Buena Park School District received the 2022 California Pivotal Practice Award from state superintendent Tony Thurmond. The award recognized academic programs that exhibited innovative practices in student engagement, social-emotional well-being, nutrition services, and technology in the previous academic school year.
This award reflects Buena Park School District’s commitment to seizing opportunities to facilitate learning. For example, the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program hosted a Super Saturday event in November 2021 that focused on environmental literacy. Super Saturday events help students dig deeper into their interests in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).
In the bi-annual event, the district collaborated with the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) Inside the Outdoors program at Buena Park Middle School. There, 70 students learned about water conservation, recycling, plant life, and wildlife.
Students spoke with OCDE instructors while visiting different stations. The event gave the students opportunities to learn about the role of bugs, worms, and other creatures, and they were permitted to touch bugs and snakes native to California. These events allow students to connect with nature outside the classroom.
Another event the school district hosted was Astronomy Night, which was held on March 30, 2022, at Emery Elementary School. Astronomy Night gave Buena Park students the opportunity to gaze at the moon, stars, constellations, and the planet Venus.
Students from around the district attended the event and participated in games and music, along with enjoying visits from various Star Wars characters. Students used three telescopes set up by the Orange County Astronomers. They also created 3D constellations from pasta and marshmallows at an arts and crafts table. The purpose of Astronomy Night was to get students excited about science and careers in science.
In addition to events designed to encourage interest in learning, Buena Park School District promotes reading literacy. In the 2021-2022 academic year, Pendleton Elementary School installed a book vending machine that allows students to pay for books with tokens they earn. The machine will contain books covering a variety of interests. Examples of the titles include Goosebumps, Clifford the Dog, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Pendleton Elementary is transitioning to an International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program that will help students create academic goals and provide students whose parents are too busy to read with them with access to books to improve their literacy and make them more confident readers. Moreover, it will prepare them for the IB program, which is designed to get students to think critically.
Finally, Buena Park School District students had the opportunity participate in the Orange County Academic Pentathlon, which was held March 12. Students from Gordon H. Beatty Middle School participated and took home 48 awards. During the competition, 14 seventh and eighth-graders answered 220 multiple choice questions across academic disciplines and competed against 40 other schools.
The academic competition ended on March 19 with a “Super Quiz,” which involved students having to respond to questions rapidly. By the end of the competition, seventh- and eighth-graders walked away in the top five teams, with seventh-graders placing fifth and eighth-graders placing first.
Beatty Middle School students prepared by staying after school and studying topics such as marine biology. According to Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes, the competition provides students with a chance to work together and gain knowledge that can be used beyond middle school.