LCHS Among Best in U.S. News Annual Rankings

The U.S. News and World Report published its annual best high schools rankings last week and La Cañada High School made the grade with an exemplary scorecard of 98.74, placing it 10th out of 659 qualifying schools in Los Angeles and 27th out of 2,598 in the state.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette was “thrilled” to congratulate LCHS for its “exceptional performance” and credited the students, LCUSD employees and families for the honor of being recognized by a high profile publication, which ranked La Cañada No. 225 in the nation out of 17,857 schools.
“LCUSD always looks to research-based indicators to assess our performance, and we recognize that this is just one measure, but we are proud of our high school’s achievement here and wish to recognize the performances of our students, teachers, staff and administration,” Sinnette said in a statement. “We are also grateful to our families for their support, which continually allows all of our schools to thrive.”
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LCUSD Presents Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Framework

Nearly six months after including it as one of her goals for the academic year, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette presented to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board the framework, commitment statement and three-year implementation plan of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative on Tuesday.
A virtual special meeting was held to allow the board to dive deep into the documents submitted by district staff. There were a total of 25 pages that included the district’s objectives and reasoning for DEI. The framework was a first-read item on the agenda, and the commitment statement, created to define DEI, and three-year plan were discussion items.
“It’s our desire to clearly articulate what this DEI work is, what its objectives are and in the design, we are also affirming and characterizing what it is not,” Sinnette said.
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LCHS Extols Reopening, but Pandemic Still Looms

Photos by Chris Sutton / Outlook Valley Sun
La Cañada High School students, including Kai Gunderssen (above), returned to campus on Tuesday. However, four positive coronavirus tests forced three classes to shut down. Also, a pipe burst in the main office which flooded the school’s mail room.

The La Cañada Unified School District officially welcomed back students in grades 7-12 on Tuesday but teachers and students were also quickly reminded that COVID-19 has not gone anywhere.
Superintendent told the Outlook Valley Sun Wednesday that three classes at La Cañada High School were shut down due to four positive coronavirus tests — one student, two coaches and one staff member — and the cohorts of students possibly exposed to the virus must quarantine for two weeks.
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Residents Rally for Solidarity Amid Rise in Anti-Asian Violence

In the wake of last week’s shootings at Atlanta-area spas, leaving eight people dead — six of them Asian women — a recent surge of xenophobia, hate and violent incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the nation is coming to light, and La Cañada Flintridge residents want to stand in solidarity.
As part of the nationwide call for an “Asian American Day of Action,” this Friday, LCF resident and La Cañada Elementary School mom Nirosha Ruwan is planning a family-friendly walk from the school to Memorial Park to recognize the rise of anti-Asian harassment and violence witnessed since the beginning of the pandemic. The event will be “kid-driven and kid-centric,” she said.
“We are trying to raise awareness in La Cañada and elsewhere, where people might not really understand that this is happening,” Ruwan said. “This is such a huge issue and we want to make sure kids and families know about it and that we stand in solidarity, that we will take a stand and not tolerate the rise of these incidents, as well as empower our kids to stand up when they see injustices.”
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School Board Approves Grades 7-12 Return to Campus

Photo courtesy USC-VHH
During their first scheduled round of COVID-19 vaccines last week, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette and LCUSD Executive Director of Personnel Services Debra Cradduck took a moment to join USC-VHH Chief Nursing Officer Theresa Murphy.

The La Cañada Unified School District officially completed its elementary reopening on Monday with the return of 6th-graders and is scheduled to have the remainder of its students back on campus after spring break on Tuesday, April 13.
The governing board unanimously voted, 4-0, to approve one of three hybrid schedules presented and gave Superintendent Wendy Sinnette flexibility to set a date for teachers and staff to return to La Cañada High School. President Kaitzer Puglia was not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting.
Sinnette said negotiations are ongoing with the teachers association and she said that the plan is to have them return one week before the break for “logistical planning.”
“We do need staff to fully return to the workplace,” she said. “There’s a lot that needs to be set up.”

