Dear Bonsall School Community,
Thank you! The Bonsall School Community presents so many things to be grateful for it seems like Thanksgiving all year: great surroundings, great people, a great track record of performance while collaborating through tough times and moving toward a great future. There are very few days where I am not consciously grateful for being able to serve this school community. Having worked with so many other school districts, I realize that Bonsall children, parents, community members, and teachers are exceptionally wonderful.
Bonsall’s Board of Trustees recently approved a 3% salary increase for teachers, not because they haven’t had a raise in 5 years, but because they continued to increase student learning despite larger class size, furlough days, and a shift to using more technology for instruction. While the budget was being cut over 20% they worked together with administration to ensure that student learning would continue to improve regardless of the fiscal crisis. Bonsall’s shift from the California Standards Test (CST) to the Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment is much smoother than most districts because Bonsall educators work together and have been using computer adaptive testing for over five years. Increased professional development in math, writing, and a focus on new vocabulary for assessing the Common Core, will take place over the next few years.
A field test of the Smarter Balanced Assessment in Math, and English Language Arts (ELA) will take place for grades 3-8 in Bonsall Schools next spring, from April 7, 2014 to May 16, 2014. It is just a “test of the test” and will not produce individual student results. The deeper learning needed to prepare students for college and career, called for in the Common Core Standards, will depend on deeper assessment at a statewide level and the glitches will need to be addressed before the accountability for testing results occurs in 2014-2015. While the State works this out, our MAP testing will provide a solid accountability to ensure we stay on track to provide “academic excellence and support for all students to be highly competitive in their chosen career path or college”.
California’s new funding model for schools, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will provide slightly increased funding to support students who are English Learners, foster youth, and socioeconomically disadvantaged students. These funds are to be used to support such students to overcome the barriers their situations pose to learning.
Our District has done relatively well with these students’ learning; an example is the Annual Measureable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) for English Learners. We are one of only a few districts in San Diego County that met all the objectives until last year when we didn’t meet the proficiency levels for Math and ELA. To support these students reaching the high expectations here in Bonsall, the District will be providing more trained bilingual instructional assistants and after school tutoring.
At this time of Thanksgiving it is easy to be grateful for the many ways the Bonsall School Community continues to do what it takes support student learning. Another great example of this is the $80,000 donation Chairman Robert Smith of the Pala Band of Mission Indians presented to the District at the last Board Meeting. This generous and wise donation was to support counseling and psychological services for students from Pala and Bonsall. Unfunded but mandated special education services are increasing dramatically, and this support from the tribe is another example of the strength of a Bonsall School Community that deserves
gratitude throughout the year.
Justin Cunningham Ed D