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ENTERTAINMENT
December 21, 2011
Paradise Canyon Elementary School parent volunteers Lisa Dick, Christine Chant and Sandi Smith will join teachers Shaun Apffel, Edita Khanlarian and Kathy Selsor in accepting awards for service to their school when the La Cañada PTA Council holds its annual Founders Day ceremony on March 7. The Paradise Canyon honorees were named Friday during special events held on campus.    
NEWS
October 26, 2011
As a former grateful advanced placement calculus student of Gabrielle Leko's, I was concerned to read of the allegations made of one of my favorite high school teachers, and heartbroken that LCHS might lose her. In light of the upcoming school board election, the press has been focused on our district's inability to identify and address weak teaching. Gabrielle Leko was one of the finest and fairest teachers I had during my time at LCHS. Seven years later I can still remember her system vividly; from the daily quizzes that tested our mastery of the prior day's lesson and homework, to the care she took in grading tests and showing us step-by-step where we had gone wrong, to the giant happy face beside your grade when you got an A. Leko demanded discipline and taught structured organization skills that would serve me well when I headed off to college, where no one was looking over your shoulder to be sure you kept your notes, assignments and tests in order.
NEWS
By Andrew Shortall | June 3, 2010
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is home to some of the most innovative thinkers. This was no exception Friday, when a group of students from Paradise Canyon Elementary School lectured JPL scientists on how to colonize Mars. The team comprises four fifth-graders: Loren Barton, Ankur Jain, Charlie Lea and Anirudh Tammewar, and one third-grader, John Hickman. All of them are members of the science club at Paradise Canyon. The students gave their presentation surrounded by the 1977 Voyager and 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in the von Karman Auditorium.
NEWS
November 6, 2013
Now that the election has come and gone , it is important to me that I write to you regarding the rhetoric used in several social media sites as community members discussed the involvement of teachers in the political process. First, I want to share with you that we elected a group of teachers to interview all eight of the candidates. Using the same questions, we engaged in a discussion with each candidate. At the end of our interviews, we chose to endorse three candidates whom we believed would work hard for our students.
NEWS
April 6, 2012
There is never a break for a teacher (“ Leko agrees to leave La Canada district ,” March 29). Mediocrity and incompetence are pervasive in public education, yet the slip of one foul word or a moment of rage-induced race-baiting, and a dedicated and established teacher gets the boot. School boards have no business taking up discussions over the inappropriate, and indeed offensive, off-hand comments of educators. Instead of hacking away at a teacher, why are they not hacking away at the excessive bureaucracy that is siphoning away much-needed, yet dwindling, funds in school districts across the state?
NEWS
April 1, 2004
By now, we all know that there will be major manpower reductions in our schools because the parcel tax did not pass. At LCHS, teachers of core subjects, including English, math and science, have been informed that they will not be returning under the current budget. High school English teacher James Padilla is one of the many who have been given pink slips. Not only is Mr. Padilla a graduate of Stanford University, he is an experienced teacher who speaks both Latin and Greek, and incorporates his travels in other parts of the world into his teaching.
NEWS
By Carol Cormaci | August 18, 2010
With the exception of a refreshing few, we're all a bunch of wimps in this town. Hardly anyone wants to go public with their criticism of any local institution. I was reminded of this Monday when I received a phone call from a woman who has children attending La Cañada public schools. She had read the L.A. Times' in-depth report Sunday on the Los Angeles Unified School District's methodology for assessing teachers. In case you didn't see the report, here's a very brief recap: The Times found that instead of reviewing individual students' standardized test results from year to year to help pinpoint classrooms where effective teaching skills might be lacking, the Los Angeles district relies on other measures and therefore might be short-changing the students' learning experience.
NEWS
March 31, 2005
I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to respond to the letter, "Merit Pay for Teachers" by Leon Lewandowski, March 24, 2005. Rarely are we given such clear insight into, what I consider, the skewed, illogical, thinking of the left. In the real world, if Mr. Lewandowski's hypothetical chef did not prepare food palatable to the patrons of the restaurant in which he works, he would most likely be fired and/or the restaurant be forced to close. It is incumbent on a chef to prepare food his restaurant patrons will accept, eat and better still, enjoy.
THE818NOW
May 9, 2012
La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation fundraising efforts have brought in $1.55 million to date, signaling that the district likely will be able to retain many of the teachers who received layoff notices in March, officials said this week. “It is hard work for the next two months,” La Cañada Unified School District board President Scott Tracy said Tuesday. “We have less than two months to go until June 30 to try and raise as much money as possible.” The announcement came even as the school board voted Tuesday to lay off the La Cañada High School student store coordinator, cutting a part-time classified staff position.
NEWS
By Sara Cardine, sara.cardine@latimes.com | April 16, 2014
For the past year, Jamie Lewsadder has led La Cañada Unified School District's foray into a new technological era . As IT director, she's worked with a small team of employees to upgrade the district's infrastructure and prepare it for online Common Core field testing, currently in progress. But for all her talents, Lewsadder acknowledges she can only do so many things at once. So last year, when La Cañada High School sophomore Matt Lundy asked her if he could gather a team of tech-minded students to help her bring the campus and teachers up to speed, Lewsadder was on board.
