Times Community News Columnist Brian Crosby

Brian Crosby
The Crosby Chronicles: A teacher in the GUSD and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Decision-making process should also include teachers' input

In the game of education, there are many players: students, parents, teachers, administrators, district officials, state and federal politicians. Too often, the group that has the most contact with the students — the teachers — is not...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teaching 'Mockingbird' to today's students

One of the charges of the high school English teacher is to help teenagers see the relevancy of literature to their lives. I'm always on the lookout on how to win over the students to read, in their minds, very old books from long, long ago.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Meeting amplifies divergent ideas on education

This summer has not been kind to California educators with increased deductions from their paychecks to pay for the pension fund, and tenure and job protection ruled illegal by a Superior Court judge.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Make real life education's driving force

Knowing that the leading cause of death among teenagers is fatal car crashes, one would think that teaching adolescents how to safely drive would be a national priority — or at least a high school graduation requirement.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Using 'time off' to an advantage

“Teachers have so much time off” is an often repeated sentiment among noneducators.

The Whiteboard Jungle: A chat with 'Leave it to Beaver' star

Bringing up decent children in a sometimes indecent world is challenging for both parents and teachers.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Mayor should hold himself to higher standard

When Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared “this is a big f—in’ day” while holding up a bottle of beer on live television at Monday’s rally celebrating the Los Angeles Kings winning the National Hockey League’...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Writers may be happy to hear from you

This fall, when my students study "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," it won't be the same due to the passing of Maya Angelou last week.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Where are the voices against pot legalization?

The latest Pew Research Center poll shows that 54% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Recognize teachers every day of the year

May is “thank your local teacher” month: Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5 through 9), National Teacher Day (May 6) and California’s Day of the Teacher (May 14).

The Whiteboard Jungle: The balancing act of choosing days off

For the first time in Glendale Unified School District’s history, April 24 is no longer a school day.

The Whiteboard Jungle: People need to take action, not tape it

A video went viral last week of Santa Monica High School teacher/coach Mark Black restraining a student in his classroom.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Adjusting to Common Core will take time

A while ago, my fellow Friday columnist Joylene Wagner lamented that...

The Whiteboard Jungle: The SAT exam adapts to modern times

The high school experience includes several rites of passage for students: getting a driver’s license, going out on a first date, and taking the SAT. Now the SAT journey has just gotten a little smoother.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Hoover High produced an infamous graduate

On March 28, Glendale High School will rename its auditorium the John Wayne Performing Arts Center in honor of its most well-known alumnus.

Whiteboard Jungle: Parents need to be more involved in child's education

Last week Hoover High had a Recruitment Night for the eighth-grade parents of Toll Middle School.

The Whiteboard Jungle: There is no shame in society anymore

When working with teenagers, I try to keep up with the latest trends so that I can name-drop a Kardashian or crack a joke about Instagram to let them know that this old-man teacher does have an awareness of youth culture.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Student teaching is hard and unpaid work

Those who go into the teaching field are often viewed as giving individuals due to the lack of financial rewards, and nowhere is that truer than with those who train to become teachers who sacrifice an entire year’s salary.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Behavior is just as important as good grades

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was from my wife, a box set of the classic TV show “Leave It to Beaver.”

The Whiteboard Jungle: Christmas celebration should be cherished tradition

Each December, there is an increasing amount of attention spent on the word “Christmas” and how its use has to be carefully monitored, especially in schools.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Break was a week lost to education

Now that Glendale students and teachers have experienced the entire week of Thanksgiving off for the first time like their La Cañada brethren, I can officially call such an action a turkey (pun intended).

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teens seem grateful for the assignment

For the first time, Glendale schools will be closed the whole week of Thanksgiving. Because of the large amount of time school will be out of session I wanted my students to write about what they are thankful for (what a clichéd assignment,...

The Whiteboard Jungle: Teachers need to close the 'achievement gap'

The phrase "achievement gap" often refers to the test-score discrepancies between white students and non-white students in public schools. However, the more alarming achievement gap is between high school work and college work.

The Whiteboard Jungle: The good news is there's something to learn

I know what many of you expect me to address this week, the recent headline-grabbing story about a teacher at Hoover accused of sexually assaulting a student. After all, I work there and that teacher was a colleague of mine.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Students, and what comes after

One of the wonders of working with young people is finding out what happened to them years later, and hearkening back on the work I did with them. And when you have taught for nearly a quarter of a century, there are plenty of "years later."

The Whiteboard Jungle: The importance of back-to-school nights

Visit an elementary school at 10 a.m. in the middle of the week for a third-grade dance festival and you'll be lucky to find viewing space on the playground as you stand among parents with cellphones and iPads deployed in order to record the event.

The Whiteboard Jungle: The loss of a signature standard

"Signature" — a word that appears on legal forms and credit card transactions.

The Whiteboard Jungle: Later in the day, not earlier in the summer

Glendale schools opened on Aug. 12, the earliest start date in history, doing away with the traditional September-through-June school calendar that hasn't been all that traditional for a while now. The back-to-school ads that once appeared in...

The Whiteboard Jungle: How I ended my summer vacation

The start of school is a time when districts have their teachers begin work a couple of days before students arrive with the purpose of getting everyone focused on teaching at their full potential. 

The Crosby Chronicles: Competitive youth sports

When you are a parent of a child playing sports, it is not all fun and games.

