Almost Summer Newsletter

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Dear LCUSD Community,

Welcome to the final edition of the LCUSD Newsletter for the 2016-17 school year, our “Almost Summer” edition.  I think you will enjoy reading the entries from our district administrators as they share accounts of and insights on a variety of topics ranging from the LCHS Choir’s recent trip to Italy, to a farewell tribute to a beloved retiring teacher, to a look at some of our teacher new hires for the upcoming school year.  As I compiled the articles, I was intrigued to hear of our PCY 5th graders engaged in scientific inquiry as they endeavored to “build a better mousetrap,” and inspired to learn about our LCHS students journeying to Children’s Hospital to lift the spirits of patients by personalizing and decorating their hospital rooms.

Please take the time to read these and other interesting articles, designed to provide you with unique insights into the innovative programs, amazing students, and special opportunities at our LCUSD schools.  The “almost summer” series celebrates the 2016-2017 school year, helping us to reflect on and frame many of the experiences and activities we share as a district community.  

With less than three weeks of school remaining, the frenzy of activity heightens - but I’ll pause just a moment to thank all of our students, teachers, staff, and parents whose participation and involvement make LCUSD so special.

Happy “almost” summer,

Wendy Sinnette
Superintendent

A Faire To Remember - LCE Hosts the First Annual LCUSD School Maker Faire

A Faire To Remember - LCE Hosts the First Annual LCUSD School Maker Faire

By LCE Principal, Emily Blaney

A School Maker Faire is a mini version of a Maker Faire, which is part Science Fair and part something completely different! On Saturday, April 15, the LCUSD School Maker Faire, held at La Cañada Elementary, was a gathering of individuals and teams interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Dedicated “makers” came to the School Maker Faire to showcase what they’ve made and to share what they’ve learned. Everyone else came to get some great ideas and to experience making, too! This event was free and a great way for all ages to spend a Saturday.

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Budgeting a Good Meal

Budgeting a Good Meal

By Chief Business and Operations Officer, Mark Evans

Each holiday at my mother-in-law’s table an extra place setting is prepared. It is a tradition she carries from her childhood in Europe. I have yet to see someone arrive and take the empty seat at the table, but there is always room, and there is enough food to accommodate one more. She makes an amazing roast duck that harkens back to her European roots and a homemade cranberry relish reflective of the recipes she learned upon landing in New England. It’s a delicious meal and satiating, not gluttonous and expansive with loads of leftovers, but there would be enough for one more.
So why is the business guy going on about roast duck, cranberry relish, and an additional table setting? It’s just good planning. Right now I am working on the menu for all of our students in 2017-2018. I want it to be delicious. I want it to satiate everyone. And, I want to make sure we have enough in the event some mysterious, unknown guest arrives.

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On Tour with the Choir

On Tour with the Choir

By LCHS Associate Principal, James Cartnal

On Thursday, March 23, the La Canada High School Choral Artists journeyed to Italy for an 8 day concert tour. I was lucky enough to accompany them and see their brilliance on full display. The La Canada Choral Artists were comprised of students from Dr. Brookey’s Concert Choir class as well as members of the Chamber Singers. Our journey took us from Venice in the North, through Florence and Assisi, and finally to Rome. For this article, I will offer reflections and memories about our first and last stops, as well as a summary of what I learned while traveling with the choir.

In March of 2016, I went to Chicago with the Concert Choir, so I had some experience with traveling with this wonderful bunch of musicians. I had never been overseas with a student group before and hoped that everyone traveling on four international flights, departing over a span of about six hours from LAX, would all find our ways safely to Venice, luggage and concert wear all present and accounted for. We all did arrive safely, and, thankfully, all 134 students, chaperones, doctors, and parents on the shadow were tour ready to take Italy by storm.  

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Turning the Page

Turning the Page

By Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Anais Wenn
 
It was a day that changed history... the launch of Sputnik.  A teenage girl sitting in Ms. Fesler’s middle school social science class wondered about her career and contributions to society. What she didn’t realize at that time was how much influence Ms. Fesler would have on her career.  
 
Teaching was not the career Judi Healey started right out of college.  She was a great writer and her passion for writing and broadcasting landed her several jobs.  Judi shared her ideas and thoughts with her Akron Beacon Journal readers, did voice-overs in Sacramento, and wrote her wine column for the specialty food association.  But she knew something much more rewarding and fulfilling was on the horizon. 

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All Aboard the Brig Pilgrim! 

All Aboard the Brig Pilgrim! 

By PCY Principal, Debra Cradduck

Every year, the fourth grade students at Paradise Canyon have the opportunity to attend the highly anticipated Pilgrim field trip with their teachers and classmates. In preparation for this field trip, the students engage in a unit of study about traveling to California in the 1800’s. Mrs. Sandra Hong shared how the fourth grade classes take part in reading Two Years Before the Mast, a memoir written by Richard Henry Dana Jr., to fully engage in the experience that the field trip offers to the students. The memoir highlights the journey of a young man who signs up for a two-year voyage on the Brig Pilgrim. The story goes into depth about the struggle to travel to California, especially in the dead of winter. Upon closing out the unit, the students get the opportunity of a lifetime, as they experience firsthand what it would have been like to have been a voyager during that time. 

