Ready or not, school is back in session Sept. 4.
A few notable back-to-school developments and trends to look out in for this year in the La Jolla Cluster schools include a few revitalized facilities, schools embracing the use of technology to connect students, teachers and parents, and endless amounts of fundraising efforts and creative methods of conquering the devastating results of budget cuts that continue to trouble the district.
TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM
This school year, La Jolla schools are using the latest in technological advances to enhance the educational experience and learning environment in 21st-century classrooms.
• San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) continues to roll out its Prop S-funded i21 Interactive Classroom Initiative, a program that employs modern technology — like interactive whiteboards, audio-visual cabinets and netbook computers for each student — in every classroom in the district to create an engaging learning environment for all students.
• Schools are able to facilitate information quickly and easily through the use of web-based tools, like Muirlands Middle’s LJRadioTV, complete with video links to student projects on trending topics and daily broadcasts of the latest campus news and events.
• Bird Rock Elementary and La Jolla High School are also in tune with the latest in educational technology, offering live online references and homework help through chat sessions with experts at the San Diego Public Library, which are available on the schools’ websites.
• La Jolla and Torrey Pines elementary schools are embracing technology through the schools’ classroom curriculums. La Jolla Elementary students receive bi-weekly in-classroom technology lessons on Internet safety, server applications, desktop publishing and more, and Torrey Pines Elementary offers a technology program that provides full technology training to enhance the learning experience for the modern day student.
• For parents to stay informed about all or a few of the schools in the La Jolla Cluster, sign up for the cluster’s e-blasts, which provide real-time information about the goings on in the district and in community schools.
FUNDRAISING TO COUNTER CUTS
When school funding has been reduced for six years in a row as it has in California, local schools learn to get creative in their fundraising efforts. From silent auctions and galas to grant applications and giving campaigns, local schools, PTAs, foundations and area businesses are finding new ways to fund classroom supplies, student amenities and programs to enrich students’ educational experiences.
• For a hassle-free way to help raise funds for local schools, parents can sign up for the free eScrip program, a customer loyalty program where a portion of shoppers’ everyday purchases at participating eScrip merchants and restaurants will go directly to the school of their choice. To enroll, visit www.escrip.com.
• For a fundraising effort that is not only good for local schools but also for the global environment, several area schools, like La Jolla and Torrey Pines elementary schools, have launched recycling programs to raise funds or redeem for new school equipment and supplies.
DEVELOPMENT DESPITE BUDGET CUTS
Despite a shrinking district budget, a couple of newly constructed or revamped facilities have emerged at local schools this year because of the passage of Proposition S — a $2.1 billion bond measure program — in 2008.
• La Jolla Elementary School recently completed construction on the campus’ roof and ceiling to rectify structural problems at the facility.
• La Jolla High School students will start the school year off with a new scoreboard, just in time for football season.
• A wood-beam upgrade at Torrey Pines Elementary is in the project design phase. A contract for the project is expected to be awarded by spring 2013.
School offices are open and ready to enroll students. Classes in the district start on Sept. 4. For more school district information, visit www.sandi-.net. For information about schools in the La Jolla Cluster, visit www.lajollacluster.com.