LCUSD: Superintendent Response, December 15, 2015

Superintendent Sinnette reports out on the rationale behind schools remaining open and the actions taken at each site.

December 15, 2015

Dear LCUSD Community,

I wanted to follow up with you regarding the decision to keep our schools open today, as well as the actions taken at each school site to ensure student safety and security.

I made the decision to keep schools open upon confirmation that there were no direct threats to any of the schools in our district or in our local area.  I also confirmed that all of our neighboring districts (Glendale, Burbank, South Pasadena, San Marino, Pasadena, and Temple City) were remaining open.  District and site-level administrators present at each site reported that the schools were calm and early drop-offs were proceeding normally.  At the time, Administrators were actively engaging with parents to assure them of student safety.  Law enforcement was present at LCHS, with increased patrols promised and sheriff personnel/vehicles being dispatched to each school site to serve as a visible presence and a reassurance to families. 

Knowing that there is no more significant charge to me, the Governing Board, and to LCUSD Administrators than the safety and security of our students and staff, and given my complete commitment to that responsibility, I felt confident that we could protect the learning environment and ensure the safety and security of students and staff at the same level that we can on any given day, and so our schools remained open.

I was exceedingly impressed by the safety and security protocols implemented at each site.  Our administrators responded thoroughly and according to their site plans.  At LCHS 7-12, the Principals sent out a personalized message to their parents and staff, and the administrators and I divided up the campus in order to visit every classroom, ensuring that staff felt confident about how things were being handled and that the instructional environment was calm and protected.  Our students were amazing - studiously engaged in taking final exams in every classroom that I entered.

At the elementary sites, I personally visited almost every classroom.  Teachers had been briefed by their Principals, were actively engaged with students who were focused on learning - with a few holiday celebrations taking place between upper and lower grade "buddy" classes.  Teachers were being vigilant, but very calm - and they appreciated the reassurances that administration was closely monitoring campus activities.  For example, Principal Blaney and Assistant Superintendent Wenn met families in carline and had students go directly to the classrooms; Dr. Cradduck arranged for extra lunch and recess supervision and for PE to take place in the MPR; Principal Hurley had extra staff patrolling in orange vests, along with requesting that Assistant Superintendent Davis and District Nurse Henry perform a sweep of the campus perimeter.  Our Chief Business and Operations Officer Evans visited all of the school sites as well, in order to review facilities and check-in with law enforcement and site administration.

In my travels today I talked with several families and reaffirmed LCUSD's commitment to its on-going review of the safety and security of our facilities.  Recent decisions on facility upgrades will be revisited and priorities adjusted, as necessary.  The times we live in call for a responsive approach that balances the duality of being proactive and reasoned, making strategic facility upgrades which will improve security while not altering the value we place on our schools being major centers of community activity.

Thank you for taking the time to read this report.  I wanted share details with you in order to emphasize and demonstrate that our highest priority is the safety and security of every student and staff member whose days are spent teaching and learning in LCUSD.  I am grateful to all of our parents, staff, and community members who echo this priority and actively engage in ensuring the commitment is not only met, but exceeded.

Sincerely yours,

Wendy Sinnette  

Superintendent