Weekly roundup: Water-efficient landscaping in GGUSD, a fitness center dedication, SAT scores and more

The new landscaping at Bolsa Grande High is more than just a beautification project — it’s an “outdoor laboratory,” according to one teacher.

TypewriterAs the Orange County Register reports, Bolsa Grande is one of three high schools in the Garden Grove Unified School District to install natural gardens packed with native vegetation, including lantana, salvia, muhly grass and California sycamore trees.

The campus projects, designed by Costa Mesa landscape architecture firm Nuvis, were made possible by a grant from the California State Water Resources Control Board, which is aiming to reduce stormwater pollution and make school grounds more water-efficient. The gardens also serve an educational role, allowing students to collect scientific data and learn about sustainability practices.

In all, Bolsa Grande landscaped 33,300 square feet through the state agency’s Drought Response Outreach Program for Schools program, or DROPS. The district’s Los Amigos and Santiago high schools are transforming 24,700 and 21,500 square feet, respectively.

And here are some more education stories from the week ending Oct. 26:

  • Here’s a dilemma: Once English learners have achieved fluency, they’re no longer considered English learners or tested as such, which makes it difficult to assess their progress as a subgroup. California officials are hoping to change that by petitioning the federal government to re-evaluate the way English learners are classified.
  • The North America Scholastic Esports Federation, which started last year in Orange County, is hosting a free webinar on Nov. 1 for families and educators looking to learn more about the potential benefits of online gaming.
  • Inspired by the growing popularity of “escape rooms,” Columbus Tustin Middle School held a special Breakout Night for its families, tasking students with creating fun narratives and clues to help participants open lockboxes.
  • Retired NFL player and coach Jim Fassel returned to his old stomping grounds at Anaheim High to dedicate a student fitness center and to honor the legacy of his late father, Bud Fassel, who was the school’s longtime equipment manager.
  • As part of a joint-use project, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and the city of Costa Mesa are working together to upgrade a pair of athletic fields with lighting, security fencing, drainage and other enhancements. Under the proposal, the city would be able to use the fields after school and on weekends.
  • SAT scores in California increased and beat the national average in 2018, but large achievement gaps remain, and less than half performed at college-ready levels in reading and math, EdSource reports.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates or following us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.