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Cerro Coso agreement extended and new plans for TILA

Tehachapi School Board Update

Nicole Griffin, Dean of Career and Technical Education for Cerro Coso Community College, appeared at the April 6 meeting of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council and reported that an agreement has been reached with the Tehachapi Unified School District to extend their lease of the Monroe facility for another three years beginning July 1, 2022. Cerro Coso will continue to use Building B retaining most of their classroom space. Building A will be used by TUSD.

At their April 12 meeting, that agreement was unanimously approved by the TUSD Board of Trustees and Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson thanked Ms. Griffin for Cerro Coso’s collaboration on the agreement.

Following a presentation by Dr. Robin Porter, the Board voted unanimously to establish the Tehachapi Independent Learning Academy (TILA) as a school instead of a program and to apply for an official CDS (California County-District-School) code. This will allow TILA to enhance many program components, including data collection, attendance tracking, academic performance and accountability measurement. The flexibility of the program will benefit students and families. It will also allow the school to apply for additional funding.

The process for becoming a school requires that the school have a one or more teachers, a name, a facility and a budget. It also must have a credentialed administrator and a state approved curriculum.

Dr. Porter said that TILA will be a blended learning program (part in-person and part online) which has the benefit of fewer students on campus, allowing for more individualized attention. Parents also have more autonomy over student learning because they can pace the at-home portion of assignments to their schedule. Blended learning increases engagement by adding opportunities for hands-on activities and multi-day projects, which in turn increase comprehension and understanding.

The initial program will include Elementary (TK-5) on Mondays and Wednesdays and middle school grades 6-8 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Elementary on-campus program will include ELA, math, and science. Friday mornings will include design lab, robotics, art and literature, and physical education. The Middle School program will have the same programs on their days and Friday afternoons. For now grades 9-12 will remain with the “classic” model which allows for students to be online but take specific classes at THS.

Trustee Joe Wallek asked if they were going to develop a marketing program as schools like Mojave River Academy have huge waiting lists. Dr. Porter stated that TILA will have more face time than Mojave River and also has the advantage of extracurricular activities like athletics.

The TUSD Board of Trustees meets on the second Tuesday of the month at Wells Education Center located at 300 S. Robinson St., at 5 p.m.