School Board Begins Discussion of Year’s Priorities

Photo courtesy GUSD
Roosevelt 8th-grade student Izel Aguayo (left) receives her Chromebook from office clerk Andrea Trana and science teacher John Carroll.

Following what can probably be categorized as the most volatile six months in its history, the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education discussed its list of priorities for the 2020-21 school year at its meeting Tuesday evening.
And, not surprisingly, making sure that distance learning works for all GUSD students amid the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the discourse.
Following tradition, the board first analyzed the set of guidelines that were adopted a year ago and include maximizing student achievement, creating a culture of learning, increasing engagement and maintaining district solvency and financial responsibility. Then Superintendent Vivian Ekchian pushed the discussion — which will continue in future meetings — toward major focus areas for the current academic year.
“This is the time to speak up,” Ekchian quipped, introducing the free-form conversation that followed.

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A Laptop for Every GUSD Middle-Schooler

Photo courtesy Anderson Family
Shabazz Anderson, a 6th-grader at Toll Middle School, uses the new Chromebook that she received at the start of the school year.

The educational community at the Glendale Unified School District’s three middle schools received quite the welcome-back boost when more than 3,000 Samsung Chromebooks — one for each student and teacher — were delivered recently to kick off the 2020-21 school year.
The schools were selected earlier this year to join Verizon Innovative Learning Schools, an educational initiative sponsored by Verizon that targets under-resourced middle schools across the country. As part of the program, Roosevelt, Toll and Wilson Middle Schools have been provided with a comprehensive education package that includes a Chromebook for every student and teacher, a data plan for up to four years on each device, access to curricula that provides a personalized learning experience for students and professional development for teachers. A full-time technology coach in each school, partially funded through Verizon Innovative Learning, partners with teachers to provide ongoing support to integrate the technology in classroom instruction. The program is also made possible by Digital Promise, a nonprofit organization originated by the U.S. Congress in 2008 to improve technology in education.

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Board Discusses Schools’ Bleak Financial Forecast

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
A Glendale Unified School District maintenance worker places a congratulatory banner for the Class of 2020 on the GUSD Administrative Building, one of many remote acknowledgements thanks to the pandemic. The GUSD Board of Education this week had a sobering discussion on the fiscal fallout of the global crisis.

There is probably not a single meeting of a public agency in the nation that doesn’t include the inevitable grim financial forecast, and Tuesday’s Glendale Unified School District Board of Education session was no different, as historic budget shortfalls were discussed.
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