March 30, 2023
Dear Monrovia Unified School District Families:
I hope that this message finds you and your family well and that you are excited about the upcoming spring break. As I reflect on the progress we have made so far this school year, there is so much to be proud of and a lot to look forward to. Now that my second year as your superintendent is nearly complete, I continue to marvel at just how special Monrovia is and how privileged I am to serve you all. Over the years we have become well known for our rigorous learning experiences, outstanding arts programs, championship athletic teams, and diverse enrichment opportunities. Those things together with the strong bonds with our community make Monrovia a destination for families looking for an exemplary educational experience for their children.
Please remember that spring break begins on Friday, March 31; classes will resume on Monday, April 10. Below are a few updates I thought you might enjoy reading about.
I hope that you will be able to spend some of that time with your family, friends, and loved ones. Thank you for your continued support for our schools.
Ryan D. Smith, Ed.D.
Monrovia Elementary Olympics Rescheduled
Unfortunately, the rainy weather prevented us from hosting the first Monrovia Elementary Olympics (MEOs) since 2019 this week. Please note that we have rescheduled this event for Friday, April 28 at Monrovia High School. I am so excited to experience this long standing tradition for the first time. Please join me in keeping fingers crossed for better weather!
Open House “Season” Across Monrovia
With the start of spring comes our annual open house events at each of our schools. This is a wonderful opportunity for our schools to showcase the fantastic work and achievements of our students, teachers, and staff. Each open house event provided our families with the opportunity to visit with teachers and staff, enjoy student performances, observe student work and projects, and more. Thanks to everyone who contributed to making these so successful.
WASC Visits at Mountain Park, Canyon Oaks, and Monrovia Community Adult School
We are thrilled to announce that Mountain Park School, Canyon Oaks High School, and Monrovia Community Adult School have successfully completed the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation process. This is an essential step in validating the quality of our schools' programs and goals.
The WASC accreditation process comprehensively evaluates our schools' educational programs, student learning outcomes, and overall performance. This process ensures that our schools meet rigorous standards and provide all students with a high-quality education. Each school prepares for the accreditation process by developing a “self-study” that identifies areas of strength, opportunities for growth, and next steps. WASC visiting committee of educators works to “validate” each schools’ self-study. From start to finish, the process takes over a year.
The visiting committee walked away from our schools extremely impressed with what they observed and heard from our students, staff, and community. We are confident that all three of our schools will receive full six-year accreditation terms.
Performing Arts Gala Fundraiser
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who attended and contributed to our recent Gala for the Performing Arts, An Evening of Flourish and Flair. The event was a tremendous success, and we could not have done it without your generous support.
The Gala was held at the DoubleTree in Monrovia to celebrate and raise money for the arts in Monrovia schools. We are incredibly proud of the rich arts programs we offer, and we believe the arts are essential to a well-rounded education.
This year’s event honored a devoted supporter of the arts, Julia Clegg. Mrs. Clegg was a long-time employee of the district and was instrumental in building out the robust performing arts program that our schools have to offer today. Even in retirement, she continues to support and contribute to our flourishing programs out of her love of the arts. Thank you, Julia, for all that you have done for our students, staff, and the Monrovia community.
The funds raised at the Gala will help support and expand our arts programs, ensuring every student can access high-quality arts education. We are grateful for your support and dedication to our schools and community.
We would also like to extend a special thank you to our sponsors, volunteers, and everyone who worked tirelessly to make the event a success. Your hard work and dedication are truly appreciated.
Measure MM Update
We are incredibly grateful to the community for supporting Measure MM, the $75 million facilities improvement bond that will bring many needed improvements to each school in our district. Since passing in November, the Board of Education and district staff have been hard at work finalizing projects for the first round of funding. The Board of Education also approved the appointment of the Citizens’ Oversight Committee (COC). The committee’s role is to provide independent oversight, review expenditures, and ensure funds from Measure MM are being used as intended.
For additional information, including recent presentations given to the Board of Education, please visit the Measure MM website.
Defibrillators at MUSD School Sites
Defibrillators have been purchased and at least one will soon be available at every school in Monrovia. District leadership has worked with a team to determine the best locations for this medical equipment in case of an emergency. In addition to a refresher on First Aid and CPR, staff will be trained on how to use these defibrillators should an emergency arise.
Inaugural STAR Awards
This year, we are pleased to announce the start of a new tradition, the STAR Awards. This event will recognize employees across our schools and district who have been nominated by their peers for their excellence in all they do on behalf of our students - see the list below. Spectacular, terrific, amazing, and remarkable (i.e. STAR) are all words that describe this impressive group of educators. The STAR Awards will take place on Tuesday, April 11 at 6:00 at Monrovia High School in the Taylor Performing Arts Center. One nominee from each category will be named that evening as the person of the year, and will go on to represent our district in county-wide recognition events if applicable.
District Testing Schedule
With the school year winding down, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) testing window is set to open. CAASPP is essentially a variety of tests that are required by the State of California for accountability purposes. Of all the tests, the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) in both English and math are the ones that nearly every student in grades 3-8 and 11 will take.
This year, our elementary, middle, and high schools will give the various assessments on common dates - see the schedule below. Included with this schedule is a brief description of the various assessments.
We are asking three things of every parent and family during the testing period:
- Please ensure your student is present and on time everyday.
- Please ensure your student gets plenty of rest the night before.
- Please ensure that your student eats a healthy breakfast and lunch.
- Please ask your student to give their very best effort. Tell your student to “show what you know!”
Each of our school sites will provide additional information and resources about the CAASPP assessments when we return from spring break.