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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 30 ~ Sept. 12, 2001

In light of what happened yesterday in New York and Washington D.C., I'm not much in the mood to write about what the school board did tonight. It seems so trivial by comparison. But as I think about it, hashing through these day-to-day things, bickering, cooperating, proposing new ideas, critiquing our government, saying stupid things - all peacefully, or relatively so - is freedom. It's what America is about. So let's get started.
~ Brad Haugaard (

MONROE ~ Monroe School is apparently looking quite dapper in its new coat of paint. Board President Roger Graziani said it looks "like a brand new school." Business Services Director Linda Dempsey said the school has some nice architectural features that the paint has accented nicely.

LOCKERS ~ The district will send out a second request for bids to install lockers at Monrovia High School. Business Services Director Linda Dempsey said there was a legal problem with the first bidding process. She said the district should still be able to get the lockers in by the end of January.

WELCOME ~ To new Adult Education Assistant Principal Lois Sowers, who has had 14 years experience in middle school, worked at Maranatha school in Sierra Madre, and has been something of school-business liason; and to Pupil Personnel Services Assistant Ursula Reveles, who started teaching in Los Angeles and most recently is from Mayflower school. The board was also going to introduce new Mayflower principal, Jill Selak, but Superintentent Louise Taylor said Jill was driving her daughter to college.

MUMBLING ~ In the continuing mumbling contest, Superintendent Louise Taylor - whom I can barely hear - is ahead by a nose (or ear), followed closely by Technology Director Robert Geiger. Trailing a poor third is Board Member Betty Sandford, who is frequently audible. Fourth is Business Director Linda Dempsey, generally far behind in the pack, but with an occasional leap into incoherence. The others speak so clearly you'd think they weren't aware there's a contest going on. Come on you guys. You gotta at least try!

INTERNET ~ I think Tech Director Robert Geiger said something about getting a bunch of Internet cable set out during the summer, and something about getting two computers in every classroom by June, and I think he said something about getting a phone in every class. But I'm not sure. Remember, he's a contender.

EMERGENCY SYSTEMS ~ The emergency systems apparently got a workout on the first day of school. The cops were chasing some guy and called the district to advise the schools to keep the kids buttoned down. So some of the schools "went into lockdown," according to Superintendent Taylor. But I'm not quite sure I heard this either.

OPEN COURT ~ Taylor said she has heard teachers comment that some teachers have commented to her that they are "astounded" by the skills of the students coming out of the Open Court curriculum.

LOOPING AND SCORES ~ Regarding the SAT 9 scores, a parent writes: "From casual observation, you may notice that Mayflower has a pattern of good one year and bad the next. Take a look at the earlier reports and follow a group of kids through time. Some of us speculate that this has something to do with the teachers who are looping (first grade teacher sticks with a class and teaches second). There may be a strong set of teachers and another set that needs improvement."

NAMEPLATES ~ When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but titles on the nameplates! If you are a new reader I've been griping for... what? a year? that the podium nameplates of staff members just gave their names and not their titles. I suggested it'd be a courtesy to people in the audience - both of them - to have the titles as well. Well! There they were! Amazing but true. Thanks! I feel I oughta be nice now, but I'll resist the temptation.

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT ~ Here's the schedule:
Pre-K, Canyon Early Learning Center, Oct. 1, 6-7 p.m.
Kindergarten, Canyon Early Learning Center, Oct. 1, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Elementary Schools, Oct. 2, 6:30 p.m.
Monrovia High, Oct. 3, 6 p.m.
Canyon Oaks HS and Mountain Park School, Oct. 3, 7 p.m.
Clifton Middle School, Oct. 4, 5:45 p.m.
Santa Fe Middle School, Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m.

MONINA'S IDEA ~ New board member Monina Diaz had an interesting idea. She's been reading management pro Peter Drucker, who thinks members of non-profit boards should be their organizations' lead fundraisers. President Roger Graziani said he wasn't sure that's quite the board's role. Well, maybe not, Roger, but don't be such a wet blanket (that's my job). I have a friend who is a University of Chicago graduate. He was recently hit up by its alumni association and was amazed at how good these associations are at fundraising. He was mulling over the sorry state of the Pasadena schools and asked himself why K-12 districts shouldn't have alumni associations to help them raise money. Yeah! Why not? Why not a Monrovia Schools Alumni Association? Help Monina start one, or encourage an existing foundation to expand in that direction.

STUDENT REP ~ The new student representative to the board, Alex Laushkin, seems very bright. He expresses himself well and politely asks members of the audience how they are when he walks in. (I kind of grunt in reply. I should take lessons.) He takes his role seriously, giving a detailed student's-eye view of what's going on at Monrovia High.

SWEARING IN ~ Alex was sworn in to his new position tonight, and repeated the standard words. You know, swearing to uphold the Constitution and defending it from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I've heard them a hundred times, but somehow they really hit me tonight. Board President Roger felt the same way. "Usually," he said, "those words are pretty routine," but today, he said, they're "pretty heavy duty." Indeed they were.

APOLOGY ~ I must apologize. I missed the last school board meeting. And I was so looking forward to it because I wanted to hear the discussion of the SAT 9 scores. Sorry. But I do have two excellent excuses: I'm senile and, uh, um, something else too.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next regular meeting is on Sept. 25 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive. That's a Tuesday, not the usual Wednesday. This time Brad, remember! Copyright (c) 2001, Brad Haugaard. Also on the Web at: