• A building with green trees and red roof and large doors

      PUSD headquarters (Photo – ColoradoBlvd.net)

      A letter from Pasadena Superintendent Brian McDonald on Sunday, September 19, 2021:

      While the pandemic is still at the forefront of everyone’s mind, at the Pasadena Unified School District we are also focused on making sure the youth in our district are receiving a high-quality education in a safe environment. Our students are learning, achieving, and persevering as the school year goes on. In the coming weeks, we will be highlighting some of the accomplishments of our students and educators to let the community know that education is still our primary mission here at PUSD.

      One such recognition of excellence was the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, along with the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation, celebrating the Big Day for Teachers by honoring Jackson STEM Dual Language Elementary teacher Julie Silk with a $1,000 DonorsChoose gift card to use toward student resources. The Big Day for Teachers is a part of the CFP Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers Week, which celebrates educators across the country. Silk, who was named PUSD’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, is an inspiring teacher who engages students and their families, cultivating strong bonds through whole class lessons and intentional support through small groups, focused lessons, and individual attention.

      PUSD Student Vaccination Updates

      The PUSD Board of Education recently enacted a policy that states that students ages 12 and older must either show proof of vaccination or take weekly tests with informed consent from parents/guardians by October 15th. All students under age 12 will be required to get weekly COVID-19 tests with informed consent from parents/guardians by October 15th.

      Starting Wednesday, September 22nd, parents and guardians will be able to upload student vaccination information for those who are vaccinated as well as provide informed consent to COVID-19 testing of unvaccinated students at school sites. Parents should look out for an email from PUSD where there will be a link and guidance on how to complete the survey. Parents can also receive assistance in filling out the survey at school sites. Once this information has been gathered and a determination has been made as to which students are to be tested, the testing program will be fully implemented. Our testing teams continue to test students whose parents have already provided informed consent, with students in secondary schools tested on Mondays and elementary sites from Tuesday through Friday.

      For those 12 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, the District will be sponsoring a vaccination clinic at Willard Elementary School this Wednesday, September 22nd, and Marshall Fundamental School on Monday, September 27th. You can register for these or other community options to get vaccinated at myturn.ca.gov.

      Community Input Sessions on Best Use of New COVID-19 Related Funds

      PUSD will be developing its plan for a new round of pandemic related Federal funding called ESSER III, of which $39.5 million is available to PUSD. Parent and community input is critically important as we plan the best use of these funds, and schools across the District will be holding virtual community input sessions this week to hear your priorities. The District’s goal for this round of funding is to address needs that remain on our campuses due to COVID-19 while getting the best bang for our buck by spending money on programs, facility improvements, or other student-focused items that can provide continued benefits to students beyond the scope of the pandemic. Look out for an email from your school about the specific date and time of the community input session for your school.

      “Devious Licks” Theft Trend – Be on the Lookout

      Recently, we have learned of some potential illegal activity occurring on our campuses that is part of a new disturbing trend on social media called “Devious Licks.” This trend involves encouraging teens to “lick” or steal items from school, and then post about the stolen item on social media with the hashtag, #deviouslicks.  Already, items have been destroyed, stolen, or manipulated on some of our campuses.

      We are asking parents to partner with us to help prevent this needless damage to school property and to inform youth of the serious consequences that can come with something they might perceive as a “harmless prank.”  Please talk with your student about the serious consequences of participating in this trend, or participating in any other activity that involves stealing or damaging school property. We also encourage monitoring of students’ social media activity, as these types of social media challenges tend to involve risky behaviors of which students do not typically realize the serious consequences or threat to the safety of our schools and community until it’s too late.

      School sites are increasing surveillance of campuses and are currently reviewing camera footage. If a student is found to be stealing, being in possession of stolen items, or damaging school property (which also includes people’s personal belongings), the District will:

      • Take the appropriate disciplinary action as outlined in our Student Handbook.
      • If applicable, file charges. Per Penal Code 484, stolen property valued at $950 or more is a felony.
      • Remove the student’s privileges for the remainder of the school year, including participation in athletics or other extracurricular activities, attending athletic games, dances, and graduation activities.
      • Seek reimbursement for the stolen and damaged items from the student or their family.

      Thank you for your assistance in helping to put a stop to this activity in our community.

      Brian McDonald, Ed.D.

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