Borrego Sun - Since 1949

By Martha Deichler
BSUSD School-Community Liaison 

Additional Funding, More Services, Big Smiles

Borrego Springs Unified School District Opens with Big Plans!


Last updated 10/18/2022 at 10:02am

Billy Painter, Andrea Urquidez, Ryan Wikert and Mike Kitten

As the 2022 – 23 school year opens with extra state funding in hand, Superintendent Dr. Mark Stevens is embarking on programs to serve our children starting in infancy and through preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school and even mentorship after graduation. All of these changes will benefit the educational, mental and social well-being of our Borrego Springs Students.

"I think that more than any other year, I am excited for the potential that BSUSD has to serve this community," states Dr. Mark Stevens.

The school district received several Community School grants which focus not only on the day-to-day academics within the four walls of the classroom, but also on issues in the homes and community that interfere with the ability of the students to learn and be successful in their education.

Beginning in infancy, families will be introduced to the school district via "Borrego Families First" and a visit by our newly hired Community School Coordinator, Andrea Urquidez, a former student who is attending school part-time to become our academic counselor. She will visit families of newborns with gifts of books, diapers and an introduction to BSUSD and the services offered to families such as BASIC's Dolly Parton's Imagination Library where every child (0 – 5) receives a free book monthly. In addition, preschool (4 years and older) and pre-K will now move to all day. Yes, nap time will be mandatory for the little ones as they get used to all day school. The teachers might be needing naps as well!

Working with Andrea is former Sheriff Billy Painter who has been hired as our Community School Coordinator/School Safety Officer. Billy has access to grants and strategies to keep our school sites and students as safe as possible. He has enthusiastically begun to work with schools to update and improve each site's School Safety Plan. When asked how he enjoys this new position, Billy responds, "I'm living the dream."

Principal Victoria Baay is thrilled that we are opening the new school year with a full staff and a strong one at that. She is now overseeing all three schools, as longtime teacher and principal, Sherrilynn Polanco, has relocated to Mammoth Lakes School District in the role of Project Coordinator. We hear she is enjoying her new assignment and she and her husband, Maui, had better get ready for some Borrego visitors next summer! The average summer temperature is 76!

The Middle/High School has a new Vice Principal, Ryan Wikert, who will oversee the day to day operations of these two schools. You might recognize his name as he was our very popular High School Counselor three years ago. He enjoyed our students and school so much that he has returned to serve in this new capacity.

The Elementary School will be interviewing this week for a Vice Principal as well. Extra administrators will mean more support for teachers working with struggling students. Many students lost instructional time during COVID and are in need of interventions and reteaching.

New teachers in the district include Meg Hanna in 1st/2nd grade combo class, Kathryn (KC) Deichler in 4th, Ana Daniel as SPED (Special Education) and Mike Kitten as the CTE (Career Tech Education) Coordinator and welding teacher.

We are fortunate to find and hire a highly effective social worker, Bridget Anderson, who is serving our students and families 2 1/2 days a week with much energy and compassion.

BSUSD is expanding its CTE Classes which now include hospitality, photography, graphic design, welding and business.

After two years in a CTE course of study, students receive certification which enables them to merge directly into community colleges to further their study in this field or they can go directly into employment. CTE courses require partnering/interning with the above listed careers in our community. If you have an interest in assisting and supporting our CTE Program, please contact Mike Kitten at 760-767-5357.

BSUSD might be small but our programs are mighty and our passion for meeting the needs of our students is tangible. As we have stated many times, our efforts would not be successful without the support of this amazing community. Thank you all and here's to a great school year!

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