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Principal's Message

Principal’s Message

December 1, 2021

                Greetings! My name is Terry R. Anderson and I am the Director of Administrative Services for Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District. In this position, I am responsible for writing grants for the district, oversee school safety and security, School Attendance Review Board (SARB), and other duties necessary for the improved operations of the district. I also act as principal for El Puente High School, Firebaugh Community Day School, and Firebaugh-Las Deltas Adult School. When I accepted this new assignment in the district, I created a 5-year plan to fundamentally transform our alternative and adult education programs that would serve our students and the community with services far beyond what had ever been offered before. This 5-year plan (6 really, because of the pandemic) included accreditation of its two diploma-granting schools, two-time recognition from the California Department of Education as a Model SARB program, a CSBA award in their Assessment and Accountability category, record enrollments in adult education, record numbers of high school graduates and US Citizenship earners, and record amounts of funding that I was able to acquire so that our program needs could be expanded and would not encroach on the district's general fund. El Puente High School successfully navigated a lengthy application process to be recognized as a Model Continuation High School by the California Department of Education and the CCEA. A visiting team validated the information contained in our application on November 29 through December 1, 2021, and the CDE will officially notify newly-recognized schools  on February 8, 2022. I will continue to sustain and further improve the offerings at FACE during the time I have remaining in this current assignment

                Just a little background on my time here in Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District… I came to Firebaugh in 2008 to be the principal of A.E. Mills Intermediate School (elementary). I then became the principal of Firebaugh High School for 7 years (from which my son graduated) before accepting the newly-created district assignment at FACE. Of the seven schools within our district, I have been principal for five of them, and it has been an exciting journey. My wife and I both live in the community and enjoy being a part of what makes Firebaugh so special and unique in the valley. 

                It has been rewarding to assume the duties and responsibilities of my current position and continue the improvements to the three academic institutions at the Firebaugh Alternative Community Education (FACE) campus. I am proud of the positive transformation and growth that has taken place on our campus and I am confident that our improvement will continue at a robust pace.  Academic achievement has improved steadily and the climate and culture of our campus is positive and safe.

                 The COVID-19 pandemic certainly caused a substantial disruption in our programs, yet instructional services and student supports were maintained to the extent possible. The 2021-2022 academic year saw students return to in-person instruction, although the pandemic still has not yet completely abated. Restrictions and mandates still appear to negatively affect enrollments and attendance, but thankfully there is evidence to show that more students are returning and with greater regularity.

                At El Puente, all students who came to us at the beginning of the school year were provided with an academic plan to either reintegrate back into FHS after completing their credit recovery goals, or remain and graduate from El Puente High School. Through small group instruction and credit acceleration, we are fulfilling our mission of remediating the credit deficiencies of students and creating the opportunity for them to become FHS or EPHS graduates. Many FHS students come to El Puente and see it as a "School of Choice" as it is WASC accredited and meets their post-secondary transition plans. El Puente is also a member of College Board, and student can take AP courses online through our Acellus platform. 

                At Firebaugh-Las Deltas Adult School, our enrollments increased dramatically prior to the pandemic, but then dropped due to the restrictions. It is expected that we will again expand the number of classes in our morning and evening sessions. Courses offered are ESL Civics Participation, ESL Citizenship Preparation, and our High School Diploma program. The number of adults earning their high school diploma actually increased during the pandemic period since the courses are offered online and is indicative of our mission and vision for our adult education program to assist community members in attaining academic and workplace skills. Twenty-two (22) Adult Education students passed their US Citizenship tests and became citizens before the pandemic (that was a one-year record for our Citizenship program). Through our Firebaugh-Las Deltas Adult Education program, students acquired English fluency and are now able to expand their career opportunities.

                Both El Puente High School and Firebaugh-Las Deltas Adult School are WASC accredited. A Visiting Committee reviewed the program for EPHS in May, 2021, for its renewed 6-year reaccreditation term, and a Visiting Committee arrived in November, 2021, to review the adult school program for its new 6-year term of accreditation. Being accredited offers a wide array of career advantages to our diploma earners.

