LCUSD’s Plan for Reopening Takes Shape

After three hours of discourse and public comments on Tuesday, the La Cañada Unified School District’s plan for reopening started to come into focus for all grade levels.
Though no final decisions were made, the district’s governing board agreed with Superintendent Wendy Sinnette’s suggestions to continue developing a possible on-campus plan for transitional kindergarten through 6th grade and an improved distance learning model for grades 7-12.
The 2020-21 school year is scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 17, and the board is expected to make a decision regarding instruction in the fall during a special meeting on Tuesday, July 21, at 11:30 a.m. The district will have multiple plans in place to be ready for any scenario in a world with COVID-19.
Board President Joe Radabaugh, who worked with the reopening committee for secondary schools, said he wants to be sure they “can pivot between opening and closing [campuses], depending on the situation. Can we do it quickly? If we start online, can we move to in-person or hybrid? We have to figure out those models.
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Meeting to Discuss Sagebrush Transfer on June 5 Canceled; No New Date Set

La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said it is unclear when a meeting might take place between school district officials and the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization to discuss the possible transfer of the Sagebrush territory into the LCUSD. A scheduled June 5 meeting has been canceled. Continue reading “Meeting to Discuss Sagebrush Transfer on June 5 Canceled; No New Date Set”

Investigation Into LCHS Fan Behavior Concludes, Discipline Issued

The La Cañada High School administration on Tuesday said it has concluded its investigation into language and behavior by some student fans at an LCHS basketball game on Feb. 23, and determined that frequent profanity and “a slur” were used at the game. Discipline has been issued, officials said.
The administration conducted an “extensive investigation” that included interviews with more than 35 witnesses, Principal Jim Cartnal said in an emailed statement to LCHS 9-12 parents. Continue reading “Investigation Into LCHS Fan Behavior Concludes, Discipline Issued”

Readers Offer Impassioned Responses to Publisher’s Column

Publisher Charlie Plowman’s column in last week’s Outlook that criticized the conduct of some young La Cañada High School fans at a recent basketball game drew the largest response in more than a decade to an issue raised by the newspaper. Today we are publishing all of the letters we have received on the issue. The Outlook does not hesitate to publish letters that are critical of the newspaper. Contributors should strive to limit letters on any subject to 250 words, and letters should be submitted by one person only and be accompanied by a current address and valid telephone number for confirmation purposes. (The Outlook has allowed some latitude on these rules today.) Anonymous letters are not accepted. Send submissions by email to Please write “Letter to the Editor” as the subject line.

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School Officials Probe Alleged Offensive Language at Game

La Cañada High School and district officials said they have launched a comprehensive investigation into allegedly offensive language and behavior attributed to a specific group of student fans at a CIF championship basketball game between LCHS and Ontario Colony High School at Azusa Pacific University on Feb. 23. The alleged language was described in a first-person, front-page editorial column by Outlook publisher Charlie Plowman on Feb. 28. Continue reading “School Officials Probe Alleged Offensive Language at Game”

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.

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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Superintendent Sinnette’s Contract Extended 4 Years

Likening her to basketball great Michael Jordan, the five members of the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board heaped praise on Superintendent Wendy Sinnette at Tuesday’s meeting before voting unanimously to extend her contract for four years.
She is to earn $255,800 annually through July 31, 2021.
Previously, the board agreed to increase Sinnette’s minimum annual base salary from $185,000 to $225,800 for the 2015-16 school year, $240,800 in 2016-17 and $250,800 for 2017-18. Her base salary when she took over for retiring Superintendent Jim Stratton in 2011 was $161,000.
“Wendy continues to deliver an exceptional level of leadership,” board member Ellen Multari said. “There isn’t a day that goes by when your core values don’t shine through — your mantra, ‘What’s best for the students?’ is just emblazoned in my mind.”
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