By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victorville) -– The students and staff at Endeavour School of Exploration had a trio of special guests this week. Dr. Dale Marsden, superintendent of the Victor Elementary School District invited Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron and Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon’s (R-Santa Clarita) representative Michael Orme to tour Endeavour and two other VESD schools.
“I’ve been working with Dale for some time to come out to see his schools. I want to see what he’s been doing that has been so successful, and to see if there are any issues that the schools are having that the city can assist with,” said McEachron. “I want to find out what great things they are doing in their school district since they have so many high performing schools. I really have an interest in our educational system and wanted to get out and see it.”
Interim Principal Ramona Priestly lead the VIPs on the tour of the school. First they joined a presentation given by the San Bernardino County Museum to third grade students on artifacts related to Native American Indians. From there the group went down to the playground and observed the sixth graders participating in an archeological dig.
Sixth grade teacher Tisha Entz, who is also an archeologist, explained, “They are doing a simulated archeological project. There are different artifacts that another class buried for them. The students have set up their grids and they are trying to find the artifacts. They will record everything that they find just like they would on a real project. Once collected they will take their artifacts back and analyze them. It is part of the process of understanding the clues to our past and how we get those clues.”
Priestly explained that Endeavour has an inquiry approach to learning. They teach the California Content Standards, which are basic knowledge in reading, writing and math, but they also give their students a unique opportunity. “Project based learning has students participating in authentic projects that are relevant to them. They bring that basic knowledge that they have learned to those projects to really reinforce those basic skills,” said Priestly. “We all learn in many different ways, but you learn even better by doing things.”
The tour group also visited several of the classrooms and the computer lab. The Mayor said he was most impressed with the engagement he witnessed in each classroom. “It was neat to see that the students were really engaged in what they were doing. Obviously wanting to learn is a great thing to see. The professionalism of the teachers was also impressive. They are genuinely involved in educating these kids and they love what they do.”
After the tour was complete McEachron talked about the experience. “I learned that the city and the school district can partner together, do things together to help better the education system. And I think that was part of the reason Dr. Marsden wanted me to visit the schools, to see on a much larger scale what can we be doing together to help advance education locally. Not just at the elementary level, but also the high school and college level. I think it is key to the future of the Victor Valley.”