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Summer Update
John Carroll
Monday, July 01, 2019

Bolinas-Stinson School Summer Update

 

It was an exciting year at Bolinas-Stinson School. Our graduates are safely across the stage with diplomas in hand and our returning students are looking forward to the next grade.  Summer school is in full swing and staff is hard at work getting the campus ready for classes to resume in August. 

 

July gives us a moment to plan for the future and to reflect on the work that our school community has accomplished:

 

Successful, Strategically Planned Programs:

As of the end of the school year, our Board of Trustees completed implementation of the strategic plan that has guided the district since 2016.  The results have been strong:

 

  • We are one of the few schools that offers a preschool program so that all of our learners will be ready for kindergarten and well prepared as for the rest of their school experience. (This may also have had a positive effect on our enrollment.)
  • Our students learn outside the classroom by taking multi-day field trips to places like Joshua Tree, Ashland Oregon, The wilderness of Utah (in search of dinosaur fossils and long-buried habitats) Walker Creek Ranch, The High Sierra and many other local locations.
  • In 2018-2019 we implemented updated language arts and math curricula that staff had  piloted the previous year.  As we work with our teachers and see how they use new materials and methods, we could not be more optimistic.
  • During the period of unusually strong financial growth since 2012, the Board has strategically improved student services and learning opportunities while taking steps to ensure sustainable spending over the next several years.
  • Enrollment (which had declined for several years) has leveled off and enrollment has been consistent since 2014.

 

Academic Success in Key Areas

We were pleased to see substantial achievement from our students in 3 critical areas: Kindergarten Readiness, 3rd grade reading level and math placement at the end of 8th grade. Those measures are common benchmarks that researchers use to predict academic success through postsecondary schools and programs. It was gratifying to see that our students are being successful in all three.

 

Our readiness assessment shows us that most of our incoming kindergarteners arrive prepared to learn. We believe that our preschool program has been helpful in making that happen.

 

The vast majority of our students are at grade level or higher in reading in third grade and continue to grow in their literacy skills for the rest of their time at school. (We assess reading for all students throughout the year so we have strong data and know when a child may need more support.)

 

Nearly all of our 8th graders place into grade level math or higher in high school.  This year, data from the high school district showed that 86% of our graduates currently enrolled in high school remain on track in math to be eligible for U.C. and C.S.U. universities.

 

A Bright Future for Our Unique School

2019- 2020 will be a year of great change for Bolinas Stinson School.  We will welcome three new teachers in August and look forward to getting to know them and to experiencing the changes that new members of our school family will bring. 

 

We will be implementing a new class configuration model that will ensure grade-specific instruction in core academic areas while keeping classes large enough to keep school vibrant and fun.

 

Middle school students will be piloting a Spanish language program that has proven successful in other local school districts.  Middle school Spanish was community priority (and a strategic Board goal) and it feels great to be taking the first step in facilitating learning in that subject.

 

The Board has taken steps to ensure that the school continues to provide the best quality program for our students in a fiscally responsible manner.  We are all looking forward to an amazing year with updated curriculum, refreshed facilities, continued effective leadership with our new Principal (entering her second year) and the community support that has made our school a great place for children to learn and grow.  We really do believe we can have the best of both worlds for our kids- a school that ensures a strong academic foundation for every child and an environment that honors their uniqueness and innate creativity. 

 

Enjoy your summer!

 

 

John Carroll, Superintendent