From the principaland#8217;s office: Truckee Elementary celebrates cultural diversity of students, community | SierraSun.com

From the principaland#8217;s office: Truckee Elementary celebrates cultural diversity of students, community

Valerie Simpson

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Thank you for the opportunity to highlight our beautiful Truckee Elementary School. As principal of Truckee Elementary, I am proud to share news about our school with our community.

Truckee Elementary School, located in historic Truckee, is situated at one of the original campsites used by members of the fated Donner Party. A large white cross at the front entrance memorializes this historic site and evokes the history of the settling of California; just to the west of the school, one sees the snow-capped summit of Donner Pass.

Serving preschool to fifth grade, Truckee Elementary celebrates the cultural diversity of our students and our community. We affirm and honor the unique background of each child and their family, which in turn brings strength to our school.

This fall, state testing results were released, and we are thrilled to be considered a High Performing School by the State of California with an Academic Performance Index (API) above 800. API calculations are based on how a school is performing as a whole. We are proud to report that our 2011 API was 826! We are also excited to note that Truckee Elementary School students continue to make gains, particularly in English-Language Arts (ELA).

Based on the federal governmentand#8217;s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) guidelines, we are considered Program Improvement. Being a Program Improvement school has brought great benefits because it requires us to pay close attention to the different groups of students we have at our school. We currently have four main subgroups: White, English learners, Hispanic, and socio-economically disadvantaged.

Our school is based on the notion of our district mission: and#8220;Every Child Learning Every Day!and#8221; Because of this belief we are committed to:

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and#8226; A safe and clean campus that promotes social and personal responsibility.

and#8226; Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, that continually improve our instructional program by addressing the needs of ALL students via monitoring student learning and adjusting instruction to attend to studentand#8217;s needs.

and#8226; Positive home/school/community relationships that involve parents and the community to enhance our school program for all students.

Our wonderful teachers and support staff, who provide a learning environment where academic achievement is emphasized, are what make our school so successful. Teachers are the foundation of our school and they are committed to the success of all children. The Truckee Elementary teachers commit countless hours and unending effort to make sure our school is the best it can be. Our emphasis is on literacy and mathematics. Teachers integrate Language Arts and math with science, social studies, technology, music and physical education.

Our support staff, from the front office to the custodial staff, understands the importance of creating a safe, clean learning environment. Our front office staff members pride themselves on providing and#8220;customer serviceand#8221; to our parents and visiting community members. Our custodial staff is second to none and#8212; this is the cleanest school I have ever worked in. Along with the school counselor, I work with staff and students to ensure that our campus is a secure and fun place to learn.

With the addition of Eileen Driscoll-Norman, our community liaison, we have expanded our connections with the community. We recently have partnered with Truckee Sunrise Rotary to build a par course on site that the children love. Truckee Sunrise Rotary also sponsors a literacy award project that encourages students to improve their reading level.

In addition, our PTO is a force of nature! We have a strong, passionate group of parents who want our children to be successful. Anyone who has attended our fundraising events, such as the Pumpkin Patch, can see the commitment to our students and to our community that our parents demonstrate. In addition, our PTO and parent volunteers work with us daily to make our school run smoothly. The PTO funds enrichment programs, the Friday morning coffee hour, and PTO volunteers.

Lastly, all studies show that parent engagement is crucial to student success. To that end, we sponsored the Parent Institute for Quality Education this past fall. This nine-week program is for parents to learn how to guarantee student success in school and beyond. Completion of the program leads to conditional acceptance for children to any California State University. We are excited to share that over 50 Truckee Elementary School parents graduated from this program!

If you would like more details about how students are performing at our school, you may attend the School Site Council meeting on Dec. 2 at 8 a.m. in the media lab, or contact me, Valerie Simpson. Or, please stop by for a visit!