The Buttonwillow Union School District has been recognized as one of the top small school districts in the state and its superintendent was invited to share success strategies at the Small School District Association’s (SSDA) first collaboration event in Los Angeles on February 2-4.
“This recognition and invitation are highly selective and is a tremendous recognition for a job well done by the governance team and the administrative staff, teachers and all others throughout your organization,” Timothy J. Taylor, the executive director of the Small School Districts’ Association, wrote in a letter to the district. “We look forward to hearing more about the work that Buttonwillow is doing.”
Taylor also added, " I have visited Buttonwillow and attended one of your summer inservices with regard to student achievement this past summer. I was so impressed in all aspects of your school systems. Your district has closed the achievement gap for students!"
"The work of the staff, regardless of position in our district, is what makes our district unique" said Superintendent Stuart Packard. "Our classroom strategies and relationship building are pivotal to all the success we have achieved over the past few years."
According to Stuart Packard, Buttonwillow USD highlights include AVID Certification for Schoolwide AVID Elementary; outpacing the growth of most districts in math and Language Arts in California by moving students to standard last school year; an innovative intervention program that has a fewer number of students being identified for Special Education; adding two state preschool classes, a partnership with California Ed Partners (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation); interactions and relationships with districts throughout California, creating a group of cohesive and collaborative schools on the Westside of Kern County; partnerships and mentorships with the Kern Economic Development Foundation; partnering with CSU Bakersfield on multiple grants including the initial teacher residency grant; maintaining the second lowest chronic absentee rate in Kern County; and maintaining a 1.05% percentage rate for suspensions over the past two years.
"Our Buttonwillow School Board must be recognized for their efforts and desires to improve the quality of education for all students in Buttonwillow, said Stuart Packard. "With multiple board members serving multiple decades they know and understand the community. They expect our students to come first."
Mr. Packard's travel costs and expenses to upcoming events will be covered through funds provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the SSDA.
Over the next year, the SSDA is planning a series of three meetings that will feature 12 small school district leaders to come together and share best practices. “We expect this to be a national model of leadership development and a new professional development model,” according to Tim Taylor.