San Marino Schools Foundation Showcases Students’ Pure Imagination

San Marino students are pictured above on Zoom while performing a song from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” The Schools Foundation, which helps fund many programs in SMUSD, is in the midst of a fundraising campaign which ends May 12.

By James Lau
Special to The Tribune

Spring Break during the COVID-19 pandemic meant staying at home.
For nearly 80 middle and high school students, they chose to dedicate that time to learning, practicing and virtually performing “Pure Imagination” from “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Continue reading “San Marino Schools Foundation Showcases Students’ Pure Imagination”

Wilson Says SMUSD Can Compete Despite Financial Challenges

Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
SMUSD Superintendent Jeff Wilson addresses the Rotary Club of San Marino.

Jeff Wilson says he is often asked whether he knew San Marino Unified School District was and would continue to be in the midst of financial woes when he applied to become the district’s superintendent and was hired last year.
“The answer to that is yes, I did know about that,” he told the Rotary Club of San Marino, “but I also saw the potential that we have in front of us for not only fixing our budget but actually expanding our programs and moving ahead.”
In his first “State of the Schools” address to the club, Wilson last week did his best to illustrate the root causes of the district’s fiscal shortcomings, which are primarily tied to a state funding formula that favors districts with academic shortcomings and large populations of “at-risk” students. Continue reading “Wilson Says SMUSD Can Compete Despite Financial Challenges”

SMUSD Wants Public’s Advice on Fixing Facilities, Paying the Tab

The San Marino Unified School District would like your input as it works toward making a decision on its facilities needs and how to satisfy them.
On top of a town hall meeting held on Monday evening and another this morning, district officials also plan to host two walk-throughs at Valentine Elementary School on Thursday, Nov. 2, beginning at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively. Additionally, residents are invited to offer their views at the district’s website, using a portal called Thoughtexchange. Continue reading “SMUSD Wants Public’s Advice on Fixing Facilities, Paying the Tab”

Seeking Counsel on Fiscal Affairs, Schools Will Name Task Force

Superintendent Jeff Wilson speaks at a recent school board meeting as the panel’s president, Lisa Link, listens. Wilson is forming a task force to analyze fiscal options and strategies for the cash-strapped local school district.
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
Superintendent Jeff Wilson speaks at a recent school board meeting as the panel’s president, Lisa Link, listens. Wilson is forming a task force to analyze fiscal options and strategies for the cash-strapped local school district.

The San Marino Unified School District is seeking applicants to a new task force that will advise the superintendent on fiscal resources and revenue enhancement options for the high-achieving but underfunded district.
The Fiscal Resources Strategic Team, or FiRST, will be composed of 10-20 members, Superintendent Jeff Wilson said. Appointees will include teachers, support staff, administrators and students, but most will be local residents with relevant expertise who apply. Those interested in applying have until noon on Wednesday, Sept. 18, to do so. Continue reading “Seeking Counsel on Fiscal Affairs, Schools Will Name Task Force”

Principals’ Goal: Early Detection of Students’ Academic Problems

Academic intervention emerged as a key theme in each of the reports from San Marino’s four school principals recently as they gave their traditional opening-of-school-year presentations to the board of education.
The reports also signaled a theme of dialing back the celebration of the San Marino Unified School District’s academic successes in favor of making sure the students working toward such accomplishments are, at the end of the day, healthy and responsible. Continue reading “Principals’ Goal: Early Detection of Students’ Academic Problems”

Carver, Valentine, Huntington Star in Niche School Rankings

Carver and Valentine elementary schools displayed a winning one-two punch among public elementary schools in Los Angeles County this year, according to a research website’s rankings, while Huntington Middle School also displayed the most clout at the junior high level.
The city’s two elementary schools took Nos. 1 and 2 in Niche.com’s annual evaluations this year, each receiving an overall grade of A+. In the three sub-categories, both schools received an A+ in academics and teachers and an A-minus in diversity. Huntington, meanwhile, earned first place among the county’s middle schools. Continue reading “Carver, Valentine, Huntington Star in Niche School Rankings”

Though New to SMUSD, Superintendent Knows the Issues

Jeff Wilson
Photo by Zane Hill / OUTLOOK
Jeff Wilson, who served in the Arcadia school district for more than a decade, has come aboard as San Marino’s school superintendent.

In Arcadia, Jeff Wilson had a more modern office, owing to the newness of the building he worked in.
Now moved into his space at the San Marino Unified School District’ main building, with generous square footage and a vaulted ceiling, the district’s recently hired superintendent said he appreciates the aesthetic change.
“This is such a classic room over here,” Wilson said, during an interview on the eve of his official first day. “It’s a beautiful office. I love the windows. It’s got kind of an ornate feel to it.”
The gregarious Wilson will probably be walking in and out of that office frequently throughout the coming months as he acclimates to his new role in running SMUSD, where he began on July 1. Continue reading “Though New to SMUSD, Superintendent Knows the Issues”