From the Superintendent
Welcome to the Bennett Valley Union School District!
The Bennett Valley Union School District has a long, rich history of excellence in education and community involvement. The district was born in 1853. Originally it was called the Santa Rosa District and was located near present-day Galvin Park. It was renamed the Bennett Valley District in 1942. The Strawberry District, 1857-1952, was the other nearby district, named for the wild strawberries in the area. The two districts merged in 1952 and became the Bennett Valley Union School District.
The district's schools are located in southeast Santa Rosa in quiet, residential neighborhoods, combining the best of rural and suburban settings. Our district serves approximately 960 students from kindergarten through sixth grade on its two campuses. Yulupa serves our kindergarten through third grade students and also offers an on-site preschool. Until July 2009, the preschool was run by Kids' Center Preschool, a private, nonprofit corporation. In August 2009, The 4 C's, Community Child Care Council joined us as our preschool provider, the Bennett Valley Child Development center. Strawberry serves our fourth through sixth graders. Both schools have on-site childcare run by the YMCA.
Much collaboration exists district-wide. We have a joint School Site Council with faculty, staff, and parent members from both schools; and two district-wide 5013C non-profit parent organizations-The Alliance of Parents and Teachers (APT) and the Bennett Valley Education Foundation (BVEF) who work in concert with the district to provide needed programs that offer a richness and depth to our comprehensive curriculum.
The Bennett Valley Union School District is one of the top-performing districts in the Sonoma County. Both schools have earned Academic Performance Indicator Rankings of over 880 and both have been redesignated as distinguished schools by the State of California. Nevertheless, our work in the district is never done. We are committed to making continuous improvement in our curriculum and programs. During my 19 years working for the Bennett Valley Union School District, first as Principal of Strawberry Elementary School (1991-1994) and as District Superintendent since 1994, I've seen our community persevere through many challenges.
In my opinion, there are three keys to what makes our district successful. The first key is the consistency throughout our district and over the years: top-notch teachers, innovative programs, intentional and focused staff training, high curriculum standards, and consistent leadership. Our academic curriculum encourages students to learn, reinforce and apply their learning throughout the core subjects. Our academic support programs provide a carefully-planned fabric of support designed to challenge and meet the needs of all students at all academic levels. Both schools have fully-staffed technology labs and multi-media learning center libraries, each with extensive collections of over 10,000 titles appropriate to the students in the grade levels served. Several remedial and enrichment opportunities, as well as extended child-care, exist on both campuses. All students are afforded a rigorous, standards-based academic program in language arts, mathematics, science, history/social studies, physical educations and visual and performing arts. Our Open Court language arts program, the Great Source Writing curriculum, Saxon Math, Scott Foresman Science and Social Studies programs, and Spark Physical Education comprise our core state-adopted materials.
Student progress is measured and reviewed regularly through a variety of assessments. Students in need of academic assistance are closely monitored and offered interventions specifically targeted to their needs through our Response to Intervention (RtI) program otherwise known as Reading Exchanges (at Yulupa) and TLC (Targeted Learning Communities) at Strawberry. All students are given DIBELS reading fluency assessments several times per year and are grouped by reading proficiency for 40 minutes per day, four days per week for targeted instruction and/or extra challenge based on their proficiency levels. In addition, we have other support programs for our students including: Title I reading intensives, English Learners support, Jump Start pre kindergarten summer school.
Thanks to the Bennett Valley Education Foundation and the Alliance of Parents and Teachers, our students enjoy a balanced, enriched curriculum that includes the arts, high quality technology, and field trips. The Bennett Valley Education Foundation (BVEF) is a private, non-profit corporation that raises funds through advertising sales for the District Family Directory, Legacy Tile Nights, Valley of the Arts auction (launched in April 2009), and through its annual contribution campaign for the Art Works/Music Scores program that brings professional artists to the schools to provide all classes with artist-in-residence lessons in visual arts and art history, curriculum-integrated multi-cultural music and dance lessons, dramatic assemblies and workshops, and curriculum-integrated art docent lessons provided by trained parent volunteers. The Foundation funds the a portion of the cost of our Band and Chorus programs at Strawberry School along with the Eagles' Music Boosters. The Alliance of Parents and Teachers (APT) is a private, non-profit charitable corporation that raises needed funds for help provide assemblies, field trips, library books, instructional materials,support for reading, PE, science supplies, faculty allowances and computer technology to our schools, classrooms, and teachers. The APT organizes community events including the Walk-a-thon, Gingerbread House Night, Sock Hop, Kindergarten Picnic, and Family Fun Nights. We have a special district and welcome you and your child to join us!
Sue Field, Ed.D. Superintendent