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Expanded Learning Opportunities growing in FUESD

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

Following a presentation at the July 18 board meeting of the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District by Dr. Kimberly Huesing, assistant superintendent of educational services, and Lillian Perez, director of Expanded Learning Opportunities, trustees unanimously approved a plan for the 2022 school year to offer additional programming to students outside of the regular school day and/or school year.

Dr. Candace Singh, superintendent, told the board in the opening of the meeting that the recently expanded state budget for education will provide additional funding for afterschool and summer school enrichment programs for transitional kindergarten through sixth grade.

The plan outlines the program's focus, which is the development of the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs and interests of pupils.

Huesing said the program is pupil-centered and results-driven, including collaboration with community partners, and complements, but does not replicate, learning activities in the regular school day and school year.

"The Boys and Girls Club is the key," she told the board, with both after-school activities and camps.

State funding will be for staffing and equipment, including band instruments. Board members commented how excited they were to see band returning to the district.

"This could be life-changing for some of our kids," the superintendent said. "There should be funds for sports equipment, too."

Trustees also discussed the benefit of investing in golf and tennis programs.

Huesing said the ELO program will be offered at each of the elementary schools in the district.

Perez said the program will be available the rest of summer school, as well as the upcoming school year.

"Expanded learning" means before school, after school, summer, or intersession learning programs that focus on developing the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs and interests of pupils through hands-on, engaging learning experiences," the report stated.

The program will be offered at Mae Ellis Elementary, Fallbrook STEM Academy, William H. Frazier Elementary, Live Oak Elementary, La Paloma Elementary, May Fay Pendleton Elementary, San Onofre School, and Potter Junior High School.

ELO will align with the district's health and wellness policies. Additionally, it will ensure that all students are engaged in regular physical activity. The district will also ensure that healthy food choices are served, and that prosocial behavior is fostered and practiced, the report states.

One-third of the program schedule will support health and wellness through physical activity, nutrition, self-care, and social-emotional learning. The report said the district will provide all students with a healthy snack at no cost to participants.

The Expanded Learning Opportunities program will expose students to cultures and heritages different from their own while promoting diversity. Field trips to museums, science centers, and college campuses for all grade levels will broaden and enrich the students' appreciation of the diverse world in which they live.

In addition to field trips, the program will highlight cultural events such as Black History Month, Women's History Month, etc. Programming and activities build student awareness and appreciation of the history, backgrounds, and cultures that are celebrated in these month-long highlights, the report states.

The program will explore different cultures from around the world each month. The curriculum will highlight a day in the life of a child from different countries, along with words and phrases they use, the food they eat, and an art activity that will be displayed for families.

Perez will work with all site principals, FUESD directors, and the ELO Action Team comprised of afterschool staff, administrators, and teachers.

The ELO Department will survey all certificated teachers in August to recruit staff to teach enrichment classes at their school sites

Students will be surveyed to determine interests in enrichment, along with the data collected from parent surveys, LCAP community input meetings, and needs assessments.

The report notes that many community partners have been built over the past years and continue supporting and working collaboratively with the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. Primarily and most important is the collaboration with the Fallbrook Boys and Girls Club and the ASES program housed at each school site.

Along with those partnerships, there are new alliances with the Fallbrook Music Society, Fallbrook Art School, and CAST Academy performers. The report states the ELO department will recruit mentors and teachers that are strong role models for Fallbrook youth.

The district is also partnering with several outside agencies including:

1. ELEVO Sports

2. Outside the Lens

3. Luminary Arts

4. CSUSM STEM Ambassadors

5. Leader in Me

6. Kids College

The ELO program will fund enrichment classes designed to complement the "in- school" enrichment programs. For example, students will receive music and drama sessions during the school day, but afterschool choices will include theatre/performance and show choir.

The program is a living document which has specific requirements, Huesing said. The plan must be approved every three years by the governing board and will undergo a yearly quality review.

 

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