At the March 9 meeting of the Los Banos Unified School District Board meeting the Los Banos Teachers Association report highlighted that our district includes many staff members with numerous accomplishments.

Vicki Costello, an independent study teacher at Volta, is working with a publisher to release her second book and has presented to other teachers at conferences on how to use literature in order to make classroom environments inviting and safe.

Carissa Griffith, from Pacheco High School, is a College Board Pre-AP National Faculty Member. Carlos Campos, also from Pacheco High School, who has raised over $8,000 for the athletic scholarship.

Lee Spivey, from Los Banos High School, will be presenting at the World Education Summit to over 85,000 participants from 47 countries. Christy Huff, from San Luis High School, who organizes a blood drive every year to introduce students to the importance of giving back to our community said this year, almost 40 percent of San Luis students donated blood.

Fernando Pena, at Creekside Junior High School, has impressed the math coordinator from Livingston with their use of an interactive classroom to such an extent that Livingston has signed a contract to bring all their math teachers to Creekside to see the interactive classroom in use, making Creekside a demonstration school.

Sean Richey, Chief Academic Officer, later gave the LCAP Mid-Year Report. The LCAP is a three-year plan that describes the goals, actions, services, and expenses to support positive student outcomes that address local and state priorities. In this report it was stated standardized testing in math and English is showing a significant decline below standard for the state.

In addition, there is an increase in the percentage of students who have been suspended due to violence in schools such as fights.

“We talk about school safety; we cannot suspend our way out of school discipline. That is something that is not going to work and so we have to address the causes,” Richey said. “We have to address the main issues that’s going on with our students, and punitive, reactive, policies and procedures are not going to help our students become less rambunctious.”

He also drew attention to the fact that chronic absenteeism is at an all-time high, which the survey concluded is because there is a perception that schools are no longer safe.

Prishaa Vala