Merry Christmas to the Bonsall School Community,

What a great gift our educations are! To receive learning experiences that develop our brain’s ability to improve our health and happiness throughout life is priceless. Education is expensive and becoming more so, but the quality is not always linked to the price; in Bonsall there are so many people that go beyond average expectations so the children, and therefore the future of this community, benefit more than in most other schools.

I am continually amazed at the way this community contributes to enriching Bonsall students’ learning experiences. From the PTA and Bonsall Education Foundation, with “Spread the Love” and “Jingle Rock” to the great support of the Pala Band of Mission Indians for native language learning, Bonsall is a great place to receive your education. Whether it’s modeling empathy, celebrating the holiday season, or being able to sing “Silent Night” in Cupeño, there are so many examples of the Bonsall school community supporting the education of our future. The District is also very appreciative of the community support for our policies related to health and what we serve our children at class holiday parties – tradition and nutrition aren’t always the easiest combination.

At its December Board Meeting, the Board of Trustees named the new high school, “Bonsall High School”. Several days later at a workshop on December 14, the Board discussed the purpose (vision/mission), philosophy, guiding principles, and goals of the Bonsall Unified School District that will begin July 1, 2014. The Bonsall Union District will end June 30, 2014. Because of the success of Bonsall Union many of the elements discussed at the workshop were simply tuned to include high school issues; the purpose statement for example, took our present vision/mission statement, “Academic excellence and support for all students” and added: “to be highly competitive in their chosen career path and/or college”. The elements will be presented for approval at the January 9, 2014 Board Meeting.

The Bonsall High School will not be the traditional comprehensive high school. It will focus more on responsibility, rigor, and relevance. The “highly competitive” aspect of the purpose statement is linked to the philosophy of a “Dedication to Continuous Improvement”. Our students’ competitive drive will not be against others, but against our own past performance. Yet the changing world will require them to accept the responsibility for their future; health care concerns and relatively limited retirement benefits must be addressed with a future orientation. The course work will be rigorous, meeting A-G requirements for entrance into the University of California system. The relevance is the real key; students will experience internships, and project based learning to use content to solve real problems. Here is a link to a student whose perspective is similar to the relevance our high school will pursue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY

In my last blog I mentioned that, besides writing, English Language Development, and new assessment vocabulary, one of the areas we will be focusing on is math. Research shows that math performance in primary grades is by far the strongest predictor of school success and math ability during the teen years is linked to future income. Also, the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related jobs are too often not filled by Americans due to lack of science and math education. We will be focusing on improving what we do now so that we will be responsible for high school math. The following link is food for thought in this area:

Enjoy the holidays,

Justin Cunningham, Ed.D.