Monrovia Unified School District

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Monrovia Unified School District's December Newsletter

Monrovia Unified continues to work diligently to ensure our students can experience the things they know and love about school, even though at present time they must be done virtually. Our teachers, staff, and administrators are committed to the success of our students. They have been working tremendously hard all year, helping our students and families adjust to distance learning.

As we prepare for the start of a new semester, there are still many uncertainties regarding when we can safely return to the classroom. However, the District continues to work on a Hybrid Instructional Model so we are fully prepared to implement this model when given the green light to do so.

Please remember that even when a hybrid model gets implemented, students and families will have the opportunity to decide what is best for them: hybrid instruction, distance-learning, or independent study through Mountain Park School.

This month, Monrovia Unified held an informational webinar discussing everything that goes into planning hybrid instruction. If you missed the webinar, you may watch it on our website.
 
I want to express how thankful I am for your steadfast support of the District during these trying times. Since the start of the 2020-21 school year, we have watched our students, parents, teachers, and staff come together in a way that genuinely reflects our tight-knit community.

I wish each of you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday break. Let us hope 2021 will usher in a year filled with joy and laughter.

Sincerely,

Dr. Katherine Thorossian
 
Superintendent 

Mental Health Access

The Monrovia Unified School District has gathered a collection of resources for our learning community. The following resource page has links and information for various mental health services and hotlines for students, parents, and staff: https://sites.google.com/monroviaschools.net/counseling-resources/home
 
 

Monrovia Unified School District Board of Education

Undergoes Transition

 
Earlier this school year, Board Member Ed Gililland announced he would be retiring at the end of this term. Board Member Gilliland, who has served on the Board of Education since 2005, has dedicated his service to ensure the success of our scholars. He has put our students, teachers, staff, and schools at the forefront of every decision. His goal while on the board was to help Monrovia Schools continue delivering a high-quality, rigorous education to our community. He has done just that.
 
On behalf of MUSD, we thank Board Member Gililland for his time on the Board of Education. He will be truly missed.
 
The November election also brought another significant change to our Board. Rob Hammond’s and Bryan Wong’s seats were up for re-election. Mr. Hammond successfully secured enough votes to continue serving on the Board, and I would like to congratulate him on his achievement. He has served on the Board since 2011 and brings with him a vast knowledge of how our schools operate. Congratulations!
 
After serving on the Board of Education for an astonishing 17 years, Bryan Wong will be stepping away from his position. Both of his sons matriculated through Monrovia schools and graduated from Monrovia High School, giving him a deep connection to our District and our schools. He has played a vital role on the Board since 2003, continuously advocating for our students and supporting student success and achievement. We are grateful to Mr. Wong for all he has done for our students, teachers, and District. I know I speak for all of us when I say, he will be greatly missed.
 
Following the Board’s organizational meeting on December 16, two new board members began their terms of office.
 
Please join me in congratulating Board Member Traci Gholar and Board Member Jennifer Anderson for their successful election campaigns. An educator for 33 years – 20 of them at MUSD – Board Member Gholar brings to the Board a strong passion for students and knowledge of education. Board Member Anderson, also a former educator, has raised a family in Monrovia and is a parent to four MUSD students. She has served in a multitude of roles in our schools, for the PTA, and is completing her term as the president of the Monrovia Council of PTAs.
 
We look forward to their contributions in the years to come on behalf of the students of Monrovia.
 
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2020 Reflections

This year has been filled with more challenges than any of us imagined possible. Families with stable sources of income dealt with job insecurity; our physical health could be compromised with every breath, and our mental health strained under the weight of isolation. However, even as I say good riddance to 2020, I know that I will take into 2021 a newfound appreciation for the simple things: hugging my parents, seeing my friends smile, working shoulder to shoulder with my colleagues to tackle a project.
 
It’s not just the things I’ve lost that will impact my 2021 perspective, but the things I’ve gained – thanks to the amazing team at MUSD. When it became clear that schools were going to remain closed for longer than the anticipated two weeks last spring, we all felt a bit untethered. Someone suggested a parade through the city and, within a week, over a hundred MUSD staff members were driving through town, cars decorated, waving to the many students and families waiting in the rain for the procession to pass. It reminded us of how connected we continued to be – despite the circumstances. The community of Monrovia rose together, and it was magic.
 
In May, we learned that the Class of 2020 would not only be denied a traditional graduation but that our drive-through graduation proposal had also been rejected. Again, the community rose together, and, in less than two weeks, we were granted the opportunity to celebrate this milestone in person. It was an extraordinary sight to witness.
 
In July, it became clear that we would need to abandon our plans to teach partially in person during the fall with the hybrid model and that education in MUSD would need to be entirely virtual. Regardless of how experienced any of us were in this field of education, in August 2020, we all became first-year teachers, aides, counselors, administrators, and school psychologists. We shared great ideas and lessons learned. We established a robust model of teaching and learning throughout the District - and we didn’t do it alone. We appreciated the help of the adults at home who became de facto teacher helpers, guiding students along with each lesson. We appreciated the students who patiently guided teachers through technological challenges. The classroom truly became a community of learners.
 
Now, as I look ahead, I am thankful for the strength, resilience, creativity, and compassion of this community. Educators, and therefore education, will forever be changed as a result of what we have learned together. As we write the next chapter together, know that I already have the end in mind: the sound of laughter in our playgrounds and the buzz of learning in our classrooms.
 
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