Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
~ Nelson Mandela
By Mary O’KEEFE
August 21 is the first day of school for Glendale Unified School District, Aug. 20 for Los Angeles Unified School District. Teachers are getting their classrooms ready, kids are picking out new backpacks, or finding where they tossed their old ones last June, and PTA volunteers are preparing for upcoming fundraisers and assemblies.
It is important for parents, and high school students who are driving, to allow enough time to get to school. Historically, traffic not only around schools increases but also along Foothill Boulevard as kids head back to school. There are some traffic heavy areas near Crescenta Valley High School and Rosemont Middle School that have caught the attention of local leaders.
At CVHS one trouble spot is the four-way stop at the corner of Community and Glenwood avenues. Students from both the high school and La Crescenta Elementary School are dropped off nearby and use the crosswalks to get to their schools. There is no designation of when to cross, no crossing guard on-site, and high school students cross at all times, which makes it difficult for cars to proceed along the route.
“We continue to work with the Crescenta Valley Town Council, Glendale USD, and La Crescenta Elementary School on a traffic study in the hopes of securing a crossing guard at the corner of Glenwood and Community,” said CVHS Principal Linda Junge. “Crossing guards require specialized training and are not employed by the district. We are hoping that our collaborative efforts can result in resources for a crossing guard as well as ideas for engineering this intersection to increase pedestrian and motorist safety.”
Rosemont Middle School has had its own traffic issues. Principal Scott Anderle has some advice for drivers dropping students off.
“The first couple of days traffic around the school is crazy,” said Anderle. “Plan your routes carefully. Drop-off is in front of school and at the back gate. We have a drop off line at the back gate that works well if you are traveling east on Los Olivos Lane. The further away you stay from school, the happier you will be. It’s okay to drop off on a surrounding street and let your kids walk. Please do not use Ralphs [market] as your drop-off and pick-up [places]. The extra traffic is very frustrating to the patrons and we try to be good neighbors.”
Traffic has already increased as this week CVHS students have been picking up books, schedules and student identification.
“Teachers return on Monday and are enjoying their last days of summer this week. Department chairs and teacher leaders have been [on campus] multiple times already this summer to finalize the master schedule and work on whole school goals with administration,” Junge said.
This year there will be some changes at CVHS, which will affect traffic patterns. Banking days have been changed from Tuesday to Wednesday. Banking days affect start or end times for schools. At Crescenta Valley High School, the school day will start later in the morning on Wednesday at 9 a.m. for first period rather than 7:55 a.m.
One day a week additional instructional minutes are “banked” to create a common planning time for staff. Students arrive at school one hour later on that day, called “banking day.” Instructional minutes remain the same, according to California State mandates. During this hour the staff is involved in faculty meetings, professional development, as well as grade level and other staff meetings.
“We moved banking day to Wednesday as there are overall fewer athletic competitions that day of the week, meaning students would miss fewer classes when pulled [out of class] to board a bus. Frequency of banking days is still every other week,” Junge added.
Thursday banking days remain the same at Rosemont. As it has for the past several years, the Fire House youth center will be open on Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. for Rosemont students. Pancake breakfast is served throughout the morning. The Fire House is located at 2563 Foothill Blvd. on the grounds of St. Luke’s of the Mountains.
Student clubs are very popular at both Rosemont and CVHS. At the high school, clubs reach out to students a few weeks after school begins at its Club Expo. At Rosemont, clubs hit the ground running on the first day of school.
“These groups are created in the first few weeks of school and are sponsored by teachers, but led by the students. Daily announcements are made as to what clubs will meet and they are open to all. Last year we had over 40 clubs,” Anderle said.
Both schools will continue to focus on school safety.
“See something, say something,” Anderle urged. He encouraged students, staff and parents to let the administration know if they see or hear something that is suspicious or troubling.
“We want all our kids to be safe,” he said.
Last year CVHS and its PTSA were proactive and hosted college safety assemblies. Though the school prepares students well academically for college it wanted to give some real-world tips on college safety.
“Based on the positive feedback and high value, we will again host a college safety assembly during the day for seniors as well as [hold] an evening session for parents,” Junge said. “This will occur in the spring after college acceptance and commitment drives home the reality of how their lives will be changing.”
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. – Willian Butler Yeats