Arts Magnet News!
August 22-26, 2022
Week 27 for Faculty and Staff February 27-March 3, 2023
So Much to Celebrate!
Dear Altadena Eliot Arts Family,
As I've moved through five and 1/2 decades, I've begun to realize that I like change more than most people. It's probably because of a tumultuous first 25 years in which nothing was permanent. Change was the name of the game for me so I learned to find my center and as Dory would say, "Just keep swimming."
This week was one of those weeks where there was just so much awesomeness all around me that I felt blessed and thankful to be an educator here in PUSD.
On Wednesday, our Superintendent, Dr. Brian McDonald attended our PT(S)A meeting to discuss our One School, Two Campus design and shared some perspective on why this model makes sense. We've made so much progress in just 19 months. Our suspension rate is down by almost 50%, our EL reclassification rate at middle school is up by over 50%. We started the year with 72 ELs and now have 35! Enrollment at the elementary is bursting at the seams and we've more than doubled our open enrollment numbers at the middle school! We are just beginning to see the fruits of our labor and it feels great!
We are also grateful to the PUSD Health Director, Ms. Ana Maria Apodaca and Katia Ahmed for presenting a bit on Narcan and nut allergies. We will invite them again for a longer presentation.
Thursday, the cast of Into the Woods sang for the board meeting, which was rounded out by a proclamation of Arts Education Month with a special talk from PUSD alumna, Grace Porter (daughter of PUSD Educator, Lezlie Porter) who attended Washington Elementary, Wilson Middle School and Blair High School and is now performing on Broadway! Grace shared her gratitude for all her arts teachers that believed in her and helped her to become the success that she is now. See Grace's photo with me and Board President, Ms. Michelle Richardson Bailey who was the office manager at Blair when I was a teacher and Grace was a student! You may also see Grace's short video introduction linked below.
On Friday we ended Black History Month with a beautiful celebratory assembly at both campuses. A big shoutout to the phenomenal, Ms. Jeanetta Ellison for planning an entertaining and educational, well-organized performance for over 900 students to enjoy! Our 60+ middle school Dance Team moved us with their routine to Cynthia Erivo's "Stand Up" choreographed by our fabulous professional Dance Artist in Residence, Mr. Billy Rugh! Our own fourth grade superstar, Journey Scott raised the roof with a performance of her new single, "Black Girl Magic!" The students at both shows loved her amazing showmanship and talent! Pasadena legend, Mr. Roland Bynum gave a powerful talk with slides on black history and we came full circle with a poetry reading from PUSD alumna and Broadway/TV actress, Ms. Grace Porter. Because of the torrential rain, I could not ask 460 elementary students and their teachers to walk over to Eliot, so we took the show to them! What a sight we must have been walking 60 dancers over in the downpour. But the students were precious as they joked that the song they are dancing to says they just crossed a river so their wet clothes made sense :)
Finally, on Saturday, our Gospel Choir performed wonderfully at Gospel Fest at Disneyland! The kids had a fabulous time and we are so grateful to Ms. Moore, Ms. Major and Dr. Hill for attending. Also a big thank you to Mr. Courtney Linsey for directing along with Frit and Frat this year!
We have another wonderful week ahead:
- At elementary we begin Read Across America Week, so please be sure to have students dress up for each of the spirit days.
- On Wednesday, don't forget to get your dinner to go at Domenico's in support of our middle school PTSA.
- Then on Thursday, all elementary families are welcome to join us for our Family Reading Night at 5:30 pm in the auditorium. Wear your jammies and get ready to read!
- Also on Thursday at 3:15 pm we have our first mandatory costume club meeting at the middle school campus for middle school students who wish to design costumes for our spring musical, Peter Pan!
Save the Dates:
- April 26 - Altadena Eliot Art Walk 2023 Big Bash Celebration!
- April 30 - Altadena Eliot Arts Annual GALA Celebration in support of the middle school Annual Fund
It's always a great week to be a Cougar and a Husky!
Yours in Service,
Dr. Scheckel, Principal
PLEASE READ: 2-27 AAM Elementary Art News & Updates OR Wk 27 2/27/23 Eliot Arts Magnet Instructional Update
Calling All Middle School Students!
Tues + Thurs from 3:15-5:30, March 2nd - 29th
Are you interested in costume design, fashion, or cosplay?
Eliot Costume Lab needs YOU!
We are looking for creative and responsible Eliot students who are interested in helping our costume designer, Mx. Dani, decorate and build costumes for our upcoming production of Peter Pan. Activities will include building prop armor and masks, painting fabric, decorating and ageing finished pieces, organizing costumes, and more.
Anyone who is interested in participating must attend an introductory after-school meeting on Thursday, March 2nd at 3:15 pm where we will discuss what is involved and answer any questions you may have.
We will meet in the costume lab on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The only mandatory day is March 2nd- otherwise, students can come for any of the listed days they are available. Projects will vary depending on the day.
All are Welcome!
