Throughout the past several months as our students have first worked in a virtual classroom, then enjoyed summer vacation, and are returning to a new way of learning, Desert Sands Unified School District has been introducing our schools to the community. We first featured our high schools and followed with our middle schools. We are now providing an opportunity for readers to learn more about the elementary schools in Desert Sands. As a district of choice, school descriptions are provided for families

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Gerald Ford Elementary for the WIN!

By Principal John Preston

Focus on Franklin, Gerald Ford Elementary Schools

Gerald Ford pupils

Gerald Ford Elementary School is proud to support an innovative and comprehensive academic program for its 750 plus students—including art and music education for all students. With a focus on academic rigor, paired with cultural enrichments and a family atmosphere, Gerald Ford stands above the rest. This year, Ford was selected as a 2020 Model School by the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE), making it the first school in both DSUSD and all of Riverside County to receive this prestigious recognition. Gerald Ford has been selected to present several sessions at the 2020 ICLE Model School Conference on how to transform school culture and impact academic growth through a targeted focus on collaboration, trust, and collective efficacy.

Focus on Franklin, Gerald Ford Elementary Schools

Gerald Ford Elementary

One example of the collaborative approach to learning found at Ford Elementary is through the implementation of our WIN (What I Need) Time Program. This program involves identification of students’ ability using relevant data to determine if intervention, remediation, or enrichment is needed. WIN Time electives include a variety of subjects ranging from robotics, journalism, public speaking, mindfulness, digital storytelling, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math), Readers Theater, and even ballroom dancing! WIN time supports Ford’s Theory of Action: “If we work collaboratively to create a collective, positive school culture, then we will continue to innovate and evolve to meet both the social emotional learning and academic needs of our students. This will result in all students and stakeholders discovering and maintaining their joy of learning.”


Franklin Students are Charger Strong

By Principal Kirsten Knapp

Focus on Franklin, Gerald Ford Elementary Schools

The Franklin Sensory Path

Located in beautiful La Quinta, Benjamin Franklin Elementary Schoo, an International Baccalaureate World and Title I School, serves the socioeconomically and ethnically diverse populations in TK (transitional kindergarten) through 5th grade. Our amazing Charger staff provide a nurturing and stimulating environment in order to help our students become engaged and successful life-long learners.

Our school opened its doors in 2005 and since then has provided a rigorous academic program and involved our students in extracurricular activities such as cheer, robotics, Crazy 8s Math Club, flag football, basketball, soccer, “crossy” country, and more. We have a partnership with the McCallum Theatre and all of our students in grades K-5 are part of their Aesthetic Arts in Education Program bringing arts and theater into the classroom and allowing our students the opportunity to see a live performance at the theater.

Benjamin Franklin is a neighborhood school with many dedicated volunteers and a strong Parent Teacher Organization offering time to host fundraisers, read with students, teach art, or help wherever needed.

We appreciate all of our stakeholders who make us “Charger Strong!”

For more information on Desert Sands Unified School District, Gerald Ford Elementary School, and Benjamin Franklin Elementary School click here.


Lead photo caption: Artist Keith Blum and his donated mural celebrating Benjamin Franklin

Image Sources

  • Gerald Ford pupils: DSUSD
  • Gerald Ford Elementary: DSUSD
  • The Franklin Sensory Path: DSUSD
  • Artist Keith Blum: DSUSD