First published in the Aug. 11 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
The La Cañada Unified School District is gearing up for the first day of what Superintendent Wendy Sinnette considers to be an exciting 2022-23 academic year with new faces and facilities.
“We’re very excited to be opening school on Monday and welcoming back our students, family and staff,” Sinnette said Wednesday. “It’s been a busy hiring season over the summer.”
Sinnette said they are “ready to go” on the personnel front with 26 new certificated employees as well as hiring new classified staff workers and teachers.
The district is also ready to provide more normalcy as Los Angeles County adjusts to living with COVID-19 rather than combatting the disease.
LCUSD recently informed families that they will be required to test their children using home test kits and submit the results to site administrators on Sunday, Aug. 14, prior to the first day of school.
“We just want to ensure with our families that we’re doing everything in our power to make sure school remains open and we continue to deliver high-quality instruction,” Sinnette said. “If we can control the variables, then we can really enjoy all of the normalcy that everybody is craving.”
In an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, the district will host a vaccine clinic at La Cañada High School that is open to the whole community Saturday, Aug. 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. The clinic will offer COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots for individuals 6 months and older.
Children are still reeling from the effects of remote learning when the pandemic shut down school throughout the state in March 2020, and Sinnette wants to ensure every student has the tools and resources to address any potential learning gaps and “provide the world-class education that is our hallmark,” she said.
“The last couple of years have been challenging in terms of interruptions we’ve had with COVID and with the challenges of maintaining the health and well-being on our campuses,” Sinette added. “We want to make sure our kids are happy and healthy across all of our campuses.”
Part of ensuring that happiness is having facilities in place that promote the district’s goals in delivering a quality education in a safe, inclusive environment, and the district is providing such spaces with its new projects.
Palm Crest Elementary boasts two new buildings with state-of-the-art classrooms, and contractors are already working to modernize existing classrooms.
“We are so thrilled to be opening up two new buildings with gorgeous classrooms at Palm Crest,” Sinnette said. “They really are remarkable, and the aesthetics are really conducive to optimize teaching and learning.”
LCHS will also have some upgrades this year as with the south campus redesign. The first stage of the modernization project is complete, and Sinnette said that the pool should be ready for use by mid-October.
The second phase of construction will come to fruition over the course of this school year, which will feature new outdoor basketball courts and amphitheater seating.
“We’re really excited about that,” Sinnette said. “It really creates more lunchtime opportunities and adds vibrancy to the environment.”
By January, LCHS will open the doors to its College and Career Center, complementing the school’s Spartan Wellness Center and information resource center.
“With those three, we will have the collegiate model of a student union, where you have a whole comprehensive nature of academic and social-emotional needs met,” Sinnette said.