San Marino Unified School District


First published in the Oct. 14 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

The San Marino Unified School District announced last week that it will follow a directive from Gov. Gavin Newsom requiring all students in public and private schools in California to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The directive is conditional on the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the vaccine for students in grades 7-12. 

First published in the Sept. 30 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

In today’s society, which is often driven at breakneck speed by social media, San Marino High School’s Honors Humanities Seminar seems a welcome anomaly.
After all, it involves teenagers who have flocked to enroll in a class that requires students to trek to a staid museum where they are asked to keep their voices low and minds wide open.
The genesis of the class occurred during a meeting between Alex Cherniss, then superintendent of the San Marino Unified School District, and officials at the Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens, just a few weeks after Cherniss took over in July 2015.
“We were talking about a partnership between the school district and I thought, ‘Why not a class?’” Cherniss recalled. “I relayed the idea to then-Principal Mary Johnson and she and her staff did the rest of the work. I think it’s a great addition to our curriculum.”
Add students to that list of admirers. Now in its sixth year, the Honors Humanities Seminar is still a sought-after course offering.

First published in the Sept. 23 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

With most news about education still revolving around the COVID-19 pandemic or related issues, the San Marino Unified School District received welcome information on Tuesday morning: Huntington Middle School has been designated a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
The coveted award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 39th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards on more than 9,000 schools.

First published in the Sept. 9 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

The San Marino school board has scheduled another special meeting for Friday, Sept. 17, to discuss protocols and governance, according to its president, Shelley Ryan. That purpose, however, may not be as innocuous as it sounds.
Angelena Pride, who, represents the California School Boards Association, will facilitate the meeting, which is slated to begin at 8 a.m. at the San Marino Unified School District office
“Each of the last three meetings have contained incidents that showed a lack of civility among either members of the school board or members of the community,” said Ryan. “This is a policy that we have all agreed to follow and right now it is not happening.”

First published in the Sept. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

Almost one in five teenagers has experienced thoughts of suicide, according to a recent youth survey noted by the Centers for Disease Control. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents following unintentional and accidental injuries.
International expert Dr. Jonathan B. Singer will help parents, students and educators to better understand and learn how to prevent these “youth tragedies” when he speaks during a virtual speaker series event hosted by the San Marino Unified School District’s Partnership for Awareness on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.

First published in the Sept. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

Enrollment in the San Marino Unified School District has experienced further decline, according to preliminary figures sent to the Tribune by Linda de la Torre, the SMUSD’s acting superintendent.
The overall number of students for the 2021-22 school year has dropped to 2,697, more than 400 fewer than attended schools five years ago, when the count was 3,101 — a 13% decrease. San Marino High School’s enrollment has dropped to 866 students, compared with 1,110 during the 2016-17 academic year.

The San Marino Unified School District Board of Education is expected to discuss its open superintendent spot at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 7, according to board President Shelley Ryan.
Jeff Wilson resigned from the superintendent’s post in April but remained in that position until June 30, when he took over at the Claremont Unified School District. Soon afterward, the board appointed Linda de la Torre as its acting superintendent.

A total of four students from both of the local elementary schools tested positive on Monday for COVID-19, school officials said in a statement. 
All parents of elementary school students received a general notice from the school principals informing them of the positive cases on campus. The cases were also reported on the district’s COVID dashboard. Students who were identified as having been in close contact with the individuals testing positive, as defined by the Los Angeles County Department of Health (LACDPH), received a separate notification from the school informing families that their child is required to quarantine for 7-10 days.