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Pasadena Unified School District
A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald


October 9, 2020

 

Watch the video

  • SUPERINTENDENT'S ADDRESS 10/09/2020



Dear PUSD Community, 

In planning for the return to in-person learning, we’ve been guided by a commitment to the safety and well-being of our students and staff. 

I’m going to get right to the point: I have recommended to the Board of Education that we return to in-person learning no earlier than January 11, when the second semester begins. This recommendation is grounded in the need to keep our students and staff safe while ensuring that students get the best possible instruction. 

Safety and Consistency
We want to keep instruction consistent for our students and staff. We have watched as colleges and schools opened only to close again within days because of COVID-19 cases.  The combination of COVID-19 and the normal flu season also concerns me. We simply have to get better control of the pandemic. 

Simultaneous Learning 
With regard to our return to in-person learning, we are also exploring a simultaneous learning model. Instead of separate in-person and fully online programs, the simultaneous model keeps classes intact, whether students return to campus or choose to stay online. This way, students keep access to our programs like dual language and Advanced Placement (AP).  Starting in January gives us time to acquire and test equipment and train teachers and staff before students return to their campuses. 

Phased Return 
Our return to campus will be phased. We are now in Phase 2 of our process, with the LEARNs supervised care for open for some students. In the next several weeks, we will offer in-person specialized support for small groups of English learners and eligible students with disabilities.  

Once we get clearance from the Pasadena Department of Public Health, we will begin moving towards reopening in January, starting with Transitional Kindergarten through 2nd grade, followed by 3rd-5th grade, middle school, and finally, high school. Again, January 11 is our target but is subject to changing circumstances. 

Safety Measures
We have to ensure that all safety measures are in place before students and staff return. Our teams are busy installing and testing safety measures and protocols. We are considering thermal cameras and UV devices, and testing them on our campuses. 

Student Voices
A couple of weeks ago, PUSD co-hosted a community forum with City leaders to hear from high school students about the issues that concern them. I had an opportunity to hear their input regarding when they thought we should come back to in-person learning. Their thoughtful responses were impressive and had a great influence on my recommendation to the Board that we begin the return in January. 

Measure O
Finally, I want to tell you about Measure O, the general obligation bond on the November 3 ballot. If approved by voters, Measure O would provide funding to make sure that students have up to date technology and internet access. It would allow us to repair and improve our campuses. Please check our website at pusd.us/measureO for more information. 

Thank you. Stay healthy and stay safe.

Sincerely, 

Brian McDonald, Ed.D.
Superintendent


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Pasadena Unified School District
A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald

September 13, 2020

Dear PUSD Community:

I hope that you are staying healthy and safe as we cope with the air quality and smoke from wildfires. Our firefighters are doing heroic work in containing fires across the state. 

Wildfires
Last week, poor air quality from the fires meant that PUSD had to modify the services we offer for our students and community.  Starting Monday, September 14:

  • PUSD’s Grab and Go Food Centers will reopen Monday at all school sites with reduced hours. Curbside meals will be served from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. 
  • Pasadena LEARNs supervised care programs are canceled on Monday, September 14
  • Curbside Tech Support resumes service. Curbside Tech Support is available by advance appointments only.

Thank You, PUSD Team!
I want to thank teachers, administrators, and staff who are, like many of you, juggling a combination of work and family responsibilities during the wildfires and the continuing pandemic. With skill, energy, and enthusiasm, our teachers, administrators, and staff have been engaging students in meaningful learning in extraordinary circumstances. Schools are hosting virtual back to school nights and helping students and parents learn and navigate our online learning systems.  PasadenaLEARNs began offering in-person supervised care for K-8 students during the online learning day, providing support for our most vulnerable students and families. And our Food Service staff continues to provide meals for students. 

Tech Support
I hope that you have had an opportunity to check the array of tech support that our team has put together. We are continuously updating information and resources on our website at https://www.pusd.us/Page/8416  

Specialized In-School Services
In collaboration with our labor partners and families, we are developing plans for a potential start date for specialized in-school services for small cohorts of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), students requiring instruction for English as a Second Language (ESL), or students needing assessments or specialized in-school services. Once the plans and protocols are in place, we will inform parents/guardians about a potential start date. Specialized in-school services will not begin September 14. 

