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The Willits Unified School District serves 1550 students in grades TK–12 from the City of Willits and surrounding areas. Committed to the small campus environment our district is composed of four traditional schools: Brookside Elementary (TK-2), Blosser Lane Elementary (3-5), Baechtel Grove Middle School (6-8), and Willits High School (9-12). In addition to our traditional schools our alternative programs offer students a variety of choices within our district’s governance: Sherwood Elementary (K-8), Sanhedrin Vocational Alternative High School (9-12), and New Horizons Independent Study (K-12).


Dear Parent/Guardian,

Since arriving in the area last summer, I’ve immersed myself in all things Willits—both school-related and community-related. I’ve spoken with students, families, staff, and community members to hear your concerns and hopes about WUSD. I have used that along with my experience in education to craft an improvement plan that includes every single school. I encourage you to visit to view our 25-minute explanation video with a school-by-school summary of the plan. (The link in the left sidebar under “WUSD School Improvement Plan”).

Here’s a quick overview:


At our K-5 elementary schools, Blosser and Brookside, we have three main goals: 1. Bringing students up to grade-level in reading, 2. Bringing students up to grade-level in math, and 3. Making school enjoyable for students. To reach these goals, we’ll implement a new language arts program called Benchmarks Curriculum and a new math program called Everyday Math. Students will be evaluated through a combination of teacher grading and external, standards-based assessments: DIBELS ( for language arts and Delta Math ( for math. I’m enthusiastic about our new curriculum, and I hope we can encourage parents to participate in the classroom to help students reach their potential.


Sherwood School serves grades K-8. While it offers the same curriculum as Blosser and Brookside in the early grades, Sherwood is a small, alternative school where students learn in a multi-age classroom environment. Students who excel at academics can easily be offered more challenging work, and those who are struggling are able to slow down and review challenging material—all within the same classroom. The supportive culture and high parent engagement allow students to take advantage of creative and exciting programs. It is important to note that Sherwood does not offer special education services. Also, any middle school students who attend Sherwood may participate in sports at Baechtel Grove Middle School, if they choose to.


At Baechtel Grove Middle School, our plan is to help students and staff focus on high school readiness in a culture of learning and respect. Each grade level will progressively help students transition from elementary school to high school, both academically and from a social/emotional standpoint. Core classes such as math, language arts, science, and social studies are taught in 60-minute periods, and exploratory classes (also called “electives”) are taught in 40-minute periods. Exploratory classes include art, music, and computers, among others. Each grade level has its own lunch period and all students will have a bonus period at the end of the day to focus on their specific needs or interests—Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), Read 180, English Language Development (ELD), Study Island, Odyssey of the Mind, and more. 


Independent Study for elementary students, grades K-8, runs through Sherwood School and students in grades 9-12 are incorporated into Willits High School as a school within a school. This allows students to work independently as well as take advantage of direct instruction at the high school. Independent Study students will be able to participate in all extra-curricular activities, including athletics.


Sanhedrin Alternative High School has transformed into a vocational high school with the goal of having all students graduate with employable skills. Students receive core instruction at Sanhedrin and are required to enroll in a Career Technical Education (CTE) program of their choosing at Willits High School.


Willits High School has adopted a trimester schedule, allowing students to take more electives and dig deeply into core subjects. A school day consists of five 75-minute periods. Teachers will teach four classes a day and have a prep period. A trimester system allows struggling students to get quicker remediation and advanced students to have more time in Advance Placement classes. For more information about the trimester system, visit the website

I’m really excited about our changes and we are definitely headed in the right direction. I know change is hard, especially for us adults, but I am confident that with your support and our excellent WUSD staff, Willits public schools can become some of the best in the county. If you have questions after viewing the School Improvement Plan video, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Mark Westerburg, Superintendent

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