Don't miss our annual spring Gala and Auction at the beautiful Altadena Country Club on March 30! This event supports the middle school annual fund but all families K-8 are welcome to attend. Get your tickets by scanning the QR code below.
Don't Cook Wednesday!
Please join us in welcoming Armenui (Amy) Manasarian to the Eliot Arts All Star team! Ms. Manasarian will serve as our MSAP Grant Coordinator beginning next school year. "I am thrilled and excited to join the Eliot Arts Magnet team and bring my knowledge, innovative ideas, creativity, enthusiasm, and arts background to this amazing school.I am looking forward to working with the staff and students to highlight and showcase their amazing hard work and talents. I cannot wait to help expand and grow the magnet program. I have been teaching in PUSD for over 17 years as an elementary and middle school teacher. I have a Masters Degree in Education and Counseling from Point Loma Nazarene University and B.A. degree in Liberal Studies from Cal State LA. I have also had the honor of being a recipient of the “Rotary Teacher of Excellence'' award twice. My recent teaching position was at Sierra Madre Middle School, where I taught 7th grade ELA, History and led the Hawk News, student newspaper. I have also been a tech leader for over five years, a BTSA mentor, and a PD facilitator/presenter. My passion is to motivate students to succeed and to help others whenever I can. I believe integrating the arts in education is crucial and will allow the students to flourish. I am looking forward to adding to the sparkle at Eliot."
Ms. Major is a Grandma!!!
A big Cougar Husky Welcome to Ms Nora Elizabeth Craig
Born 6:36pm on February 24, 2023
As we celebrate National Magnet Schools Month, I wanted to bring awareness to the importance of magnet programs in attracting students and serving the community by highlighting both Altadena Arts Magnet (AAM) and Eliot Arts Magnet by Victoria Knapp
A magnet program is a program in a public school that usually focuses on a special area of study, such as science, the performing arts, or International Baccalaureate. A magnet school is an entire school with a special focus. These programs are designed to attract students from across a district.
In 2017, Altadena Arts Magnet (AAM) was awarded a $5M federal arts magnet grant. The magnet grant’s purpose was to attract families and grow enrollment in a way that reflected the diversity of the neighborhood. When our family registered at the school, enrollment was 245 students in a school that could easily educate 500. The school had become racially and socio-economically isolated and no longer reflected the demographics of the neighboring community. As of this writing, and as the grant sunsets this year, there are 457 students enrolled! The program has been so successful that the school has been recognized as a National Demonstration Magnet School, where other districts’ administrators and staff can visit to see the remarkable programs the school is offering in order to mirror that in their own schools.
In October, 2022, Eliot Arts Magnet was awarded the same $5M federal arts magnet grant. With current enrollment under 500, the goal is to attract families to the arts conservatory model (a model that focusses on high musical or artistic achievement) and double enrollment. Many families who are interested in a conservatory model have left Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) in order to enroll in other districts that offer it.
It is important to understand the achievement at AAM in the context of the conversation around declining enrollment, which has led to school closures. Altadena has been greatly impacted by PUSD’s decisions to close public school campuses that once served our families. The phenomena of closing schools is not unique to Altadena or to PUSD and is plaguing districts across the country as the national birth rate continues to fall (the US birth rate fell every year from 1989 – 2019) and home prices skyrocket. There are less school aged children (more couples deciding to have one or no children), and fewer families who can afford to rent or buy in the areas where schools are located. While this is true and may seem to be the case in Altadena, these closed campuses only closed as public schools and not as schools.
The six public school campuses in Altadena that have closed are:
- Audubon Elementary School (now leased by Odyssey North Charter School)
- Burbank Elementary School (now leased by the private Stratford School)
- Noyes Elementary School (now leased by Aveson Elementary Charter School)
- Loma Alta Elementary School (now Rosebud Charter and Oak Knoll Montessori Schools)
- Edison Elementary School (now leased by Odyssey South Charter School)
- Franklin Elementary School (now Twilight Adult Education School, operated by PUSD)
These campuses did not close and become vacant; they re-opened as charter and private schools. Meaning, students didn’t dry up; families decided to opt out of public schools in favor of these charter and private schools. Unsurprisingly, a majority of the families opting-out are white and/or of higher socio-economic status. This dramatic shift from local public to charter schools, created significant imbalances in the remaining public schools.
A federally funded arts magnet grant was critically important to the growth in enrollment (more than doubling enrollment in 5 years) of the burgeoning programs at Altadena Arts Magnet. We hope the newly awarded $5M arts grant for Eliot Arts Magnet does the same thing. In addition, under the leadership of one principal, supported by dedicated assistant principals at both schools, the school is now a one school, two campus, K-8 school. More importantly, the middle school is adopting the arts conservatory model that will allow students greater exposure and deeper dives into the artistic pursuits they are most interested in.
While we may have little control over birth rates or housing prices, it is incumbent upon us all to view our public schools as cornerstones of our democracy, and choose them for our children. That is why the plans for Altadena Eliot Arts Magnet are so important, especially now. We want and need successful public schools with competitive programs that are attractive to local families while continuing to serve neighborhood children.
