Desert Sands Unified School District was officially created in 1966. A contest was held to name the district but it is unclear when the first logo was created or what the process was to brand the district. Our research indicates that a version of the most recent logo was in use in 1999. A color version wasn’t created until 2001. In 2008 at the suggestion of then board member Matt Monica, a lighthouse was added to the logo celebrating the district’s excellence in education, serving as a beacon to students. Several temporary modifications were made to the logo as celebrations took place during the 2012 Summer Olympics and in 2016 to celebrate our golden anniversary.


In January 2018 the Desert Sands Unified School District board gave the go ahead for a refresh of our brand. At that time we had a mission statement and a logo but no vision statement or values. As leaders in education in the community, the county, and the state, it was time to refresh what we stand for. We began with a two different surveys to high school students, all parents, every staff member, and a sampling of the business community and elected officials. The questions asked what came to mind when the words Desert Sands Unified School District were heard and what three words describe the mission of DSUSD. We received close to 13,000 responses! The information was compiled and used as the basis to begin discussions in a series of five focus groups of 75 stakeholder participants facilitated by Denise Shields, owner of Shields Resource Group, dedicated to crafting individually targeted solutions for organizations desiring performance excellence through the tenets of the Baldrige Performance Program criteria. A report was generated based on the participation of students, parents, staff, and the community. Next step was to take the information and work with Denise in an all-day session with senior staff to create a mission statement, a vision statement, and values. Validation of the new brand came from a variety of stakeholders consulted throughout the process. The bonus of a tagline was also realized thanks to follow up conversations and reviews with local business partners.

The results are a mission statement that Shields noted was one of the strongest that she has worked on, a vision statement that pulls together all of our hopes for the future, a tagline that says it all, values that staff and students are committed to live by, and a logo visualization that ties it all together.

Mission Statement: To inspire and nurture every student…one opportunity at a time.

Vision Statement: We will be the district of choice to successfully prepare every student for college, career, and life.

Tagline: The Future is Here!

Revealed at the recent 2019-2020 school year convocation held at Fantasy Springs courtesy of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the statements were embraced by the over 2,700 staff members in attendance along with the community partners who helped underwrite the event and the branding process. A video of students and staff proclaiming that “the future is here!” included a variety of inflections noting that the FUTURE is here as well as the future is HERE!. The future is here was shouted out in English, Spanish, Italian, French, and American Sign Language. The video can be seen on the district’s website by clicking here.

The values that will guide our thinking and corresponding actions will be celebrated throughout the year with one value leading our actions in every month.


We believe that meaningful collaboration is vital to our success and that trust, open, and honest communication build positive relationships. Therefore, we deliberately make personal and meaningful connections with students, parents, staff, and community members.


We believe in innovation as a mindset that propels continuous improvement. Therefore, we demonstrate the innovators’ mindset by constantly introducing new ways of doing things so that outcomes are improved.


We believe that inclusion embraces all forms of human differences and abilities. Therefore, we promote access to educational opportunities and social emotional support in a safe, secure, and nurturing climate of high expectations.


We believe that student and staff outcomes are not predicted by race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, and that everyone can attain mastery of essential skills given appropriate time and resources. Therefore, we demonstrate high expectations for all and build self-efficacy to ensure success.


We believe that together we are stronger. Therefore, we model positive relationships and unity of purpose in our interactions with others.


We believe that setting high standards helps us realize our vision. Therefore, we model continuous improvement and high expectations for all.


We believe that the unique contributions made by each member of our educational community make us stronger. Therefore, we demonstrate consideration thoughtfulness, attentiveness, politeness, courtesy, civility, and deference in our interaction with others.


We believe that kindness promotes and inspires a positive school and work culture as well as a healthy community. Therefore, we engage in various activities that define, promote, and encourage kindness, empathy, and generosity.


We believe that positive customer and community service distinguishes the district and gives it a competitive edge. Therefore, we model timely and professional interactions with our community.


And what about the visual representation of our refreshed brand? Created by local graphic artists JCRR Design, we use both a typographical signature as well as an optional visualization of who we are and what we want to be. The emphasis is on DS or Desert Sands and our designers have gifted us with a fluid logo that can be used in a variety of forms. The boldness of the font give credence to the strength of the district and the quality of education. The contemporary and unique blend of circles in the primary colors are meant, according to the designers, “to inspire many connections, and the viewer is encouraged to make their own imagery associations”. The designer was inspired by the positive stakeholder comments regarding the district’s allocation of technology coupled with LTE network access. It reflects the requests from focus group participants to have a simple, modern design. The designer described the imagery of the logo with words such as “network”, “communication”, “ripples in a pool” (symbolic of our never-ending influence on the students we serve), “broadcasting”, “exchange”, “collaboration”, as well as the interdependency we have on each other through the elementary, middle, and high school continuum. The circles honor the traditions of Desert Sands and pay homage to the idea of us as a beacon for the community.

A first peek at the branding was shared with DSUSD Brand Ambassadors, representatives from each of our 34 schools and the district office. They provided additional interpretations such as:

  • Represents links between community, home, and school
  • Use of primary colors indicate endless opportunities as they create every other color
  • Symbolism of three, trifecta
  • Line between our classified, certificated, and management staff
  • Represents balance, harmony, and unity

Symbolizes equity through the varied weights of the rings

  • The shape goes unbroken, never ends, represents eternity
  • Represents vibration, movement, heartbeat of the district
  • Creates fluidity and simplicity
  • The rings represent individuality and equity in the different weights
  • Indicates the regional representation of the schools within the district

Desert Sands Unified School District and its students, board, and staff welcome additional thoughts on the meaning of the circles as well as the strength of the typeface used in our name. Comments can be shared at [email protected].






Image Sources

  • DSUSD logos: DSUSD
  • 3 DSUSD logos: DSUSD
  • DSUSD Logos: DSUSD