BELLFLOWER – Bellflower Unified is raising student performance and collecting accolades while expanding programs designed to boost student readiness for college and careers, Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs told more than 100 District administrators, community leaders and area legislators on Jan. 27 during his first mid-year State of the District address involving community stakeholders.
“We are here to make great things happen for our students,” Jacobs said during the Bellflower High School event. “This is a celebration of what we’ve accomplished and a promise of what is yet to come.”
The address was attended by Board of Education President Dr. Sue ElHessen, Board member Jerry Cleveland, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, Bellflower Mayor Dan Koops, Bellflower Councilman Juan Garza, Cerritos College Trustee Marisa Perez, Cerritos College President/Superintendent Dr. Jose Fierro, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Cpt. Allen M. Castellano and representatives of U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard and U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez.
Jacobs got the entire crowd clapping to Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” during his high-energy presentation on the District’s significant achievements, including seven 2016 California Gold Ribbons, a 2015 California School Boards Association Golden Bell and a 2016-18 PTA National Partnership Award.
In addition, the District’s performance on state English language arts and math tests – already strong – rose in 2016, showing significant improvement at every grade level and outperforming neighboring school districts.
“As a leader of BUSD, you should feel extremely proud of what you have accomplished,” Jacobs said. “Over the last 5 ½ years, you have taken many of our practices and you have transformed them to create an even higher quality of education for all of our students.”
Jacobs offered a litany of successes:
Bellflower High School and Mayfair Middle School civics programs received Awards of Excellence – the state’s highest honor – in 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Somerset High School was named a Model Continuation School in 2016 – its sixth such honor.
Graduation completer rates reached 99 percent at Bellflower High and 97 percent at Mayfair High.
English learner reclassification as English proficient students reached its highest level in five years.
Classroom technology expanded to include 7,669 devices, with one for every three students.
Students raised state test scores significantly at every grade level.
A discipline system has reduced suspension days from 3,245.9 in 2014-15 to 483 in 2015-16.
The District earned fiscal independence from the Los Angeles County Office of Education
Early childhood programs have been expanded to include Spanish language dual immersion.
An independent studies program for homeschooling families expanded into ninth and 10th grades.
New counselors are assisting at the high schools
Ten new teachers on special assignment help in English and math instruction.
A partnership with Cerritos College allows students to earn college credits while in high school.
A partnership with Lynwood Unified has doubled the number of career technical education classes.
Jacobs said those achievements are just the beginning. The district is already busy on plans to build new athletic fields at Bellflower High and a state-of-the-art building for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics at Mayfair High, enhance athletic fields at Mayfair High, expand elementary dual-language immersion to a second school and expand college partnerships.
“When you look at where are today and where we have been, our students are much better off than they were 5 ½ years ago,” Jacobs said.
“We still have challenges before us and we still have hills to climb. But we’re going to continue with this laser focus, and there’s no doubt that our district will maintain the Standard of Excellence, and Nothing Less. Working collaboratively with all stakeholders, we will continue to make great things happen.”