BSUSD: New Fences, New Focus, New Faces
Last updated 11/9/2023 at 1:21pm
The shiny new fences around the Borrego Springs' schools portend new things to come and not just security to keep strangers out and kids in.
They're also a serious reminder that it's back to school in person and time to catch up on those lost instructional hours from COVID. With standardized test scores lower than acceptable, the BSUSD School Board and staff have decided to take rigorous steps towards a focus on academics, especially reading and math, with weekly assessments to guide teachers' instruction. Teachers will then know who is and who isn't learning the material and allow for follow-up interventions.
Superintendent, Dr. Mark Stevens, says this "back to basics movement" also includes the adoption of a new reading program for the elementary school and a reduction in the number of minutes a day students receive enrichment instruction such as dance and art with the resulting increase in academic time.
Coupled with learning the fundamentals of reading and math, is preparing our students academically for a career. As a second area of focus, BSUSD has adopted the RIASEC Career Literacy Program whereby all students (K-12) explore and investigate their skills and interests in a personal exploration of work. Through discussions, videos and guest speakers, students learn about various careers with a goal of lining up a career that matches their interests and skills. The RIASEC model includes skill sets in six areas: Realistic, Investigation, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. Knowing one's skill set leads to a greater possibility of landing a satisfying and lifelong career.
A great number of high school students are well on their way to experiencing various skill-based careers in their CTE (Career Technical Education) classes: Welding, Automotive, Certified Interpretive Host and Energy/Environment/Utilities. The latter is the result of the Borrego Water District's Proposition 68 Grant to reduce water consumption in Borrego Springs by introducing young people to less water intensive jobs in Borrego such as irrigation specialists, water treatment plant operators, Park environmentalists and utility workers.
High School Principal Victoria Baay is happy to recognize our fabulous welding teacher, Mike Kitten, as the new CTE Coordinator. His job is to organize and oversee the burgeoning CTE Program, a job he is carrying out with passion and expertise. Working alongside Mike is our new Auto and Energy/Environment/Utilities instructor, Eddie Lopez, "stolen" from the Borrego Water District and Borrego Water Board Member, Dave Duncan, teaching the Certified Interpretive Host Class.
These new faces are joined at the Elementary School by new 3rd grade teacher, Neysa Smith, from Arizona. With a strong and willing staff, Elementary Vice Principal Christina Nerette states that "we are setting big goals and creating a thriving educational community where every child can shine".
All indications show that this school year will have "shiny" results both academically and socially for our 350 students. With continued community support, the Borrego Springs Unified School District will thrive, prosper and produce students who are lifelong learners and prepared for the world of work.