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* * * * * Next Regular Board of Education Meeting is September 13th at 6:30 p.m. * * * * *

News & Highlights

8/25/16

2015-2016 Academic Checkup Shows Significant Student Growth

SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (August 24, 2016) – On Wednesday, the California Department of Education released the 2015-2016 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) results, which revealed a four percent increase districtwide in students exceeding and meeting standards in English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics from the prior year.  As a result, South Pasadena students’ proficiency places the District in the top five of K-12 Unified School Districts in the State of California.  These ELA and math assessments were administered to students in grades three through eight, and grade eleven in Spring 2016.

            “Student performance is stronger than ever,” said Christiane Gervais, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD). “The improvement in assessment results is a reflection of everyone and everything that contributes to academic achievement.  Our students, teachers, administrators, support staff and parents all working together contributed to the strong academic growth and progress of our students. We celebrate our teachers and their continuing efforts to implement the California standards in their classrooms.”

            These assessments for ELA and mathematics are based on California’s challenging academic standards, which include the ability to write clearly, think critically and solve problems.  2015-2016 results show that 81 percent of students met or exceeded ELA standards and 78 percent of students met or exceeded Math standards, which is an increase of four percent from the prior year in both ELA and Math. 

            “This is our time to shine,” said Dr. Geoff Yantz, SPUSD superintendent. “The District’s focus on well-rounded strategic goals helps our faculty and staff ensure that students are learning and excelling in the state standards.  We have many ways in which we evaluate ourselves and our students, and we are so proud of this year’s success with the CAASPP.”

            Earlier this month, SPUSD mailed individual student score reports to parents and guardians. The report details an overall score for each subject and information for how each child performed in different skill areas associated with English language arts/literacy and mathematics.  If a child tested in 2015, the score report presents two years of data, which allows parents and guardians to view a child’s progress over the last year. SPUSD also created a webpage for parents that includes videos and guides to understanding the new score reports and assessments: http://spusd.net/CAASPP.   

About South Pasadena Unified School District

Established in 1886, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) serves approximately 4,800 students within five schools including three elementary schools, one middle school and one comprehensive high school in South Pasadena, California.  Nestled in the West San Gabriel Valley, SPUSD has earned a reputation of providing high quality public education, attracting families who value challenging academic programs and outstanding teachers. Consistently recognized for superior performance, SPUSD students earn honors at the local, state and national level.  The District draws vital support from parents and community members through the South Pasadena Educational Foundation, local PTAs and booster clubs.

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For more information, contact: South Pasadena Unified School District, Office of the Superintendent at scarroll@spusd.net.

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7/12/16

Bond Funds will be used to Build and Improve School Facilities

SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (July 12, 2016) – On Tuesday, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) School Board approved adding a $98 million facilities bond measure to the November 2016 ballot.  If voters approve this measure, the funds will be used for upgrades and repairs to education facilities as well as new construction.

     “South Pasadena Unified is a strong District comprised of outstanding educators and amazing students,” said Julie Giulioni, president of the South Pasadena Unifed School Board. “SPUSD students deserve facilities that are safe, secure, and inspire their ability to learn 21st century skills. We need to repair and upgrade our infrastructure and aging facilities. And we have an opportunity to create new spaces that better meet student and instructional needs.”

     A comprehensive facilities assessment recently completed by SPUSD  revealed the need for health and safety improvements to buildings, repairs to heating and cooling systems, and replacement of aging roofs. The assessment explored opportunities to replace portable classrooms with permanent buildings, create new instructional spaces for visual and performing arts education, and modernize and preserve historical theaters and auditoriums.

     “Our existing school facilities are well-maintained and highly functional, however certain instructional spaces and infrastructure are in need of significant attention,” said Dr. Geoff Yantz, superintendent.   “This initiative ensures the District has the funding it needs to make facility upgrades and therefore to help maintain the quality of education in South Pasadena.”

     Throughout the past several months, Dr. Yantz has held in-person meetings for parents, District staff and community members about the potential bond measure.  Stakeholders shared their priorities for possible bond projects including state-of-the-art instructional spaces for science, technology, engineering and robotics as well as upgrade locker rooms, fields, courts, and playgrounds.

     The District also completed voter surveys this spring, inquiring about the importance of upgrading school facilities. Quantitative and qualitative research show that South Pasadena voters overwhelmingly believe that maintaining and improving the quality of schools is very important.  Voters place a high priority on basic repairs and upgrades to schools understanding that improvements like these are a wise investment for the future.

     “The upgrades within existing buildings are necessary improvements,” added Yantz. “Increasing energy and water efficiency and creating more functional spaces lead to potential cost savings in the long run.”

     California Proposition 39 restricts bond money from being used for district administrative and teacher salaries or other operating expenses.