According to the L.A. County Public Health and Pasadena Public Health, schools may offer in-school specialized services as early as September 14, as long as the school is able to fully implement the L.A. County Public Health Officer’s re-opening protocols. As suchthe Pasadena Unified School District is working diligently to make sure that schools are physically ready to safely welcome students who need specialized services and the staff who will support them. This will take a thoughtful process of planning and collaboration with our labor partners and parents/guardians. 

Additionally, the L.A. County Public Health Department stated that they will not be granting waivers for in-person instruction of students in grades TK-6 as the department monitors the implementation of this effort to safely get students needing specialized in-school services back to school.

School Reopening
In August, Governor Newsom announced a four-tiered, color-coded system for reopening counties that replaces the county watch list. At this time, Los Angeles County Public Health is not considering applications for waivers to physically reopen schools and has stated that schools are unlikely to open until November. Once the Los Angeles County and City of Pasadena Department of Public Health tells us we can return to in-person learning, we will work with our labor partners and families to launch our hybrid learning plan.  Until then, PUSD remains online in a distance learning format. 

Preparing for Hybrid Learning
We are working diligently and in collaboration with our labor partners to make sure that schools are physically ready to safely welcome students, teachers, and staff.  PUSD has taken proactive steps to acquire personal protective equipment, install signage and plexiglass barriers, and upgrade air conditioning filters.  Supplies of personal protective equipment such as face-coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizers have already been delivered to schools and offices for use by a limited number of teachers and other staff who are currently working on school campuses. The bulk of these supplies will be delivered to school campuses in the days before students physically return to school campuses.

Sincerely,

Brian McDonald, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Updates

  • Virtual College Fair 2020 - PUSD 2020 College Fair is online this year, with virtual fairs and information sessions about UC and CSU, independent and public colleges and universities. Events begin September 13 and continue through October. Please check the College Fair schedule of events at https://www.pusd.us/Page/8768 Some events require pre-registration.
  • Student Meals -  PUSD distributes Grab & Go meals curbside Monday-Friday between 9:00 a.m. - noon at ALL PUSD school sites. See details
  • Tech Support website
    • HelpDesk - PUSD students, families and staff can contact the PUSD helpdesk for help with PUSD-managed devices and applications by calling 626-396-3699. More information here 
    • Curbside Tech Support - An advance appointment is required for our Curbside Tech Support.  Schedule an appointment through the HelpDesk. 
  • How Parents Can Support Learning at Home - Check PUSD’s Family Engagement Canvas Page for an archive of videos and workshops. 
    • Parent University"How to" Tech Assistance Videos about Canvas, Webex, and more. Please visit the Family Engagement Canvas Page to access videos. 
    • Virtual Parent University Workshop: Take it Outside, presented by Young & Healthy, Thursday, September 17, 10:00 am. For details and to participate, please visit the Family Engagement Canvas Page 
    • English as a Second Language ESL Classes: Started on September 8. Please see visit: https://www.pusd.us/twilight
    • Virtual Parent University Workshop: Tips and Protocols on How to Help and Support your Child's Classroom Distance Learning and Meetings, presented by Jennifer Pringle with PUSD Adult Education Department, Thursday, September 17, at 11:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. For details and to participate, please visit the Family Engagement Canvas Page
  • PUSD Adult Education - See the Fall 2020 Adult Education Catalogue
  • Please review our School Opening Guide for more information.
  • See a Glossary of Terms
  • Visit pusd.us for the latest updates

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Pasadena Unified School District
A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald

 

Click HERE for the August 28, 2020 video message



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Pasadena Unified School District
A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald

August 24, 2020

Dear PUSD Community, 

In the first week of the new school year, our teachers and staff welcomed students to the new school year. As we anticipated, there were some issues in the first week as we embarked on using several new systems for the first time. This was the time to identify and resolve any issues, and our administrators, staff, and teachers are working to resolve them as quickly as possible. I want to thank you for your flexibility, patience, and perseverance as we address and resolve them. 