If you haven’t toured your local public school or any public school campus recently, please do. Each school in the district has a website that lists its tours.
Victoria Knapp is a resident of Altadena, a PUSD parent (of both a high schooler and a soon-to-be middle schooler), Altadena Town Councilmember, Chair of the Town Council’s Education Committee, and PEN Ambassador.
And We're in The Outlook!
From Michael McCarthy, Middle School PTSA President
Another week has come and gone, so here is what your PTSA has been doing.
Our Superintendent, Dr. McDonald spoke to us in the Eliot Library for our monthly PTSA meeting. He gave us information about our one school, two campus progress and the behind the scenes support of the PUSD School Board.
We also talked about how to get the word out about how great Eliot / Altadena Arts, and PUSD schools are. You can go to greatschools.org and make comments.
We have a fabulous school, the problem is unless you go here, no one knows. Use social media and get the word out! We also had a presentation on Health programs available. Good information.
Thank you all for the shoe donations, it's coming along nicely. Special thanks to Grocery Outlet for hosting a shoe donation bin! Drop your shoes and shop at Grocery Outlet or bring them into Eliot or Altadena office.
Our Drive through Drop-off event is March 11th from1-3pm. Place bags of shoes in your trunk, drive to the staff parking lot on Calaveras and pop the trunk! We'll unload them for you!
Join us for a fundraising restaurant night at Domenico's Pizza on Washington Blvd. on March 1st! Eliot will receive 20% of proceeds from 11am-9pm on all take-out orders with the flyer. Flyers are available in the office and will be distributed on campus this week!
Our Family Fun Night is being planned, keep your eyes and ears open.
With the weather this week, the Tower Tour for February 24 was rescheduled. Our mountains are going to be beautiful when the weather clears, so you might want to take the tour.
Eliot Arts PTSA President
"Many hands make light work"
2184 N Lake Ave
Altadena, Ca 91001
HELLO WATER POLO FAMILIES!
I AM EXCITED TO SHARE….
Spring 2023 Water Polo for Middle Schoolers is HERE and will be:
March 14th - April 27th (6 weeks) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30pm - 8pm at John Muir High School Early Magnet College pool.
*We will not have practice 4/4/23 and 4/6/23 (PUSD Spring Break)
Please use this link to complete registration. The attached flier also has the barcode to access the registration form.
Registration information can also be accessed on Pasadena Water Polo's website.
Once the registration form is completed then an email will be sent within 3 business days confirming that your registration was received.
A BIG THANK YOU goes to John Muir High School leadership for all your support and allowing the program to be offered at Muir!
Please feel free to share this information with others.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
All my best!
Coach Leanne Drogin
PEN Program for 8th Grade Parents
PEN is working with the District's A-G Counselors to offer a virtual program on March 2 (6:30-8 pm) geared especially towards 8th grade parents: Your High School Roadmap to College. If you could help share this information with your 8th grade families, that would be great! Program descriptions with links below; you can also share the event on FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/1481646142774548
Thank you! - Susan
Your High School Roadmap to College! As your child gets ready to complete middle school, the high school years loom large. Even for parents or caregivers with college degrees, the college admissions landscape can look unfamiliar and uncertain. How will you help your student navigate the high school years to ensure that they have college options? This virtual program will provide you with a year-by-year roadmap, including:
What can you expect from your child’s high school counselor and how can you anticipate and have input into academic planning decisions?
What parents “wish they had known earlier” about when and how to start taking action on the various components (academic and extracurricular) that contribute to a robust college application
College Access Plan & other resources available to PUSD students
How to balance keeping your child on track with respecting and helping them develop their independence and self-advocacy skills
It’s your child’s journey, but you can help by staying informed and making sure your student is on track. (And by knowing how your student can get help to recover if things get off track!) Register at https://tinyurl.com/HSRoadmap
Please consider making a recurring donation of $45 to one or both of our Annual Funds! Our annual funds help to create a bridge for special services and arts programs at each of our campuses. Our annual funds are separate. Altadena's annual fund is chaired by Ms. Tasiah LeConte and Eliot's annual fund is chaired by Ms. Wendy Silva. Please join their committees and consider making a donation today!
- 1 Domenico's FUNdraiser for middle school PTSA
- 2 Elementary Family Reading Night 5:30-7:00 pm
- 9 Elementary School Tour 9:00 am in the parent room
- 10 No Boundaries Art Show
- 11 French Intern Social
- 14 Joint PT(S)A Meeting 6:00 pm, AAM Auditorium
- 16 Middle School Tour 8:30 am Eliot Auditorium
- 22 Women's History Month Celebration 6:00 pm at Marshall Fundamental
- 24 NO SCHOOL/STAFF DEVELOPMENT DAY
- 25 Math Field Day
- 29 Middle School Spring Concert
- 30 Altadena Eliot Arts GALA
- 31 NO SCHOOL/CESAR CHAVEZ DAY