LCUSD Settlements With Ex-Principals Stir Mixed Parent Response

La Cañada High School students are beginning an academic year’s second half without Principal Ian McFeat for the first time since 2013 as a result of six-figure legal settlements involving him, the school district and his wife, Christine Castillo, a former La Cañada Elementary School principal.
McFeat, who was hired as principal in July 2012, became the La Cañada Unified School District’s executive director of student services on Dec. 10, a move that district officials had said was a promotion. Later, it was revealed that he and Castillo had signed settlement agreements on Dec. 4 that stemmed from a Castillo lawsuit and determined his employment is terminated effective June 30.

OUTLOOK photo
Ian McFeat, former La Cañada High School principal, and Christine Castillo, an ex-La Cañada Elementary School principal, agreed in December to separate six-figure settlements from LCUSD.

Since The Outlook reported last month that McFeat has left and details of the settlement have been disseminated, the community has engaged in spirited discussion — in particular on a closed Facebook page, with more than 100 comments on the topic. Some parents have said they are glad the lawsuit has ended, albeit with questions regarding the cost and divided opinion over the unforeseen changes in leadership. In several Facebook posts, writers voiced displeasure that LCUSD had settled at all in a case that they said was bogus and declared that the hiring process for McFeat and Castillo had been flawed from the beginning.
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Former LCE Principal Asks to Dismiss Suit Against District

Christine Castillo
Christine Castillo

A former La Cañada Elementary School principal who had filed a lawsuit against the school district for alleged sexual discrimination and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional stress has requested a dismissal of the case.
A clerk in Los Angeles County Superior Court said that the request for dismissal in effect ends the civil case. Continue reading “Former LCE Principal Asks to Dismiss Suit Against District”

LCHS’ McFeat Moves to District Post, Cartnal Named Interim Principal

OUTLOOK file photo Ian McFeat was recently promoted to executive director of student services for the La Cañada Unified School District and Jim Cartnal was named interim La Cañada High School principal.
OUTLOOK file photo
Ian McFeat was recently promoted to executive director of student services for the La Cañada Unified School District and Jim Cartnal was named interim La Cañada High School principal.

La Cañada High School Principal Ian McFeat has been promoted to executive director of student services for the La Cañada Unified School District after expressing a long-term interest in a district-level position.
“He’s articulated that,” said LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette in a telephone interview on Tuesday. McFeat, who has been the LCHS principal since 2012, had asserted he could perform well in the executive director role, she said.
At the same time, the district appointed Jim Cartnal to be the interim LCHS principal and oversee the duties of the three assistant principals there. He is slated to take over the principal position on a permanent basis after an interim period. Cartnal had been serving as executive director for pupil programs and services at the district. Continue reading “LCHS’ McFeat Moves to District Post, Cartnal Named Interim Principal”

School District Leader Foresees Further Sagebrush Turmoil

La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette has expressed doubt that a petition to transfer the Sagebrush territory — located in La Cañada Flintridge’s western-most corner — into the school district will be granted, and said the long-running controversy surrounding the matter is likely to continue, even if the effort succeeds. Continue reading “School District Leader Foresees Further Sagebrush Turmoil”

LCUSD Listens to Parents’ Concerns on Devil’s Gate Project

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board on Tuesday took time to hear from concerned parents over the initial process of sediment removal from Hahamongna Watershed Park behind the Devil’s Gate Dam to increase flood protection and to restore habitat within the Arroyo Seco Watershed.
During the discussion, board members said that they were writing down questions and suggestions of attendees and that they plan to measure the air quality surrounding the schools during the sediment removal project, known as the “Big Dig,” with an air-quality monitor. Continue reading “LCUSD Listens to Parents’ Concerns on Devil’s Gate Project”

LCHS Challenge Success Set to Confront Student Pressure

Trying to get through school under the pressure of teenage social norms, good grades, high test scores and multiple extracurricular activities, all with the aim of gaining acceptance to a top-tier college, can feel a little like Sisyphus rolling a boulder uphill for La Cañada Unified School District students.
“LCHS is a very competitive school,” said Nicole Johnson, a 17-year-old senior. “We take pride in our grades and all of that. But it gets to the point where we’re like enemies. It’s not a very healthy environment. That’s why I really like Challenge Success. Because I want to create that community environment where we’re all trying to help each other and we can get there together.” Continue reading “LCHS Challenge Success Set to Confront Student Pressure”

Student Wellness, Safety Upgrades Figure in LCUSD Goals

Wendy Sinnette
Wendy Sinnette

Ensuring students’ mental and emotional health as part of their overall safety, allocating money from bond measures and retaining accreditation for La Cañada High School were key goals that gained the approval of the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board on Tuesday night.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette, who presented the goals for the academic year, said she and the board had worked on them since July, adding that they incorporated ideas that came from subcommittees.
Such subcommittees tackle issues including campus security, parking and traffic; whether to open or close the LCHS campus during lunch; and how to communicate with the community. Continue reading “Student Wellness, Safety Upgrades Figure in LCUSD Goals”

LCUSD Scores Big in California Student Assessment

La Cañada Unified School District has outdone itself once again, continuing its upswing in academic performance and outpacing other high-achieving local school districts to top the statewide charts in English and finish second in math, according to test scores released this week by the California Department of Education.
The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress System mean scale score results show that LCUSD scored in first, second or third place in the state in all grade levels in the testing for English language arts. The district improved its overall English score from 2017 by 1.89 percentage points. Continue reading “LCUSD Scores Big in California Student Assessment”

May 7/8 Athletes Skip P.E.? LCUSD Studies Issue

Whether LCHS 7/8 students in competitive sports should be granted their request to be excused from physical education because of injuries or other health concerns was an issue taken up by the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board this week.
How to offer an independent study education course to support such student athletes — if that’s even possible — was a related question at the board’s meeting on Tuesday night.
The amount of time the athlete trains, the athlete’s objective (to reach the Olympics, play in college, etc.) and participation in three sports all figured into questions asked at the meeting.
“We can at least start a conversation,” said board President Kaitzer Puglia.
There is no alternative to a physical education class and excusing students from P.E. does not comply with the California Education Code, according to the meeting’s agenda report.
Continue reading “May 7/8 Athletes Skip P.E.? LCUSD Studies Issue”