• A memorial lit with yellow and red lights

      Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial (Photo – westernprelacy.org, Fred Milikian)

      A recap of Pasadena Unified’s Board meeting on March 25, 2021.

      By Albert Martin

      PUSD Recognizes Cesar Chavez-Dolores Huerta Day

      To honor Mexican-American labor leaders, California established official holidays, César Chávez Day and Dolores Huerta Day. These holidays promote education, celebration of their lives and service, and recognition to their California communities.

      César Chávez and Dolores Huerta are historic community leaders, who fought injustice, battled racial and economic discrimination against migrant farm workers, and created a civil rights coalition.

      César Chávez and Dolores Huerta co-founded the National Farm Workers Association. It merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee led by Filipino labor leader Larry Dulay Itliong to form the United Farm Workers (UFW).

      César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, and Filipino labor leaders, were instrumental in the development of the 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act, which assisted farm workers to receive higher wages, family health coverage, pension benefits, and contractual protections.  César Chávez (1994) and Dolores Huerta (2011) received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded in the United States of America.

      The Board of Education of the Pasadena Unified School District recognizes César Chávez and Dolores Huerta and the celebration of César Chávez-Dolores Huerta Day on March 31, 2021.

      PUSD Armenian Genocide of 1915 Commemoration Month, April 2021

      The City of Pasadena has a significant Armenian student population. Many have family members, who experienced first-hand the horror and evil of the Armenian Genocide and the ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide. Every student and person, regardless of ethnicity or national origin, should be educated about the Armenian Genocide so that it and state-sanctioned forms of ethnic cleansing may never happen again.

      This measure provides that the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education deplores the persistent, ongoing efforts by any person in this country or abroad, to deny the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide.

      The PUSD Board of Education continues to provide teacher-training workshops and educational resources about the Armenian Genocide to all its high school social studies teachers and students.

      PUSD Classified Staff Layoff

      Education Code authorizes districts to layoff classified employees for lack of work and/or lack of funds upon sixty (60) days prior notice. PUSD services now provided will be closed for next school year. As of June 30, 2021, these positions are eliminated:

      • One full time Community Advocate,
      • One full time Fiscal Services Specialist,
      • And one full time Senior Community Advocate.

      PUSD will also reduce: a Special Education Behavior Interventionist position from 87.5% (9 months) to 75% (9 months), an Elementary Area Leader position from 100% (11 months) to 87.5% (10.5 months), and a Secondary Area Leader position from 100% (11 months) to 87.5% (10.5 months).

      The PUSD Superintendent was authorized and directed to give notice of termination to affected employees pursuant to District rules and regulations and applicable provisions of the Education Code not later than sixty (60) days prior to the effective date of such reduction or discontinuance as set forth above.  The Superintendent was authorized and directed to take actions to effectuate the intent of this resolution.

      The foregoing Resolution was adopted at a governing board meeting of the Pasadena Unified School District on March 25, 2021.

      School Site Councils decided to reduce two Library Coordinators. After removing two Librarians’ positions, the board unanimously passed the resolution.

      Michelle Bailey Richardson pushed for the district to pick up the extra percentages.

      Board Members Jennifer Hall Lee and Tina Wu Fredericks advocated for a Librarian in every school.  The Board expressed that a Librarian in every school is part of an equity issue.  Superintendent Brian McDonald agreed that this was a larger conversation that needed to take place.

      Approval of Superintendent Priorities

      The Board approved a Key Priorities List for the next 8 – 10 months:

      • PUSD will successfully respond to all aspects of education by providing extraordinary Distance Learning Support to students, families, teachers, and staff to mitigate the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as student engagement, mental health/well-being, and learning loss mitigation. As an urgent need, PUSD will take action now.
      • Students and staff will have readily available access to high quality mental health services and counseling by Spring ’21.  Progress above pre-COVID-19 levels will be measured through students and staff service usage data collected by the superintendent’s office.  Attendance rates (measured by students logging into or physically attending class) will be comparable to pre-COVID 19 levels by Fall ‘21.
      • Technology (devices/internet connectivity) will be distributed to every PUSD family who needs it by Spring ’21, as measured by ongoing outreach and no outstanding requests for technology support.
      • Students’ learning loss will be measured, and a Recovery Plan developed.
      • The Recovery Plan’s first phase will be presented to the board by Summer ’21.
      • For students’ social/emotional well-being, opportunities for in-person activities, programs, and events (athletics, celebrations) will be implemented and begin by late Spring, ’21.
      • PUSD will prepare for the Reopening/Return to School so students and faculty may safely transition into classrooms for in-person instruction. This was classified as urgent; action will be taken in the next 3 – 6 mos.
      • Stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, site staff) will be identified and participate in reopening planning processes.
      • A robust two-way communication plan (with parent surveys) will be developed and implemented by Spring of ’21 to keep all parties informed.
      • A press release will be published at the end of the process stating how stakeholders were included in the reopening planning process.
      • An estimate of district costs for transition to in-person education will be submitted to the Board in April.
      • The Superintendent will present a budget to the board that clearly shows how Priorities are funded.
      • Allocations will be based on District goals, equity for families, transparency in development and visibility, and reflection of values and priorities.
      • This was classified as Important and will take place in the next 3 – 6 mos.
      • Staff budget reports will demonstrate how funding is linked to equity for all students and linked to district goals.
      • A budget development process plan would demonstrate that it will be easily accessible,  open to everyone.
      • PUSD will create a calendar of scheduled board reports on progress in each priority area by the superintendent’s evaluation in November.  At May and August closed session meetings with the superintendent, data will be on interim progress made.
      • PUSD will acquire board approval for proposed priorities and metrics list.
      • PUSD will schedule a Superintendent Review for the end of November at which
      • the Superintendent will report on these items.
      • Absolute timing is difficult to control due to pandemic; however, readiness/preparation is the objective for these priority activities.
      • Attendance/student engagement will be addressed by data collection and achieving metrics.
      • Community engagement, messaging, and public opinion will be supported by the Board’s process to update the mission/vision of the district.

      The Board’s process to update the mission/vision of the district will support community engagement, messaging, and public opinion.

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