PUSD School Year Underway

As children in Altadena, Pasadena and Sierra Madre prepare to go back to school, officials of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) remind families that students started school on August 22. Immunizations should be up to date, summer reading finished, and school meal applications completed. Academic options in PUSD have been expanded to prepare students with the skills to succeed in the 21st century.
PUSD began phasing in an early start calendar last year to mirror college schedules. Classes began August 22, 2012 and end June 6, 2013. In 2013-2014, classes will begin August 14 and end May 29, 2014 allowing all students to complete fall classes before the winter break and gain three weeks of instruction prior to taking standardized state tests.
This year, academic initiatives are aimed at preparing students with the skills to compete in the 21st century. Along with the early start calendar, PUSD offers transitional kindergarten, expanded dual language immersion and added two themed academies to its collection of College and Career Pathways programs in PUSD high schools.
“As a learning community, our focus is on fusing academic rigor with the critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and creative skills that students will need to compete and thrive in a global economy,” said Superintendent Jon R. Gundry.
Transitional kindergarten will be offered at four sites (Washington Elementary, McKinley School, Jefferson Elementary and Willard Elementary) this fall for students who turn five years old between October 2 and December 1, 2012. Transitional kindergarten is the first of a two-year state mandated program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate.
The popular Dual Language Immersion Program expands this year with the addition of a kindergarten Spanish dual language class at Jackson Elementary School. The founding programs in Spanish at San Rafael Elementary and Mandarin at Field Elementary expand to fourth-grade this year.
The College and Career Pathways, which offer college preparatory curriculum paired with themed studies and project-based learning in areas such as engineering, entrepreneurship and media, add Law and Public Service and Computer Science/Information Technology this year to the offerings at Pasadena High School.
Students entering or advancing into seventh-grade will need proof of an adolescent whooping cough booster immunization (called Tdap) in order to attend school this fall. For immunization requirements for K-12 students, go to www.health-programs.pasadenausd.org or call (626) 396-3600 extension 88180. Immunizations will be available for students every Monday starting August 27 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the PUSD clinic.
With the adoption of a wellness policy last year, PUSD cafeterias have switched to healthier ingredients to support student nutrition and fitness. Applications for the federal free and reduced price meal program are available at school offices and have been mailed home to district families. Families should make every effort to complete applications before the first day of school.

August 21, 2012

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