Message from the Superintendent
May 9, 2022
Message from the Superintendent
Dear PUSD Community,
With the end of the school year only weeks away, we’re reflecting on the past year, celebrating the many accomplishments of our students and employees, and looking toward the future.
PUSD Enrollment Strategy and Plan – A Pathway to Stabilize and Increase Enrollment
2021 brought PUSD many challenges, new experiences, and an opportunity to change how our communities view our district. As we move through 2022, we realize the opportunities in front of us give reason to reignite the meaning of our message, “Our Children. Learning Today. Leading Tomorrow,” and bringing it back to the forefront through an Enrollment Strategic Plan where we aim to stabilize and increase enrollment by attracting families and students to PUSD.
PUSD is in the process of forming an Enrollment Strategy Planning committee consisting of parents, students, teachers, community stakeholders, administration, staff, and board members. PUSD is not alone in fighting for new strategies to increase student enrollment; moreover, as stated in a recent press release, California Public School student enrollment drops to the lowest in two decades, and many school districts throughout the State of California are experiencing declines due to low birth rates, families moving to more affordable areas, and other pandemic-related matters.
PUSD has a pathway forward and through the formation of an enrollment strategy planning committee is where we’ll address and find ways to increase and stabilize enrollment. Increased student enrollment directly benefits the communities and families we serve; more importantly, increased enrollment stabilizes the PUSD budget which increases the morale of employees where resources are available to adequately compensate them and support their work. The newly formed committee will meet in person between the months of May through December 2022, and PUSD is confident that the committee will contribute valuable input and dynamic thought to help our team resolve and implement a new strategy. Some objectives of the enrollment strategy are to address PUSD’s academic quality, school safety, responsiveness to parents, course offering, staff quality, facilities and buildings, class sizes, enrichment, and extracurricular opportunities. We believe that the PUSD’s message is still on point, and we remain committed to helping our youth achieve their highest academic, social, and leadership potential.
SAVE THE DATE: STATE OF SCHOOLS - MAY 17, 2022
Board of Education President Dr. Elizabeth Pomeroy will deliver the District’s State of the Schools 2022 address on Tuesday, May 17, at the McKinley School Gymnasium, 325 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the program begins at 6:30 p.m. The event will include student performances and is free and open to the public.
TEACHERS OF EXCELLENCE
Congratulations to five outstanding PUSD teachers who were honored at a luncheon last week as Rotary Teachers of Excellence 2022. The awards are presented annually by the Rotary Club of Pasadena to educators who excel in their profession. These individuals make us incredibly #PUSDproud!
Top row: Dr. Lawton Gray, Bharatchandra Parekh, Dr. Brian McDonald, Erik Delgadillo, Garrett Newsom
Bottom Row: Charlene Tucker, Anqi Deng, Amethyst Junknavorian, Dr. Merle Bugarin, Ana Negrete, Erika Cooper
The 2022 honorees are Erik Delgadillo of Sierra Madre Middle School, Anqi Deng of Field Elementary School, Amethyst Juknavorian of Don Benito Fundamental School, Ana Negrete of Alexander Hamilton Elementary School, and Bharatchandra Parekh of John Muir High School Early College Magnet. They expressed overwhelming gratitude and shared beautiful insights on teaching:
“I help them to believe in themselves, take those safe risks with me, so that way when they venture out to those upper grades, they’ve got the skills, the foundation to shine…. I’m an immigrant, I came from Mexico. My mom couldn’t help me and it was my teachers who did. They took care of me.” – Ana Negrete
“I work with children with special needs. Each one is unique in their own regard but they’re each so vibrant, they’re full of life, eager to learn, and love coming to school. That just makes it more meaningful to me and special to me knowing that the program we’ve created here means so much to them, that they want to come and they want to continue to learn. It just means we’re doing our job right.” – Erik Delgadillo
“English and Mandarin – there are not many things they have in common and no ready-made resources for Mandarin immersion teachers. So I had to spend a lot of time after work hours. Custodians were my best friends.” – Anqi Deng
“I think if we had a bunch of kids in charge of what to fix in the world, they could probably fix it in a weekend retreat because they have the ability to really problem solve and see things for what they are. They’re good, loving people and they want to see good in the world.” – Amethyst Juknavorian
“The most important and fundamental rule in my class is – the student is allowed to make a mistake and you must learn from your mistake.” – Bharatchandra Parekh
CALIFORNIA DAY OF THE TEACHER
Last week, we celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Week but May 11 is recognized as California Day of the Teacher. The bill, adopted in 1982, arose out of legislation co-sponsored by the California Teachers Association and the Association of Mexican American Educators. California has patterned its celebration after the traditional El Dia del Maestro festivities observed in Mexico and other Latin American countries. We are happy to celebrate our PUSD teachers Wednesday and every day for their hard work and dedication. Thank you, terrific teachers!