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The La Canada High School Math Department Welcomes New Math Hires

 The La Canada High School Math Department Welcomes New Math Hires

By Assistant Superintendent Human Resources, Jeff Davis

LCHS will welcome three new faces to the Math Department when school begins this August, while also welcoming back a former veteran LCHS 7/8 math teacher. 

The teachers new to LCHS are Mrs. India Dastic, Mrs. Megan Dever and Mr. Jonathan Saavedra, while veteran teacher Morgan Savage returns to LCHS 7/8 after a one year absence. Both Mrs. Dastic and Mrs. Dever were introduced at the Governing Board meeting on Tuesday, May 9th. Mr. Saavedra is currently teaching high school Math in Maryland and was not available to attend the Governing Board meeting. 

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Developing Children’s Social and Emotional Intelligence A PCR Pilot Program with the Institute for Girls’ Development

Developing Children’s Social and Emotional Intelligence A PCR Pilot Program with the Institute for Girls’ Development

By PCR Principal, Karen Hurley

Over time, Palm Crest - like other elementary schools -- has wrestled with the dynamics of how to help students navigate the challenges associated with their social world and learning how to effectively communicate needs in times of conflict.  Our district’s current program, Developmental Assets, identifies a set of 40 skills which guide students into becoming healthy, competent, caring adults.  In line with this, Palm Crest has become involved with the Stand Up! Speak Out!®. Melissa J. Johnson was brought in to lead three workshops for fourth graders. Below, in her words, is an explanation of the philosophy of the program, which builds on friendships, and some concrete tips valuable for kids and adults alike.

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School is Out for Summer! Now What Do I Do? Keeping Your Cool Over the Long Hot Summer

School is Out for Summer! Now What Do I Do? Keeping Your Cool Over the Long Hot Summer

By Executive Director of Special Education, Tamara Jackson

All children benefit from structure, but it can be especially true for our students with special needs. Children don’t always know how to use leisure time effectively, so in order to keep your cool you will have to plan ahead. 

Summer can be hard to manage. Parents have to find the right summer enrichment program or camp program. If your student has an IEP and is eligible for Extended School Year (ESY), you may have to coordinate their schedule with the Assistance League or the La Canada Educational Foundation courses. At the end of this article I have a few cool resources for summer fun! Once you know the summer schedule review it with your child.  On “free days” it is best to still provide structure.  Having a set time to wake up and a set bed time helps children develop good sleep hygiene.  Remember, teenagers actually need more sleep than younger children. 
Try to keep isolated play and screen time (video games, computer, TV) to a minimum.  Consider a behavior system where the child earns time to engage in these activities. Remember, it can be challenging to wean children off excessive screen time when school starts back. If your child is really into “Tech,” consider some academic computer time in exchange for game-playing.  There are a lot of fun “academic” games.  Ask your student’s teacher(s) for a few ideas. 

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Once Upon a Room: Recasting our Definitions of Success

Once Upon a Room: Recasting our Definitions of Success

By LCHS Principal, Ian McFeat

Forty five La Canada High School students gathered together, holding hands in the grass vestibule outside of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Students were decked in pink and blue shirts, behind them radio flyer wagons parked in the sun, full of stuffed animals, keepsakes, blankets, clothes, a bevy of decorations piled high. Name tags were positioned smartly, naming each of the patients who would have their rooms transformed by a determined and excited group of students.

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Technology Standards for Students: Moving Beyond Using Technology to  Transformative Learning

Technology Standards for Students: Moving Beyond Using Technology to  Transformative Learning

By Chief Technology Officer, Jamie Lewsadder

Last summer, the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) released an update to their Standards for Students. First published in 1998, with a goal of helping students learn the basic skills of tech use, the latest version offers a stretch for even the most savvy student, techie teacher, or driven district. 

LCUSD has been busy laying the foundation for growth in technology the last four years, focusing on updating our outdated classroom technology (we had desktops older than 7th graders in our classrooms!), designing a network that offered a secure environment without impeding learning, and shifting from tech as a management tool to an instructional tool. If you’ll permit another lap around memory lane, five years ago wifi was new to our district and hardly used. Today we have, on average, 1200 devices connected. 

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Every 15 Minutes

Every 15 Minutes

By Assistant Principal, Mary Hazlett

On April 13, 2017 LCHS 9-12 graders witnessed the aftermath of a simulated fatal car crash involving LCHS students.  The simulation is part of a two-day program focused on the dangers of drinking and driving called Every 15 Minutes.  In the early 1990’s when the program was first created, someone in the United States died every 15 minutes in a fatal car accident involving driving under the influence of alcohol.  The program aims to educate high school students and provide them mindful opportunities to think about the choices they make and the effects those choices may have on others.

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