BSUSD Board Meeting


Last updated 4/3/2020 at 12:43pm

The Borrego Springs Unified School District held their monthly board meeting Wednesday March 11 in the community room at the high school, where members of the board, schools, and the community shared updates and statements.

Steve Riehle, president of the board, shared there was nothing to report from the closed board session.

The meeting followed with comments from the public starting with a formal complaint against the district by a student, after an incident caused injury to her and another classmate from an experiment gone wrong in a chemistry class. She insisted that the board take a better look at guidelines and protocols to ensure safety for future students. The student also would like to have better training for school staff so they know what to do in case something like this happens again.

Community member Joe Del Bono followed with his dissatisfaction of the conditions of the softball and baseball fields. The aesthetic is displeasing to not just residents, but visiting teams. He added that he’s even willing to get a team going to get things fixed if that’s what it takes, and has spent over $1,000 on upgrades including the dugout, with hopes the district would match it, but nothing has been done.

Equipment was stolen over the summer, and the softball team is three weeks into their season, and not all has been replaced. The bathrooms are “atrocious and embarrassing,” needing to be serviced. Joe Del Bono added that it is not a good impression for those who attend games and have no working toilet to go to or a place to change for the game.

He also added communication needs to be worked on between everyone from the athletic director, to the teams and to the parents.

Joe Del Bono closed his report with the baseball field is not being used, so it should not be watered as often. He said things need to get done, and is willing to help the conversation going.

The ‘Students of the Month’ for February recognitions for the elementary, middle and high school followed, presented by principal’s Sherrilynn Polanco and Victoria Baay, but not all students were present to be recognized.

Students of the Month for the elementary school were – Khalani Toussaint, Leah Asche, Iker Vilchis, Maria Fernanda Torres, Lionel Vilchis, Daniela Hernandez, Judith Fregoso, and Felicity Lopez.

The following students were also named Students of the Month in various subjects/classes – Reading: Alessandra Ochoa; Music: Jordyn Navarro; ASES: Aden Acuna and Michelle Hernandez; American Legion: Ivanna Garcia.

For the middle and high school – Ulices Hernandez, Brianna Vanasdlen, Jacob Marsh, Angel Delgado, David Hernandez, Ashanty Rangel and Cristina Arias were named Students of the Month.

The girls’ varsity volleyball team was recognized for being named an All-Academic team, and they scored the highest combined GPA in the region.

After a brief break and approval of previous board meeting minutes, ASB President Danielle Del Bono began her report with the snack bar is now open during lunch. Each class will have a chance to raise funds on alternate dates.

They will be also holding a spring pep rally on April 9, where the softball team and the many clubs on campus will be recognized, giving an update on their recent and future activities. To close, she said things are going well and they are having a lot of fun.

Kevin Ogden and two guests presented an update on what is going on with the charter school associated with the BSUSD.

They have almost 700 new students since July, with at least 30 new kids enrolling every week at one of the many sites. They provided updates on how things are going at the school, as well as the different programs the students are experiencing.

Ogden gave a comprehensive update on the WIOA & Partnership. He began with listing who the partnerships are with, and what benefits the students receive from them. About 1,850 students received WIOA support services by counselors and/or parents.

Ogden closed his report with a short video of students sharing their experiences and how this program benefits them. He also notified the board that graduation is in May, one in San Diego and one in Riverside.

Before giving her report, school-community liaison Martha Deichler gave her kudos to Baay for making it through her first WASC. Deichler understands the process from her days as principal and superintendent, knowing that it is a heavy based process. But she heard great things from the team, giving a great repoire for the school.

Deichler’s theme of her report was “money.” She let the board know she was the auctioneer for three big events this year, and said that with all the money raised, it all goes back into the Borrego community.

She provided an updated number of the amount of money raised at the Boys and Girls Club’s annual fundraiser and tournament, adding that many gave more money this year than before.

The Borrego Village Association’s High School Interpretation Course has been going well, and each student even received a brand new pair of hiking shoes from the BVA.

Deichler closed with that she is still working on San Diego County District 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond’s Revitalization Committee to get better transportation services for Borrego. Again, they are hoping to have better lines of transportation and more days for the bus to come out with more access.

Polanco followed and shared her report on updates from the elementary school.

She discussed with the board something she hopes to do once a month, which is “Professional Learning Community,” where the staff looks at student data, as well as setting goals to see what is going on with the students and what things can be improved.

She shared a few notes that teachers observed of their students.

Some students were absent a few times, so attendance is being worked on

Reading fluency, however, comprehension is lacking

Alarming that some students haven’t yet reached the “mastery level” in reading

Polanco added that there is great growth there, and hopes it continues to improve.

Some strategies learned from the observations made are to possibly retest students who tested poorly, using small groups to focus on specific students, and among others.

For the middle school, Baay started her report with her recent classroom visits. She provided an update on the status of the Math Academy, where they currently have about 40 students. She also noted that the ASES class and Boys and Girls Club have been very supportive in making sure students do attend the Academy if they need to.

The music class recently took a trip to see a symphony practice, arranged by the new music teacher Kimberly Tilton. Baay said that she has been a great addition to the staff.

There are a few things happening at the high school. The high school physics class has been working on rollercoaster models with Lydia Gordon, and each had many different themes. The wielding and engineering class built little bridges, each with different styles and were able to hold over 600 pounds. She said it is an overall great experience with the students.

Baay closed her report by discussing a few things coming up.

Jessica Gillespie was introduced as the new Director of Business Services, taking over for Laura Castro.

At the time of the meeting, she was eight days into the job, and has been observing a few things around the school sites. Gillespie has been working with the maintenance departments, focusing on areas of concern, and will be meeting with them quite often, as well as seeing their daily routine.

Her goal is to see what that routine is, and to create a checklist to make sure things are accounted for.

She met with the transportation department, letting the board know everything is in compliance, and they are doing a great job of keeping things up to date.

Superintendent Mark Stevens updated the board on the status of the bond. They have met with their consultant, going through the various projects again, and saw that there are significant savings. They saw that a few of the planned outdoor projects could essentially be much cheaper than originally planned.

He said there are many things going on, but it is on the right track.

Baay then discussed the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which occurs every eight years, where they need to be an accredited high school, going through the self-study process, which has the staff analyze district practices while finding areas of need.

The WASC visits went very well, and Baay praised the staff for all their help through the process, noting this was one of the best collaborations with the middle and high school. From their report, she said they loved the school, and saw how committed they were to the students. There were also a few things they did not really like and hope it gets improved. The APEX program was one of the biggest things, as well as providing more support with online students.

An update on the pilot of the ELA and history curriculum was provided by Heidi Scholtfeldt, and said it is going well at this time. She said it is very student centered and directed, set up a specific way.

Stevens presented to the board the second interim financial report for approval. School districts are required to file two interim reports during a fiscal year on the status of the districts financial health.

The report was due March 15 for the period ending on Jan. 31.

He began with an on overview and breakdown of the annual budget and its cycle, giving updates on the adopted budget. A simplified version of the current budget was discussed with things to consider reducing spending.

The board approved the 2019 – 20 second interim report with a positive certification.

The next scheduled board meeting will be 5 p.m. Wednesday April 8 in the high school community room.