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Back To School Night 2009 Hosted By Aspires West Pasadena

Students, parents and teachers met on August 29, 2009 at the Jackie Robinson Center for the annual Back to School night celebration.The theme for this year was "Education Success: Using What We Have".

Dr. David Jacobs conducted a workshop for elementary students and Deacon John Wilson, III conducted a workshop for middle school students, high school students and adults. All students received backpacks and age appropriate school supplies.

Dr. Jackie Jacobs and Dr. Mae Pendleton Cowan presented awards to four outstanding educators who were honored for their extemporary service to Pasadena Schools and the community. Connie Edwards is the coordinator of the Loma Alta Tony Stewart Healthy Start Family & Community Center.

The center provides services which include parent education in the areas of health, nutrition, English as a second language and parenting. Also provided are student support services including mental health counseling, behavior support, academic support, and case management.

The Center provides a food bank, clothing, holiday donations, school supplies and local transportation. Referral services include; physical examinations, medical care for sick & injured, immunizations, dental and visual screening, and TB testing for parent volunteers and employees.

Connie encourages all parents and community members to advocate for services that are not currently available.

Jimmie Mason teaches English at Pasadena High School.

Previously she has served as Principal of the Community Day School, Assistant Principal in the Burbank School District, Dean at Blair High School and English Teacher at John Muir High School. She has a Master's Degree in English and Education. She believes that all students should be challenged to become the best that they can be spiritually, academically and socially.

Classrooms must be conducive to learning by setting high standards with the expectation that all students will achieve.

Chiara Thomas has served the Pasadena Community as a Counselor at John Muir High School, Blair High School, Rose City High School and Pasadena High School.

Her professional experience includes working as a teacher and counselor in pre-school and K-12 as well as in higher education.Currently she is working as a professor, counselor and the director of the Ujima Program at Pasadena City College. She is completing a doctorate degree in higher education leadership at Nova Southeastern University.

Her message to students and family is:

"Believe in yourself! Set goals for your life! Find people who will help you reach them! Then, make no excuses JUST GET IT DONE!"

Michael M. Harrison has been a resident of Northwest Pasadena for 60 years.

Many members of his family and extended family have attended and graduated from John Muir High School.Out of his 36 years as a professional educator, he has spent 21 years at John Muir High School.

He believes that specific factors are necessary for the creation of great teachers, these include: Patience; Care; Intelligence; Encouragement; Competence; Teamwork; Respect; and Training.

He feels that a great teacher is the single most important factor in boosting student achievement in an effective learning community.

In this learning community, teachers will: Engage and support all students in learning. Create an effective environment for student learning. Understand & organize subject matter for student learning. Plan instruction & design learning experiences for all students. Assist student learning in a variety of ways. Develop as a professional educator.

The success of the "Back to School Night" celebration was due to the hard work and dedication of members of Aspires West Pasadena and volunteers from Scott United Methodist Church.


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