Westmont Visual & Performing Arts (VAPA) Academy
Westmont VAPA Academy underwent a beautiful transformation and modernization and opened in September 2019. The project includes: improved security measures; more parking; modernized classrooms, multi-purpose room and front office; new shade structure; and updated outdoor space. Classrooms have new, large one-way windows, adjoining glass partitions, new cabinetry, cutting-edge insulation, and improved heating and air-conditioning systems. The bright new colors are vibrant!
Oak View Gymnasium
June, 2019 Oak View Elementary School opened its new gymnasium. Funding for the gym construction came primarily from Ocean View’s settlement with Republic Services (formerly Rainbow Environmental Services). The gym has an enclosed play area, adjacent lunch shelter and a beautiful new courtyard. It will provide students, families and members of the community with a fantastic new venue.
College View Modernization
Our next Measure R project is College View Elementary School, with modernization occurring during the 2019-2020 school year. Modernization will include security features, modernized classrooms and front office, new bus drop-off area, expanded library, interior hallways, HVAC, and more.
OVSD Central Kitchen
Finally, we are breaking ground on a new central kitchen, a much-needed facility in Ocean View. It will be located on Warner Avenue, adjacent to our Warehouse and Transportation buildings (near Lowe’s). The Food & Nutrition Services team is excited to prepare and serve thousands of fresh, healthy meals to our students from a modern kitchen. We anticipate completion of the kitchen in August 2019.
As you know, our voters passed a $169 million General Obligation Bond in 2016. Providing safe, secure campuses was a key campaign promise. We started the installation of Phase I of safety fencing at seven schools: Westmont, Village, Circle, Golden, Lake, Hope, and Harbour. When we return to school in September, all of these campuses will be fully enclosed with one secure entrance to the school site during school hours. School office staff will more easily be able to monitor visitors to our campuses and decrease the potential for unwanted intruders. Having one point of entry to our schools will be a major shift in behaviors and practices in Ocean View. We have assembled a committee of staff, parents and community representatives to establish security protocols related to gates and access to our campuses, both during and after school hours. We are developing best practices for check-in and check-out, gate closure and opening, weekend access for organized sports and community use, and related topics. Our goal is to establish clear, consistent safety protocols across the District, and then communicate them to all of our stakeholders.
Ocean View Is Keeping Student Safety at the Forefront
In my roles as mother, teacher and Board Member, I am always thinking about student safety. Not a single day goes by that I am not reminded about the many ways we take care of our students in the classroom, on the playground, and as they travel to and from our schools. In Ocean View, there are many programs, drills and policies in place to keep our students safe, so they can focus on their number one job – learning.
Schools and districts from across the nation recently recognized three important safety programs, National Bullying Prevention Month, the Great Shakeout and Red Ribbon Week. These programs allow our OVSD personnel to interact with students, families and community organizations to promote safety and educate students about these critical topics. Our Board of Trustees updated its policy on bullying earlier this year, and Ocean View schools are actively practicing bullying prevention throughout the year, with programs such as Where Everyone Belongs, a middle school program that enables seventh and eighth grade students to support sixth graders as they transition into middle school. Other schools celebrate with Kindness Week and Be A Buddy, Not A Bully Week. Our schools also participated in the Great California Shakeout on October 19 at 10:19 a.m. Earthquake safety drills were held at our schools and District offices, so students and staff could practice what to do in an actual earthquake emergency. This year’s official Red Ribbon Week was held October 23-31 under the theme of, “Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free.” Our Board of Trustees passed a resolution recognizing Red Ribbon Week, and schools hosted weeklong activities raising awareness about drug use prevention.
One of my highest priorities is to find ways to do what is right for our children, and this includes the maintenance of our school grounds. This past year, I worked closely with District staff to focus on long-term pest prevention through approved Integrated Pest Management best practices. Ocean View is the first public institution in Huntington Beach to begin using organic pesticides and stop using Roundup.
You may have heard educators mention Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or PBIS. We use PBIS in Ocean View as a way to support our students socially, emotionally and academically. By creating clearly defined expectations for behaviors and outcomes, students feel supported and a safe, positive learning environment is cultivated.
In November 2016, our community showed its support for the Ocean View School District by passing the District's first-ever general obligation bond in the amount of $169M. As part of our school modernization priority projects, safety and security issues, like perimeter fencing and security systems, are being discussed. In fact, this summer, Maintenance and Information Technology staff successfully installed a new Shoretel phone system in all classrooms, schools and District offices. These phones will provide an added level of safety and reliability in an emergency situation and every day.
As an added measure of safety, we always encourage families to talk openly with their children about safety. It is a good idea to discuss safe school routes if children are walking to and from our schools. Safe school routes, developed with our surrounding cities, can be found under “Families” at www.ovsd.org.
I am proud to say that Superintendent Carol Hansen, who has been in her leadership position for just over two years, is setting an outstanding example for all. You may have read that the National School Public Relations Association recently recognized Dr. Hansen as a “Superintendent to Watch 2017-2018.” She was one of only 21 superintendents nationwide to be honored, and I am proud to have supported her nomination.
As a strong team of educators, families and community leaders, we will continue to make going to school and learning a positive, safe experience for all students.