The Desert IndependentTM

Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001


New School Proposed

June 6, 2012

BLYTHE, Calif – The Desert Learning Center held its first Town Hall meeting on May 31 with more than 40 people in attendance to learn about the new school and ask questions. Food and refreshment were served and information packages about the school distributed to all attendees. Numerous families took additional information packages for friends and acquaintances who were unable to attend the event.

The Chair of the School’s Board Sue Fisher opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to the meeting and proceeded to present the Desert Learning Academy’s Mission and Vision and what it will mean for the community of Blythe and its children. As Ms. Fisher explained it, the School’s Mission is “To combine students, parents, educators and the community in a caring, respectful environment using challenging curriculum and enrichment to create the independent thinkers and leaders of the future.”

Highlights of the School include how it will have much smaller class sizes (12-14 in the lower grades and 16-18 in the upper grades) than the existing educational institutions, individualized instruction that enables students to learn at their own pace, a project-based learning methodology which is accepted as one of the highest forms of educational delivery available, a broad range of subject offerings beyond the core subjects that will include music, art, drama, foreign languages and literature, and how the tuition structure is being developed to make the school accessible to all walks of families in the Blythe area.

To complete the first part of the presentation, Ms. Fisher introduced the School’s Board members all of whom were in attendance, and all have an educational background in either teaching or educational administration. Ms. Fisher then introduced Reed Sumida a consultant from the Independent School Performance Group who has been involved with more than a dozen new school formations and who the Board has brought in to help with the development of the Desert Learning Center.

Mr. Sumida reviewed for the attendees the current educational environment in Blythe and what is creating the need for the Desert Learning Center. He presented specifically those aspects of the Desert Learning Center that will differentiate the School from others; the individual attention paid to each student, the much higher academic standard, the classroom composition of avid learners and motivated faculty, and the opportunity to develop and enhance curriculum to excite and inspire the School’s students. Mr. Sumida stressed that a school of this quality is achievable and financially viable based upon his 21 years of experience in getting schools started and helping them to improve. Mr. Sumida concluded his part of the presentation with a roadmap detailing the process of the how the School will be formed and the path to September 2013, the first day of classes for the Desert Learning Center.

The attendees were then provided an opportunity to ask questions of the Board and Mr. Sumida. The more than 30 questions and numerous comments offered to the Board were very supportive of the new school and covered a broad framework of thoughts and ideas for ways to make the School happen. Some of the topics discussed over the 90 minutes of questions were: grade levels to be offered now and in the future, recruitment of faculty, school location, length of the school day, cost and affordability, and what happens if the grade fills and no more space is available for their child. To that end, several families asked to be pre-registered for the school to ensure that their child’s space would be available. The Board has a pre-registration process for any family who wants to make sure that their child’s space is reserved before the small class sizes fill up and a waiting list established. If you would like to pre-register please contact Sue Fisher.

The Desert Learning Center is a proposed new Kindergarten to 8th grade private school for Blythe California. With an emphasis on academic excellence and individual student attention, the school anticipates robust enrollment in limited class sizes as it opens its doors in September of 2013.

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