Schools were out for day on Friday, January 21. A relaxing day for the adults of DSUSD…NOT!

No classes, no students on campus. The occasional professional development days are eight hours of training, learning new methods, techniques, and information, or a chance to review skills.

The nutrition services team, including the staff members who work at school site cafeterias, traveled to Aziz Farms to learn more about the farm-to-table program that provides fresh, local, produce to DSUSD students. The early morning began with an interesting surprise as Superintendent Scott Bailey arrived at the training area on a tractor. Having grown up on a farm in Kansas, Superintendent Bailey used the opportunity to speak to the team about his childhood experiences and his commitment to the District’s innovative farm-to-table program. Superintendent Bailey’s address to the team was followed by a question and answer session facilitated by DSUSD Director of Nutrition Services Dan Cappello and the owner of Aziz Farms Mark Tadros.

Dan related his trepidation on the idea of bringing in locally grown food, considering the strict guidelines set by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). But Mark convinced him. Previous articles on the partnership between local growers and DSUSD can be found in the archives of this publication. The point of the January 21 time at the farm was to acquaint those who serve the food with where it came from and plans for growing the program.

Over in transportation, the school bus drivers held a field day of their own. Bus driver trainers Kelly LaPonsey and Jayme Perales held a school bus rodeo. Arriving early in the morning, the two set up obstacle courses to fine-tune such skills as maneuvering and backing up. Winners of the competition received certificates.

Also out in the field were our security agents who headed to the joint campus of Summit High School and Horizon School. There they practiced techniques for search and rescue.

Staff members in the special education department received training in their areas of expertise, targeting their work with students with disabilities. School psychologists received training in specialized assessment techniques and their role in addressing trauma in children. Para-educators received instruction in supporting children with communication needs in the classroom. Mental health therapists participated in a workshop highlighting innovative therapy techniques. DSUSD’s goal of inclusive education was further realized with an innovative training provided by Azusa Pacific University faculty on evidence-based inclusive practices in physical education.

Teachers throughout the district participated in a variety of training. Training sessions covered topics such as data and assessment, English language development, education code updates, transforming school culture, early literacy, professional learning communities, phonics and many more. The day was filled with learning opportunities intended to increase and improve services to Desert Sands students.
Not your usual DSUSD day at work but another way, another opportunity, to grow and to once again shout out our mantra…IT IS ALL ABOUT THE KIDS!

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  • Dsusd-school-sites-grid: DSUSD