SCHOOL NURSE DAY
National School Nurse Day is Wednesday, May 11, and recognizes school nurses and their important role in the safety, health, and academic success of our students. Thank you, PUSD Nurses, for all you do for PUSD students!
Congratulations to Debra Lucas, principal of Norma Coombs Elementary since 2019! Mrs. Lucas is retiring at the end of June after 25 years in PUSD. We appreciate all she has done for PUSD students and wish her the very best in the next exciting chapter in her life! PUSD has launched the search for the new principal of Norma Coombs for the 2022-23 school year.
We want your input on PUSD’s Communication Plan!
PUSD is building a communication plan with the help of feedback from our students, families, employees, and community.
Take the 10-15 minute survey and let us know:
The kind of information you would like to receive from PUSD
How often you would like to receive it
The best way to reach you
ALTADENA & ELIOT ART WALK
You’re invited to tour the annual bi-campus Altadena & Eliot Joint Art Walk on Wednesday, May 12, 2022. Although the ribbon-cutting ceremony was over two years ago in March of 2020, the pandemic has not slowed the growth of the magnet program – with enrollment doubling in size. Altadena Arts Magnet has now partnered with Eliot Arts Magnet as a PreK-8 Arts Magnet articulated Arts and French program with Dr. Benita Scheckel as the Executive Principal. AAM has been named a Nationally Certified Demonstration Magnet School, which means that school leaders from across the nation can see how an exemplary arts elementary school functions. The event will also feature student performances along with a curated selection of student artwork at both locations on May 12 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
743 E. Calaveras St. Altadena Ca 91001
2184 Lake Ave, Altadena, CA 91001
BLACK HISTORY LIVING MUSEUM PROJECT - PRESENTED BY AAPC
PUSD’s African American Parent Council (AAPC) presents the Black History Living Museum in person on May 18 at 6 p.m. PUSD students in grades 3-5 select and research a chosen hero and selected students share their presentations in “live” exhibits. This beloved project is a celebration of Black Excellence, as told through PUSD's 3rd-5th grade students.
May 18, 2022, 6 - 7 p.m.
Robinson Recreation Center
1081 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103
For questions contact email@example.com
SCIENCE FICTION FEST
More than 250 people had a ton of fun with science fiction at the first-ever Octavia E. Butler Science Fiction Fest at Washington STEAM Multilingual Academy recently. Award-winning author Ibi Zoboi spoke to students about her new book, Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler, and was on hand to sign books. The event also featured an awards ceremony, sci-fi demos, workshops, crafts, book giveaways, and an opportunity to cool off with Kona Ice.
Attendees watch Lightbringer artist Bianca Ornelas create an Octavia Butler chalk mural during the festival, which will be hung in the library.
Author Ibi Zoboi poses with the Octavia E. Butler Mural before her talk.
Lightbringer artist Sascha Stannard teaches students how to make cyanotype art prints with the sun.
Students in grades K-8 demonstrated their interests and talents in invention, science, and more at PUSD’s annual Innovation Exposition – Pasadena’s alternative to the science fair on May 6.
Dr. Elizabeth Blanco, Chief Academic Officer, poses with 8th grade Sierra Madre Middle School Student Caleb C. Kodama.
"Smart House" - Innovation Competition, Sierra Madre Elementary School Student Project
Have a great week!
Brian McDonald, Ed.D.