A district superintendent details how his leadership team used the pandemic to expand learning opportunities for all students.

Why districts need to think creatively–inside the box

A district superintendent details how his leadership team used the pandemic to expand learning opportunities for all students

Scott Bailey, Superintendent for Desert Sands Unified School District (CA), didn’t let the pandemic get in the way of his team’s plans. Instead, he used the disruptions as an opportunity to accelerate.

In this episode of Getting There: Innovations in Education, Scott breaks down his work to innovate within the confines of a public institution. The district primarily serves five communities in the central Coachella Valley: Bermuda Dunes, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, and Palm Desert. Students from other areas of the desert also take advantage of the quality education provided by our schools.

More than 27,000 students attend 34 schools in the district including traditional high schools, alternative high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and 16 preschools, including a federally funded Head Start program. Two elementary schools currently offer full dual immersion in English/Spanish to kindergarteners and first graders.

(The following has been edited for clarity.)

eSN: Over the course of this year, a number of districts said they intend to keep a remote learning option—maybe a virtual academy sort of thing. While other districts have the intention to outfit classrooms with flat screens and document cameras, and to still have a hybrid option. Where do you see your district in the midst of all those different opportunities?

SB: I can tell you where I want to be–and that is exactly as you stated–to offer options to parents and students. We learned through this pandemic of forced transformation, so to speak, that distance learning actually worked fairly well for a percentage of our staff, and it worked fairly well for a percentage of students and families.

Kevin Hogan
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