Back to School: Pasadena Unified Buzzing with Optimism and Excitement as Students Return from Summer Break

Ashley with Little BroBrian McDonald, PUSD SuperintendentDaniel Bagby - Field Elementary School PrincipalField Elementary SchoolField Elementary School 2ndField Elementary School ParentsField Elementary School studentsJames Far and daughterL-R: Brian McDonald (PUSD Superintendend) and Tim Sippel (Principal at John Muir High School)McKinley Elementary SchoolMelody and Alicia CassMother and son at Field Elementary School

Story and Photography by BRANDON VILLALOVOS

6:40 pm | August 15, 2016

It’s that time of year again! 17,000 of Pasadena’s young people (and their parents) said goodbye to vacation and hello to campus life as the public school community embarked on the 2016-2017 school year with much excitement on Monday morning.

“The first day of school is always an exciting day not just for me, but for the kids and families as well. It’s always such a positive time of year. We come back rested and energized and just full of hope for the academic year,” said Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Brian McDonald.

McDonald and PUSD colleagues made their rounds to several campuses on the busiest day of the school year to greet new and returning students, families, staff and faculty that call PUSD their academic home.

Faculty and staff were front and center welcoming families and delivering smiles as students were eager to check out their new classroom locations and mingle with peers.

“To see them excited, makes me excited,” said McDonald.

“I firmly believe that relationships matter most in teaching and learning. We’re going to continue to build good rapport with family and students,” said Field Elementary School Principal Daniel Bagby.

Alicia Cass, mother of 6th grader Melody, is new to PUSD and started McKinley to suit her daughter’s creative talents as an aspiring singer, dancer and actress.

“The PUSD feels like a strong community,” she said.

“I’m excited for new beginnings,” said her daughter.

At McKinley Elementary, Ashley, a Marshall High School grad, was sending off her five-year-old brother into his first day of kindergarten.

“He’s been excited to start and has been asking about school for the past two weeks,” said Ashley. “The parents are really involved in these schools and the teachers are really good,” she said.

PUSD officials say they have exciting plans to implement in schools this academic year.

“We have a number of new programs we are kicking off this year, including the Spanish dual language program at Jefferson,” explained McDonald. “We also have big plans of how we are going to collaborate with our stakeholders this year, too,” he said. “We’re here to make things as best as possible for our kids and their families.”