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TUSD updates facilities, provides additional information on virtual PE

School Board Update

In the Aug. 8 meeting, the TUSD school board reported on new facility changes in progress, trainings and key focuses for TUSD ahead of the 2023-24 school year.

In an effort to increase safety for students and staff, TUSD has implemented a closed-campus policy that will require front office doors to remain locked at all times at all campuses. Visitors may request entry into the facilities by ringing a doorbell located on the front doors of the office. Office staff will then visually inspect the visitor and assess safety. Eventually, the district plans to upgrade the doorbells to provide a microphone and speaker for office staff to speak with visitors prior to entering the office, as well as a camera to allow for better visual inspection. Additionally, a solar parking lot awning is under construction in the east parking lot at Tehachapi High School, Coy Burnett Stadium is under resurfacing repair and the bathroom stall dividers have been updated at Tompkins Elementary School.

In addition to these updates, Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson celebrated the all-staff welcome back training that took place the morning of Aug. 8, where the district announced its motto for the school year, "It's Today," focused on supporting student success through a strong sense of urgency toward meeting students' needs and nurturing their potential in alignment with the Capturing Kids' Hearts program. To further support TUSD staff in the coming school year, the district held a two-day voluntary training for new teachers, substitute teachers and classified staff to provide resources and professional development. The training had 45 new teachers, 41 substitute teachers, and 18 classified staff members in attendance. Superintendent Larson-Everson also reported that TUSD has filled all of its vacant positions and will begin the 2023-24 school year fully staffed.

As of Friday, Aug. 4, enrollment for the district was over 4,300 students. That number is tentative, as Larson-Everson explained, there may be fluctuation in enrollment in the first week of the school year. With increased enrollment, THS has experienced an overflow of students enrolled in physical education courses, pushing enrollment past current capacity. Trustee Tyler Napier raised concern for his area, as several parents have expressed dissatisfaction and confusion with students being enrolled in virtual PE courses due to this over-enrollment. Dr. Roxane Romero, chief administrator of personnel services, explained that PE classes are past capacity due to the enrollment of student-athletes as well as students enrolled for general education requirements. Consequently, there were approximately 20 students enrolled in a virtual PE course to satisfy the education requirements within the class. Once enrollment solidifies throughout the first week of the school year, TUSD will be able to better assess the situation and hopes to offer those students a traditional PE class like their peers.

The district has been working to have extracurricular activities such as sports, marching band and color guard count toward satisfying a portion of the PE requirements. Romero further explained that a substitute teacher cannot be placed in a class for more than 30 days, so that wouldn't suffice as a solution in this scenario. Larson-Everson assured the board that TUSD is aware of this issue and will need to wait to see if THS's enrollment drops in the first week of school before a more permanent solution can be found.

TUSD will resume with Sipping with the Supt Sessions starting on Sept. 5 at Kohnen's Bakery from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. All are encouraged to join and talk with the Superintendent.

TUSD School Board meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month at Wells Education Center located at 300 S. Robinson St., Tehachapi, at 5 p.m. The TUSD School Board will meet for an additional meeting in the month of August on the fourth Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 5 p.m.