Region 4 Update - April/May 2021
By Debbie Gordon, Region 4 Director
I am happy to see longer, sunny days and the occasional school bus on the streets again. I hope that you all are getting back to some form of new normal in your schools and classrooms. Here in Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) we are moving into hybrid learning mid-April, but we have learned many new ways to operate virtually during this year.
For instance, we successfully pulled off our first virtual Science and Engineering Fair & Exhibition in January. Projects ranged from scientific investigations and engineering challenges to habitat dioramas and erupting volcanoes! Some of our students advanced to the Riverside County Science & Engineering Fair which was held in March for 22 districts. It was fun to watch student faces on zoom as they waited to hear their name called for an award.
Virtual events were happening in other counties in our region, as well. In Imperial County Jaedillene Laurino became the 2021 Imperial County Spelling Bee Champion on March 16 at the Regional Spelling Bee Competition that was hosted via Zoom. With the winning word of “effervescent,” the 7th grade student from the Imperial Valley Homeschool Academy will have the opportunity to represent Imperial County in the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Inyo County hosted a virtual College Day for 150 8th grade students to learn about various college pathways and career choices. Typically this event is held at their local community college, Cerro Coso. Due to the current health guidelines, a virtual event was created and all sessions were accessed online. After the live webinar, students had the choice to complete asynchronous sessions throughout the day. Sessions included topics to help students get ready for high school, reflection, financial aspects of college, and more. Also, the Inyo County Office of Education’s Outdoor Programs have always been committed to getting kids outside with their outdoor programs. Masks, social distancing, and more precautions are worked into the routine to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and staff. As program director Maggie Riley says, “We are so happy to be getting outdoors with our students again – and our students need it now more than ever!”
And in Orange County, students participated in a virtual Joint-Regional Science Olympiad Tournament on Saturday, February 27th. Middle and high school students from OC, LA, Santa Barbara, and the Inland Empire competed all day for a chance to advance to the upcoming State Tournament.
I’m sure you, too, have been engaging your students and communities in events like these. Thank you for all you do. Take care and enjoy spring!