PUSD Today: 15 Things You Might Not Know
Sometimes it is good to step back from all of the education budget woes and take a real look at the many positive things going on in our local schools. Here is "PUSD Today: 15 Things You Might Not Know," from a community presentation given by the Pasadena Educational Foundation.

Become Bilingual
Mandarin, Spanish and French immersion programs beginning in Kindergarten

Four Thematically-Focused Magnet Schools
Eliot Arts Middle School, Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy, Washington Elementary STEM Magnet, and Washington STEAM Middle School

Think International
International Baccalaureate Program available from elementary to high school

The Diversity Advantage
Connecting and learning with peers from different racial and socio-economic backgrounds

Follow Your Dreams
Nine unique college and career academies on four campuses

Upgraded and New Schools
Brand new and state of the art renovated schools throughout the district

Express Yourself
Music, theater, dance and visual arts throughout
Explore Art
Ten world-renowned local art institutions and museums partner in My Masterpieces program

Seeds of Growth
19 educational school-community gardens

Radical Math Acceleration
Math Academy sets new standard for gifted mathematicians

Get Active
College-recruited athletes, new and renovated sports complexes, and winning teams

Visualize It
Every PUSD school has 3D printers

Code It
Robotics at every middle school

Over $10 million in scholarships and grants awarded in 2017

Local businesses, organizations and institutions partner with PUSD schools and programs

+ 1 = Community Support
Pasadena Educational Foundation raises $12 million per year for PUSD schools
The Vision | The children of Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre all grow up in a safe, stable,
                        and supportive environment that prepares them for success in school and life.
Calling all Parents and Community Members
On April 12 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Collaborate PASadena, in partnership with the Pasadena Unified School District, will hold a "Cookies, Coffee, Conversation" gathering at Rosebud Coffee. We want to hear your thoughts and ideas! Please RSVP to elizabeth@collpas.org. Hope you can make it!
Hillsides Education Center: Transforming Lives for 36 Years
Thea Russett, nine, was struggling at the LA private school she attended. Unable to control her behavior, she was constantly in trouble, and her mom, Meg, knew she needed a more therapeutic educational environment. As she began researching possible choices, Meg wasn't excited about any of the schools until she and Thea visited Hillsides Education Center (HEC), a Pasadena nonpublic school for students with emotional, learning and behavioral challenges. Meg enrolled Thea in HEC and she has blossomed. For the first time, school is a place where she is succeeding and feeling good about herself.

Thea is one of hundreds of students who has benefited from HEC since its creation 36 years ago in 1982. HEC, which offers academic support combined with psychological and clinical services to students in first – 12 th grade, is one of only 20 nonpublic special education providers in Los Angeles County granted accreditation by the Western Association of School and Colleges. HEC is also set apart by its unique GROWTH program, which teaches children social and personal awareness, tenacity, and problem-solving skills. The school, which boasts small class sizes and personal attention, contracts with more than 20 school districts in Southern California.

Hillsides is dedicated to healing children and young adults, strengthening families, and transforming communities through quality comprehensive services and advocacy. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the agency serves more than 14,000 children and families in Southern California throughout more than 40 sites, including school-based mental health offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Baldwin Park. Foster care and adoption services are offered in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. Visit www.hillsides.org for more information. Pictured above are Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek with Hillsides Education Center principal Lupe Gonzalez, and Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides president and CEO at the HEC Open House celebration in 2017 celebrating the school’s 35 anniversary
Born and raised in Pasadena, PUSD parent Marlene Benites attended Altadena Elementary, Willard, Wilson and PHS. She has "seen it all" and is now raising her children in Pasadena as well. Marlene has two daughters, ages 22 (in college) and 15 (attending private school), and a 5 year old son who has Down Syndrome (attending McKinley School).

Marlene is a strong voice for her own son and other children with special needs. "I'm a strong believer that you've got to be the change you want to see," she says. And sometimes that means attending many (many) meetings, and not being afraid to speak up. Ultimately, she wants all people, including educators, to look at her son, Jesse's, ability, not just his disability.

Marlene has described her son as "not a job, you don't clock out" of caring for and advocating for a child with special needs. She is fortunate to have lots of family support in Pasadena, and finds respite in spending time at her daughter's soccer games. Marlene was also a student in last Fall's Collaborate PASadena Neighborhood Leadership Institute.
She also finds support through Club 21 Learning and Resource Center for Individuals With Down Syndrome, and its Beinvenidos program which brings together moms of children with special needs, for fellowship, fun and support. Club 21 also offers training for teachers, paid for by parents, with the substitute teachers needed in their absence paid for by Club 21 (no cost to the district). A few of Jesse's teachers have participated in the program which aims to dispel fears and help teachers better understand the needs of children with disabilities. It helps teachers also to "teach them the way they are able to learn."

In the end, Marlene sites the biggest challenge as having district personnel really understand and believe in the journey, and what is written in a child's IEP (Individual Education Plan). "I want to spread public awareness, and to make this a better world and a better journey for everyone," she concludes.
Neighborhood Summit Held
More than 80 enthusiastic community members came out to a second Neighborhood Summit on April 4, hosted by Collaborate PASadena at the Altadena Library, and designed to foster discussions on topics such as Roadmap to Resolution: Empowering Neighborhoods to Solve Problems; Being a Good Neighbor; How we Help Each Other; Being Ready for Anything: Map Your Neighborhood; Mobility: Getting from Point A to Point B; and Your Neighborhood School and You: Partnerships that Bring Change! The Summit was coordinated by members of Collaborate PASadena's Supportive Communities Work Group.
Join the City's Budget Conversation
The City of Pasadena is working hard to maintain the services and programs that make Pasadena a great place to live. As the City looks toward its 2019 budget planning and adoption, residents are invited to share what is important to them. There will be informal gatherings around the City designed to hear from residents, and a survey has just gone online. Click below to participate.
News and Events
Click here to find the latest news and events on the Collaborate PASadena website! We happily post partner news and events on our site and on our Facebook page and Instagram. Submit to elizabeth@collpas.org .
Partner Praise
If you haven't checked out, pun intended, the Altadena Library District (600 E. Mariposa Street) lately, you really need to get in and see all that is happening. There is something for everyone! The library has become a real community hub -- click here for the library's newsletter highlighting all the latest happenings.
v. to make stronger; enlarge; extend