Superintendent’s Blog 10/18/12


With the release last week of the official Academic Performance Index (API) it is again apparent that Bonsall schools are continuing to perform far above the state and county norm.  A 13-point increase brings the District API to 891.  This is good, but it is not great; we believe the Bonsall District should be above the 900 mark.  Our schools average 10 out of 10 in similar school rankings, but we can’t rest on our laurels.  Our continuous improvement is more difficult the higher we go, but the Bonsall school community deserves great schools, not just good schools.

An area of concern is our 9-point drop in California Standards Test scores in science.  This subject is only tested at the 5th and 8th grades, but it won’t drop again this year.   Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are areas that Bonsall is preparing to emphasize.  We are currently moving toward a greater emphasis on primary math instruction using our Integrated Learning Environment (ILE) to have technology provide deeper assessments, personalized instruction, and extended learning time from the start.

Highlights of site performance are evident with more detailed information on each site and the “School Quality Snapshot” link included below:

Congratulations to Vivian Banks Charter School for growing 63 points to have an API of 831, far above the state target of 800!  Click the following link for details:

Bonsall West showed how much they deserve a Distinguished School Award with an increase of 12 points for an API of 935!  Click the following link for details:

Sullivan Middle School increased by 15 points for an API of 865, outstanding for middle schools.  Click the following link for details:

Bonsall Elementary increased 3 points for an API of 899 and we are sure they will break the 900 mark this year.  Click the following link for details:


As the campaign for Proposition BB heats up, it seems prudent to address that subject.  First, the unfortunate mistake made by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters assuming that Prop BB voter information pamphlets and ballot materials would only be needed for voters in Bonsall, could have been avoided; I pointed out their mistake when I delivered our ballot information, but they ignored my advice.  They have corrected the mistake; supplemental voter pamphlet information and ballots have now been sent out for all voters in the Fallbrook High Union School District attendance area.

As you know, misinformation is quite common in election campaigns and we have been busy providing factual information to correct misleading statements.  In one example, a parent claimed that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) didn’t accredit Fallbrook High; we quickly pointed out that not only are they accredited, but also their Superintendent is a leading expert for WASC.  Another example is a rumor that the reason Bonsall wants to have their own high school is for racial reasons.  The facts to dispel that rumor are that Bonsall is one of the best districts in the county in student achievement of English learners and closing the achievement gap among racial and economic subgroups.  Also, the studies projecting the effects of unification show that Bonsall would actually increase in percentage of minority students.

Today’s Village News contained an opinion letter authored by Dale Mitchell persuading voters to vote no on Proposition BB.  Some voters asked me if that was permitted and I told them to note that he did not include his title, just his name.  As a voter in a Fallbrook precinct he has that right.  Proposition BB is a wonderful example of our participatory form of government.  Voters will choose to create a unified Bonsall district if they feel it is in the best interest of their community.

Proposition BB was initiated by parents and the elected officials of the Bonsall Union School District.  As Superintendent I was directed by the Governing Board to shepherd the unification application to the ballot for citizens to decide for themselves if Bonsall should be a unified district.  As a public servant I am delighted that Proposition BB provides an opportunity for the community to choose.  The vision for a comprehensive high school when the application process began isn’t quite the academy vision presented now, but then Bonsall schools aren’t performing  the way they were then either.

Competing in the future is an ambiguous task, but we do know 21st century schools cannot be the same as a 20th century school; this could be an opportunity to adapt to a changing, highly competitive world where creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and civility are more valuable than a comprehensive high school experience.