On behalf of our Board of Trustees, welcome to our website. There have been a number of exciting changes in the programs and curriculum that we offer in the Wasco Union School District, and I would like to mention a few of the most recent changes.
Probably the biggest single change that has occurred is the fact that the district has been almost completely restructured. Up through spring of 2007, our school sites were configured as follows:
John L. Prueitt School held grades K and 1
Karl Clemens School held grades 2 and 3
Palm Avenue School held grades 4 through 6
Thomas Jefferson held grades 7 and 8.
With the fall of 2007 opening of our newest school, Teresa Burke Elementary, we restructured all of our elementary schools to serve grades Kindergarten through sixth. Thomas Jefferson still serves our junior high students. Our elementary schools are now all “neighborhood” schools, and many parents of students have said they appreciate very much the fact that all their youngsters may go to the same school. We have already begun to note enhanced parent involvement at our school sites. Parents who are inclined to become active in their Parent-Teacher Organization may now count on many years to serve at a single site. With our previous organizational structure as listed above, parents who had several children enrolled at different grade levels had to make choices regarding which school site’s parent organization they should join.
Another positive aspect of this change will be the opportunities to instill in our students a strong sense of pride in their school. Students from different K-6 schools will be competing against one another in sports such as volleyball and flag football, and in academic competition with spelling bees and oral language festivals. There are few better ways to instill in children a sense of school pride than to wear one’s school colors and to compete on behalf of one’s school.
In addition, because there are fewer teachers at each grade level within a school, it is much easier for teachers to meet for the purpose of collaboration—to plan how to make the instructional offerings better for individual children. Also, there are more opportunities for teachers to talk to the teachers at grade levels above and below their own grade levels, which offers better articulation between the levels.
With the opening of Teresa Burke Elementary, our student numbers at each of the schools have become much smaller. Last year, for example, Palm Avenue School had over 1,000 students. This year, Palm Avenue School is down to about 730 students. This provides for a more effective educational environment. Our other elementary schools have achieved proportionate size reductions.
Another positive change has been the restoring of our “all-day” Kindergarten program. For many years, the district has conducted an “AM/PM” Kindergarten schedule, and we have been looking forward to eliminating the dual session Kindergarten classes.
Because of the excellent cooperation of our teachers and classified employees, we have been successful in implementing the above changes for the benefit of our students. There are many more improvements, such as our new after-school programs, new preschool opportunities, enhanced daycare opportunities, etc. I will be discussing those new programs at a later date. For now, thank you for visiting our website.