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7/1/16

Resolution Brings Community Concerns to the Forefront; Encourages Five-Star Education Coalition to Oppose All 710 Freeway Tunnel Alternatives

SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (July 1, 2016) – The South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) approved a resolution opposing all the SR-710 Freeway Tunnel Alternatives, requesting the SR-710 North DEIR/S address the adverse health impacts and risks to students, staff and parents who are in close proximity to the potential route.  SPUSD school board members also presented a similar resolution to the Five-Star Education Coalition – encouraging its members to vote to oppose all 710 Freeway Tunnel Alternatives.  All parties are asking state officials, Caltrans, Metro and others work to implement the strategies outlined in the Beyond the 710 Initiative.

     Representing 70,000 students, the Five-Star Education Coalition is comprised of two school board members and superintendents from five school districts:  Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada, Pasadena, and South Pasadena.  The group meets monthly in partnership with elected officials and business and community leaders to endorse and improve educational experiences for the students they serve.

     “The City of South Pasadena and the South Pasadena Unified School District can be proud of the many accomplishments that have been achieved together, added School Board President Julie Giulioni.  “Board members are pleased to recommend approval of this resolution in support of the City’s effort to make community health and safety a priority.”

     The South Pasadena resolution was inspired through collaborative discussions that occur monthly between SPUSD and City of South Pasadena officials in the City/School District’s Ad Hoc Committee. The Ad Hoc Committee is comprised of School Board President Julie Giulioni, Board Member Dr. Michele Kipke, Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz, and City Council Members Dr. Marina Khubesrian and Robert Joe, and City Manager Sergio Gonzalez.  The purpose of the committee is to maintain an open line of communication between the two entities, work collaboratively on common issues, and generate ideas worth sharing.

     “I appreciate the opportunity to work closely with our school district and am grateful for the District’s effort to make South Pasadena a highly desirable place to live, work and be educated by bringing this resolution forward to the South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Trustees and the Five-Star Coalition,” said Dr. Khubesrian who has served on the Ad Hoc Committee since its inception several years ago. 

     The Five-Star Coalition Resolution on the SR-710 North Draft Environmental Impact Report can be found at www.beyondthe710.org.

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For more information, contact: South Pasadena Unified School District, Office of the Superintendent at scarroll@spusd.net.

 

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6/20/16

Updates Reflect Revisions to Local Control Accountability Plan and Bargaining Unit Negotiations

SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (June 14, 2016) – Coinciding with California’s state budget approval later this month and the end of the fiscal year, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) administration presented a proposed three year budget to the Board of Education beginning with the fiscal year 2016-2017.  The proposed budget reflects items such as Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) projections, Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) revisions and recent bargaining unit negotiations.

     The District ends the 2015-2016 fiscal year with a 7.3% reserve balance, but the budget prudently prepares for slower economic growth.  According to School Services of California, the average unified school district reserve balance in 2014-2015 was 13.09%. The State’s funding formula (LCFF) has created a significant funding disparity providing more dollars to districts that serve greater numbers of English-learners, children from low-income families and foster youth. Therefore, it is critical for districts, like South Pasadena, to rely on revenue generated through local sources.

     “While the District has enjoyed several years of increased state funding, South Pasadena Unified as compared to many other California districts receives a low level of overall funding. Many of the expenditures delineated  in the budget reflect statutory increases mandated by the State,” said Dave Lubs, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. “A continued emphasis on local funding sources such as the parcel tax,  SPEF, Booster Clubs and PTAs is critical to maintain the District’s history of educational excellence.  Approximately 10% of the District’s operating budget is generated through these local sources.” 

     LCFF legislation and funding requires districts to update the LCAP annually based on stakeholder input.  This spring, SPUSD constituent groups were asked to participate in a survey evaluating District-wide services and programs. These survey results were shared in stakeholder meeting sessions and these sessions led to recommended LCAP revisions, including a re-alignment of LCAP goals to the District Strategic Plan.

     “Parents, students, educators, bargaining unit representatives, and community members provided thoughtful and relevant information about the impact of SPUSD’s services and programs,” said Christiane Gervais, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services. “It is apparent that student success is a high priority, and we are grateful to all the stakeholders who participated in the LCAP input and revision process.”

     The proposed budget also reflects salary increases for certificated, classified, and management employees which include a 2% retoractive increase for 2015-2016 and reflects no salary increases for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 fiscal years.

    The Board is expected to take action on the proposed budget and the LCAP on June 28, 2016.

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Today: 8/28/16

Key Dates for the 2016-2017 School Year

Click HERE to view the List of Important Dates.

Click HERE to view the entire Instructional Calendar.

 

First Day of School - Thursday, August 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Break - November 21-25, 2016

Winter Break - Thursday, December 22, 2016 to Friday, January 6, 2017

Spring Break - April 3-7, 2017

Last Day of School - Friday, June 9, 2017