Calexico Students Excited To Be Back In School
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Even before last months devastating earthquake Calexico in the Imperial Valley had the highest home foreclosure and unemployment rates in California. And school officials were struggling to keep students in class. Today schools in Calexico Unifed will reopen after repairs from earthquake damage. KPBS Education Reporter Ana Tintocalis joins us live from the Imperial Valley.
Even before last month's devastating earthquake Calexico in the Imperial Valley had the highest home foreclosure and unemployment rates in California. And school officials were struggling to keep students in class. Today, schools in Calexico Unifed will reopen after repairs from earthquake damage. KPBS Education Reporter Ana Tintocalis joins us live from the Imperial Valley.
DWANE BROWN: Ana, you've been to this area before. How has it changed?
ANA TINTOCALIS: Well, I can tell you that kids are actually excited to come to school today. As you mentioned, they've had problems -- attendance problems -- in this district, but already there's a number of kids waiting outside the school that I'm at, which is Mains Elementary, to get into school. Parents are dropping their kids off, staff and faculty are showing up, so there is a real excitement. As you mentioned, students have been out of school for about a month, and this school here is one of 13 that was shut down because they were deemed too hazardous and dangerous to use. But today, this one is open, and all 10 others are open -- two others remain closed. One of the largest high schools, Calexico High School, is closed, as well as Jefferson Elementary.
PAMELA DAVIS: So the kids have been out of school for about a month, any word on how they tried to keep learning over the break?
TINTOCALIS: The district really did try to come together, and they established about seven sites, for students to meet and do work. Homework was not required over the break, however, students and parents were really encouraged to pick up educational packets that included worksheets, textbook assignments -- but again, it was very hit and miss. There is a real concern here about the loss of learning. A month's worth of loss of instruction is like a year of loss of instruction in this world of standardized testing and federal accountability. So, in just a few moments actually, the superintendent of the Calexico school district will be talking a little bit about the existing infrastructure problems within this district, but also how the district is now really going to come together to try to get all these students back up to speed. The majority of these students are English-language learners, they come -- they have ties from Mexico, some of them only speak Spanish. So, it's a very difficult demographic to target when it comes to accelerating progress in a very limited amount of time.
BROWN: Okay, thank you, Ana.
TINTOCALIS: Thank you.
BROWN: That's KPBS Education Reporter Ana Tintocalis, speaking to us from the Imperial Valley.
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