(August 29, 2012, BRAWLEY) – Ron Garcia, BESD superintendent, explained to the board how an Education Department State Architect walked all school campuses to inspect foundational and cosmetic damages before he gave all sites an official nod of safety. Despite the OK to start school on Tuesday, there still were hours of clean up on Monday before the classes would be ready for teachers and students.
The five principals gave short updates on the first day. The main issue were cafeteria snafus that those principals felt were easily remedied. Several principals reported a drop in expected attendance but credited the low numbers to continuing earthquake jitters.
Principal of Hidalgo elementary, Celia Santana, said that they practiced “cover, duck, and hold on!” throughout the day so the drill became routine for all the children.
Witter principal, Debra Hale, said, “The little ones still had jitters.” She also commented on the brand new entryway set up that doubles as a security measure. No one can enter the campus without first signing in and the campus is secured.
Further security measures were enacted at Phil Swing elementary with the Western Avenue entrance closed to students. All students, parents, and parents must enter through the main gate.
ASES, an after school enrichment program, has begun and Craig Casey and Hale, the two principals that run the service, reported low starting numbers but anticipate the number will reach 100 students by the end of the week. One hundred is the limit of children permitted in the program.
Director of Special Projects, Luis Pandero, spoke about the strong parent advisory group migrant education is fortunate to have. The parent advisory group developed several educational enrichment programs such as Saturday Academics, Extended School Day, Educational Trips, Speech and Debate, and Case Management.
The State Education Department allots $217,232 to the Migrant Program. There are 651 students qualified for this enrichment and of those students, 48%, or 315 students, are English learners.