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NEWS
By Sara Cardine, sara.cardine@latimes.com | April 16, 2014
For the past year, Jamie Lewsadder has led La Cañada Unified School District's foray into a new technological era . As IT director, she's worked with a small team of employees to upgrade the district's infrastructure and prepare it for online Common Core field testing, currently in progress. But for all her talents, Lewsadder acknowledges she can only do so many things at once. So last year, when La Cañada High School sophomore Matt Lundy asked her if he could gather a team of tech-minded students to help her bring the campus and teachers up to speed, Lewsadder was on board.
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NEWS
November 6, 2013
Now that the election has come and gone , it is important to me that I write to you regarding the rhetoric used in several social media sites as community members discussed the involvement of teachers in the political process. First, I want to share with you that we elected a group of teachers to interview all eight of the candidates. Using the same questions, we engaged in a discussion with each candidate. At the end of our interviews, we chose to endorse three candidates whom we believed would work hard for our students.
NEWS
October 24, 2013
The La Cañada Teachers Association has endorsed three candidates, Dan Jeffries, Kaitzer Puglia and David Sagal, for the school board election on Tuesday, Nov. 5. We are grateful that so many enthusiastic and talented people are interested in becoming a member of our school board. Interviews helped determine which candidates bring the strongest skills and experience to best support our students. Dan Jeffries is a lead prosecutor who works for the city of Los Angeles. As a manager in local government, his experience helps him be more familiar with funding, budgeting, and state regulations governing local government agencies.
NEWS
By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com | October 23, 2013
Karyn Riel was raised in the westernmost part of the city, known as the Sagebrush area, before her family moved into an area of the city that feeds into the La Cañada Unified School District. She graduated from La Cañada High School before heading to San Francisco State University to study psychology. Now a doctorate student at Pepperdine University and a counselor at multiple sites, the 29-year-old school board candidate is heading a campaign focused on addressing student needs.
NEWS
October 18, 2013
Our La Cañada public school district allows its employees - teachers - to teach classes at other non-LCUSD schools during the summer, and tutor students when not enrolled in their classes. These classes are sometimes ones that are offered at LCUSD, though not necessarily in the summer. However, summer school courses can be a full substitute for regular school-year courses. The school board, and the community, has never had an issue with this because it is legal and allowed under policy, and it has helped many students over the years.
NEWS
By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com | October 17, 2013
Dan Jeffries moved to La Cañada Flintridge more than a decade ago when looking for a community that offered great schools. Jeffries, 55, is a father of five with three children enrolled in elementary schools. By day, he is a prosecutor with the Los Angeles City Attorney's office, dealing mostly with DUI offenses. The Valley Sun recently sat down with Jeffries on the porch of his La Cañada home. What is your motivation for running? Jeffries: I've been thinking about it for a while.
NEWS
By Sara Cardine | July 24, 2013
Can harmonies help kids learn history? Can rhymes reinforce reading skills? Local educator and La Cañada resident Tim Griffin seems to think so. A longtime Los Angeles Unified School District teacher with a proclivity for music, Griffin regularly wove music and performing arts into his lessons to grab students' attention and reinforce core content standards. He penned clever songs covering everything from the American Revolution to zoology. Now he wants to share his talents, and the benefits of using the arts to aid learning, with others.
NEWS
By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com | July 3, 2013
The process for firing problem teachers at La Cañada public schools is so burdensome that officials have decided it's easier - and cheaper - to pay at least some of them to leave. Since 2011, school officials have paid $311,000 to two teachers in lieu of dealing with a firing process viewed as costly, time-consuming and a gamble in terms of outcomes. Another two were placed on administrative leave, and later quit without a monetary settlement, said district Supt. Wendy Sinnette.
NEWS
June 11, 2013
It was bittersweet when I read your front-page article last week about Todd Kissel's upcoming retirement from LCHS 7/8 school . I'm glad that he is still young enough to enjoy the much-deserved wonderful years ahead with his family and friends. But, selfishly, I'm sad that our two grandsons at La Cañada Elementary and countless other students will not have the same opportunity our son and daughter had to experience him as a seventh-grade math teacher. He not only instilled a love of the subject in most kids, but also had their respect - something probably very difficult during those trying junior high years.
NEWS
By Sara Cardine | June 5, 2013
When La Cañada High School sophomore Kara Thompson got an assignment in history class to interview people about what defines humanity, one of the first people she sought out was Todd Kissel. She'd never had a class with the seventh-grade math teacher, but was sure he'd have a good answer. In his 31 years at LCHS 7/8, Kissel, known affectionately by students as Mr. K, has garnered a reputation for being a homespun philosopher who genuinely cares about students. "My question to you is: What defines humanity?"
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