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Attendance is up, test scores are down, and demand for bus passes is being addressed

Tehachapi School Board Update

The TUSD School Board meeting started with a recognition of years of service, not just awarding teachers, but school site personnel and administrators for their hard work. The names of each of the employees were read aloud and some were given small anecdotes from their time being with the school district.

The awards ranged from 10 to 30 years of service with the district. The awards were as follows:

10 Years of Service:


Lupe Cowan

Kathryn Mackie


Ellen Anderson

Diana Buttcane

Alicia Calvillo

15 Years of Service:


Ellen Brockelsby

Daniel Moon

Eileen Pryor


Barbara Adams

Janet Campbell

Nancy Fjeld

Leticia Meza

Suzie Onugrak


Denise Berry

Jennifer Butler

Kirk Gilbert

20 Years of Service:


Patricia Pinckard


Patricia Barbara

Leaha Ward

Stacy Williams

25 Years of Service:


David Crowe

Leslie Damian

Lori King

Amy Long

Stacy Williams


Tracy Minjares


Janet Liebengood

Kathleen Thompson

30 Years of Service:


Sandy Ransom

Alex Robb

After the ceremonial cupcakes were dispersed to the crowd, the meeting moved to the various communications about the school’s efficacy and ability.

Transportation has been a large point of contention. Last month, a frustrated parent was unable to get their kid a bus pass and no seats were available. Many students are still on the waitlist to get on the bus. This is because of the 17% increased demand for bus passes, which equates to over 200 new riders. However, Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson is not without fixes. The district is now training up two new employees to be certified bus drivers, as well as fingerprinting a third. Lastly, the district will also be implementing a late bus route that allows for some kids to get home a bit later than usual.

The superintendent also spoke about the CAASPP scores. Before the pandemic, Tehachapi had 46.91% students meeting or surpassing expectations in Language Arts, and 31.49% meeting or surpassing expectations in mathematics. In 2020, the scores for language arts were 36% and in mathematics 22%. On both Language Arts and Mathematics students scored lower than before the pandemic. This trend is true across Kern County and the nation. This was not the only metric that students were polling poorly on.

The Tehachapi School District surveyed the students about their emotional wellbeing and outlook to their education. The survey asked questions pertaining to supportive relationships, growth mindset, self-efficacy and positive feelings. In the survey we see that 73% 3rd through 5th graders reported overall positive feelings in 2020, which decreased to 68% in 2022 and grades 6-12 declined from 60% to 53%. We are seeing some gains in the emotional wellbeing of the students. In grades 3-5 we see a 5% increase in student responses, and grades 6-12 saw a 2% increase. Self-efficacy scores in grades 3-5 went up from 49% during 2020, to 56% today and grades 6-12 saw an increase of 3%. This isn’t the only good news as attendance rates are presently at 93.02%, compared to 88.65% from last year at this time.

The low scores from above are exactly what the “Capturing Kid’s Hearts’’ teaching strategies are supposed to address. The rollout of these strategies are still in the early stages, and we will keep you up to date as the numbers begin to roll in.

This story was covered early in our podcast “In the Loop: Tehachapi.” If you’d like to hear stories like this and others in audio, be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcast. New episodes are released every week.

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