LANCASTER – Parents, students and Westside Union School District Board members gathered at the gates of the Gregg Anderson Academy Thursday morning for a ribbon cutting to signal the opening of the new school.
As board president Linda Jones and member Gwen Farrell cut the ribbon, students cheered and ran through the gates, eager to reach their new classrooms.
“It’s bigger than my other school,” said 11-year-old sixth grader Tanner Kearl. “They’re using energy from the sun so it’s eco-friendly.”
Tanner’s brother, Hunter, was also wowed by his new school.
“I like the new boards we’re using, it’s like an Ipad thingy,” Hunter said. “And the classrooms are better because they’re much closer together, and I like the chairs.”
Parents also sang praises for the new school.
“We transferred our children to Gregg Anderson from a private school because the advanced technology and high standards here will be fantastic,” said Rosanna Blanco, mother of two Gregg Anderson students. “It is our job to see our children’s potential and steer them in the right direction and we believe Gregg Anderson is the school that will work with us to do that.”
Gregg Anderson is the newest and most technologically advanced school within Westside, school officials said. Since Gregg Anderson is a “school of choice,” students from all over the Antelope Valley were eligible to apply for transfer, regardless of where they live.
The school has roughly 900 students from kindergarten to sixth grade, and functional skills students from kindergarten to eighth grade. All functional skills classes feature modern up-to-date facilities, including a kitchen, adapted physical education, occupational therapy rooms, and other specialized services to create independency, according to Gregg Anderson Principal Shelly Dearinger.
“They’re going to be learning life skills,” Dearinger added.
For its traditional students, the new school offers a curriculum that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The campus also features advanced technology in the classrooms, including new computer labs, Smart Boards and other high-tech classroom materials.
“There are two eight-foot white boards in each classroom, plus a six-foot interactive Smart Board, so it really engages the students,” Dearinger said. “We’ll be encouraging students to bring cell phones and electronic devices to school so that we can incorporate that into our classrooms because there is an actual education benefit to that.”
Dearinger said the new Gregg Anderson Academy also features a multipurpose auditorium, with state-of-the-art audio and visual technology, which will be used for virtual learning.
“We’ll be inviting people virtually into our classrooms,” she said. “We’ll also have specialized STEM Fridays twice a month where every grade level will be focusing on a STEM activity.”
Many afterschool and extracurricular programs are offered, as well, including guitar lessons, Chess Club, Math Magicians and Chinese Immersion clubs.
“Westside continues to provide excellence that cannot be matched,” said Westside Union School District Superintendent Regina Rossall. “Gregg Anderson provides fantastic programs and our students are eager to get started with what we know will be a great year.”
For more information about the school and its programs, contact the District office at (661) 722-0716.