Message from the Superintendent
March 8, 2022
Message from the Superintendent
Dear PUSD Community,
We have several items to cover this week including: COVID changes, creativity in our classrooms, challenging contests, and conversations with children. For all of those C’s, our teachers, parents and students surely deserve A’s. I’m continually amazed by what Pasadena Unified accomplishes every day and I appreciate your flexibility as we face new challenges and navigate necessary changes together.
As you know, COVID-19 guidelines are changing based on a decrease in the number of active cases and hospitalizations as well as high vaccination rates. Last week, Governor Newsom and the California Department of Health and Human Services announced adjustments to mask guidance indoors at all TK-12 schools and childcare sites from required to strongly recommended. School districts may continue to require masking at schools and during school activities and are encouraged to consult with teachers, staff, parents, and students as we consider safety protections for our schools.
At PUSD, we are taking time to work with stakeholders and local public health authorities to revise the masking guidelines in the district, recognizing that many individuals may want to continue additional protections.
Proposed changes to PUSD’s indoor mask guidelines will be presented to the Board of Education for discussion at the Special Meeting of the Board on March 10 at 4:30 p.m. Watch the meeting here.
After the meeting, we will send out a detailed message with the new mask guidance for PUSD TK-12 schools and childcare sites.
As masking guidelines change in our community, it’s imperative for everyone to feel safe. We have a wonderfully diverse population with differing views and health conditions and we ask that our parents, students, and staff be respectful of each other’s views.
The health and wellbeing of our students continues to be our top priority.
OPEN ENROLLMENT SECOND LOTTERY NOW OPEN!
Open enrollment is continuing and there is still time to find the right school for your child. Apply during the second lottery which ends on Friday!
Second Lottery Dates:
Apply: March 7, 2022, 9am - March 11, 2022, 4 pm
Results available online: March 18, 2022 by 11:59 pm
Register: March 21, 2022, 9am - March 25, 2022, 4 pm
We invite you to visit any PUSD campus and see how we are accelerating achievement for all students.The process is easy. All applications and forms are available online at pusd.us/enrollment. To request email updates and reminders, sign up for Open Enrollment reminders and notifications.
Reading to Ms. Ashley Webb's Kindergarten class at Altadena Arts Magnet March 4, 2022
ARTS EDUCATION MONTH
This month, we celebrate the arts by highlighting some of the programs PUSD has to offer from music instruction, to visual arts, to dance, drama and theater.
- Instrumental music instruction is offered by PUSD music teachers starting in elementary school with whole-class instruction in violin, and band and orchestra options for fourth and fifth grades. Through partnerships with music education organizations like the Pasadena Conservatory, elementary general music is offered to grades K-5 at select elementary schools. Chorus, band, and orchestra are offered at our middle and high schools, giving students many opportunities to refine their artistic craft.
Visual Art is taught in elementary school by classroom teachers. Additional arts instruction is provided by teaching artists through longstanding partnerships with the Armory Center for the Arts, Creative Arts Group in Sierra Madre, the California Art Club, and Lightbringer project.
All PUSD middle schools offer visual arts as an elective course with certificated art teachers. Eliot Arts is our middle school arts magnet, with teachers practicing arts integration with core subjects, as well as arts electives in a variety of art forms.
- All of our high schools offer visual arts programs with a range of courses. Specialized Pathways at John Muir High School and Pasadena High School offer a focus on preparation for careers in the arts, such as graphic design and film production.
Our TK-2 grade Theatre and Dance Explorations Program allows our youngest students to express themselves with professional teaching artists working in collaboration with classroom teachers.
Our middle school students have an opportunity to experience an Open Stage in our community by attending professional plays and musicals, as well as integrating theatre to find their voice on social issues in History/Social Science and English Language Arts.
Our High School students may select dance, drama, and theater tech electives, and all of our Middle and High Schools present full musicals in the spring of each year. High School students may also choose the Academy for Creative Industries at Marshall Fundamental School or the Arts, Entertainment & Media Academy at John Muir High School.
I’m feeling very upbeat about the return of live music on our campuses. Next week, several different PUSD secondary school bands, orchestras and choirs will perform live for our annual Music Festivals set for March 15 and March 18. Not only will students have a chance to entertain fellow musicians from other schools, they will also have the opportunity to learn from professional adjudicators, all at the top of their fields in the music industry. Although students will be performing in person, parents and community members are invited to watch via livestream from KLRN at http://gopusd.com/music2022.
California high school students are invited to participate in an essay contest and/or a visual arts contest to increase greater awareness of the Armenian Genocide on its anniversary. Winners will be awarded scholarships ranging from $500 to $1000, will receive special recognition from the Armenian Caucus and may have their work displayed in the California State Capitol. All submissions must be received by the California Armenian Legislative Caucus electronically on or before April 8, 2022.
Your children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from school. PUSD parents are invited to take part in upcoming Parent University virtual workshops on March 10, March 17 and March 24 at 10 am. For details, see this FLYER and to join a workshop, click HERE. For additional information on Parent University workshops and district parent leadership meetings, please visit the Family Engagement PU Canvas Page or the Family Resource Center Calendar Webpage
Join PUSD in celebrating International SEL Day on March 11, 2022. Studies show that SEL improves well-being and academic outcomes, builds a positive school climate, and provides children with the necessary skills to excel in today’s workforce. The Office of Child Welfare and Attendance will be providing SEL toolkits, promotional materials, and activities schools can use to show how Social Emotional Learning is critical to the community. The events found here https://selday.org/events/ are free and open to the public. SIGN UP today to showcase, promote, advocate and support SEL in Pasadena!
News coverage of the events in Ukraine can be disturbing and difficult to understand. It can be even more traumatic for young people or for those who’ve experienced or witnessed violence first hand. PUSD would like to make it easier for families to talk about what’s happening in the world by providing some expert advice compiled by the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Access the resources here
Stay healthy and have a great week!
Brian McDonald, Ed.D.