Desert Sands Unified School District has been selected as a Golden Bell Award recipient for their Connect: One-to-World Initiative. Through an innovative public-private partnership, Desert Sands has built its own LTE broadband network that affords student access to the district’s filtered network 24/7. The Connect: One to World Initiative levels the playing field for all students by providing equity through access within the district’s 752-square mile attendance zone. When coupled with district-issued devices, Connect extends and personalizes the classroom experience and fosters creativity and innovation, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. The Golden Bell Awards are presented annually by the California Schools Boards Association. Accepting the award were DSUSD School Board President Wendy Jonathan, Vice President Linda Porras, and members Ana Conover, Donald Griffith, and Gary Tomak along with Superintendent of Schools Scott Bailey, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Kelly May-Vollmar, Ed.D., and several high school board members. In accepting the award, Bailey noted, “Desert Sands Unified School District greatly appreciates this honor. We take great pride in providing our students with outstanding tools for success, among them the Connect: One-to-World Initiative.”
Desert Sands was one of 57 recipients to receive this educational honor. The Golden Bell Awards, celebrating their 40th year, are presented by the California School Boards Association to promote excellence in public education and school board governance by recognizing outstanding programs and governance practices. The awards reflect the depth and breadth of education programs and governance decisions supporting these programs that are necessary to address students’ changing needs. A judging panel composed of experts from school districts and county offices of education across the state reviewed written entries and made initial recommendations. On-site validators then reviewed the recommendations and assessed the programs in action. This year’s Golden Bell winners demonstrated that they are addressing student needs through areas such as equity and access, school climate and safety, technology and wellness. “Now more than ever is a time to acknowledge and celebrate innovative and impactful programs that make a difference in the lives of our young people,” said CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “This year’s Golden Bell winners truly serve as beacons of success as we work to more fully and equitably serve all of California’s public school students.” The award ceremony took place on December 5, 2019, at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. The awards ceremony was part of CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show. The conference is the premier continuing education event for California school boards and the largest education leadership conference in the state. To learn more about the Golden Bell awards and all the winners, visit the program’s website at https://gb.csba.org.
From left to right: Indio High School Student Board Member Bishop Fermon, Horizon School Student Board Member Aaraya Vizl, Superintendent Scott Bailey, Desert Sands Unified School District School Board Vice President Linda Porras, President Wendy Jonathan, Board Members Ana Conover, Donald Griffith, and Gary Tomak