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First Week of School Finished, Talks with Community Begin

An enthusiastic group of fourth and fifth graders offer their suggestions during a workshop in February, 2020. Photo by Helen Arase

Location

Alhambra , CA

Alhambra Unified School District began school on Wednesday. At the moment, there is a “total focus on getting school started right” and technology access and communicating with district families are priorities.

The district will release a distance learning guide for families that includes contact information for department heads and school administrators, FAQs with learning tips and helpful links. Check school and district websites for the guide, slated for posting early next week.

AUSD also has a distance learning hub where other parent and student resources can be found.

Alhambra Unified Board of Education and Superintendent Denise R. Jaramillo announced a series of “community conversations” throughout the school year, beginning Sept. 10.

AUSD’s community conversations will cover many more topics – special education, student support, health and safety and more. Culture, respect and inclusion are on the list of topics.

A popular social media post describing a bystander’s view of an alleged incident between Alhambra High School staff and a non-English speaking parent made the rounds a couple of weeks ago, sparking a firestorm of outraged posts.

The district told Alhambra Source on the day of the post they are “absolutely investigating” and have been speaking with the family, the bystander and AHS staff who were named in the alleged incident. Until further details are made public, this is Jaramillo’s statement.

“Listening is powerful, and we need to do more of it at AUSD,” the district said. “The AHS incident must play a part in a lot of our plans, not only for AHS, but for the district.”

It is now working with LACOE to create a district-wide program on inclusion and hired Nicole Anderson, a professional development consultant specializing in educational and racial equity to facilitate the immediate work within the district.

Scheduled conversation dates are Sept. 10, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 15 and Oct 22. Participants will be able to sign up on the school and district homepages.

Parents have also expressed the need for childcare or learning pods. The district has a list of five locations that provide a range of childcare options for some as young as pre-school to as old as grade 8.

All are fee based but available on both weekday and weekends and academic assistance is available. Most have food options and some transportation provided. See the childcare list for locations, contact info and websites. An after-school childcare list is also posted – some are fee-based and some are not – with varying operating hours and food options.

Food security is an issue for many AUSD families. A large number of local and county partners are coordinating a drive-through food distribution at the end of August. The entrance and exit routes are being finalized, but will be at 110 S. Second Street – between Alhambra High and City Hall – on Aug. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., while supplies last.

If your child does not have access to a computer, request a computer be loaned to them from the district until further notice. The process is similar to the distribution that happened in March.

There is a limited supply though, so the district is asking parents to request a computer only if they do not have any technology to provide to their student. Get internet access here.

In other district news, any other year, Alhambra Unified School District would celebrate its employees of the year in-person. This year, AUSD congratulated from a distance.

Jaramillo and a committee of employee-nominated district staff chose the classified, certificated and administrator of the year based on their “exceptional efforts during a historic year of challenges.”

Ynez Elementary School front office manager Nancy Yamada was awarded classified employee of the year for “creating welcome and harmony at Ynez.” Baldwin Elementary School teacher Patricia Allaf was awarded certificated employee of the year for her “gift for challenging her students to be Cougar leaders.” Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Janet Lees was awarded administrator of the year for her “efforts to produce and overnight Distance Learning plan while navigating unprecedented obstacles.”

(From left) 2020 Classified Employee of the Year Nancy Yamada; 2020 Certificated Employee of the Year Patricia Allaf; 2020 Administrator of the Year Janet Lees. Image via AUSD.

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