Dear Bonsall School Community,

With all the transitions our schools are experiencing, the unification, new standards, assessments, and funding model, it amazing how well this maelstrom of change is being worked out. The most powerful indicator for a great school is student learning. Visiting the classrooms has been a wonderfully positive reminder of this as students are talking so much more about their learning than they ever have before. My own classroom experience as a student and young teacher stressed quietness, and it seems weird at first to walk through so many “noisy” classrooms, but upon closer attention it’s obvious that all the students are engaged in learning so much more than when they sat in silence. Neuroscience helps us to understand that the brain develops around language and talking about your thinking develops many more neural connections for retention and later recall. It has really been an epiphany to notice so many smiling faces while students share their thoughts with each other; they’re rediscovering the joy of learning! However, classes are not always talking; there are still times when reading, writing and problem solving require concentration or depth of thought. One example I observed was a sixth grade class where students were thinking and writing their perspectives on a variety of subjects like the spread of the ISIS terrorists, or the evaporation of the Salton Sea.

It is very encouraging to see not only how smoothly the transitions are occurring, but also how quickly. Here too, the students are the indicators of successful schools. Their generation is much more accepting of the acceleration of change. A key point to hear is the word “accelerating”. An increasing pace of technological innovation is accelerating the pace of change. This raises anxiety in some, mostly people older than our students. However, a very exciting and comforting outcome is the great amount of professional development and training Bonsall teachers are going through; these transitions are requiring our teachers to be students!   All their learning has helped instruction to shift from an over reliance on memory to more critical thinking and problem solving required for college and career readiness.

One of the changes on the horizon the Bonsall School Community must consider is computer science. Bonsall schools will bring computer science into the curriculum from kindergarten up, now, so by the time the State makes room in the k-12 curriculum, our students will be ready to excel. Please visit code.org to increase your awareness. To achieve “Academic excellence and support for all students to be highly competitive in their chosen career path and/or college” our students must be able to take advantage of employment opportunities related to computer science.

Yours,

Justin Cunningham, Ed.D.

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