Crosby Chronicles: The joys of summer

One of the benefits of being a teacher is extra time off from the job compared to other people’s two or three-week vacation periods.

The Crosby Chronicles: Superhero movies loud, violent and boring

"Man of Steel," the reboot of the Superman film franchise, had the biggest opening of a film in June, earning more than $125 million.

The Crosby Chronicles: the pros and cons of AP tests

Each May high school kids have a soft two-week vacation when Advanced Placement exams are administered.  

The Crosby Chronicles: Taking in a hockey game

A longtime diehard Los Angeles sports fan is one who roots for the Dodgers or the Lakers. Unfortunately, neither team is fun to watch these days. Laker fans are trying to obliterate from memory one of the worst years in franchise history, while the...

The Crosby Chronicles: Zen and the art of lawn maintenance

Before I became a homeowner, I would frown down upon houses in my neighborhood whose front yards looked like a scene from a horror movie.  

The Crosby Chronicles: Equal time for Little League players

Those of you with kids in little league right now are familiar with the usual to-do list: buying the gear, bringing the snacks, rushing to all the practices and games, and dealing with coaches who favor their own children over yours.

The Crosby Chronicles: Jackie Robinson biopic worth seeing

You should consider going to the movies to see “42,” the new biographical film on baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson’s first year with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. The actual date of his major league debut, April 15, is...

The Crosby Chronicles: Make the most of life

The email was dutifully sent out to all school district employees.  “Former Hoover High School Librarian Joyce Brace passed away Friday, March 29, 2013.” 

The Crosby Chronicles: Baseball and birthdays

Due to my son’s school being closed on Monday, I had to take a day off of work to be home with him. That day happened to be my birthday, so the stars were aligned when I found out that April 1 was...

The Crosby Chronicles: Restaurant experiences sometimes lack

Going out to eat is supposed to be one of life's pleasures. You don't have to cook or clean up afterwards. Plus, servers take your order and bring your food. For just a little bit of money you can feel a lot of specialness - even if it's only for...

The Crosby Chronicles: Hoover team victorious at Scholastic Bowl

Please allow me to boast. Congratulations to Matthew Benitez, Jacob Deyell, Victor Garcia, Gayane Hovsepyan and Meagan Yuen for winning Hoover’s first Glendale Unified Scholastic Bowl in five years – and my first victory as coach.

The Crosby Chronicles: Something good about getting older

When's the last time you went shopping for children's clothing? Specifically, sports clothing? I just spent nearly $300 at Sports Chalet so that my 9-year-old son could play baseball. And that's with a discount from his coach's company who is helping...

The Crosby Chronicles: Thanks Dr. Jerry Buss for success of L.A. Lakers

The death of Dr. Jerry Buss affects any L.A. sports fan. I kept reading and watching the sad news on Monday as a way for the loss to sink in even though his absence in the public eye the past two years was an unspoken foreshadowing of what...

The Crosby Chronicles: Is NetFlix's 'House of Cards' too much of a good thing?

Last week, NetFlix made available to the public the complete first season of their new TV series "House of Cards." This meant that a viewer could watch all 13 hours of the show, one after another. And people did.

The Crosby Chronicles: Remembering and honoring John Sage

I was contacted by an author to contribute an essay to a book on influential teachers. No, I’m not one of the influential teachers; rather, I am writing about one of my influential teachers.

The Crosby Chronicles: On the inevitability of a second TV in the home

Well, it happened. It was inevitable, friends tell me. It's part of the parenting experience, or so the experts say. We got a TV for our son's bedroom. He can now play Call of Duty yelling out bizarre yelps in the comforts of his own room.

The Crosby Chronicles: Family visit to the USS Iowa docked in San Pedro

Over the MLK holiday I took the family to visit the USS Iowa that is permanently docked down in San Pedro. Ever since it was moved here in October, I wanted to visit the famous battleship. Wanting to avoid the huge crowds that it attracted, I figured...

The Crosby Chronicles: We've lost a piece of California gold

For the past week a deep sadness has shadowed me concerning the death of Huell Howser. I am so grateful that Huell Howser was able to hear what I wrote about him in the Crosby Chronicles a month ago. His assistant called me and said that when he read...

The Crosby Chronicles: Carrying the memories of a father

This past Christmas my father would have turned 100 years old.  This upcoming January is the 40th anniversary of his death.  Two milestones each on the opposite end of the spectrum.

The Crosby Chronicles: Schools should reexamine lockdown procedures after Sandy Hook

When I was in elementary school we used to practice two emergency drills: one for fire which was an evacuation, and another for a nuclear bomb, commonly known as a duck and cover. During the Cold War, the Red Scare, a Soviet Union attack, was on...

The Crosby Chronicles: Support a local theater

If you’ve never been to the Glendale Centre Theatre located on Orange Street especially at Christmas time, you should go.

The Crosby Chronicles: Huell Howser documented California's best

Hearing the news that Huell Howser, whose public TV shows included Visiting and California’s Gold, is retiring for unknown reasons (possibly illness) is a sad day for Angelenos.  His programs — whether they were hour-long specials or...

The Crosby Chronicles: School's automated phone calls are intrusive

How many of you parents receive regular robo-calls from your child’s school, those automated phone messages sent home? I receive three of them a week: one from my son’s elementary school principal, one from my other son’s middle...

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