The Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) is located in Kern County, a community historically known for its rich oil and fertile agricultural lands. A primarily rural county with large areas of undeveloped land, but also a growing urbanized area surrounded by smaller communities. The county is home to 47 different school districts, Bakersfield City School District being the largest elementary school district in the county, serving 28,835 students. A decrease of 472 students from the 2021-22 CBEDS counts and a reflection of the ongoing impact the COVID-19 pandemic still has in a district with a student population with diverse needs.
BCSD has a total of 44 school sites with plans to build another campus in the future, based on the enrollment needs of new communities on the eastern boundary of the district. The district encompasses approximately 158 square miles, with a majority of school campuses serving long-time established neighborhoods within northeast and southeast Bakersfield. BCSD enrollment includes students in grades Pre-K through 8 of various ethnicities and languages. The student population continues to consist of 80.6% Hispanic (HIS), 8.4% White (WH), 7.9% African American(AA), 1.4% Two or More Races, 0.8% Asian, 0.5% American Indian, 0.4% Filipino, 0.1% Pacific Islander(PI), 84.2% Socioeconomically Disadvantaged (SED), 27.4% English Learners (EL), 10.1% Students with Disabilities (SWD), 3.1% Homeless (HL), and 0.8% Foster Youth (FY) (Per CDE Fall 2022 Dashboard, Enrollment-District Demographics). BCSD language groups are represented by 37.92% Spanish, 0.55% Arabic, and .12% other non-English languages,.05% Mixteco,.07% Filipino (Tagalog), and 23 additional languages
that represent .04% or less (Per CDE DataQuest Report, Language Group Data-Districtwide for 2021-22).
The district is strongly committed to the recruitment of dedicated professionals who will support BCSD’s overall mission of student success. Student achievement can be attributed to the commitment of our teachers, administrators, and classified staff. BCSD employs 1,912 certificated employees and 2,232 classified employees. Including substitute staff, the district supports more than 5,000 employees. The COVID-19 pandemic affected the recruitment and employment process, making it difficult to find suitable substitutes in various positions, ultimately impacting the work for the district and a challenge as we experienced many of our employees being affected by exposure and positive testing earlier in the year.
The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the greatest challenges the district has faced in the modern era and we continue to see the remnants of its impact on schools. Students and teachers in this school year (2022-23) are no longer immersed in distance learning. The district has returned to a full in-person approach to learning while still expected to follow state-issued health and safety guidelines as necessary. The district has continued to support families who may at times be impacted by the resurfacing of COVID-19-positive cases and strives to support students and families with academic support as needed. Approximately 28,800 students began the school year in person and the district had close to 50 families request their child continue placement on Independent Study (IS) for numerous reasons including illness. Based on the district’s monitoring of local metrics, there is evidence of the residual impact on student academics at most of our schools and continued concern about student learning loss. The district is committed to doing everything possible to increase academic achievement, support each student’s social-emotional needs, and re-engage family and community to bridge the COVID-19 learning gap. In addition, this commitment extends to providing support and interventions to address the individual needs of our students and families.