BELLFLOWER – Bellflower Unified School District welcomed 12,000 new and returning students for the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 31, with a host of new academic programs and support services aimed at giving students the greatest possible opportunities for success.
Programs include a new engineering and robotics course, expanded Spanish language immersion and Mandarin instruction, a high school math pathway that mirrors real-world application of skills, additional professional development for teachers and counseling services to support elementary students.
Bellflower Unified is also continuing the class-size reduction program launched in 2014-15 that dropped student-teacher ratios to 24:1 in kindergarten through third grade and eliminated elementary school combination classes to ensure a more intensive focus on the new California Standards.
“It’s exciting to begin a new year with so many new and continuing opportunities for our students to excel,” Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said. “Each year, we continue refining our curriculum and services to create the most rigorous program of study and the greatest possible level of support for our students.”
The District is receiving $113 million in 2015-16 through the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula to fund its programs, which are outlined in its Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).
The revenue includes $96 million as a base grant to be used for all students and $17 million in supplemental grants targeted for English learners, low-income students and foster children.
The LCAP was developed by the District after extensive consultation with parents, community members, students and other stakeholders, such as teachers and staff.
Bellflower Unified’s new academic and support programs include:
- Engineering course: Bellflower Middle School is offering an engineering and robotics course as the first step to creating an engineering career pathway.
- Spanish Dual Language Immersion: The highly popular program at the Intensive Learning Center is adding second-grade instruction.
- Mandarin: Both comprehensive high schools are adding eighth- and ninth-grade instruction.
- Integrated Math: High school students are beginning a multi-year transition into a three-year Integrated Math sequence, which blends instruction in algebra and geometry.
- Professional Development: Teachers are training in new techniques for teaching English, math and science, and for using classroom technology.
- Counseling Services: Five new counselors are providing elementary students with support.
- Small classes: A 24:1 student-teacher ratio is continuing in kindergarten through third grade.
- Single-grade classes: Elementary teachers are focusing on intense California Standards instruction for single-grade classes.
“Our dedicated team of teachers has returned to the classroom this fall with additional tools to help our students as they pursue their dreams of college and career,” Board of Education President Jerry Cleveland said. “I congratulate them on their passion, and encourage our students to make the most of these opportunities, which will prepare them to compete in our swiftly changing global economy.”
JEFFERSON:New kindergarteners at Thomas Jefferson Elementary in Bellflower show their excitement on the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 31. Jefferson provides a special emphasis on technology for students and is launching a monthly family events for its community this year. The events will include enrichment activities for children and information for parents about educational issues, such as the new California Standards for math.