The La Cañada Unified School District officially completed its elementary reopening on Monday with the return of 6th-graders and is scheduled to have the remainder of its students back on campus after spring break on Tuesday, April 13. The governing board unanimously voted, 4-0, to approve one of three hybrid schedules presented and gave Superintendent Wendy Sinnette flexibility to set a date for teachers and staff to return to La Cañada High School. President Kaitzer Puglia was not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting. Sinnette said negotiations are ongoing with the teachers association and she said that the plan is to have them return one week before the break for “logistical planning.” “We do need staff to fully return to the workplace,” she said. “There’s a lot that needs to be set up.”
The La Cañada Unified School District is close to finalizing and implementing its three-year diversity, equity and inclusion plan. Superintendent Wendy Sinnette presented to the governing board and community members on Tuesday the first reading of a mission statement — crafted by a committee that includes board members, staff, teachers and students — and reasons for the DEI initiative. She felt that it was best to approach DEI through the lens of a student followed by that of its staff members. “The students are our priority, and the staff work will feed into meeting these objectives for students,” said Sinnette, who hopes to provide a revised statement and more details about the district’s three-year plan to the board in the next month. “It really is the umbrella of students followed closely by staff and the support that we provide staff to make sure that our students are protected and that the environments that we are creating for students are fully inclusive, equitable and diverse.”
Assistance League of Flintridge members are carrying on with the following activities: • ALF Operation School Bell has been busy. The OSB committee purchased backpacks, face masks, hand sanitizer, hygiene kits and school supplies and delivered them to 400 students through Friends In Deed, an organization that provides supportive services for homeless and at-risk neighbors. Through collaboration, ALF provided school clothing and supplies to another 600 students. OSB donated 50 new Chromebooks for the La Cañada Unified School District to use as loaners. • ALFies in Action purchased 200 pairs of Blue Screen Blocker Glasses for local students. La Cañada High School student government members and advisers distributed the glasses in their parking lot on Nov. 17, observing strict protective protocols via a drive-up/drive-thru system. There were warm, happy faces discernible, even though masked. • ALF instrumental music is underway. The program has been revamped and is totally online, offering new and unique opportunities for young musicians. Specific details and links are on the ALF website. • ALF drama is coming. There is a tentative start date of Jan. 19 for fun online workshops with director Tristan Waldron. Keep checking the ALF website. • The ALF Assisteens are active, too, working together Zooming and distributing assembled donations to help children, adults and families in need. The teens are corresponding with our local senior population, too. As time continues to pass, ALF members also miss Bargain Box shoppers, and the conversations — about life, knick knacks, clothing and jewelry — shared together in the store. The Bargain Box is expected to reopen in early 2021. Many changes are being made at the Bargain Box to protect customers and friends. Safety for all is paramount. ALF is also look forward to accepting clean, gently used donations. The ALF website, alflintridge.org, will provide information regarding when the Bargain Box is able to accept donations again. Monetary donations are also appreciated while the shop is closed. Checks made out to Assistance League of Flintridge may be mailed to ALF at 4607 Oakwood Ave., La Cañada Flintridge 91011. These donations will help the ALF members carry on with their good work.
Though uncertainty clouds the future of education and instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the goals of the La Cañada Unified School District for the 2020-21 academic year were made very clear in a virtual governing board meeting on Tuesday. Board members approved Superintendent Wendy Sinnette’s main objectives, which include overseeing Measure LCF-financed facility upgrades, distance learning and instruction, planning and executing campuses’ eventual reopening and expanding the district’s wellness initiative. There have been as many as 18 goals in the past, according to Sinnette, but this year’s four each comprise several initiatives.
La Cañada Flintridge residents will no longer have to trek to La Crescenta or Altadena to vote in person for the Nov. 3 election. City officials announced on Tuesday that the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office signed a site agreement with the La Cañada Unified School District for a five-day vote center. “With the change in how the county allocates vote centers around Southern California, I think it is important that La Cañada Flintridge has a vote center located in town,” said LCF Mayor Mike Davitt. “We want people to vote and want to create all reasonable avenues to assist people in that process. I’m appreciative of all the work that the city staff has committed to this priority, and it appears we have been successful.”
The La Cañada Unified School District and its teachers reached an agreement on the distance learning model for the upcoming school year, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette reported during the governing board meeting on Tuesday. Virtual learning will begin for all grade levels on Monday, Aug. 17, in keeping with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s guidelines preventing schools in counties on the state’s COVID-19 watch list from providing in-person instruction. “We are committed to providing a world-class educational experience virtually, in small groups,” Sinnette said, “and then hopefully we get to the hybrid model and then ideally to a full resumption of school as we once realized it, hopefully within this year.” Sinnette’s virtual presentation included scheduling information that had been previously discussed but included one major update.
Ninety-four years is a long life, but for his family and friends who treasured his easy, fun, and engaging manner, contagious laugh, and his impactful presence in their lives, it was not long enough. Bill Porter worked in La Cañada Flintridge for 30 years as a teacher and administrator in the La Cañada Unified School District. He was a teacher at La Cañada Elementary, a counselor and a vice principal at La Cañada Junior High and a dean and interim principal at La Cañada High School. His favorite position though, was running the La Cañada Continuation School and helping “at risk” students. Many students who graduated from Continuation credited his encouragement and support for obtaining their diplomas. Mr. Porter was known by colleagues and students for his integrity and willingness to go the extra mile to help others. Prior to teaching, Mr. Porter worked for the Pasadena YMCA as Activities Director. He loved sports and working with young people. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, he moved to Pasadena, California, after serving in the U.S. Navy, joined by several close friends from Akron. While attending Pasadena City College and assisting the football coach there, he met and fell for Carolyn Chadwick whom he was married to from 1949 to 1968. They had four children who were grateful that Bill and Carolyn remained close friends. Still working for LCUSD, he moved back to Pasadena for a number of years where he met Catherine Lieber, who became his wife in 1984 and was his “angel” for the rest of his life. In 1995 they moved to Las Vegas, again joined by his life-long friends from Akron and a few from Pasadena. Forming a tight knit group, they enjoyed their retirement years together, partaking in all of their favorite activities and sports. Bill leaves behind his beloved wife of 36 years, Catherine; his children: Holly Christos, Bob Porter, Sandy DeLapp, and Cindy Faulkner and their spouses; and the mother of his children, Carolyn Porter. He had seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. He also leaves a step-brother, James Porter and his wonderful in-laws, the Lieber Family. He was predeceased by his only sister, Geri Ward, and his son-in-law, Peter Christos. Bill Porter will be interred as a Veteran in a private ceremony.