Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Convert Noyes for 700 Troubled Teens?

An article in yesterday's Pasadena Star News reports that PUSD "officials want to turn the Noyes Elementary School campus into a continuation school for struggling high school students."

This is a major problem as far as I am concerned, and yes, I admit I am exhibiting NIMBY syndrome here, but an influx of "
600 to 700 students in grades 10 to 12" into this neighborhood is not to my liking. Even if they can somehow find enough parking for that may high school students and support staff, it will still mean huge neighborhood parking overflow. This is not to mention the incoming commute-time crush of vehicles converging on Allen and Altadena. The thought of 700 teenage drivers flowing out and around this neighborhood does not make me happy.

Then I worry about collateral damage (graffiti, vandalism, petty crimes?) which has been on the rise around here as it is. 700
high school students of any sort are bound to come with the associated adolescent behavior and mis-behavior. This bunch is characterized as "struggling." It may be an unfair stereotype, but at least when I was in high school that was a euphemism for "bad." Before anyone jumps on me for this, I am not saying they are all bad kids. I am just pointing out that introducing 700 struggling high school students to a quiet residential neighborhood raises the probability that there will be problems.

Finally, it seems a shame to convert Noyes to accommodate teens rather than children. All the bathrooms and playground equipment will have to be torn out in favor of appropriately scaled replacements.

If any or all of these issues concern you, please contact your Town Council Member and let them know your opinion.


  1. I've already emailed my Town Council representatives.

    I am guilty of NIMBY and proud of it.

    My family and I moved to this particular area of Altadena to avoid the inner city, not to get closer to it.

    Consider me a VERY STRONG advocate AGAINST this proposition and I plan on being very vocal on this issue!

    Isaac Garcia
    1537 E. Loma Alta Drive

  2. Having spent a lot of time at Noyes in the past (I went to school there) and also some time there recently, (one of my best friends teaches at Noyes), I would have to say that I am pretty familiar with the campus. I find it laughable that PUSD would even suggest that they could put 600-700 10th to 12th grade students at that site. It currently houses less than 300 students and on any given day there are about 25 staff members and they already have parking problems. The campus is designed to be an elementary school and I don't see how a financially strapped district can spend the money which would surely be in the 10s of thousands to make the campus ready for high school students. How can that cost be justified when the largest high school campus in the district, John Muir, has an enrollment (according to a 2006 PUSD publication) of only 1290 students vs. the 2787 at PHS. The Pasadena Star News states that one of the reasons that the Rose City campus is not suitable for high school students is that it has no athletic fields, labs or meeting spaces - neither does Noyes. Why not move these students to an appropriate location where they can have access to all of these things, plus vocational programs and extracurricular activities which just might pull these students out of their "struggling" status.

    There are so many reasons beyond the strictly NIMBY ones for why this is a really bad idea. I plan to email these reasons not only to each and every Town Council member (including Justing Chapman who heads the education subcommittee of the Altadena Town Council) but also to Percy Clark, the superintendent of PUSD. I hope that everyone in the neighborhood who is against this plan does the same.

    Norah Small
    2870 Stonehill Dr.

  3. I have worked at Noyes Elementary for 22 years. In that time, our campus has changed dramatically. When I was first hired, many of the students came from the Noyes neighborhood and their parents were extremely active in PTA. It was a very special, dynamic school. We had monthly sing-a-longs, dedicated PTA families, and a wonderful reputation. When our popular and extremely well-liked principal, Mr. Bill Rosecrans, was transferred to Sierra Madre School and a new principal replaced him, the school began to lose families due to the change in leadership. When that principal moved on, the district made the wise decision to hire Dr. Isaac Hammond. This principal, like Mr. Rosecrans, was highly popular among families and the school began to flourish again. After Isaac left, a series of other principals were brought in, but they lacked the leadership skills that attracted families to the school. It is my feeling that we need to encourage the district to carefully choose principals, teachers, and programs that would make schools attractive to families. Noyes could be the wonderful school it once was if the families in this community were vocal about the kind of a school they want to see for their children. Perhaps Noyes could be reopened in the near future as an elementary site if we can communicate our ideas and visions for its future to this district.

    Denise Johnson