Superintendent's Update - August 3, 2021

Among the many things that I have learned from these meetings and visits are: 1) Monrovia truly is a family, 2) we are fortunate to have educators who are truly committed to providing a world-class education for all students, and 3) Monrovia Unified School District’s future is bright.

Thanks again to everyone for the extremely warm welcome.  Below are some key updates that I thought you would like to know more about.

Enjoy the remaining days of summer!


Ryan D. Smith, Ed.D.



School Resumes Wednesday, August 18

We are excited for the new school year to begin with a return to traditional in-person instruction at each of our schools.  Regular school schedules will be followed.

Please note that at our elementary schools, we will be returning to our previous policy regarding uniforms; however, there will be a grace period during the first two months of school to allow plenty of time for parents and guardians to obtain school uniforms.

Public Health Requirements for Schools

As always, we will follow all requirements laid out in guidelines provided by both state and county health officials.  At the July 28 Board of Education meeting, we shared a presentation related to these guidelines.  Below are some of the key points:

  • Students and staff are required to wear masks while indoors;
  • Masks are optional outdoors;
  • Physical distancing is not required, but will be encouraged where possible;
  • In the event someone tests positive for COVID-19, protocols are in place that align with the county’s guidelines for exposure management;
  • Testing is readily available as needed;
  • Facilities are properly ventilated and have the required filters;
  • Parents should conduct a daily screening of their child for COVID-19 symptoms before sending them to school.

We continue to emphasize to both students and staff that they wear a mask, wash their hands frequently, stay home if they are sick, and get vaccinated if eligible.

Mountain Park Independent Study Program

At the July 28 Board of Education meeting, a presentation was also shared regarding our independent study program and related changes to state law.  Mountain Park’s program is a viable alternative for any student who is interested in an independent study program for any reason.  The school will be hosting an information session in person and on Zoom, Wednesday, August 4 at 7:00 pm, for any parent who would like to learn more.  Please visit the school’s website for additional details.

Welcome New Leaders to Monrovia Unified School District

I am pleased to announce that a few new leaders are joining the MUSD team after being approved by the Board of Education:

  • Dr. Kimberly Cabrera, Director of Student Support Services
  • Kristen Hjelsand, Assistant Principal, Monrovia High School
  • Amanda Noriega, Principal, Monroe Elementary School
  • David Platt, Assistant Principal, Monrovia High School

Please join me in welcoming each of them to the team and wish them good luck in their new positions.

Interim-Principal at Clifton Middle School

In July, a candidate was selected as principal of Clifton Middle School.  Unfortunately, the candidate declined the position for personal reasons.  Recruitment for the position is ongoing and we hope to have a new principal selected within the next few weeks.  In the meantime, retired administrator Mari Bordona, will serve as interim principal of Clifton MS. Ms. Bordona has been serving as interim Director of Student Support Services for the last few months.

Chromebook Initiative

The Board of Education approved the purchase of additional Chromebooks at its meeting on July 28, ensuring that every student in grades K-12 will have a Chromebook to use both at home and at school.  Specific plans were shared with the Board in a presentation that included details about the devices, the distribution process, and how they will be used in classrooms.  Our team is working hard to ensure that all students have a Chromebook assigned to them by the end of the second full week of school.

We have recently added a page to the district website that is dedicated to this initiative and we will continue to add information and resources to it.

Monrovia High School’s Digital Studies Academy Introduces “Andy’s Donuts”

Monrovia High School's Digital Studies Academy (DSA) game development team, "The Forge," recently released its latest game Andy's Donuts.  The game is currently available for download on Apple devices.  This is a tremendous accomplishment considering it was largely developed by students remotely over the course of the pandemic.  Congratulations to our students for their incredible accomplishment and huge thanks to MHS teacher Anthony Carlson for his leadership.

Monrovia High School Alumnus to Compete in the Olympics

Please join me in wishing MHS alumnus and track and field athlete Cravon Gillespie the best of luck as he represents Team USA at the Olympics this week. Cravon will compete in the 4x100 relay on Wednesday, August 4.