In this fast-paced environment where change is the only constant, as a learning community we recognize that this is an opportunity to prepare our students to adapt, problem-solve, and succeed. During intensive professional development days devoted to distance learning, last week we paused instruction so that our teachers and classified employees could take deep dives into areas such as best practices for online teaching, using Canvas (our new learning platform) for teaching PreK-12th grade students, and using WebEx effectively to connect with and inspire students. 

As we begin the second week of the new school year, we are staying focused on teaching, engaging, and inspiring our students. This new school year is a learning journey unlike any other we’ve taken together. I am, as ever, grateful to be part of this great community that has shown perseverance, compassion, and focus at a time when we all needed it the most. 

Below are some important announcements about the week ahead.

Sincerely, 

Brian McDonald
Superintendent

Updates

  • Student Meals - Grab & Go breakfast and lunch meals are distributed curbside Monday-Friday between 9:00 a.m. - noon at ALL school sites. See details. Weekend grab and go lunches will be offered by the City of Pasadena through September 13, 2020 at the seven locations from 9 -11 a.m. Families and individuals can get a free lunch. To view information on food banks and meal programs, including the locations of weekend grab and go lunches, visit cityofpasadena.net/covid-19/, or call (626) 744-7311.
  • Campus Access - Please note that all district and campus facilities are closed to visitors in order to comply with health and safety protocols. School and district offices continue to provide service by phone or virtually. For contact information, visit our Directory of Schools or Central Office Directory 
  • Technology Updates: 
    • HelpDesk & Curbside Tech Support: PUSD’s Helpdesk and Curbside Tech Support teams can help provide support for students with Chromebook repairs, hotspot requests, and system support. If students can't access their teacher's course, virtual meeting, or curriculum, please reach out to your school or teacher first. Curbside Tech Support: An advance appointment is required for our Curbside Tech Support.  To ensure a safe environment for everyone, we are unable to accept walk-ups. To schedule an appointment, please contact our Helpdesk by calling   626-396-3699, emailing helpdesk@pusd.us, or submitting a ticket while logged into your PUSD account at gopusd.com/helpdesk.
    • Extended Helpdesk hours: PUSD’s helpdesk support hours are extended during the start of school. You can reach the helpdesk support team by calling 626-396-3699 between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students can submit their own tickets from their PUSD accounts for direct support for PUSD-managed devices and applications. 
    • Canvas is the new learning management system (LMS) that PUSD students and teachers are using in 2020-2021 for both distance learning (and in-person learning days, whenever this is possible). Read more
  • PUSD’s PasadenaLEARNs is partnering with the City of Pasadena’s AfterSchool Adventures to provide in-person programs for PUSD students in grades K-8!  Programs begin September 8, 2020.  Spaces are limited! PasadenaLEARNs hours are 9 am -1 pm Monday-Friday (more information on possible 8 a.m. start time coming soon).  LEARNs programs will operate at all PUSD elementary and middle schools. Program fees may apply. Click on the link for your school to apply.

