How to use the non-student days

It was a great year for La Cañada schools. What is next?

We can certainly be proud of our schools and last year’s academic results. The teachers did a great job, and they can give themselves a well deserved pat on the back. With elections coming up, there may be some changes on the school board, and hopefully we may get an even better board. They will face some significant challenges that must be overcome if we are to have another great academic year.

I understand that the four additional student-free days for the teachers this new school year is part of the contract with the teachers union. However, how maximum benefit can be derived from the four extra student-free days is, I believe, still open for discussion. I trust the silly notion that the student-free days can be compensated for by adding a few minutes to each school day has been dropped. No serious educator or instructor would even consider such an idea. At the end of a school day both teachers and students are tired, and to add a few minutes of instruction would not only not be beneficial, but might detract from the prior instruction time.

The question therefore is how we can get the most benefit from student-free days. The answer must lie in how these days are utilized. For the teachers using the time to contemplate if their instructional methods are adequate, using four random days is not the answer. The teachers can contemplate on their own time, just like employees in the private sector. I suggest that for the teachers to reach a higher plateau in their profession, they should have one four-day, or two two-day, intense seminars covering the latest developments in the field of instruction. These seminars should be conducted by the best professional, educational talent in the field.

Erik B. Fiske

La Cañada Flintridge


What’s the name of that mountain?

I am the writer of the Arcadia Publisher's La Cañada and Flintridge books, and am an old time La Cañadan myself. I am looking for more information again, and I was wondering if some of the community could help me.

I am thinking that the mountain peaks that overlook our town should have names. I know that we have Mt. Lowe, Mount Lukens, Mount Wilson and Strawberry Peak. There are lots of peaks and mountaintops in our San Gabriels around us that have been famous for years.

But what about the tallest peak above our town? Did it ever have a name? I can't find it in any of the maps I've seen so far. The peak I'm wondering about is at the edge of the San Gabriel range, above Harter Lane. It is visible from Foothill Boulevard as you look straight up Angeles Crest Highway. Gould Canyon travels along its east side, Hay Canyon along the west. I haven't found a Gould Mountain or Hay Peak.

Do any of you have a friend or relative that would remember a name for this mountain, or any of the other mountain peaks that surround our La Cañada Flintridge? These mountains have been landmarks for me for years. Maybe they have for you. If anyone has any stories about our local mountains, I'd like to hear them. Please call me at (818) 790-8381.

Yana Ungermann-Marshall

La Cañada Flintridge

Multari will remain an independent

As one of Ellen Multari's most ardent supporters for LCUSD School Board, I have been asked by several people whether she is affiliated with any of the other candidates.

She is not. Ellen is running on her own.

Some interested voters have been generous enough to offer their homes as venues where Ellen can speak with and listen to her fellow parents and community members. Some of those gatherings may also feature other candidates. Similarly, some of Ellen's supporters have written in support of her as well as some of the other candidates running.

However, Ellen remains committed to running as a completely independent candidate for the School Board.

She stands for what you stand for: a commitment to excellence in our public schools. I know how excited she is to talk about her plans to make our great schools even better, but just as importantly, she's excited to hear your ideas and concerns. Naturally, she's willing to do that in any setting, either on her own or alongside any of the other candidates.

Feel free to learn more about Ellen's candidacy and the challenges our schools face at

Craig Mazin

Chairman, Campaign to Elect Ellen Multari

La Cañada Flintridge

Staying connected from afar

As La Cañada parents, my husband and I have chosen the best academic fit for each of our three kids. I’m a very involved LCUSD volunteer, but I’m also a private-school mom. Having seen both, I know there is significant room for improvement, especially for middle-of-the road students. This School Board election looks to change this culture. We need individuals on the Board who have a vision for improvements, but more importantly, the leadership to challenge the status quo. That's why I’m supporting Andrew “AJ” Blumenfeld in this election — and that’s why I’m asking you to do the same.

Why do I support a 20-year old — albeit an exceptionally mature one — for our School Board? As a recent graduate, Andrew would be the only member of the board to have firsthand knowledge of our current system. He has experienced the point at which board policy becomes practice and will fight to implement only the best of these policies in our local classrooms.

Andrew brings a fluency in education policy well beyond his years, having researched schools and helped to found a national education reform nonprofit that now has chapters all over the country.

Andrew will attend monthly meetings and hold office hours, but some see his travel between Princeton and La Cañada as a challenge. I see a special opportunity to include a fresh voice that our community absolutely must seize.

As a Director of Social Media and Communications, I know modern tools of communication are powerful. I communicate with local friends via email and social media more often than I run into them at Ralph's. This is no different. By using current communication methods — and the old-fashioned telephone — Andrew will be able to connect seamlessly, and I would argue more frequently, with the community than most elected officials.

Paired with the aggressive, in-person community outreach Andrew has planned, he will be the most fully accessible and enthusiastic representative of students and families in La Cañada. Please learn more about Andrew online at, and join me in voting for him on November 8.

Lisa Singelyn

La Cañada Flintridge

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