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It Was Back to School for More Than 14,000 COVID-Tested Students at 23 PUSD Campuses Thursday

Published on Friday, August 12, 2022 | 5:57 am

Under sunny skies, the Pasadena Unified School District welcomed more than 14,000 students onto its 23 campuses Thursday to a new school year that brings expanded programs and optimism. 

“There is much to look forward to this year, more amazing academic achievements, more exciting athletic competitions, and more extraordinary student performances,” said Superintendent Brian McDonald, Ed.D. “It’s always good to see the excitement from the students, the staff, and the parents. This is going to be an amazing year.”

McDonald noted that students will be attending without the brunt of many COVID-19 restrictions, saying, “This year, while we are still dealing with COVID, we’re a little bit more sure about how things will go, so we’re very excited about starting this new school year. 

“The virus is not as severe as previous variants,” McDonald continued, “and so I think that relaxing the rules a little bit around safety protocols will certainly benefit the students in terms of their social and emotional well-being. We want them participating in activities, and we want them to have a great school year.”

Along with its 11 transitional kindergarten programs, PUSD has added a new Armenian world language program at Webster Elementary, and launched an Ethnic Studies Institute for the upcoming year. 

In a new collaboration, Pasadena Unified students this coming school year will also work with professional artists from the Pasadena Playhouse to stage a student-led and designed performance of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium as part of the Stephen Sondheim Celebration this season. 

The District’s Think Tank is a student-led initiative whose mission is to create a safe space for students to connect across campuses, raise consciousness about Pasadena’s history, and to provide a platform through which students can create equity within the district and the region. 

Officials project a district enrollment of 14,242 students this year, based on assumptions in the district’s budget. Enrollment numbers will be adjusted in the district’s First Interim Report this fall. 

PUSD enrolls Pre-K, K-12th grade, and adult education students in a 76-square mile area that includes Altadena, Pasadena, Sierra Madre, and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, with 13 elementary schools, one K-8 school, three middle schools, two 6-12 schools, two high schools, one continuation school, one K-12 Center for Independent Studies, and two programs for students with disabilities.

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