SCHOOL

LINK

Altadena

https://forms.gle/MrZ2oWfvcKWCKFYt8 

Blair

https://forms.gle/ApQfVx5fZko1iaCA9 

Don Benito

https://forms.gle/EahNHbtUvE7Gezk19 

Eliot

https://forms.gle/51KFt7f3hfJZ1iQX9 

Field

https://forms.gle/QvbeGnKPNiM1VhFJ9 

Hamilton

https://forms.gle/rk1x5uvzoxyn97feA 

Jackson

https://forms.gle/y8iJAZjTfnUGihc68 

Longfellow

https://forms.gle/WMKVR7QwjX4s68cv7 

Madison

https://forms.gle/ac4vMbDXaXTQiNWw9 

Marshall

https://forms.gle/6ZbGP1M5Q1SckW3c9 

McKinley

https://forms.gle/5BgKM6V7ejDhm2Ad9 

Norma Coombs

https://forms.gle/i1PSmmsyRJU7unHj9 

San Rafael

https://forms.gle/q4LR96GnmcterqQo9 

Sierra Madre ES

https://forms.gle/cBNu2jnBPDFhuBHY7 

Sierra Madre MS

https://forms.gle/bjyW1Ty7vrGbMZcP8 

Washington ES

https://forms.gle/WayQjz4nmddopcdq7 

Webster

https://forms.gle/NA8ukgJxPkuedajDA 

Willard

https://forms.gle/EYozM19nJQrA9FG89 

Washington MS 

https://forms.gle/JUG6C75KwASJk1Db9 


AfterSchool Adventures hours are 1 pm-4:30 pm Monday-Friday at the following schools: Don Benito, Field, Hamilton, Jackson, Longfellow, Madison, McKinley, Norma Coombs, San Rafael, WAES, Webster, and Willard. Registration fees may apply.  Students must be enrolled in LEARNs to participate. Information on how to register or learn more about the program will be provided on the LEARNs website (www.pusd.us/learns) soon.

  • Preschool: PUSD’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs began the school year with all preschools classrooms in remote, or virtual learning. All half and full-day preschool classrooms are focusing on developmentally appropriate activities and experiences. Daily Virtual interactions can include circle time meetings, activities, Interactive storytime, song, and dance. Last week, preschool parents picked up PreK Learning Packets. For more information about PUSD’s Early Childhood Education programs, click here or call 626-396-5762 Ext. 10070
  • How Parents Can Support Learning at Home - Check PUSD’s Family Engagement Canvas Page PUSD Family Engagement Page for resources, “How to” Tech Assistance Videos, virtual Parent University workshops and much more. Staff from the Family Engagement office is available by appointment only Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Contact them at (626) 396-3600 Ext. 88191, familycenter@pusd.us. Upcoming virtual Parent University workshops include: 
    • Giving Student Assessments at Home, Grades 6th-8th - Discovering Unfinished Learning Using i-Ready. Presented by Curriculum Associates, Monday, August 24, 6:00 pm. For details and to participate, please visit the Family Engagement Canvas Page
    • Canvas Training for Parent Leaders, Inviting all PUSD Parent Groups and site representatives - Tuesday, August 25, 10:00-11:00 a.m. and Wednesday, August 26, 10:00-11:00 a.m.  To register, please email familycenter@pusd.us   
    • Virtual Parent University Workshop: Virtual learning at home...tips, ideas, and techniques to not only survive, but thrive! - Presented by Young & Healthy, Thursday, August 27, 10:00 a.m. For details and to participate, please visit the Family Engagement Canvas Page
  • Please review our School Opening Guide for more information.
  • See a Glossary of Terms
  • Visit pusd.us/covid19 for the latest updates

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Pasadena Unified School District
A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald


August 16, 2020

Dear PUSD Community:

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year in the Pasadena Unified School District!  The new school year begins Monday, August 17, with remote learning for thousands of students in Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre.

We’re excited to see our students reconnect, learn, and advance in the new school year. Although we are beginning with extraordinary circumstances, the entire PUSD team is committed to providing a quality education for all of our students. We’re eager to engage students in meaningful learning so that every student has opportunities to fulfill their potential.  

While we’re excited about the start of the new school year, we know that we are facing challenges that are new to all of us. We therefore ask that you keep in mind that the first couple of weeks of school may not go according to plan. Please rest assured that we will do all that we can to assist you as needed. Our commitment to doing our best for students remains the same. 

Welcome back PUSD students! 

