Putting schools to the test

We all have a lot invested in La Cañada schools — students and parents, certainly, but also alumni, law enforcement officers, real estate agents and the city as a whole. That's why it's refreshing to see the La Cañada Unified School District take on the challenge of seeking meaningful local feedback on its performance.

This spring's survey of students, parents, teachers and staffers drew thousands of responses and provide a detailed snapshot of how the district is doing. The results were released on Sept. 4 and are available at www.lcusd.net.

As one might expect in one of the top-ranked districts in the state, the report largely was positive. Most students believe the district is serious about its educational mission, parents generally have faith in the schools, and teachers take pride in their work.

The survey pointed to some areas of concern, as well. Relations between teachers and the school board seem frayed — perhaps a natural consequence of their respective roles, but a situation that requires a closer look. Parents also identified high school math as a subject area where the district could provide more support for students.

The district is now tasked with addressing those issues, and it has more than the usual motives to do so: It has committed to another survey next year, and the year after.

It reflects well on the district that it gave itself a test. The next question is: How will it do better next time around?

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