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Pasadena Unified School District

Pasadena Unified School District
Pasadena, California
District information
Grades Pre-K-12
Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald
Students and staff
Students 19,102 (13-14)[1]
Teachers 1,027 (09-10)[2]
Staff 1,434 (09-10, non-teaching)[2]
Student-teacher ratio 20.4 (08-09)[3]
Other information

The Pasadena Unified School District is a unified school district that is responsible for the schools of Pasadena, California. As of 2014, it has 4 high schools, 5 middle schools, 3 K-8 schools and 15 K-5 elementary schools.[4] The number of elementary schools was reduced from 18 at the end of the 2010-11 school year.[5] The district also serves the city of Sierra Madre and the unincorporated community of Altadena.[6]

PUSD is run by a Board of Education, whose members serve four-year terms. Duties of the Board include budgeting, approving expenditures, establishing policy, making employment decisions, approving textbooks and courses of study, and approving academic initiatives. As of June 2012, PUSD's at large board districts became geographic subdistricts. As of July 1, 2015, the members of the Board of Education of PUSD are Elizabeth Pomeroy (District 5, President), Kimberly Kenne (District 1, Vice President), Roy Boulghourjian (District 2, Clerk), Adrienne Ann Mullen (District 3), Patrick Cahalan (District 4), Lawrence Torres (District 6), and Scott Phelps (District 7).[7]


  • History 1
  • Elementary schools 2
  • Middle schools 3
  • High schools 4
  • 6-12 schools 5
  • Enrollment and Staffing 6
  • Curriculum 7
  • External links 8
  • References 9


In its early history, Pasadena had some of the highest performing schools in the state, largely due to a strong affiliation with the California Institute of Technology. Two schools in the area, Noyes Elementary (now closed) and Hale Elementary (now Norma Coombs Alternative School) were named after Caltech professors..

In January 1970, as supplemented in March 1970, busing was ordered in the district after the federal court ordered desegregation of the public schools in Pasadena.[8][9] This was a result of the city demographics of the time, which resulted in a "de facto" segregation, with a large proportion of the African American population attending schools in the northwest area of the city (which was largely African American), and the white students attending schools in the east and southern parts.

Before the busing plan was implemented in September 1970, the proportion of white students in public schools reflected the proportion of whites in the community (54 percent and 53 percent, respectively). Shortly after busing began, a significant segment of upper- and middle-class families who could afford private schooling, pulled their children out of the public school system. The result was a boom of private schooling available in the city, and the reduction of state funding for Pasadena public schools as enrollment was reduced.

In 2002, Superintendent Percy Clark reduced the number of students bused in the district and expanded a policy of neighborhood schools.

By 2004 Pasadena was home to sixty-three private schools, which educated one-third of all school-aged children in the city, and the proportion of white students in the public schools had fallen to 16 percent. One current (as of 2014) Board member, Renatta Cooper, has stated that Pasadena has more private schools per capita than any city its size in the United States.[10]

By 2006, Allendale, Edison, Linda Vista, and Noyes elementary schools were closed, currently, Edison Elementary, is now replaced with Focus Point Academy, a Special Education school, while Allendale was used as a temporary site for Blair IB Magnet Middle School students while the new middle school campus was under construction.

For the 2009-2010 school year, Pasadena Unified mounted a drive to stop interdistrict transfers out of the district. This was mainly directed at children entering kindergarten, first, seventh, and ninth grades, citing these as "transition" years. They included first grade as a transition year because kindergarten is not required by the State of California.

For the 2011-2012 school year, Blair International Baccalaureate School opened a new middle school campus.

By the start of the 2015-2016 school year, Sierra Madre Middle School will be opening a brand new campus, which will increase the number of middle schools to four, also, Don Benito Fundamental and Norma Coombs Alternative Schools will now become neighborhood elementary schools, while Field Elementary becomes a Mandarin DLIP (Dual Language Immersion Program) and San Rafael Elementary become a Spanish Dual Language Immersion Program.

Starting in 2013, school board members will now be elected by geographical districts, which replaces a seat number and at large, similar to the Pasadena City Council, there are seven geographical districts, Districts 1, 3, 5, and 7 starting with the 2013 elections, while Districts 2, 4, and 6 starting with the 2015 elections, thanks to a ballot measure passage by the voters during the 2012 California Primary elections.

