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PUSD Welcomes Back Students! Classes Begin Aug. 14, 2013

PUSD Welcomes Back Students! Classes Begin Aug. 14, 2013


STEAM Magnet Academy, Implementation of Common Core Standards, Twilight School Among New Initiatives 

Pasadena, CA – As children in Altadena, Pasadena and Sierra Madre return to school, there are a number of new programs and initiatives that solidify the credentials of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) as a district committed to 21st Century Learning. 

“The district’s wide range of new and existing academic offerings demonstrate that starting with the first day of school PUSD is committed to providing a high quality education for every student walking through our doors,” said PUSD Superintendent Jon R. Gundry. 

PUSD’s boldest initiative is the opening of the Washington STEAM Magnet Academy (formerly known as Washington Middle School).  The Washington STEAM Magnet Academy is unlike any other in the state, utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to learning with hands-on science, technology, engineering and math plus art and design emphasizing innovation.  The school is supported by the STEAM Community Alliance, a group of leading Pasadena area institutions such as Caltech, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Art Center College of Design, Kidspace Museum, the City of Pasadena and many more.  To learn more about the new school visit www.steam-academy.pasadenausd.org. 

All PUSD middle schools are creating signature programs to better prepare students for future success in a dynamic world.  Another of these new middle school initiatives beginning in 2013-2014 is the Advanced Studies Program at Wilson Middle School.  Participating students in this rigorous academic program are enrolled in core subject honors courses, deepening students’ knowledge and laying the foundation for students to take Advanced Placement classes in high school. 

The new Common Core Standards will be introduced in district classrooms this year after a multi-year process of preparation and rewriting the district curriculum.  Adopted by 45 states including California, the Common Core Standards describe clearly and consistently the knowledge and skills that young people need to be successful in college and careers.  The rewritten curriculum incorporates these standards and 21st Century Learning skills, meeting the desires of the Greater Pasadena area community for graduates prepared for college and career success and able to contribute to our democratic society. 

“We are putting into practice the belief that true learning is more than the simple acquisition of content; we are teaching students to understand what they learn it so that they can transfer that knowledge to other situations,” said Superintendent Gundry. For more information on PUSD’s transition to the Common Core, please visit www.common-core-standards.pasadenausd.org. 

Launching in September, PUSD’s Twilight School program will give high school students who are behind in credits or have a grade of D or F on their transcript a chance to make up credits and improve their grade-point average. The Twilight School is designed for students who were previously unable to participate in credit or grade recovery programs due to space limitations. Twilight School will take place in three 10 to 12 week trimesters throughout the school year. Classes are two days a week, three hours each evening–typically from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the PUSD Education Center in Pasadena. 

“Twilight School expands options for our struggling students,” stated Superintendent Gundry. “Now many more students can make up missed credits and remediate low grades—graduating on time and qualifying for college admissions.” 

In addition to these new programs, the district’s signature programs continue to grow and gain traction in the community: 

  • Dual Language Immersion programs in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese grow to fifth grade this year with plans in place for middle and high school. 
  • The district’s state recognized transitional kindergarten program expands to Longfellow Elementary School this year in addition to Washington Elementary, McKinley School, Jefferson Elementary and Willard Elementary where the program is currently. 
  • PUSD’s College and Career Pathways continue to offer college preparatory curriculum paired with career themed project-based learning.  The Pathways programs part of the Linked Learning initiative that is transforming schools across the state. 
  • The International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme at Willard Elementary and Blair school continue to grow with 10 percent of the graduating class at Blair achieving the prestigious IB Full Diploma. 

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For Immediate Release August 14, 2013 

News Media Contact: Adam Wolfson, (626) 396-3606, wolfson.adam@pusd.us 


Posted: 8/14/2013 09:15:00 AM
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