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February 14, 2012
The La Cañada school board is mulling over how to restore instructional minutes lost from last year's windstorm. Schools were closed Dec. 1-2 due to the power outage following the windstorm that uprooted trees and left thousands in the dark. Teachers have already made adjustments to their lesson plans, Supt. Wendy Sinnette stated in a press release Tuesday, but the board plans to meet with the La Cañada Teachers Association Feb. 29 to fully vet their options. "[B]oth the teachers and the District recognize the impact of the emergency weather conditions on the school year calendar and the importance of coming together to look at any potential calendar alterations for restoring instructional time," stated Sinnette.
By Tiffany Kelly, | February 7, 2012
After meeting four separate times behind closed doors, district officials voted unanimously Tuesday to start the process of firing Gabrielle Leko, the La Cañada High School math teacher accused of making ethnic slurs and other derogatory comments to students in her classroom. Formal dismissal proceedings, however, will not begin until Feb. 27, giving the district and the embattled educator time to consider other options. Following the Tuesday vote, school board President Scott Tracy said this could include an agreement for Leko to leave at the end of the school year.
January 25, 2012
Flintridge Preparatory School science teacher Theresa Cheng has been selected by the National Science Teachers Association to be a Dow-NSTA Fellow in the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. Cheng was one of hundreds of applicants to receive the chance to participate in the NSTA's year-long fellowship, which includes mentoring, web seminars and financial support to attend the NSTA 2012 National Conference in Indianapolis.
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.    
December 20, 2011
La Cañada Unified School District is advertising an upper-level math position to begin after the holidays, La Cañada Patch reported Wednesday. It was unclear whether or not the job positing was related to Gabrielle Leko's possible dismissal from her job as a math teacher at La Canada High School. Leko is accused of addressing a student as “Jew boy,” among other offenses. As a result of a formal complaint against her, Gabrielle Leko was directed last month to undergo sensitivity and diversity training.
December 8, 2011
It is with great regret that I write this response to last week's letter to the editor in which an uninformed community member blamed the La Cañada Teachers Association for putting the rights of teachers before our students. It also saddens me that the tenor of the conversations regarding the La Cañada Unified School District has turned sour over the last few months and I hope this letter will be the beginning of a critical healing that must take place within our community. The employees of LCUSD strive daily to work in partnership with parents, students and the community to provide the best possible education for all students.
By Megan O'Neil, | December 7, 2011
La Cañada Unified officials admitted during a meeting Tuesday that mistakes were made last year in the handling of complaints against a local math teacher, and promised to sharpen district policies to better address future concerns. The comments came during a presentation on the district's public complaint procedure, requested by members of the community rankled by what they described as a failure by administrators to take past issues seriously. Supt. Wendy Sinnette and outgoing school board President Susan Boyd told audience members that they were legally barred from commenting on the specifics of the complaint against Gabrielle Leko, who was accused of addressing a ninth-grade geometry student as “Jew boy,” among other offenses.
November 30, 2011
In Carol Cormaci's last column (Piece of Mind, 11/24), she solicited input from La Cañada teachers on many of the recent conversations about our public schools. Specifically, she suggested there may be a “culture of silence” permeating teachers' willingness to complain about our schools, alluding to a similar culture that this paper had reported existing among parents in our district. Cormaci likely isn't aware that this “silence” is not brought upon by a culture as much as by union decree.
By Carl Herman | November 30, 2011
Carol Cormaci (“Teachers, we want you to tell us your stories. Please,” Nov. 24), is correct in stating that there is a “culture of silence” within La Cañada Unified School District; I appreciate her initiative to upgrade it through the power of communication. I was hired in 2007 primarily to teach advanced placement government/economics at LCHS, and was not rehired after my second year because I worked to evolve that silence into the highest professional standards for academic communication.
November 23, 2011
Now that the La Cañada Unified School District Board election is behind us, perhaps it's time to revisit the discussion about the teacher accountability. While attending the LCUSD candidates forum a while ago, I sensed that the candidates were heavily emphasizing “teacher accountability,” which I'm interpreting as a way to evaluate all teachers and then rid of “bad teachers.” Well, evaluation of a teacher begins the very moment when s/he submits an application form for a teaching position at a LCUSD school.
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