Starting in 2015-16 school year, high school attendance boundaries will have changes, Blair International Baccalaureate School will be serving downtown and southwest Pasadena, while John Muir High School will be serving northwest Pasadena and the Linda Vista neighborhood as well as the western portion of Altadena, and Pasadena High School will be serving the eastern portion of Altadena, Sierra Madre, as well as the central, eastern, and southeastern portions of Pasadena.

In 2012, the district was the subject a 90-minute documentary film titled "Go Public." The documentary was filmed by 50 crews following the stories of various people in 28 schools for one day, intended to portray the positive and negative realities in a moderate-sized public education system.[11]

Elementary schools

  1. Altadena Elementary School
  2. Burbank Elementary School (Closed at end of 2010-11 school year)
  3. Cleveland Elementary School
  4. Don Benito Fundamental School
  5. Field Elementary School
  6. Franklin Elementary School
  7. Hamilton Elementary School
  8. Jackson Elementary School
  9. Jefferson Elementary School
  10. Loma Alta Elementary School (Closed at end of 2010-11 school year)
  11. Longfellow Elementary School
  12. Madison Elementary School
  13. McKinley School (K-8)
  14. Norma Coombs Alternative School (K-8)
  15. Roosevelt Elementary School
  16. San Rafael Elementary School
  17. Sierra Madre School (K-8)
  18. Washington Accelerated Elementary
  19. Webster Elementary School
  20. Willard Elementary School

Middle schools

  1. Charles W. Eliot Middle School—grades 6-8
  2. Washington Middle School-grades 6-8
  3. Wilson Middle School—grades 6-8
  4. Sierra Madre Middle School-grades 6-8

High schools

  1. John Muir High School — Zoned, grades 9-12
  2. Pasadena High School — Zoned, grades 9-12
  3. Rose City High School — Continuation High School
  4. Center for Independent Study - Independent Studies

6-12 schools

  1. Marshall Fundamental Secondary School — Alternative, grades 6-12 (middle and high school)
  2. Blair International Baccalaureate School — Zoned, grades 6-12

Enrollment and Staffing

In the 2009-2010 school year PUSD served 20,084 students, a drop of approximately 14% since the 2000-2001 school year, when enrollment during the past fifteen years peaked at 23,559 students.[1] As of the 2013-2014 school year, enrollment had dropped to 19,102 students.[12] As of the 2009-2010 school year, PUSD employed 1,154 certificated staff,[13] 1,027 of which were teachers.[2][14] In 2009-2010, the district also employed 1,307 classified personnel, 955 of which were full-time, 352 part-time.[2][15]


Every PUSD elementary student receives daily instruction in English Language Arts using the Open Court Reading language arts program. Middle and high schools use the Holt Literature and Language Arts curriculum. The PUSD Math curriculum is based on California’s mathematics framework which includes the Houghton Mifflin Mathematics curriculum for elementary schools and additional college-prep classes beginning in eighth grade. Curricular focus is also placed on History, Social Studies, Science, Art and Music, and Physical Education.[16]

External links

  • Pasadena Unified School District homepage
  • List of PUSD schools
  • Greatschools Page


  1. ^ a b PUSD Time series enrollment graph
  2. ^ a b c d PUSD At-a-glance
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ "PUSD Schools". Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ PUSD Board of Education votes to close 2 elementary schools
  6. ^ "PUSD Our Community". Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ "PUSD Board Members". Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Spangler v. Pasadena City Board of Education, 311 F. Supp.501 (C.D. Cal. 1970)". Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ Gray, Julie Salley. "To Fight the Good Fight: The Battle Over Control of the Pasadena City Schools, 1969-1979". Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Go Public Mission". Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  12. ^ PUSD Time series enrollment graph "PUSD Enrollment Over Time" . Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ CDE PUSD Certificated Staffing Levels
  14. ^ CDE PUSD Teacher Staffing Levels
  15. ^ CDE PUSD Classified Staffing Levels
  16. ^ PUSD Core Curriculum
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