September 19, 2022
MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT
Dear PUSD Community,
District leaders have been very busy this week making plans for the future and it reminds me of a John Lennon observation: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” Even though we’re busy developing a strategic plan, a facilities master plan, and more, learning is happening in our classrooms, in hallways, and all across our campuses. I’ve said this so many times but it bears repeating - I am extremely grateful for and proud of our amazing students, our hard-working teachers, and our dedicated staff. Sometimes it’s important to take a breath from all that busyness and recognize how far we’ve come – and we’re only a little over a month into the school year. Please take a moment to read and enjoy this week’s update and have a great week!
Brian McDonald, Ed.D.
CELEBRATING OUR SUMMER GRADS
PUSD students, who completed their high school coursework over the summer, are proving that persistence pays off. Despite various challenges which prevented them from graduating in June, some 32 students are now getting their Class of ‘22 high school diplomas. District leaders, principals, and counselors helped make it official at a graduation ceremony last week.
Steven Herrera, who graduated from John Muir High School Early College Magnet, said he didn’t have any hope for a long time but was encouraged to keep going.
“I was motivated by my mom to graduate, just to see her happy,” said the new graduate who hopes to attend trade school. “I was really friendly with my teachers, so they helped me out a lot with my work, getting my act together.”
Miguel Marquez, a Marshall Fundamental graduate, was at a low point in life and had to deal with family issues before he could focus on school.
“I didn’t feel like I was going to accomplish anything…. Mrs. (Cristina) Diaz, the counselor, helped me get into summer school so I could go and finish my education. My family – they were the ones who told me to keep on going for more, don’t settle for less.”
Mr. Marquez hopes to study music in college and is already writing his own songs. We think you have something to sing about, Mr. Marquez!
Congratulations to all of our summer graduates - we are so very #PUSDproud!
FACILITIES MASTER PLAN: LET'S PLAN TOGETHER!
We need your help in designing the district of the future. PUSD has started a Facilities Master Plan to guide us as we prioritize campus improvements, accommodate new models of learning, serve emerging needs of families, and ensure that all of our facilities adhere to the latest safety standards. Please join us and share your vision for your campus. Virtual school meetings are scheduled for September 20 - October 6, 2022. Check https://www.pusd.us/Page/9744 for times and links.
MUSIC TO OUR EARS
The PUSD All-Star Band is back! They had an awesome performance at the Pasadena Convention Center for the California Hospitals Association.
PUSD high schools are now gearing up for PSAT tests which will be administered on an “opt-in” basis for all 10th and 11th grade students on October 12, 2022. PUSD will fund any 10th or 11th grader who wishes to opt in for the test. We’ve compiled some reasons for opting in:
The PSAT will familiarize you with the test questions and format of the SAT.
It’s like a dress rehearsal for test day.
Your results can guide future test prep by highlighting strengths and weaknesses.
Colleges will NOT see your scores.
Your PSAT score might qualify you for a National Merit Scholarship.
If you choose to share limited personal information, colleges might try to recruit you and you’ll learn about schools and scholarships that you’ve never considered. (Just be prepared to get quite a bit of mail!)
HELP WITH FINANCIAL AID
PUSD high schools are helping college-bound students get the financial aid they need. John Muir Early College Magnet and Pasadena High School both met their respective goals for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) applications last year. Now they're aiming for a 100% application rate for college financial aid. The FAFSA and CADAA (California Dream Act Application) are now required for all graduating seniors. If a student does not qualify for the FAFSA/CADAA, or parents do not wish to fill out the applications, they should fill out the Opt-Out Form. If parents or students need any assistance with financial aid documents, please reach out to your high school counselors or Career Financial Aid Advisor.
JUNIOR DOCENT APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN
Junior Docent applications are now open for 7th and 8th grade GATE students. If you love history and want to help bring it to life by providing information and helping with tours, apply using this form. We have spots for 56 Junior Docents this year at the Gamble House and the Pasadena Museum of History!
SALUTE TO IT PROFESSIONALS
September 20 is Information Technology (IT) Professionals Day and we salute PUSD’s ITS team! Thanks for all you do to keep us connected. As we celebrate National IT Professionals Day, let’s remember inventors of the past and recognize today’s technical experts, engineers, and all the tech whizzes who make sure our computer systems run smoothly.
GOING THE EXTRA YARD
Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy science teacher John Newell received a substantial grant for going the “extra yard” for his students. Mr. Newell received top honors in the Extra Yard for Teachers Program, a collaboration of the College Football Playoff Foundation, the Los Angeles College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee, the LA84 Foundation, and USC to highlight educators in the Los Angeles region. Mr. Newell was awarded a $10,000 grant to develop his lessons, focusing on conservation and sustainability for a greener future. He was honored during the USC vs. Fresno State game on Sept. 17. His hard work – with support from the Amigos de los Rios program – has helped extend the Jackson Science Lab to include multiple outdoor spaces on the playground.
Congratulations, Mr. Newell! You’ve gone the extra yard by a mile!
DODGER DELIGHTS DISTRICT KIDS
Whether he’s turning a double play or turning the pages of a book, LA Dodger Hanser Alberto can entertain us doing either one. The star infielder read to students at Washington Elementary STEM Magnet School recently as part of National Read a Book Day. All students in attendance received a copy of “I Am Jackie Robinson” by Brad Meltzer to take home. Thank you, LA Dodgers Foundation, for organizing the event as part of the literacy initiative, LA Reads.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and it is a time to raise awareness about this stigmatized topic. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, at any age. They’re often a result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts can be common but must be taken seriously.
Please join our virtual School Mental Health Workshop presented by PUSD THRIVE on Thursday, September 22 at 6:00 pm with simultaneous Spanish translation. For more information and how to join the virtual workshop, please see FLYER or VOLANTE
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 immediately.
If you are uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can chat the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988lifeline.org.
A huge “THANKS!” to John Muir High School alum and former NFL star Darick Holmes who donated $25,000 to his alma mater’s football program. The donation will pay for additional stipends for coaching, uniforms, and equipment. Mr. Holmes graduated from Muir in 1989 and went on to play for the Buffalo Bills, the Green Bay Packers, and the Indianapolis Colts (1999).
VOLUNTEER FOR MATH POWER HOUR
PUSD and the African American Parent Council invite you to volunteer as a tutor for the Math Power Hour (MPH), which gives first and second-grade students a boost in math concepts and fuels a positive attitude towards learning math. Sign up today for a fun, rewarding opportunity to change lives and help secure every child’s future success. www.tinyurl.com/MPH2022-23
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Pasadena, CA 91109