While signs of the COVID-19 pandemic were clearly evident — teachers taking student temperatures, everyone wearing masks and taking other necessary precautions — Lucerne Valley USD’s first five-days-a-week in-class provided a much appreciated sense of normalcy.
Starting on Monday, April 19th, all district students whose families wanted them in class returned to the Middle High School and Elementary School campuses. (Some families elected to continue with computer-based learning). Nowhere was that normalcy more welcome that at the Middle High School, which had been effectively closed to in-school learning until early April — one year after the state shutdown public schools to in-class learning due to the coronavirus.
“We are working really hard to make sure we are getting our kids what they all need and deserve and are entitled to — an education,” said LVMHS Co-Principal Kelly Boeing. “We believe that in-person learning helps our students make powerful connections that help them and offer academic and social-emotional support.”
The first day of class was especially fulfilling for Mrs. Boeing, Co-Principal/Assistant Superintendent Nate Lambdin and their staff.
“Showing up in person, or online, the smiles, the laughs — all of it — it feels so good to be part of something that is bigger than just the first day of school,” Mrs. Boeing said Monday. “To our kids, our staff, our community, it was official point of coming out on the other side of uncertainty. It was the culmination of the past year, of the hard work to get them here, of the chaos created by the shutdown and not knowing when it would all come to an end.”
For both the Middle School and High School, the first day of the new five-days-week had 80 percent of the student body in class. Altogether, 282 students were on campus for in-school learning.
Students whose families elect to continue with computer-based learning are seeing increased learning opportunities of their own with the Lucerne Valley Virtual Academy now offering a series of Zoom-based speaker presentations. On Friday, April 16th, dental professional Stephanie Cervantes kicked off the career presentations speaking to a group of Virtual Academy students and teachers. Virtual Academy teacher Mrs. Mary Eller has planned additional guest speakers to inspire Virtual Academy students through the end of the school year.
On Friday, April 30th, former LVES student Jordan Romero, 24, will share his experience climbing to the summit of Mount Everest at the age of 13. Other upcoming events include presentations by a hotel manager, a writer of cartoons, and students also will participate in a virtual field trip to High Desert Power Plant.
“I believe our first attempt at a Virtual Academy in Lucerne Valley has been a success,” Mrs. Eller said. “Having another option for Lucerne Valley families and students to determine the best way to receive their education is another strength in our district's program options. The teachers have learned so much as we navigated this first year, and we are prepared to make the program even better with more varied activities and enhanced curriculum as the Academy continues.”
Meanwhile at Lucerne Valley Elementary, the already busy campus just became a lot busier. The school reopened to a hybrid model on August 20th, making it one of the first public schools in California to reopen to a combination of in-school and computer-based learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Things went fairly smoothly this week on our 5-day in-person schedule," said Principal Ricky Anderson. "We had about 90% of students return to in-person instruction. Students were excited to be back with their friends and learning in a full classroom. The school has a louder buzz to it now that we all are back. I see the students enjoying the new equipment outside -- connect 4, tetherball, and more balls. The parents I spoke with were extremely pleased to have the students back and what the school board and Mr. Livingston has done to get the kids back."
‘MEET THE NEEDS’
“This week has been filled with an overwhelming belief that we are doing everything to meet the needs of our families, students, and community,” Superintendent Peter Livingston said to district staff on Thursday afternoon. “We continue to provide options of distance learning, feeding kids, technology needs, transportation needs, building on our facilities and maintaining our current ones, and support for all students by classified staff. Our teaching staff has embraced getting our kids back to in person learning, 5 days a week, and is recognized as a model in the state. Our administrators and school board have supported and planned to provide a safe environment while we are doing this.”
Mrs. Boeing is hopeful the shutdown will become just a memory.
“The shutdown and its ripples are officially on notice — our hallways are full again,” she said.
On Monday, EdSource, the premier news outlet for education in California, once again visited the LVUSD. Click HERE to see a great video of our district and article.