Desert Sands Unified School District Introduces Elementary Schools to Community
Oliphant Home of the Owls
By Principal Jeffrey Hisgen
Richard R. Oliphant Elementary School, located in north Indio is home to nearly 600 students in grades TK (transitional kindergarten) through 5th. Every morning, Principal Jeff Hisgen greets each student with a high-five and encouraging words as he stands by the door. The school’s OWLS values (Ownership, Wisdom, Leadership, and Success) are evident not only on the walls of the building but through the interactions of students and staff alike. It is not uncommon to be greeted by a smiling student wishing you a great day.
Oliphant is not only unique in the Coachella Valley for the way its students and staff build and sustain relationships with one another but also in its focus as a computer science immersion school. All students participate in three different computer coding projects throughout the year. Beginning with the program Scratch, students learn block coding to create animated scenes, mazes, games, and interactive strategic tasks to then be completed by a third party. The second module focuses on robotics and incorporates Legos with block coding. Students build and program their robots to race, mimic animals, or perform community services. Minecraft is the theme for the final coding project. Students use what they have learned in the previous coding cycles to build a community and incorporate block coding, again, to assist in task completion throughout the program.
All of the perseverance, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking that is necessary to complete the projects is highlighted in an Epic Build Showcase where families and community members are invited to tour the campus while students proudly share their work. Check our website after we return to school for the date and time of the next Epic Build Showcase.
Reagan Regal Eagles
By Principal Mark Baldwin
Ronald Reagan Elementary serves more than 850 students living primarily in Palm Desert and north Indio. We are a multiple award-winning elementary school, including being named a 2020 California Distinguished School. Our Regal Eagles follow the 4-Rs. We are Respectful, Responsible, and Resilient Risk-Takers. Every school day of a Regal Eagle’s elementary school experience, begins with the Pledge of Allegiance and a formal commitment to do and be our best, called “My Promise”. The school provides a rigorous academic environment for all learners and is committed to the development of the whole child. During the 2019-2020 school year, we became one of two new dual language immersion elementary schools in Desert Sands. Our students now have a pathway to develop bi-literacy beginning in kindergarten.
Our school’s motto is “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow”. We take that directive seriously and model leadership through service. We have a large student government working with our Palm Desert Rotary Club and host an annual Veteran’s Day Recognition ceremony every November. We also have trained peer conflict mediators who teach and model conflict resolution and positive communication. More than three-quarters of our students participate in the McCallum Theatre Aesthetic Education Program working with performing artists in units of study, including live performances at school and the McCallum Theatre.
As the largest elementary learning community in Desert Sands Unified School District, more than one third of our students are here on transfers from other schools. We have a very active and engaged Parent Teacher Organization and more than 100 board approved volunteers. We also enjoy broad and varied community based partnerships with several valley organizations. This collective commitment serves to enhance and broaden the educational experience of every student. We strive to create an experience we would want for our own children.
For more information on Desert Sands Unified School District, Richard Oliphant and Ronald Reagan elementary schools, click here.
- Richard R. Oliphant Elementary School: DSUSD
- Oliphant Elementary pupils: DSUSD
- Ronald Regan Elementary: DSUSD
- Recognizing America’s Veterans at Reagan Elementary: DSUSD
- Elementary Learning: DSUSD