September 2008


Halleleujiah, we have something wet to celebrate in Altadena — Rain! At 7:30ish this morning, bam!

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The 99Cent Chef was out with his wine tasting lush basket of goodies from the 99cent store Saturday. He entertained those of us who attended the latest blogger’s picnic at the Aztec Hotel, and we were well rewarded. Check out his video at the99centchef.blogspot.com/ 

 

Bloggers 99.99 Cent White Wine Tasting – Video

Here’s the newsletter Elliot Gold put out from the Upside Down T Neighborhood Association. I couldn’t make it to the community meeting with Oak Knoll, so Elliot was kind enough to send this out. Looks like new school is really a program for troubled kids from elementary school age through high school. They will be bused in and out on a strict time schedule and the Oak Knoll campus, which is housed in the former Rhythms of the Village side of the old Edison Elementary School on Glenrose, is separated from NIA, the other school on the premises.

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Upside-Down T Neighborhood Meets Staff of Oak Knoll School: A Good Neighbor

About a dozen neighbors from the Upside-Down T sat down with the staff of the Oak Knoll School, situated on the Glenrose side of the Edison campus, on Saturday, September 20, 2008 to hear about the school, and to offer help from the neighborhood. The block club pointed out that we see Oak Knoll School as a neighbor, and as such, are ready to work with them.

As a result of the meeting, it appears that Oak Knoll is and will be a good neighbor, and is ready to work with the Upside-down T.

Oak Knoll School is a “program,” not really a school, set up to serve the needs of children of all grades with special educational (“special ed”) as well as general education needs. The school is designed to cater to an average of 48 students, and has the highest teacher to student ratio in the school district, with three teachers and staff members per classroom, with classrooms typically of no more than eight students.

Students from the first grade through the 12th grade come to Oak Knoll for an average of 18 to 24 months, coming out of individual homes, and not care facilities or group homes. Most come from Altadena and Southwest Pasadena, with a few from outlying areas of Pasadena. The students do have emotional and behavioral problems, and are unable to do well in the traditional classroom without assistance.

Oak Knoll has six classrooms, three for 1st through 6th graders, one for middle school (7th and 8th graders) and two for high school (9th through 12th grade). The teachers are all credentialed, and are all highly qualified in dealing with children with special needs.

The assistance comes to Oak Knoll through Assembly Bill 3632 (Interagency Responsibility for Related Services), or really mental health entitlement for special education students in California. While that legislation became law in 1984, Oak Knoll is apparently the only school in the state dedicated to delivering on the “entitlement” mandated by the bill. Formerly located on the premises of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) administrative center, the school was relocated onto the Glenrose side of the Edison campus this Fall.

Gloria Clay, the school’s principal, has been working for decades with children who have needs as outlined under Assembly Bill 3632. “Our goal is to give the kids skills that will help them control their behavior and get them back into the regular [school] program,” said Ms. Clay. “This is a program, an intensive out patient program, but we think of it as a school.”

To deliver on that promise, students at Oak Knoll fall under a very rigorous set of rules. They are bused to the campus each day. They are served breakfast on arrival at 8:50 AM, and are bused home at the end of the school day at 3:30 PM. Monday and Tuesday, the school day ends earlier, again with the students being bused home.

Students are required to work with therapists for at least 60 minutes each day, receiving an additional 90 minutes of therapy for individual and family therapy per week.

The dozen Upside-Down T neighbors had a lot of questions, all of which were answered by Principal Gloria Clay and her staff. They were assisted at the meeting by Theresa Hawk, Executive Director of Special Education for the PUSD, and Superintendent Edwin Diaz.

Example questions and answers:

Are there students on the campus with violent backgrounds? Yes. Some of the students come from abusive home situations, and violence is the behavior pattern they have been exposed to. Part of the Oak Knoll program’s purpose is to teach the students ways to cope with their emotions and help break the cycle of violence.

How are the students contained? The campus is locked down after the students arrive, and they are escorted onto the buses when the school day ends.

How do we in the Upside-down T recognize students from Oak Knoll? The school is enforcing a uniform dress code, which will differentiate their students from those at Nia Charter School, located next door.

If the campus is locked down, how do we as neighbors or parents visit the campus? The gate on the West side, on Glenrose (with a sign saying “Oak Knoll”) is unlocked. Visitors can enter the campus by walking on the sidewalk up to the building, and then turning south (right) and walking down about three doors to the one that says “Office.” All visitors must check in at the office before going anywhere else on the school grounds.

Does the school have recreational outlets? Yes, there is a specific time for physical education and for recreation, all with supervision.

Is there any intermingling between the students at Oak Knoll and Nia? No. The campuses are separated by a fence which has an opaque tarp providing visual separation.

If Nia grows, will they “encroach” on Oak Knoll? No. Nia will not be permitted to use the buildings on Glenrose.

Can the neighbors on the Upside-down T help? Absolutely…. give us some ideas, of how you can help, and let’s do it!

What a man. And here’s a nice tribute.

http://www.imdb.com/news/ni0574069/

Here’s the Pasadena Weekly story on the film “Lakeview Terrace,” that is apparently based on a real-life story in Altadena…

I had an LAPD officer living behind me and a Sheriff next door, and I’m happy to say I’ve had no problems. Felt quite safe.

http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/copping_out/6402/

Ok, I’m posting this because I’ve been saying it the last week and I’m laying claim to it.

This is my shorthand for the McCain-Palin circus ticket.


Ok, so it was Rick Alviti AS Elvis, not the King himself who draped a gold lame “scarf” around me and planted a juicy one on my cheek, but hey, a girl can dream. And Rick ain’t bad for that matter! The Sheriff Support Group of Altadena outdid themselves on this, the last of the season’s summer concerts. What a hoot! At one point I think more people were up dancing than sitting, and all ages were participating.

Here are a couple of shots, the rest are on my Flickr site, http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohdebutaunt/.

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