Building Greater Children

Mayor Bill Bogaard
2004 Parade of Banners
Paseo Colorado
October 8, 2004

Each year, the Pasadena Educational Foundation sponsors the Parade of Banners, which spotlights businesses and organizations that support Pasadena public schools. On October 8, 2004, Mayor Bogaard was the keynote speaker and his remarks follow:

It is exciting for me to be part of this celebration—the 2004 Parade of Banners—which spotlights Pasadena public schools and the progress being made in pursuing excellence in the classrooms and excellent achievement on the part of the students. We have a lot to celebrate!

There are many players in the School District’s current efforts to enhance Pasadena public schools: a committed Board of Education, an energetic Superintendent of Schools, effective principals and qualified and focused teachers, parents of students who recognize the importance of participation in the educational process in support of their children and all of the students, and community organizations and businesses as well as many individuals who simply recognize how important it is that our schools succeed.

Each of these constituencies deserves congratulations and gratitude. And let us not forget the students themselves, who in the end demonstrate time and again their commitment to the learning process and their success in wonderful ways.

But today the focus is on the community, including businesses and other organizations which have assumed a special responsibility for the support of Pasadena schools. These organizations deserve our gratitude and our recognition.

The Rotary Clubs of our area play a leadership role in promoting community participation, and I salute them for this effort.

These contributions are reassuring, because it is clear that success in public schools requires that the entire community be engaged. It is great to observe the Adopt a School program and numerous other efforts for increasing commitment from the community.

It is worth asking the question whether the school system itself is working hard and in a focused way to achieve academic excellence. In this regard, evidence is coming down almost every week about the progress of Pasadena schools. For example, 25 of the District’s 32 schools posted improvements on their schoolwide academic performance index. 15 elementary schools achieved AP gains of 10 points or higher, and 14 of the schools exceeded an API score of 700.

The school district’s approach is strategic, which explains the steady progress being made. Last year, the School Board approved the strategy that added the sixth grade to all elementary schools, and involves establishing two additional middle schools, one or more primary centers in the Northwest, and all day kindergarten classes at every elementary school. I believe that attendance figures experienced as school opened a few weeks ago confirm that the school district’s approach is having a good effect.

There are other ways that could be mentioned to document the PUSD’s efforts and its successes in recent times.

But I want also to ask the question whether the community is stepping up to the challenge of assisting in school achievement. Once again, from my perspective, there is a lot to talk about. The Adopt a School program, obviously, is fundamentally important in enriching the programs offered to our young people and, once again, I want to express thanks to the organizations and businesses present today, and to all of the others that participate in Adopt a School.

The leadership role of Dave Davis, Tournament of Roses President, in advocating for the PUSD All Star Band is one example of community support.

There is another recent example. One of the City’s Arts commissioners, Joan Palmer, has recently achieved a level of support from cultural organizations that had not previously been attempted. Some 25 museums and other institutions in the City are offering memberships and free admissions to all 1,100 of the PUSD teachers, so they might bring an arts dimension to teaching activities in the classrooms. This kind of collaboration involving the City, cultural institutions and schools not only benefits the teachers and the young people, but demonstrates to all of us the many ways in which assistance can be provided.

There is another initiative that offers tremendous promise: the Pasadena Education Network. This is a group of parents of preschool-age youngsters who have decided to start working now to assure that the schools their children might attend in the next couple of years meet their expectations and accommodate parental involvement. PEN is conducting nearly 20 school tours this fall so that prospective parents can go beyond the impressions they might have about the quality of our schools, and personally experience the learning process. If change in the thinking on the part of participating parents is any measure, the results so far have been excellent.

Once again, other examples of community involvement and community initiatives in support of schools could be cited. But, in the interests of time, let me say to the businesses and other community organizations present today, please continue your support of Pasadena public schools, and please suggest that type of participation from others. As we celebrate your contributions to our community, let us all commit to work even harder to provide PUSD students with enriched school experiences, more opportunities for learning, and a brighter future for their lives. 

Posted: 10/8/2004 09:10:00 AM
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