                Lastly, I would invite all visitors to our website to explore the various links and pages that would further inform the reader of our programs, events, dates, and opportunities that are available to students, parents and community adults. This will be updated periodically, especially since we are now "re-emerging" from the restrictions of the pandemic. Please note that there are pages that are unique to all programs – El Puente High School and Firebaugh-Las Deltas Adult School, especially. At FACE, we encourage all students and parents to become involved within the school community --- especially as it pertains to our students’ academic progress, workforce development, and the holistic social and emotional growth of our EPHS and CDS students that will prepare them for college and career opportunities.

 

Sincerely,

Terry R. Anderson                                                                                                                                            

Director of Administrative Services

Firebaugh Las-Deltas Unified School District

Student assessment results for the 2020-2021 school year did not yield the scope of data used for student achievement and program effectiveness as it did in the years prior to the pandemic. The district did, however create as many opportunities as practicable to evaluate student progress. The Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (LCP) that was created in the fall of 2020 specifically directed LEAs to determine pupil learning loss in ELA, ELD, and math and create strategies to assess this pupil learning loss. Districts were then charged with accelerating learning, especially for unduplicated pupils (ELs, low-income, and foster youth). Given the suspension of state testing in the spring of 2020, summative assessment data was unavailable and the district had to rely on curriculum-embedded summative assessments in order to determine a student’s level of proficiency (e.g., grade level performance). Other district summative assessments such as the STAR, used to measure a student’s mastery of standards prior to CAASPP, were also used.

Since EPHS teachers are also teachers from the comprehensive high school, departments needed to acquire student data quickly in order to assess learning loss and plan their distance learning-only lessons accordingly. This benefitted EPHS in that the teachers were better prepared to give curriculum-embedded assessments, address skills deficits, and maintain continuity of instruction in order to cover all CaCCSS thought to be essential for an eventual return to state testing in the spring. For EL students, the ELPAC was administered in the spring of 2020, beginning with the elementary grades. Grades 6-12 were scheduled to be tested in March and April of that year but were not tested due to the shutdown after March 13, 2020. For designated ELD instruction, and for embedding/integrating ELD strategies in lessons, teachers had to rely on ELPAC data from the 2018-2019 school year in order to estimate their level of English language acquisition and plan lessons accordingly.

By the time the 2019-2020 LCAP Annual Update and the 2021-2022 LCAP templates became available in the late winter of 2021, LEAs were instructed to “use whatever data is available” to measure progress in the Actions of each LCAP goal, using baseline data from pre-pandemic years. This data, and the newly-acquired data from the available assessments described above were used to set new learning goals for students, including EPHS.

EPHS students once again participated in CAASPP and ELPAC testing in the spring of 2021. A modified SBAC (shortened version) was available to 11th grade EPHS students, as well as ELPAC testing for English Learners. Data from these two important assessments were available in the fall of 2021 and yielded scores that were better than expected. For SBAC ELA, two EPHS students scored “Standard Met”, three students scored “Standard Nearly Met”, and the remaining four students scored “Standard Not Met” (n=9). In the past, EPHS students typically scored in the lowest scale score range. For SBAC Math, one student scored “Standard Nearly Met” and the other eight scored “Standard Not Met” (n=9). ELPAC testing for EPHS yielded the following results: Level 1 (n=2), Level 2 (n=4), Level 3 (n=2), and Level 4 (n=1).

State testing from spring 2021 illuminated that more emphasis needed to be placed in mathematics instruction. As for EL students at EPHS, the emphasis needs to be placed on developing more effective integrated ELD instruction. EPHS is too small of a school to have a designated ELD program, but teachers delivering academic instruction in English can utilize instructional strategies, techniques, and activities that leverage higher levels of academic learning and language acquisition. The two strategies that are emphasized include vocabulary development (Tier 2 words considered low-utility and Tier 3 words that are subject-specific), and the expanded use of oral language during the instructional period.