Monday, 23 September 2019

Putting Students First: Kelseyville Unified gets back to school

Kelseyville Unified School District Superintendent Dave McQueen. Courtesy photo.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – This summer, we’ve been busy updating facilities, hiring staff, and preparing lessons so students in the Kelseyville Unified School District can have their best year ever.

Here are a few important items to be aware of.

Short Mondays

Starting Sept. 23, every Monday we’ll send students home a little early. Middle school students (grades 6 to 8) will be dismissed at noon. Elementary school students (grades K to 5) will be dismissed at 1 p.m. High school students (grades 9 to 12) will be dismissed at 2:10 p.m.

Bussing will still be provided as soon as school is out, and routes will remain the same. Afterschool programs will begin early on Mondays but will end at the normal time.

The reason different schools have different dismissal times is to follow all the rules about the number of classroom hours we provide for each school during the school year.

The reason we’re doing this is to shift in-service days that only happen once in a while, to a weekly time for teachers to collaborate, solve problems together and learn new skills.

When teachers have time to share good ideas, students reap the rewards. This is especially true when new teachers spend time with more experienced teachers – everyone benefits. So when you think about it, by investing in our teachers, we are also investing in our students.

Career technical education in a brand-new shop building

Another exciting change this year is that our high school students who are enrolled in welding or wood shop will take their classes in a brand-new shop building.

Thanks to the support of our community through Measure U funding as well as grant funding, we were able to complete a state-of-the-art shop building and fill it with equipment that will allow our students to be ready to work in their chosen field upon graduation.

Our Kelseyville High School principal, Mike Jones, taught welding for 21 years before becoming an administrator, so you can imagine how excited he is about this new facility.

When he started at KHS in 1992, he was asked to sketch some plans for a new shop building. It took us a while, but we finally did it. Mike said, “I really appreciate Kelseyville Unified School District’s commitment to CTE [Career Technical Education]. This shop building is beautiful.”

This 7,600-square-foot facility includes equipment currently used in the real world, and a ventilation system that meets tough safety and efficiency standards. In older facilities, when students weld or use saws, an exhaust fan sends fumes, dust, and the surrounding air outside. Unfortunately, this means heaters and air conditioners have to work twice as hard to keep classrooms comfortable. Not anymore!

“With this new equipment, fumes are sucked into the machine and filtered immediately. The same is true for the wood shop where sawdust is captured and filtered so students don’t breathe dusty air,” Mike said.

At Kelseyville Unified School District, we want to prepare all our students for life after high school. For some, that means having the academic background needed for college. For others, that means having the skills they need to start their careers.

Our career technical education program has five career pathways.

1. Agri-science pathway: Integrated ag science, ag biology and ag chemistry.
2. Ag mechanics pathway: Intro to ag mechanics, intermediate ag mechanics and advanced ag mechanics.
3. Cabinetry, millwork and woodworking pathway: Woods I, Woods II and Woods III.
4. Design, visual and media arts pathway: Digital media I, computer applications and AP computer science.
5. Hospitality pathway: Foods and nutrition, ROP baking and pastry, and ROP culinary arts.

Kelseyville Learning Academy

Another way we meet our students’ needs is by offering more than one type of education. The traditional classroom works well for some, but not all. That’s why we offer an alternative: it’s called the Kelseyville Learning Academy, or KLA.

KLA was developed for families who want a tailored schedule and curriculum for their students, one that can be completed online or via a home-school environment – or a blend of the two.

Last year was its first year and Kelseyville Unified School District Director of Student Support Services Tim Gill said the response has been “overwhelmingly positive, so much so that we had to hire additional staff.”

KLA high school students are assigned a Chromebook and those who want to participate in extracurricular activities or select classes at Kelseyville High School are free to do so, including sports, career technical education, band, and more.

For high school students interested in pursuing a career, KLA offers a hybrid academic/work-study program and an early college program for students who want to begin classes at community colleges such as Mendocino College or Woodland Community College.

For those interested in going straight into the workforce, several local businesses in the trades and other industries work with students to provide real-world experience in their areas of interest.

Kelseyville Elementary School student drop off and pick up

Before I finish up, I didn’t want to forget to mention Kelseyville Elementary School, or KES.

For the safety of our students, we’re working on the KES parking lot, so all students enter the campus by walking to the opening in the fence in the middle of the parking lot, continuing through the middle gates and on to the cafeteria.

Kindergarten students will also need to walk through the middle gate and go to the cafeteria. Kindergarteners will then be escorted to their classrooms by aides.

There will be two car lanes on the far side: one for parking and one for driving through and dropping off students.

KES Principal Barbie Gleason will inform parents of all this with a phone call and a letter that includes a map. And to assure a smooth start to school, KES personnel will be out directing parents the first week of school, so everyone knows where to go and what to do.

Stay tuned and see you soon!

Stay informed about all our programs and events on our school websites and Facebook pages.

We look forward to inspiring your children in new ways in the new school year.

Dave McQueen is superintendent of Kelseyville Unified School District.

Upcoming Calendar

24Sep
09.24.2019 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Mendo-Lake Singers Chorus sing-along party
25Sep
09.25.2019 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
‘Coffee & Conversation’
Upper Lake Senior Center
25Sep
09.25.2019 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
First 5 Lake Commission
25Sep
09.25.2019 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Rock of Faith Church Bible study
26Sep
09.26.2019 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Lake County Global Climate Strike
26Sep
09.26.2019 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Clearlake City Council

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