Brian McDonald
Superintendent

Important Updates

  • School year begins August 17, 2020.  All students will engage in remote learning at the start of the school year.
  • Daily Schedules - check with your school for your student’s schedule. See sample schedules by elementary, middle, and high school.
  • Shortened Week - August 20-21 are pupil-free days. There will be no remote learning sessions for students. Teachers and staff will be in staff development. 
  • Student Meals - Starting August 17, Grab & Go breakfast and lunch will be distributed curbside Monday-Friday between 9:00 a.m. - noon at ALL school sites. See details
  • Technology Updates: 
    • Extended Helpdesk hours: PUSD’s helpdesk support hours will be extended during the start of school. You can reach the helpdesk support team by calling 626-396-3699 between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students can submit their own tickets from their PUSD accounts for direct support for PUSD-managed devices and applications. 
    • Curbside Tech Support: An advance appointment is required for our Curbside Tech Support.  To ensure a safe environment for everyone, we are unable to accept walk-ups. To schedule an appointment, please contact our Helpdesk. 
    • Prepare Your Chromebook:  Students should prepare their Chromebooks for use. Please make sure to:
      • Charge your Chromebook. When your Chromebook is fully charged, unplug your charger from your Chromebook.
      • Login to your student account.
      • Update your Chromebook if necessary, especially if it hasn’t been used all summer.
    • About Chromebooks and Webex: WebEx is the new video conferencing tool our District is using in 2020-2021.  WebEx is compatible for both teachers and students to use on Chromebooks. An explanation of the compatibility with Chromebooks is here.
  • Canvas is the new learning management system (LMS) that PUSD students and teachers are using in 2020-2021 for both distance learning (and in-person learning days, whenever this is possible).  To access Canvas students can use their PUSD-assigned Chromebook/device and
    • Sign in using their PUSD student account and password. 
    • Go to their Clever Dashboard and find the Canvas App
    • If needed, sign in on another device by going to http://pasadena.instructure.com
    • The Canvas Parent app is available for parents using iOS or Android devices and by visiting pasadena.instructure.com/login/canvas, where observer accounts can be easily configured in just a few minutes. Step by step instructions will be posted at www.pusd.us
  • How Parents Can Support Learning at Home - Check PUSD’s Family Engagement Canvas Page for videos and workshops on Canvas, Webex, and much more. 
  • Childcare:  We have been working on plans
  •  for in-person childcare and are awaiting state guidance, which will be issued this week. Our LEARNs program is working on a partnership with the City of Pasadena to design childcare options that meet Pasadena public health guidelines. For information on Early Childhood Education programs, click here 
  • Please review our School Opening Guide for more information.
  • See a Glossary of Terms
  • Visit pusd.us/covid19 for the latest updates

July 24, 2020

Dear PUSD Community,

Today I am writing to share some next steps as we approach the first day of school for students. We are finalizing a guide that will contain more detailed information about the new school year, and this will be shared with you in the next few days.

All PUSD students will begin the new school year in a single distance learning environment on August 17, 2020.  We had initially considered offering two online options but will instead offer a single distance learning model for all students. Later in the fall semester, parents will be asked to indicate whether they want their student(s) to stay with the online-only model or participate in the hybrid model once it is deemed safe to offer in-person instruction.

We will closely monitor health conditions and will abide by county and state public health requirements for school reopening. Although things continue to change rapidly, we are tentatively anticipating that the earliest we can transition to a hybrid model is at the start of the second quarter, which begins October 19. However, we should be prepared to stay in distance learning through the end of the fall semester unless conditions change.

Features of PUSD’s distance learning model that begins August 17 include:

  • Structure through daily schedules for students and teachers, with increased live interaction that meet AB 77 & SB 98 universal requirements for California school districts
  • Standards-based curriculum that is UC a-g & NCAA approved
  • Combines PUSD core curriculum adoptions with a pre-built online resource, along with and model units developed by specialists and PUSD teachers.
  • Content developed and designed in alignment with best practices for online instruction
  • Canvas, a new unified learning management system with parent account tools. This replaces Powerschool Learning, which was used last spring. 
  • WebEx, a new and video conferencing tool with more robust video conferencing tools for a live classroom environment that includes smaller breakout group learning. This replaces Google Meets. 
  • More details are included in the table below. 

