Anthropological studies have found that humans can only feel like they are part of a group if there are not more than 150 people or fewer in the group. The best way to organize large schools is to plan for Small Learning Communities (SLCs) of no more than 150 students with each SLC having its own shared resources. Grade-based SLC's are typical for elementary schools, but some schools do mix grades.  For middle school and high school, SLC's can be grade-based or theme-based. The shared resources can consist of Outdoor Learning or an Indoor Learning Commons used for project-based learning and dining.

2021-22 LCAP Goals Supported

Applied Goals

Goal 1: Advance academic achievement so all students graduate prepared for college and career. 

The Oceanside Unified School District will provide a rigorous course of study for all students to ensure that scholars advance academically and graduate college and career ready. In order to ensure equity, all students will be provided with base level educational services, along with supplemental services for all unduplicated students, with targeted supplemental services for at-promise and specific student groups.

For more detailed descriptions, please see page 20 of the Local Control Accountability Plan.

Goal 2: Create safe and positive learning environments.

The Oceanside Unified School District will provide students with safe and positive learning environments that foster experiences to support students' social emotional and physical well-being. This will be achieved by providing access to supplemental services that address the social emotional and behavioral needs for all students, including our English Learners, Foster Youth, Low Income and Homeless students. To further our efforts to achieve this goal, OUSD will provide targeted services to address the social emotional, behavioral, and safety needs of struggling students.

For more detailed descriptions, please see page 28 of the Local Control Accountability Plan.


In California, capital funds for improving school facilities are separate from funds for school operations. With operational funds perpetually scarce, building school facilities that are inexpensive to maintain is a high priority. The challenge for designers is to create productive schools with attractive learning spaces that are durable and low maintenance.

Implementing standard finishes, fixtures and building systems across multiple projects can reduce maintenance costs and complexity and simplify decision-making in the design process. Standards allow maintenance personnel to stock replacement components and materials, speeding repair work.

Selecting durable, low-maintenance finishes helps stretch limited custodial resources and ensure that learning spaces are always clean and ready for student use. Rooms serving our youngest students and spaces designated for messy activities, like makerspaces or science labs require particular attention to finishes.

Standardizing on particular types or brands of building systems like HVAC equipment, paging systems, or security systems can streamline building maintenance. Highly proprietary systems present significant risks if manufacturers disappear or are taken over by competitors. Open systems based on industry standards mitigate risk and are most likely to be supportable in future years.


Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of today, without sacrificing the needs of tomorrow. The District’s approach to Sustainability is to build high-quality facilities with low operational costs that are durable as to reduce wasteful re-construction and lengthen the useful lifetime of our campuses. Investing our capital resources to reduce future operational and construction expenses is a prudent use of limited funds, and high-quality facilities can optimize the indoor learning environment.

The state goals are for existing buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2025, and 60% below 1990 levels by 2030. In addition, the state is also asking that all new government buildings and major renovations to be constructed as Zero Net Energy Ready, so Zero Net Energy without the solar, by 2025 and full Net Zero by 2030. To meet the state energy and greenhouse gas goals in a cost-effective manner, all future new construction and major renovation projects must set the goal of Zero Net Energy Ready moving forward so that efficiencies can be gained as part of a larger scope of work. Design teams will identify energy reduction strategies throughout the design process and quantify the impact of any recommendation on future energy usage, future energy cost, future green house gas emissions and total cost of ownership. In line with state goals, projects with natural gas using appliances should establish a plan for electrification of systems with an effective useful life of less than 10 years. No new natural gas appliances will go into our buildings.

Impactful energy conservation measures selected should keep the learning environment as a top priority to make sure visual, thermal, and acoustical comfort is achieved in addition to air quality. In addition, automating the switching off or turn down of equipment can result in considerable operational savings and build on the existing behavior-based energy saving program at the district. LED lighting with photocell diming and vacancy controls can ensure no energy is wasted when there is available daylight or if there is nobody present in a room and reduces the frequency of bulb replacement needed by the maintenance team. Daylight is a free and valuable resource for illumination of space and cognitive function benefits so the district will continue to embrace it in schools through daylight harvesting strategies. Smart receptacles can turn off equipment in the unoccupied hours when there is nobody using it.

While Oceanside’s ideal climate keeps HVAC-related energy costs relatively low, they still constitute the lion’s share of the District’s energy bills. In recent years the District has provided individual HVAC systems for each classroom. In our experience, the nominal efficiencies presented by package units serving multiple rooms are typically offset by the need to run them longer to accommodate the varied needs of the building’s occupants. The use of a decoupled ventilation systems in the future could offer the ability to turn off some of the system when buildings are partially occupied. While the District is committed to providing occupants control of their environment, implementing smart thermostats that could be globally controlled by support technicians would further increase efficiencies and provide better service for occupants.

At this time solar is the only technology capable of providing sufficient energy to power a school site, and many schools have implemented solar energy systems. Most school solar consists of freestanding panels, often mounted over parking lots. Such systems placed in playgrounds or near classroom buildings could double as shade covers. While solar has been growing in popularity for the last decade, in more recent years it is increasingly being paired with energy storage technology. The power generation profile of solar panels correlates well to the energy usage curve of schools throughout the day, but there are periods of high energy use outside of peak solar generation hours. Battery storage can bridge the gaps, providing a reliable energy source around the clock. The ability to store energy also allows owners to avoid the exorbitant charges associated with high power demand episodes, a practice known as peak shaving.

Water is another resource that needs to be conserved. The state is asking for potable water to be reduced by 25% compared to 1990 levels by 2025 and 40% by 2030. Low flow faucets, showers and toilets can help achieve this reduction. Irrigation systems should be minimized by using native plantings and non-potable water sources explored for remaining water needs.

Lastly it is important to measure what matters so all buildings should have a separate energy and water meter so that the highest consumers can be identified. In addition, all energy end uses that consume more than 20% of the overall energy should be sub metered to again ensure that no energy is being used unnecessarily.

Thank you to all the educators and staff who took time out of their busy schedules to contribute to creating OUSD’s updated Ed Specs to plan for the future.