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More Students — and Sports — Returning to LCUSD

Photos courtesy Jason Sarceda
The La Cañada High School varsity football team had its first official practice of the year on Monday. The players practiced in helmets on Monday and put on pads for the first time in nearly a year on Wednesday.

Nearly a year after closing its school sites to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the La Cañada Unified School District took another step closer to returning to normalcy this week by welcoming 4th-graders back to campus for limited in-person instruction.
The district will complete its elementary reopening of in-person instruction by bringing back 5th graders today and 6th graders on Monday, March 8.
“We are so excited to welcome back to school our 4th-graders on the hybrid schedule this past Monday and Tuesday,” LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said in an email. “The expanded reopening went really smoothly and helped pave the way for the return of 5th-graders on Thursday and 6th-graders on March 8. We are so grateful to our teachers and staff who have supported these transitions back to in-person instruction.
“We have missed our students immensely over the past year and know that the return to in-person instruction is a priority for the entire LCUSD community.”
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LCUSD Mulls Closing Campus Activities Amid Virus Spike

Outlook Valley Sun file photo
The LCUSD governing board discussed the suspension of on-campus athletic activities at the high school for the remainder of January due to the surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Los Angeles County.

In its first official meeting of the year, the La Canada Unified School District governing board had much to discuss since it last convened on Dec. 15.
In the past month, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have spiked throughout Los Angeles County at an alarming rate, and the board deliberated over the possible suspension of the few on-campus activities currently underway, most notably those at La Cañada High School, on Tuesday.
Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Department of Public Health director, strongly recommended to district leaders in a conference call last week that they shut down schools for the remainder of the month due to the holiday surge.
The Los Angeles Unified School District shut down all of its campuses last month, and other districts have followed its lead, especially after last week’s call with public health officials.
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Capitol Riot Becomes Teaching Moment at LCHS

Jim Cartnal had a Zoom meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 6. The La Cañada High School principal looked forward to talking to a group of students supporting the Challenge Success initiative, which promotes a balanced, academically fulfilling life for kids.
His eagerness quickly turned to concern as he was notified by friends and family of what was happening more than 2,600 miles away. A violent mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol to disrupt the counting of electoral votes.
“Should we meet or just go home and focus on our families?” Cartnal thought. He ultimately decided to shorten the meeting and allow the students to be with their families.
He reflected on the alarming riot and sent an email to families the following day, advising parents that they limit their children’s exposure to media and have a conversation with them about the events that transpired.
Cartnal also held a Zoom meeting with teachers and administrators last Thursday and encouraged them to slightly alter their lesson plans and create an open virtual space for students to process and reflect on what happened the previous day.
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LCFEF Donates $2.3M to Schools

Photo courtesy LCFEF
La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette (front row, from left), La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation President Leslie Chang and Mark Evans. Back: LCFEF Executive Director Marilyn Yang, Endowment Trustee Ara Aslanian and 2019-20 LCFEF President Rodney Swan.

Thanks to generous donations during the 2019-20 school year, the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation — with a boost of $380,000 from its Endowment Fund — contributed $2.3 million to the La Cañada Unified School District on Sept. 16.
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Letters to the Editor

LCUSD Leaders ‘Clarify the Record’

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in our community about the school district’s work on the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion. We are grateful for the level of interest and appreciate all those who have offered their perspectives.
In addition to the many strong opinions expressed, however, there have also been many facts asserted or implied that we believe are at odds with reality in a way that might create confusion or even needless anxiety. We write today to help clarify the record, so that thoughtful and productive debate and community input can continue on solid, factual footing.
It is not accurate that the district is acting impulsively or superficially. Our current work on this topic has been underway since before the 2019-20 school year, and has involved public goal setting, workshops, surveys, focus groups and trainings. It is also far from done. The district will next create a committee that is broadly representative of the community to help identify top priorities for next steps. The board voted unanimously to incorporate this work into this school year’s superintendent’s goals to ensure that it continues with the highest degree of accountability and excellence.
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