How PUSD will determine when it’s safe to return to in-person instruction
PUSD’s plan is designed to allow for a smooth transition from one instructional model to another.   A waiver application process is being designed by the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to allow schools to transition from distance learning to in-person learning models.  If health and safety conditions change during in-person learning, a cohort, classroom, school, or District may have to return to distance learning.  Movement between PUSD Instructional Models is determined through consultation with PPHD and subject to agreements with our labor partners. 

Although things continue to change rapidly, we are tentatively anticipating that the earliest we can open in a hybrid model is at the start of the first quarter, which begins October 19. However, we should be prepared to stay in distance learning through the end of the first semester unless conditions change.

Hybrid and Online Learning Models 
Later in the fall semester parents will be asked to indicate if they want their student to continue in the online model or return in a hybrid model once it is deemed safe to offer in-person instruction.

Below is a description of the models. 

What is the Hybrid Model?
PUSD’s 2020-21 structure of learning wherein students attend school with a combination of in-person and distance learning environments.

    • In-person learning environment - Learning that occurs in the classroom on campus
    • Distance learning environment - Learning that occurs from a remote location not on campus. 

What does the Hybrid Model include?

  • Standards-based curriculum that is UC a-g & NCAA approved
  • Combines PUSD core adoptions with a pre-built online resource, along with and model units developed by specialists and PUSD teachers.
  • Supports for English Language Learners and students receiving GATE and/or Special Education services.
  • Instruction delivered by PUSD teachers following a cohort schedule.
  • Ability to participate in learning on-campus in smaller student cohorts.
  • Directly supports special programs such as DLIP, AP, IB, Magnet, etc.
  • TK-12th grade

What is the Online Model?
PUSD’s 2020-21 structure of learning wherein students attend school in an entirely online environment while remaining enrolled at their current school. The Online Model is intended as a continuation of distance learning for a longer term or full school year.

PUSD will work with students and families to ensure equity and access to quality instruction. Accommodations for students with disabilities, students with diverse learning needs, students who are medically vulnerable, and English Language Learners will be made as needed.

What does the Online Model include?

  • Standards-based curriculum that is UC a-g & NCAA approved
  • Combines PUSD core adoptions with a pre-built online resource, along with and model units developed by specialists and PUSD teachers.
  • Supports for English Language Learners and students receiving GATE and/or Special Education services.
  • Daily live instruction delivered virtually by PUSD teachers.
  • Continuation of distance learning for a longer term or full school year.
  • Supports are in development for special programs such as DLIP, AP, IB, Magnet, etc. 
  • K-12 (No TK)

PUSD will work with students and families to ensure equity and access to quality instruction. Accommodations for students with disabilities, students with diverse learning needs, students who are medically vulnerable, and English Language Learners will be made as needed.

2020-21 Learning Options

Selecting Hybrid or Online: 
Later in the fall semester, parents will be asked to indicate if they want their student to continue in the online model for the remainder of the year. A notification will be sent to parents from the school in which the student is enrolled.

  • If you opt-in for the online model for your child(ren) we ask that you commit for the entire year
  • If you return to the hybrid model, you may switch to the online learning model at any time should your child (or another member of your family) develop symptoms, need to quarantine, or become ill—whether that is a result of COVID-19 or another illness. 

Childcare
PUSD’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) program is currently operating and will also offer Emergency Child Care for essential workers and at-risk families. Beginning August 17,  PasadenaLEARNs After School Program will offer a 3-hour online program Monday-Friday beginning at dismissal from the online school day.  We are working with community partners to offer options for in-person childcare, and will provide more details as they become available. 

Conclusion
Things change quickly when it comes to COVID19, which has meant a series of pivots in our planning, sometimes within the same day, and has made our planning both challenging and complex.  We truly appreciate your understanding and patience as we analyze and adapt to constantly changing information and guidelines. 

 I will continue to keep you updated with more information.

Sincerely,

Brian McDonald, Ed.D.
Superintendent


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Pasadena Unified School District
A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald


July 14, 2020

Dear PUSD Community, 

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have a tremendous impact on our lives. In the last several weeks, we have seen an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases. 

Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced modifications to the “Stay at Home” orders and closed indoor activities in Los Angeles and other counties in California due to current public health conditions. Also yesterday, the L.A. County Department of Public Health and the L.A. County Office of Education issued new guidelines and protocols for opening K-12 schools in the new academic year. L.A. County Public Health stated that, given current health data, we must all prepare to remain in a remote learning environment in the new school year. 

From the beginning of the pandemic, every decision that our district has made has been based on science, facts, and the law, with the safety and well-being of our students and staff at the forefront. We have been working in collaboration with the Board of Education, our labor partners, families, and community partners to plan for the safe reopening of our campuses in the new school year. After surveying parents, we had hoped to safely reopen schools in a hybrid model with students attending school on campus on alternate days and an option for 100% online learning. In our online school survey which ended Sunday, we had more than 13,000 responses, a very high completion rate for a survey. We appreciate your engaging with us and sharing your thoughts. 

All of us would like to see students back in school when it’s safe to do so. But Los Angeles County has recorded a surge in new cases in the last week, with a 9% rate of positive cases. 

We cannot and will not take chances with the health and safety of our students and staff. I plan to bring a recommendation to the Board of Education at a special meeting on July 16 that Pasadena Unified open in a 100% distance learning model on August 17.  

We will continue to monitor and evaluate public health conditions and guidelines and will let you know when it is possible to return to in-person learning on campus. 

We have been preparing for the possibility of a full distance learning model. Our school reopening plan is designed to allow us to move seamlessly from a hybrid model to a full distance learning environment and back again as conditions change. 

Distance learning will have a strengthened emphasis on teacher-student engagement, including more live interaction with certificated employees and peers for the purpose of instruction, progress monitoring, and maintaining school connectedness. We will provide specific details in the weeks ahead. 

We will continue planning for a return to in-person learning during the 2020-21 academic year as soon as public health conditions allow and adequate resources are allocated by both the state and federal governments for the safe return to schools.

This ongoing situation is challenging for every one of us. But I know that with the strength, unity, and resolve that PUSD students, staff, and families have demonstrated during these last difficult months, we will get through this time.

Sincerely,

Brian McDonald, Ed.D.
Superintendent


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Pasadena Unified School District
A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald


July 1, 2020

Dear Pasadena Unified families and community:

I hope you and your family are doing well.  

I would like to congratulate our 2020 graduates and wish them well in their future endeavors.  Those virtual graduations are occurred last week; videos are available at pusd.us/pusdgraduates

Future of PUSD: Opening in the 2020-2021 School Year
Although the situation with COVID-19 continues to rapidly change, as of right now we are planning to reopen our schools on August 17, 2020, using a hybrid model that blends in-person and distance learning. 

While we would rather open schools in person, we are planning to reopen in a way that accounts for the fact that the COVID-19 virus will more than likely still be with us with no vaccine available.  The health and safety of our students and staff is at the forefront of our minds.  If health restrictions are lifted by the appropriate authorities and we deem it safe, we will move into a regular, in-classroom mode.

Based on state and local public health guidelines for school and the results of parent and staff surveys, our Pasadena Unified School District Reopening Task Force has developed plans to create safe learning environments for all students. See the plan at pusd.us/reopening 

Families will continue to be essential partners and we thank you for the feedback you have given so far. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the PUSD team for their hard and excellent work in formulating this plan. 

  • Face coverings will be required on campuses to ensure the safety of our students and staff. We are now designing protocols and policies for exemptions and reinforcement. 
  • We are also designing a fully online learning option. We will send out a survey in the next few days to determine the number of students who plan to enroll in virtual learning. Information on how to register is now being developed and will be shared with you as soon as possible.
  • Childcare during non-classroom days is an urgent matter, and we are working with community partners to provide services to our students and their families.

The plan was presented at the June 25, 2020 Board of Education meeting see the video (scroll to Item I) and incorporate your feedback from surveys and the parent forum.  

