Dear Bonsall School Community,

Today is the last day for the Bonsall Union School District; as of tomorrow, July 1, 2014 Bonsall becomes a Unified School District. As shown in the link below, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors proclaimed June 11, 2014, Bonsall Union School District Day throughout San Diego County. Considering the District began in the nineteenth century, it is only right to honor the great work that so many in the Bonsall Community did to support their local public education in three centuries.

The relationship between a school district and a community is symbiotic; each helps the other to improve. The new Bonsall Unified School District began as a vision of community members that sought quality schools beyond K-8, up through the high school grades. The timing of all this is amazing. It is clear that the 21st Century will require different skills to compete in a global economy and Bonsall will have a high school designed for success in this century, not the last.  Our purpose statement, “Academic excellence and support for all students to become highly competitive in their chosen career path and/or college”, was adapted for the high school. Bonsall High School will be an exciting, innovative venture with great rewards for those community members (including students) that help design it. Chairman Smith of the Pala Band of Mission Indians is a great example of the Bonsall School Community supporting our schools; the link below shows that he and the tribe have been recognized as model community partners.

Bonsall High’s athletics will be moving toward the community’s club sports. We sought a CIF partnership with our neighboring districts but that collaborative community based model was too outside of the box for those with the old mindset of separate school districts controlling separate athletic programs.  We prefer community control of athletics; the World Cup is showing us how well it works for soccer. We do have a great women’s club volleyball program that we intend to expand to men’s, and plan to develop more club teams for lifetime sports like tennis, golf, and perhaps soccer as the high school grows.  With the exception of football, club sports produce most of the college athletes.

Bonsall’s music program finished strong as shown in the link below. Bonsall High School does plan to develop the arts as the High School grows.

Innovation will require the creativity the arts bring and we welcome its development in our schools as we become a new school district with a focus on student learning and designing a learning environment that prepares our students for their future, not our past. We wouldn’t want to be part of any other school community; Bonsall is poised for amazing growth and innovation and we are grateful to be part of it.

I was in a meeting with Governor Jerry Brown this last week and when I told him about our purpose related to student learning; he quoted William Butler Yeats, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”.  We are lighting the fire of education in Bonsall.


Justin Cunningham