Members of Lucerne Valley Elementary School's drop off/pick up team: Daniel Ruiz, Sam Kerestessy, Assistant Principal Joanna Mora, Jamie and Principal Ricky Anderson. Photo by Peter Day
LUCERNE VALLEY — Enrollment has almost doubled in the last several years at Lucerne Valley Elementary School, which bodes well for school students and families but presents logistical challenges for administrators. The dramatic boost in the number of students at the elementary school has sparked an increase in student drop off and pick up traffic before and after school.
“We went from 360 students to nearly 600 students (at LVES) in five years,” Superintendent Peter Livingston said.
So the school’s Joint Powers Authority risk management team looked at the situation and brain-stormed on possible solutions to ensure safety and limit traffic on Barstow Road/Highway 247. They designed a plan that also is much wider for parents to stand in and wait for their students. Then, over the recent Winter Break, the district’s Maintenance and Facilities team got to work.
“It was a massive project and great work by the Maintenance and Facilities team and our JPA risk management,” school Principal Ricky Anderson said. “The drop off area has been extended and will feature two lanes for parents to drop off their students in the morning. It features an extended lane and a shorter lane. By extending the lane and adding the additional lane, we are reducing the number of cars that tended to bottle up on Barstow Road/Highway 247.”
He added that after school dismissal will still be the same. The school also will have a crossing guard before and after school that will allow parents to walk their students from the dirt area behind Sunset Road to the school. Additional parking spots and handicap parking were also added.
Mr. Anderson directs traffic during a recent drop-off session at the Elementary School. Photo by Peter Day
Most schools average 10 to 15 minutes for dismissal, which is the current amount of time for the Elementary School’s dismissal, Mr. Anderson said. “Our modifications will make it safer and hopefully smoother.”
Currently there is just one lane because the second lane of concrete was recently poured. The project is just days away from being completely finished, Mr. Livingston said last week. “We’ve got about 10 more yards of concrete to pour tomorrow.”
Enrollment at the Lucerne Valley USD has grown steadily over the past five years. In the 2016-17 school year, the district’s enrollment dipped below 700. In 2017-18 it averaged 733 students followed by 755 in 2018-19, 832 in 2019-20 and 869 last year. This year, the LVUSD is averaging 985 students and could soon break the 1,000 enrollment mark.
According to November 2021 enrollment numbers, the Middle School currently has 141 students and the High School has 235. But by far the largest growth has come at the Elementary School, which is just four students shy of 600 at a current enrollment of 596. The LVES Kindergarten program has the most of all grades with a total of 103 students. Mountain View High School, an alternative education program, had an enrollment of 10 students last November.
The new LVES Drop Off and Pick Up location is nearing completion.
The Maintenance and Facilities and JPA risk management teams created a sketch of the new, improved drop-off pick-up area before getting to work on the project.