Adjustments to the plan will be made as state and local guidelines continue to evolve and as we incorporate feedback from the Board and our stakeholders.

We are pleased to present a plan that, while it does include increased costs, will not face significant budget cuts thanks to the agreement between the Governor and the state legislature which keeps our funding intact except for the loss of the 2% cost of living adjustment.

An outline of the plan is posted on our website at pusd.us/reopening

As plans continue to evolve, we will continue to communicate with you. We expect that the next update will be in late July and then more frequently as August 17 approaches.

Sincerely, 

Brian McDonald
Superintendent


June 19, 2020

Dear PUSD Community,

Superintendent Brian McDonald

Today we celebrate Juneteenth, Freedom Day, commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. It’s fitting that last night, the Board of Education unanimously approved Commitment to Black Students, a resolution declaring our District’s unequivocal commitment to and responsibility for ensuring that all Black students fulfill their potential to achieve academically and socio-emotionally. 

Although slavery was abolished over 150 years ago, the vestiges of slavery are still with us. We must do more to ensure that all of our students have a fair opportunity to receive the best education possible that prepares them to take their place in society, be healthy, and to thrive.

This resolution is a starting point for us and we will be working diligently and in collaboration over the next months and years to ensure that our systems and policies all work together to benefit our students. 

Education has long been a key to long-term social and economic change.  Our motto at PUSD is “Our Children. Learning Today. Leading Tomorrow.”  

We need to empower our students with access to a quality education and motivation to do their very best so they can be leaders in changing and correcting the remaining vestiges of racism and disparity in our society. 

Our District’s policy on equity states that, in education, equity is the notion that EACH and EVERY learner will receive the necessary resources they need individually to thrive in PUSD’s schools regardless of their national origin, race, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, first language, religion, or other distinguishing characteristics. 

Every employee must unequivocally commit to being an equity warrior.

Educational equity ensures that every student can achieve at their highest potential, attain high academic outcomes, and experience equitable opportunities to learn with achievement gaps nonexistent at any level. 

As equity warriors, each of us, regardless of our role in a school or in the district, must passionately lead and embrace the mission of educational equity for all students.

We each have the power to influence teaching and learning. I encourage you to work with us in the coming months as we take bold action to fulfill our solemn duty and actualize our mission to provide a caring, engaging, and challenging educational experience for every student, every day.

Sincerely,

Brian McDonald
Superintendent


PUSD seal 
Pasadena Unified School District
A Message from Superintendent Brian McDonald
June 1, 2020

Dear PUSD Community,

Last week’s death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody shows us that the deep-seated biases that have existed in our country continue.  To fix the persistent inequities that are so pervasive in our society, we must face them head-on.  As an African American, as a father, and as an educator, my heart hurts for our nation, for all of us who have faced bias, and for Mr. Floyd and his family.  

The COVID-19 crisis has further exposed the deep divide in our country along racial and socioeconomic lines. 

Enough is enough. It is time for us as a community and as a country and make meaningful and impactful change. The solutions rest with us individually and collectively. 

As we saw images of peaceful protests and violence over the weekend, my thoughts turned to our students and the questions they may have.  It is important that we listen and respond with honesty, and recognize and address their feelings. As a community, we must help them learn, by our own example, to act peacefully against racism and bias by making sustaining changes.  Although the school year officially ended for students last week, we have counseling staff available for our students to help them process what is taking place in many communities across the nation. To get help, please contact the PUSD Family Hotline at (626) 396-3680 or visit our website here.

We as a community must see the humanity in each other and live out the ideals of our country’s Declaration of Independence that states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

One of the central guiding principles of the Pasadena Unified School District is equity – and the events in the news show the depth of emotion in our communities around this issue. The issues surrounding these events are complex and have deep roots, and we must resolve them. 

Our children’s future depends on the actions we take today. We as a school system must do more, through our methods and actions, to ensure that every child and every person, regardless of their race or circumstance, will be lifted up.  Then and only then will our society become one that is truly “out of many, one people.”

Sincerely, 

Brian McDonald
Superintendent