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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 5 ~ April 12, 2000

I was pleased to hear some plain talk about problems at Monrovia High. The principal called the situation "alarming." Sometimes I think public officials believe their reputations will be sullied if they admit to problems. Personally, I'm more pleased to hear an admission followed by an effort to fix it. I've heard the admission and the plan to fix it. Now we watch.
~ Brad Haugaard

ALARMING ~ The Monrovia High School principal told the board Wednesday night that the situation with drugs and violence at the school is "very alarming." He said there have been 12 drug possession incidents at the school so far this year. He recommended the board take on the sniffer-dog company, Interquest, to do periodic, unannounced checks starting in May.

He said his plan involves not just the dog company, but also drug education, consistent discipline and regular review of the program's success.

Board member Bruce Carter said he's heard students comment for more than ten years on the easy availability of drugs on campus.

The board seemed pretty positive about putting the plan on its agenda so it can be officially addressed. The only concerns I heard were from member Betty Sandford, who wondered about the constitutionality of the dogs, and wanted to know what alternatives had been considered.

MASS HONORS ~ The board honored somewhere around 76 parents, teachers and district employees, all who had won awards from the Monrovia PTA branches. The board passed out purple, red, orange and green helium balloons to the winners until it looked like a forest. One Clifton teacher said, "This should go to Mr. Card [the former principal]. Either that or I had a great impact from going to one meeting." Congratulations all!

FIRST PLACE ~ Speaking of honors, this is pretty neat. Santa Fe Middle School seventh grader Daniel Serrano won first place in UCLA's AVID reading and writing program for the seventh-through-twelfth grade category for all of Southern California. Participants had to read a college level text and write an article based on their understanding of it. Also a big winner was Santa Fe eighth grader Travis Lassiter, who took first place in regional competition (The region being from Glendale to "beautiful" Needles). The name AVID - you need to get in educational acronym mode here - stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. Yuck! I'd go by AVID too if I had a handle like that.

FREE FILTER ~ The district is getting free (sort of) Internet filtering software and hardware from a company called N2H2. Nice of that N2H2, huh? No, more like clever. In exchange for the filtering stuff, which will save the district about $15,000 over the next three years, the company gets to put "small" and "appropriate" ads up on the schools' computers when they're accessing the Web.

AIR CONDITIONING ~ In explaining what sounded like "the district will get less money next year but the district will get more money next year," Linda Dempsey, director of business services, mentioned in passing that all Monrovia elementary schools will get air conditioning next year. That part I understood. (I think the less but more contradiction has something to do with getting more absolute dollars but not keeping up with inflation, but don't hold me to it.)

FOUR ~ And that's about it, unless you want to know about the World Book Encyclopedia and "four (4)" megaphones that were donated to Monrovia High. Why do they do that "four (4)" thing, anyway? Does that make it clearer that "four" is the same as "4"?

CHEATING ~ I feel I'm cheating you all. The newsletter is so short this time. It's like I'm not giving you your money's worth... Come to think of it, though, maybe I am.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next regular meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10 at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive. However, there's something on May 2 called a BAM, which appears to be a meeting of the Board (that's the B), Association (what association, I don't know, but anyway, it accounts for the A), and Management (the M). And there's something on May 16 called a "Jt. Pers.Comm./Bd. Mtg.," which I'm not about to try to unscramble. Not at this time of night.

Copyright (c) 2000, Brad Haugaard