TLCD’s Education Practice leader Carl Servais, along with team members George Klumb and Emily Grayho, recently attended the 43rd annual CASH Conference for School Facilities in Sacramento. This premier event brings school facility and industry professionals together for general educational sessions, networking and workshops focused on relevant K-12 topics.
With nearly 40 workshops, the team distilled down two topics they found particularly interesting.
Universal Transitional Kindergarten
With universal transitional kindergarten (TK) being phased in starting with the 2022-2023 school year, there was a lot of interest at the conference around TK facilities and the California Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program. OPSC is administering the grant program and they made a helpful, detailed presentation about funding, who is eligible, and what types of grants are available. The California Department of Education was also on hand to provide confirmation for designers that TK classrooms will continue to follow Title 5 requirements for Kindergarten classrooms. Our friends at King Consulting presented useful information about their methodology for projecting enrollments (hint: birth trends are the best indicator for future TK and Kindergarten enrollment trends).
Bottom line, the challenge of adding a new grade is going to be a significant undertaking and we are excited to share everything we learned in order to support our School District clients.
Campus Wellness Centers as a Hub for Community
The Santa Ana Unified School District developed 57 Campus Wellness Centers to support the community and the families of their students. The idea came from a Trustee Core Initiative to develop better community outreach and reverse the declining enrollment. Several campuses were losing families to other districts because they didn’t feel connected.
The school district owned an historic property adjacent to Garfield Elementary School. The building was originally constructed in 1907 to provide power to the Pacific Railway system. The cost to renovate it for student use would be expensive. Through community outreach and working with the City’s Historic Resources Committee the District determined that the building could be used as a Campus Wellness Center. The space functions as a Mobile Health Clinic; Career and Educational Counseling; Mental Health and Wellness Resources; Fitness and Nutritional Classes; Vaccine and Testing Centers and a Support Service Hub. It’s also available to the community for neighborhood meetings.
It was great to learn that Campus Wellness Centers are a recent development for older school districts where some families may be feeling alienated or disadvantaged. Wellness Centers provide a sense of community and resources that some families may otherwise not be able to access.