girl holding clipboard smiling next to creek

February 20, 2023

In EUSD, every student is an environmentalist! Our students engage in robust environmental science lessons based on Next Generation Science Standards curriculum. And in EUSD, we take NGSS a step further for our students by providing hands-on learning experiences at every grade level with experts in the field from our environmental science community partners. 

Topics range from recycling to sound and light waves, food systems and species preservation, watershed and local ecosystems, and beyond. These environmental science partnerships bring our students to nature’s spectacular outdoor classrooms. Students prepare for these field work trips with mesmerizing classroom lessons from the experts. 

Our partnership with The Escondido Creek Conservancy takes 3rd-grade environmentalists to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, a few miles west of the heart of our city, as part of a unit called “Protecting Our Watershed: Inquiry to Action.” In the field trip portion of this learning experience, 3rd-graders become field scientists as they take data, analyze creek water, and determine, based on their findings, whether trout could survive in the Elfin Forest ecosystem. 

Earlier this month, it was Conway Elementary’s turn for the Elfin Forest learning experience. On a crisp, bright Monday morning, more than 40 3rd-graders, along with chaperones and teachers, embarked on a three-hour visit. They collected data such as creek water temperature and pH levels. They examined the flow of the creek to determine the direction and how pollution in the creek eventually affects the ocean miles away. Students marveled at insects viewed through a magnifying glass. On a hike, they responded correctly as their guide asked what type of habitat they were in – riparian, chaparral, or oak woodland. They breathed in the scent of fresh sage on the fingertips. 

Finally, settled in on rocks facing the creek under a canopy of oaks, their guide asked the young environmentalists to pause quietly, listen to the creek, and reflect on what they notice and wonder. 

“This does not have to be the last time you come to the Elfin Forest,” Conservancy Education Manager Ariel Reed told them. 

Encouraging students to return with their families to this free local nature preserve is one of several goals of the education program, Reed said. And based on post-program surveys, students are wild about this learning experience. 

“The Elfin Forest field work brings awareness to the students and parents that their actions have either positive or negative consequences to our environment,” said Chris Devlin, a Conway 3rd-grade teacher. “We use this field work to learn about habitats and the importance of our watershed. For many of our students, this is the first or only experience they have in nature, so it promotes the desire to protect our environment.”

As a nonprofit, The Escondido Creek Conservancy relies on grants and donations to support its work, including the environmental education program. TECC welcomes donations of any amount to its Education Fund to ensure this work continues for years to come.  

I hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend. We look forward to seeing students when school resumes tomorrow, Tuesday, February 21. Here are this week’s updates and reminders.  

LCAP survey: As we continue to update the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan, we are launching the LCAP Priorities Survey to collect additional input from all of our stakeholders. This survey focuses on specific priority areas, including student achievement, family engagement, interventions and enrichment, social and emotional supports, and safety. The LCAP is a blueprint tied to state funding that describes how our schools support the success of all students and spending priorities for such initiatives. This survey seeks feedback on current performance, areas for improvement, allocation of resources, and future goals. Responses are anonymous. The survey is now open here through March 19. Thank you for your time and input.

COVID update: The California Department of Public Health has announced that state officials are no longer exploring emergency rulemaking to add COVID-19 vaccinations to the list of required vaccinations for K-12 students. However, health officials continue to strongly recommend the vaccine as the safest way to acquire protection from COVID.

Low-cost computers: Is your family in need of a low-cost desktop or laptop computer? Computers to SD Kids is hosting a Smart Tools for Schools event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 4, at Kearny High School, 1954 Komet Way, San Diego. Follow this link to submit an application by February 28. Distribution is by appointment only. The nonprofit organization charges an administrative fee of $100 for a desktop system and $150 for a core processor laptop. View this flyer for further details. Direct questions to 858-200-9788 or

Work with EUSD: The next EUSD hiring fair is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday, February 28, at the district office, 2310 Aldergrove Avenue. Human Resources team members will guide individuals through the application process, including any necessary job assessments for numerous essential full- and part-time positions across the district. Please review the event details and pre-register on Eventbrite. On-campus and district office positions include paraeducators, bilingual family liaisons, nutrition assistants, noontime supervisors, licensed vocational nurses, speech language pathology assistants, accountants, and more. Employees who work more than five hours a day are eligible for enrollment in EUSD benefits and retirement programs. Find all employment opportunities here.

– Luis Rankins-Ibarra, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools