start in 2018-19”

Spartan Tip Line Offers Anonymity

Courtesy lchsspartans.net
La Cañada Unified School District launched the Spartan Tip Line largely in response to recent events involving drugs and threats to campus, said Jim Cartnal, executive director of pupil and personnel programs and services.

The “tip line” that district officials promised at a Governing Board meeting last month went live last week and immediately began receiving reports, La Cañada Unified School District administrators said.
“It’s being used,” said Jim Cartnal, the district’s executive director of Pupil and Personnel Programs and Services. “It’s being used somewhat regularly, and in particular with the events leading up to the [walkout] on March 14, it was a venue where various people and students reported concerns related to rumors they heard on social media about possible negative behavior toward the school.”
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said last week that rumors were unsubstantiated, that there was no threat to campus on March 14 and, with additional security on site, the walkout proceeded peacefully. Continue reading “Spartan Tip Line Offers Anonymity”

LCUSD Says Late Start Reaction Trending Positive

Midway through the school year, La Cañada High School and 7/8 students seem to be taking the experiment of late start well, although administrators await the winter and spring sports seasons to hit their stride for additional input.
Jim Cartnal, executive director of pupil and personnel programs and services for LCUSD, shared preliminary data at Tuesday’s La Cañada Unified Governing Board meeting. Surveys have indicated the students are “by and large” in favor of the later school start times of 8:30 a.m. as opposed to 7:45 a.m., even if it didn’t necessarily mean they were getting additional sleep as intended.
“Openly, it’s a mixed bag,” Cartnal said. “Kids are getting some more sleep, but not all kids are getting more sleep.” Continue reading “LCUSD Says Late Start Reaction Trending Positive”

Church Leaders, Educators Discuss Youth Challenges

Photo courtesy Todd Reynolds
Among those who attended a recent summit of church and educational leaders are (front row, from left) Wendy Sinnette, Kip Glazer, Rosemary Johnston, D.J. Severin, Tanya Wilson, Sister Celeste Botello, Allison Clay, Father Christopher Iwancio, Will Moffitt, Lucinda Guarino and the Rev. Chuck Osburn. Back: Connie Knight, Peter Bachmann, Ian McFeat, Katie Phillips-Rector, David Gill, Jim Cartnal, the Rev. Anthony Keller, Rick Callister, Kyle Sears, Andrew Shaw, Eddie Mariel, the Rev. Msgr. Antonio Cacciapuoti and the Rev. Jeff Hoffmeyer.

Church leaders in La Cañada Flintridge recently invited educational leaders to lunch at La Cañada Presbyterian Church. The purpose was to better understand the challenges facing today’s youth and to identify some ways the local churches can be more helpful to students and their families.
Principals, headmasters, counselors and disciplinarians shared many of the most acute and many of the most pervasive challenges their students are facing in their learning experience. The collective wisdom of these educational leaders proved valuable to church leaders and will help them reshape their efforts with young people and their families going forward.
Representatives from La Cañada Unified School District, St. Francis High School, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Flintridge Preparatory School and the Community Prevention Council had unique perspectives and shared some common challenges — stress, anxiety and depression were common, as were various destructive coping mechanisms (substance abuse, technology and social media abuse, and self-isolation).
Continue reading “Church Leaders, Educators Discuss Youth Challenges”

LCUSD Reaches for the Stars

Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK Jeffrey Nee, a representative of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory education department, welcomes visitors to the JPL Dome during last week’s Family STEAM Night at Palm Crest Elementary School.
Photo by Mirjam Swanson / OUTLOOK
Jeffrey Nee, a representative of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory education department, welcomes visitors to the JPL Dome during last week’s Family STEAM Night at Palm Crest Elementary School.

Billed, appropriately, as a star-studded event, the district’s Family STEAM Night last week at Palm Crest Elementary school wowed 150 attendees, including 4th-grade science fan Aaron Kang, who came to build on his already flourishing astronomical expertise.
“Yeah, this is cool,” he said. “Stars are really cool.”
He and his brother, 1st-grader Elias Kang, spent the evening at school because they wanted to check out telescopes, an iPad stargazing app and, definitely, the JPL Dome stationed inside the school’s multi-purpose room.
Jeffrey Nee, a representative of the JPL education department, led the galactic tour inside the dome — a blown-up tent inside which a projection of space offered 30 stargazers at a time a far-out ride. Continue reading “LCUSD Reaches for the Stars”