Superintendent Update 8.5.22: Welcome back for 2022-23!

Dear Monrovia Unified School District Parents and Families:
I hope you had a wonderful summer and that you took some time to relax, unwind, and re-energize with your loved ones. I am so excited for the new school year to begin on Wednesday, August 17, and I know this will be the best yet!
I want to acknowledge some groups of people for their accomplishments this summer. First, I would like to congratulate all students who successfully completed our summer school program. Our summer programs served nearly 1,700 students at all grade levels. Thanks to all the teachers and staff who took time from their summer breaks to ensure the program's success.
Thanks to our Food Services staff for providing more than 56,000 meals to students, families, and community members each day of the summer term. Thanks also to our custodians, maintenance workers, and ground crews for working tirelessly over the last several weeks to ensure that each of our classrooms and schools will sparkle on the first day of school. Finally, major kudos to all our school and district office staff who do not receive an official summer break like others for their hard work spent closing out last school year and ramping up for the new one.
Below are some key updates I thought you would like to know more about for 2022-23. Please enjoy the final days of summer. I cannot wait to see you and your students on the first day of school!
Ryan D. Smith, Ed.D.
School Resumes, Wednesday, August 17
We are excited for the new school year on Wednesday, August 17.  For specific information including start times, registration information, and the like, please visit your school’s website or contact its office.
Please note that at our elementary schools, we will be continuing with the existing policy regarding uniforms; please contact your school's principal if you have questions about this.
Elementary School Counselors
Prior to the start of the summer, the Board of Education approved a budget that included funding for ensuring that each of our elementary schools has a full-time counselor. We are very excited that these educators will be available to support our students and their families. Each of our elementary school principals will formally introduce their new team members to their school communities.
Support for TK-8 students in Reading and Math with i-Ready
This summer, the Board approved the expansion of i-Ready to include all elementary and middle school students, all teachers in grades K-5, and all English and math teachers in grades 6-8. i-Ready is an online program for reading and mathematics that identifies each student's present levels of performance and tailors support to improve their skills. The program provides teachers with actionable data that helps them to determine each student's needs, personalize their learning, and monitor their progress throughout the school year.
Paper:  Free Tutoring in all Subjects, 24/7
We are pleased to continue our partnership with Paper to provide live virtual tutoring to all students in grades 3-12. Paper is a secure, online tutoring service that provides students with unlimited, 24/7 academic support. Whether they’re stuck on homework, studying for a test, or need someone to read and make suggestions for their essays, experts are always available online to assist students in over 200 subjects.
Paper is available in English, Spanish, and Mandarin; mandarin is available in limited hours. To see Paper and its firsthand help, we encourage you to log in with your students. Simply log into Classlink and click on the Paper icon to get started.
We are thrilled to share that last year, between January and June, nearly 7,000 tutoring sessions took place; almost 2,700 essays were reviewed and given feedback.
Vision to Learn
Our new partnership with Vision to Learn brought free eye care services to our students for the first time during the summer. Over 1,000 students from all schools and grade levels participated in the initial eye screenings. 340 students were identified for comprehensive eye exams in Vision to Learn’s mobile clinics. 195 students received brand new glasses with frames they selected at no cost.
Femineer Program
The Femineer Program provides K-12 students with project-based learning for current and future STEM leaders. The goal is to inspire more female students to pursue science-based studies with highly creative, hands-on activities.
The Femineer Program has three years of curriculum: 
  • Creative Robotics
  • Wearable Technology
  • Pi Robotics
Over the summer, MUSD had eight teachers undergo the robotics training program. They built their robots using different materials, coding, and teamwork to prepare for the first group of students in Femineer.
Welcoming New Leaders!
I am pleased to announce that a few new leaders are joining the MUSD team after being approved by the Board of Education:
Monrovia High School
Dominic Picon - Assistant Principal
Calvin McKendrick - Assistant Principal
Plymouth Elementary School
Jennifer Maljian - Principal
Canyon Oaks & Mountain Park High School
Brian Ilharreguy - Assistant Principal
District Office
Greg Puccia, Ed.D. - Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources
Shershonna Huff - Director, Human Resources
Greg Gero, Ph.D. - Director, Elementary Educational Services
Paula Hart Rodas, Ed.D. - Director, Secondary Educational Services
Please join me in welcoming each of them to the team and wish them good luck in their new positions.
Updated School Cafeterias
The Food Services team has been busy updating kitchens and cafeterias at each of our school sites. Projects at our sites include new serving lines with school colors to improve student pride, new freezers and refrigerators that better use the kitchen space, new ovens, and updated kitchen spaces for our staff.