Why districts need to think creatively–inside the box

Scott Bailey, Superintendent for Desert Sands Unified School District (CA), didn’t let the pandemic get in the way of his team’s plans. Instead, he used the disruptions as an opportunity to accelerate.

In this episode of Getting There: Innovations in Education, Scott breaks down his work to innovate within the confines of a public institution. The district primarily serves five communities in the central Coachella Valley: Bermuda Dunes, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, and Palm Desert. Students from other areas of the desert also take advantage of the quality education provided by our schools.

More than 27,000 students attend 34 schools in the district including traditional high schools, alternative high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and 16 preschools, including a federally funded Head Start program. Two elementary schools currently offer full dual immersion in English/Spanish to kindergarteners and first graders.

(The following has been edited for clarity.)

eSN: Over the course of this year, a number of districts said they intend to keep a remote learning option—maybe a virtual academy sort of thing. While other districts have the intention to outfit classrooms with flat screens and document cameras, and to still have a hybrid option. Where do you see your district in the midst of all those different opportunities?

SB: I can tell you where I want to be–and that is exactly as you stated–to offer options to parents and students. We learned through this pandemic of forced transformation, so to speak, that distance learning actually worked fairly well for a percentage of our staff, and it worked fairly well for a percentage of students and families.

Kevin is a forward-thinking media executive with more than 25 years of experience building brands and audiences online, in print, and face to face. He is an acclaimed writer, editor, and commentator covering the intersection of society and technology, especially education technology. Most recently, he has was Managing Director of Content for Tech& Learning. You can reach Kevin at
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