Grantee Corner  |  Pasadena Unified School District

Two rows of female students hold violins
Altadena Arts Magnet students perform in the PUSD Elementary Music Festival

Three female students paint watercolor pictures
Altadena Arts Magnet French immersion students enjoy one of their first visual arts lessons in their new art studio

Students work a movie camera on set
John Muir High School Early College Magnet students in the Arts, Media, & Entertainment Academy create live broadcasts in the school’s professional video production studio

Four female students in bank uniforms work around a table
John Muir High School Early College Magnet students in the Business & Entrepreneurship Academy manage a branch of the Pasadena Service Federal Credit Union

A group of students present their submarine to a group of older men
John Muir High School Early College Magnet Engineering & Environmental Science Academy students display a solar boat they built and describe the process to supporters of the Pasadena Educational Foundation

An adult and a student work at a computer together
Washington STEAM Multilingual Academy students participate in a week-long summer STEAM camp exploring virtual reality, 3D printing, and more in the Pepperdine University Genesis Lab

Students look at electronics demonstrated by a staff member
Washington STEAM Multilingual Academy students visit Pepperdine University’s Genesis Lab

Shannon Mumolo, PUSD Project Director

Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) in California serves more than 16,500 students and offers unique innovative programs aimed to diversify and integrate Pasadena schools.

PUSD’s Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant funds three schools. To increase access to a quality education for all students, the PUSD MSAP team provides services to change school perception, culture, and practices at the funded schools. These services include curriculum development and teacher training to integrate magnet themes for increased academic achievement; improvement of school and classroom environments through schoolwide behavioral supports and interventions; transformation of physical spaces to reflect magnet themes; increased parent engagement; and recruitment and retention of students to increase socioeconomic and racial diversity.

Altadena Arts Magnet serves 228 students in grades K-5. The school partners with arts organizations to provide weekly instruction in all art forms, nurturing the whole child and inspiring students to achieve their best. The partnership with Education Through Music -Los Angeles helps every student build a strong musical foundation through weekly music classes. AMAN Dance Educators & Lineage Dance helps K-2 students experience fun, fitness, and fundamentals of dance and teaches students in grades 3-5 classical, modern, and contemporary techniques. In addition, teachers partner with the artists in residence at the Armory Center for the Arts & Professional Teaching Artists to integrate arts and academics for a rich, meaningful learning experience. When they graduate, Altadena Arts Magnet students can attend Eliot Arts Magnet, for grades 6-8, which was part of PUSD’s 2013 MSAP grant. Altadena Arts Magnet also offers PUSD’s only French dual language immersion program. 

John Muir High School Early College Magnet serves 850 students in grades 9-12 and offers PUSD’s only early college program. In collaboration with Pasadena City College, students engage in a rigorous, 4-year program, earning up to 2 years of transferable college credit while completing a high school diploma. Each Early College student enrolls in one of three career-focused academies that provides career-related field trips, job shadows, internships, and guest speakers. Students in the Arts, Entertainment, and Media academy fine-tune creative energy and master self-expression in a state-of-the art television studio and create original projects in film and video production, photography, painting, and sculpting. Business and Entrepreneurship students study and analyze financial trends and best practices in business management, finance, and other aspects of entrepreneurship. Student-run enterprises at the school include a cafe, a coffee business, an embroidery and screen-printing studio, and an on-campus branch of the Pasadena Service Federal Credit Union. Finally, Engineering and Environmental Science students build strong foundations through a 4-year Project Lead the Way science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum. They design novel ways to solve real-world problems using technologies that include 3D printers, robotics, and solar energy systems. 

Washington STEAM Multilingual Academy is nationally certified for STEM Excellence by the National Institute for STEM Education and offers PUSD’s only STEAM-integrated, Spanish dual language immersion program at the secondary level. The school serves 448 students in grades 6-8, and is part of a pathway that continues from the K-5 STEM/Spanish immersion magnet program at Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy, an FY 2013 MSAP grantee. Washington STEAM Multilingual Academy prepares the next generation of innovators to understand real-world problems; apply learning across content areas to develop potential solutions; use research and collaboration to build knowledge and improve designs; and engage with people from diverse backgrounds to become bilingual and global citizens. In partnership with Two Bit Circus Foundation, the school is installing a Design Lab inspired by students’ visit to Pepperdine University’s Genesis Lab. In partnership with AVID and College Access Plan, teachers infuse college readiness skills such as focused notetaking, organization, and metacognition into core classes so students are ready to succeed at John Muir High School Early College Magnet. 

Shannon Mumolo is the PUSD MSAP Project Director. She has a demonstrated history of K-12 school turnaround. Skilled in instructional design, process improvement, grants administration, and school marketing, Ms. Mumolo earned her master’s degree in education from California Lutheran University and her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in education, she has also been a special education instructional aide, teacher, curriculum developer, and coach.