The remodeling and new construction of school buildings began in November 2012 after the district received money in June of that year from the State Allocation Board for the upgrades.
School districts throughout California are eligible for modernization funding from the State Allocation Board if students attend class in permanent buildings that are at least 25 years old or portable classrooms that are at least 20 years old, and have not been previously remodeled with state funds; Patterson Joint Unified School District qualified.
By the time schools opened for business in August 2013, Las Palmas Elementary School on West Las Palmas Avenue boasted a new office, entry, floor and ceiling, while Patterson High School on North Seventh Street obtained a new 12-classroom building on the North Seventh Street side of the campus, along with a brand new main office. The music room and library both received new roofs.
Northmead Elementary School on L Street and Grayson Charter School in Westley were abuzz with activity when older classrooms on both campuses were demolished and new buildings put up in its place. Del Puerto High School on M Street and Ward Avenue now has new classrooms, restrooms and blacktops for the parking lot.
A couple of months ago, the building work stopped, scaffolding came down and the new schools hosted tours and visitors showing off their new digs.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was conducted on December 10, heralding the new projects at the five schools, as well as the 100th anniversary celebration of Patterson High School.
Rising Sun School in Vernalis, a center for the district’s Adult Transition Program, has also undergone a shift to become a working farm and outdoor education center. Volunteers and district leaders came together to provide for the institution with new sod and cement work completed and paint put on the walls. The lavender field and vegetable and flower gardens on the property now have a new irrigation system, while a patio and fencing will be added in the spring.
The local district will see internal changes inside the classroom in 2014 as well once students and teachers prepare for the new Common Core testing. Common Core standards are designed to provide a clear, consistent understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help.
The testing shift to the Common Core standards is called California Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress, or Cal-MAP for short. Cal-MAP will replace the Standardized Testing and Reporting tests — also known as STAR, which has been used statewide since 1999. Thus far, in keeping with the statewide trend, the district has purchased more than 700 mobile devices, hired additional technical support and updated servers as the students will be taking tests via computer.
Another big change for district schools is the Local Control Funding Formula, which addresses and changes the current amount of money allocated to schools in more than 40 years. Over the next seven years — to the 2020-2021 school year — school districts will work on weighted formulas to provide money for specific students, such as foster youth, English Learner Students and economically disadvantaged students. The new Local Control Funding Formula provides districts a flexible decision on how to allocate their monetary resources for these students. The state is asking for accountability on how the money is spent, however some districts must adopt Local Control Accountability— the details of which are now being fine tuned. PJUSD, along with other districts in the state, are anticipating these programs to be solidified in January. The local district will then receive input from community members before approving the local plan.
Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or firstname.lastname@example.org.