Herald American

Bellflower schools begin new year with 13,000 students

BELLFLOWER — The Bellflower Unified School District welcomed close to 13,000 new and returning students for the first day of school Aug. 31, with a host of new academic programs and support services, a district spokesperson said.

Programs include a new engineering and robotics course, expanded Spanish language immersion and Mandarin instruction, a high school math pathway that mirrors real-world application of skills, additional professional development for teachers and counseling services to support elementary students.

Also new this year are five counselors for student support.

The district is continuing the class-size reduction program launched in 2014-15 that dropped student-teacher ratios to 24-1 in kindergarten through third grade and eliminated elementary school combination classes to ensure a more intensive focus on the new California standards, the spokesperson said.

“It’s exciting to begin a new year with so many new and continuing opportunities for our students to excel,” Superintendent Brian Jacobs said.

“Each year, we continue refining our curriculum and services to create the most rigorous program of study and the greatest possible level of support for our students.”

The district is receiving $113 million in 2015-16 through the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula to fund its programs, which are outlined in its Local Control and Accountability Plan.

Revenue includes $96 million as a base grant to be used for all students and $17 million in supplemental grants targeted for English learners, low-income students and foster children.

“Our dedicated team of teachers has returned to the classroom this fall with additional tools to help our students as they pursue their dreams of college and career,” school board President Jerry Cleveland said. “I congratulate them on their passion, and encourage our students to make the most of these opportunities, which will prepare them to compete in our swiftly changing global economy.”