It’s become a tradition, and for that, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said she and her colleagues are most grateful.
For the seventh consecutive year, the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation raised $2 million for the district, money that will be used to help fund smaller class size, to recruit and retain talented teachers and staff, and to fund programs in visual and performing arts as well as provide an array of math and science courses.
“We really rely on those programs to represent the La Cañada difference and that would not be possible without support groups raising money, and chief among those organizations is the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation,” said Sinnette, noting that LCUSD receives only 6.7% of its state funding for students who qualify as either English language learners, for free or reduced lunch or as foster and homeless youth — far less than an average district in the state, which receives 67% for students who qualify for that specified funding.
Along with supporters of various ages, LCFEF President Kevin Martin presented the “literal big check” to Sinnette at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“We love this district,” Martin said. “We appreciate your hard work, your diligence, your focus on excellence and integrity. We’re very proud to be your partners.”
LCFEF is a volunteer-run community organization that raises funds and makes direct contributions to the district and runs an endowment aimed at maintaining long-term success of the schools.
La Cañada Elementary School kindergarten teacher Mandy Redfern received a standing ovation from the Governing Board and an enthusiastic audience Tuesday when board President Dan Jeffries reported that she recently was recognized as one of L.A. County’s 16 teachers of the year and as one of 12 semifinalists as teacher of the year in California, where there are, he noted, 300,000 teachers.
“They honor teachers with exemplary dedication and compelling class practices,” Jeffries said. “And that describes Mandy very well.”
A 17-year veteran of the profession, Redfern and the state’s other teacher-of-the-year finalists and semifinalists will be honored by state Superintendent Tom Torlakson at a February gala in Sacramento.
Lindi Dreibelbis, LCUSD’s chief director of assessment, broke down the latest California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress assessment results, boasting of LCUSD’s continued presence among the top-performing in the state.
Sinnette explained how the district’s teachers will use the data to drive their instruction.
“What we’ve been working with teachers on is a really granular analysis,” she said. “To go in and look at students who are in the ‘met expectations’ category and could move to the ‘exceeded expectations’ category. We have that surgical approach, targeting students on the cusp and moving them forward.
“The only way you’re going to see future growth is by being that strategic.”