Event not to miss!

Who:  Ken Kragen is the force that made history with stellar philanthropic events in the 1980s that changed fundraising forever. He produced We Are the World and Hands Across America. I recently met Ken at a Caltech event and invited him to speak. He’s a fireball and is about to announce another giant event later this month.

When/What:  On January 14, Ken will kick off Martin Luther King week at Caltech with his talk: Accomplishing the Impossible: Stories of Historic Humanitarian Efforts.

Where: Caltech, Avery Dining Hall (Del Mar at Holliston) from noon to 1 p.m.

Here’s the flier for more information. (You’ll probably need to paste this in your browser.)

To attend the event, you must R.S.V.P. to by Jan. 11.

Don’t miss this–he’s FULL of surprises, stories, and inspiration!


It’s nice to be back in the Altadena community loop after taking a brief time out to tend to my husband’s health.

First, hubby’s doing well. Cancer’s a crazy journey but so far all is going as well as possible at City of Hope.


Got some good info from the Sheriff the other night. We’re all aware of the recent shootings and increased gang activity.  The sheriffs have been all over it, as have other units like COPS.  Please be sure to report any suspicious activity to the station, 798-1131.

Here are a few random things I learned the other night. Did you know…

You can’t park a car in the same place on a public street for more than 72 hours?

No parking of commercial vehicles is allowed on public streets anywhere in Altadena? Apparently a lot of them are being parked on Fair Oaks near Woodbury. The badged men in khaki will be out with citation pads.

Check out for the latest crime info in Altadena, and anywhere else.

This Sunday at 2:30p.m. the Sheriffs Memorial Torch Relay Run for fallen officers concludes at the Altadena station. A barbeque and fun is on the celebration docket.  

Also, you can check out to see the latest news bulletins from the Sheriff’s office for the Altadena area.

And good news from C. Jake  at the Altadena Chamber of Commerce:

On Wednesday, May 27, the Chamber will hold a reception to present scholarships to two Blair IB Magnet High School seniors, Kyoko Harris and Jordan Mitchell. Congratulations! Education is the answer. I’m a member of the Elks which awards more scholarships than any other organization except the U.S. Government.  To attend the reception or get more info, contact the Chamber at 626-794-3988.

Over and out for now…

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!

Here’s the Star-News story on the review of charter schools in Altadena.

I’ve got a letter to add to this which I’ll post later.