District to Reopen Schools for Youngest Students

Nearly eight months after shuttering its campuses to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the La Cañada Unified School District is ready to reopen its doors to young learners after getting the green light from Los Angeles County.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette notified parents late last week that county officials granted the district waivers that allow students in transitional kindergarten through 2nd grade to return to campus for limited in-person instruction. La Cañada, Palm Crest and Paradise Canyon elementary schools are set to reopen on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
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LCUSD Leader Embraces Goals, Growth

Superintendent Wendy Sinnette

Earlier this week, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette had a small bounce in her step.
After steering the district through a historic pandemic and confronting barriers to a return to on-campus education, Sinnette applied on Monday for waivers from Los Angeles County to allow in-person instruction for TK-grade 2 at all three district elementary schools. LCUSD likely is one of the first public school districts, if not the first, in the county to apply for the waivers, which will help increase the potential of approval, she noted.
“It really is a huge accomplishment,” said Sinnette, beaming as she lightly waved the paperwork in her hand. “I have to give a shoutout to the California School Employees Association Chapter 122,” which gave a formal letter of support to the district, one of the requirements to file for a waiver.
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School Leaders Caution Against ‘Falsehoods’ About DEI

The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board said this week that the diversity, equity and inclusion report given by a consultant at an August board meeting is being translated into Korean and Chinese, and that edition will be shared with the LCUSD community once completed.
In a joint statement, district Superintendent Wendy Sinnette and board President Joe Radabaugh also addressed questions the board has received regarding DEI and some of the rumors or falsehoods allegedly circulating ahead of the election for two board seats on Nov. 3. They recommended that residents who need clarification on the meaning of DEI or the district’s intentions reach out directly to a board member or staff.
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Environmental Prep Ordered for PCR Modernization Project

Photo courtesy Google image capture
The LCUSD Governing Board approved an environmental study of the Palm Crest Elementary modernization project on Tuesday. Part of the revamp calls for the demolition of the former Bullock residence known as Viewpoint.

Palm Crest Elementary School is one step closer to undertaking its modernization project after the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board approved an environmental study by a consulting firm during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
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LCUSD Targets Date for Hybrid Schedule

The months-long discourse over a hybrid schedule for La Cañada High School and LCHS 7/8 students came to an end as the local school system’s governing board unanimously came to an agreement during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
Beginning Jan. 5, 2021, the La Cañada Unified School District will implement a schedule that would allow 50% of students in grades 7-12 to receive on-campus instruction two days a week. LCUSD would have to adhere to Los Angeles County’s reopening protocols for schools and reach an accord with labor unions.
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LCUSD Diversity Ideas Prompt Dissent, Calls for Caution

More than a month after a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant presented her extensive findings to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board, and a week after the LCUSD entrusted Superintendent Wendy Sinnette with overseeing progress on DEI, parents and community members have galvanized over the matter — some in opposition.
Two LCUSD Governing Board members, President Joe Radabaugh and Kaitzer Puglia, have been tabbed to lead a committee that will help frame DEI initiatives, which ultimately will fall to the entire board to approve or not.
In a combined statement last week, Sinnette and Radabaugh emphasized there will be more involved discussion on the topic of any DEI objectives and priorities, saying:
“We listen carefully to all voices in the community and strive for the best possible outcomes. One of the consistent things we heard related to DEI is that we seek more in-depth community input on the objectives and priorities before we finalize and the board approves. We agree with that feedback and feel a DEI committee comprised of a cross-section of the community is a critical means to that end.”
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Unusual School Year Opens to ‘Positive’ Feedback

It wasn’t the first day of school anyone envisioned for the 2020-21 academic year before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said it was a positive one for the La Cañada Unified School District.
Despite some technical difficulties, Sinnette said she received some encouraging feedback from parents and students as distance learning commenced on Monday.
“It’s definitely unprecedented, but we have had positive emails from parents,” she said. “Families are appreciating the live instruction and that both elementary and secondary levels are following a daily bell schedule.”
The district has sought to develop different schedules for elementary and secondary schools that would not only give students a daily routine but also help schools transition into a hybrid model when Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials allow it. The elementary level is ready for the next phase, but grades 7-12 do not yet have a schedule that would support a hybrid model.
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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”