Borrego Sun - Since 1949

New Faces, New Bus, New Test Scores, New Students, New Year


Last updated 9/28/2018 at 5:56pm

By Martha Deichler

Yes, the brand new shiny yellow school bus arrived after four months of relentless fundraising and generous donations from dozens of Borregans. Through your generosity, Rotary was able to raise $65,000 to match an equal amount from the Borrego Springs Unified School District. Please be sure to check out the beautiful bus in our Borrego Days Parade October 20, where we will be thanking our many benefactors.

Our school year opens with four new faces to add to our excellent list of teachers: Tracy Eddy (3rd Grade), Heidi Schlotfeldt (6th – 8th Social Studies), Elizabeth Jacobsen (6th – 8th Math) and Harmony Williams-Sawyer (9th – 12th Social Studies).

What is just as exciting as having these wonderfully qualified teachers, is the fact that all four have a residential connection to Borrego.

For the BSUSD, it has always been a challenge to keep teachers who live a distance away.

They come for two years, do a super job, but the driving takes a toll on their personal lives, so they transfer closer to home. We welcome these four ladies, who are already interested in getting to know Borrego and becoming a part of our special village.

This school year, the Borrego Springs Unified School District is pleased to report a significant improvement in our math scores on the California Standardized Common Core Assessments with one grade level showing a 16% increase in the number of students passing. For many years, the BSUSD has been plagued with low math scores.

There's never only one reason to explain these low scores but rather a plethora: high % ELL (English Language Learners)/Low SES (Socio-economic students), scarcity of credentialed math teachers, switch to Common Core which requires much reading/writing in math, no funding for summer school, etc.

Why the growth you might ask? Again, there is no silver bullet in educational achievement but a multitude of factors, interventions and strategies that if implemented faithfully over a period of time will have positive results.

No one can discount the vital importance of dedicated and effective teachers and not just in math. Data shows that more than half of math errors are actually reading mistakes, so all teachers have a responsibility in this growth.

It is not possible to write about our students' academic success without acknowledging the vital work of local groups and individuals who have tutored, taught and funded programs to remediate our struggling students. Basic Assistance to Students in the Community (BASIC) has been actively engaged in numerous highly successful programs such as the summer Reading Academy and this year's Learning Academy, which included a math class for the middle schoolers.

In addition, BASIC has partnered with Rotary and the BSUSD for the past two years to fund a math tutor to assist students at the middle and high schools.

Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association (ABDNHA) has worked with our math students from the middle school, and hosted after-school and Saturday classes. The cumulative efforts of these various programs, as well as the hours of volunteerism from our faithful tutors, have had a huge impact on the academic success of our students. We thank them very much.

Research shows that success in a school begins with the leadership and the role they play in setting clear expectations and giving their teachers and students the tools necessary to attain high academic achievement. Borrego Springs is fortunate to have such folks in these positions.

There's a positive buzz in the air on our campuses and it's not just from the bees. Students, staff and parents are full of the excitement for a new year that shows promise, hope and good things to come. Please come and be a part of this success.

You do not have to be a genius in math or speak Spanish. Simply visit the office of either the Borrego Springs Elementary or Middle/High Schools, and fill out an application. We will find the perfect fit for you.

If you would prefer to support the terrific organizations that support us, that also is a way to "volunteer."

It takes a village and this Borrego Village is truly one of kind.

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