Uniforms for Kings Beach Elementary in fall | SierraSun.com

Uniforms for Kings Beach Elementary in fall

Students at Kings Beach Elementary will wear blue and white uniforms to school starting this fall, a move that was parent-driven, according to the school’s principal.

On Wednesday, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board approved the decision to mandate that students wear uniforms this coming school year, but with the caveat that parents can opt-out for religious beliefs.

“Within the last four months of school, it kept coming up at parent meetings,” Eileen Fahrner, principal of Kings Beach Elementary, said of the uniform issue. “This was an impetus from parents mainly because they thought there was inappropriate clothing being worn at school.”

Parent Emily Goss, whose son will attend third grade at Kings Beach Elementary in the fall, said she was interested in uniforms because it is shown that uniforms raise test scores in schools. Kings Beach is currently a program-improvement school, which means their test scores are below the national average.

Research from the California Department of Education shows that school uniforms cut down on vandalism and school crime in general, increases school spirit and students achieve higher test scores.

“It lends respect for the school, the staff and themselves,” Goss said of students wearing uniforms. “I opted for uniforms if it can improve test scores.”

Fahrner said she sent out 386 surveys to all parents in the spring to gauge support of the uniforms and was surprised when 223 surveys were returned with 93-percent in support of the idea and only 7-percent opposed. Those who opposed were mainly concerned about individual and creative expression, Fahrner said.

“I thought it would be 50-50,” Fahrner noted. “I didn’t realize there was so much support.”

After she saw there was support for the uniforms she decided to go to the board for approval. Now, the students will wear white-collared shirts with the option of wearing long pants, shorts, skorts or jumpers. The school will send out catalogs to parents later this month so they can start choosing their child’s uniform.

“We want to catch them before they buy back-to-school clothes,” Fahrner said, adding that the school will also make calls to parents personally to let them know of the change.

Fahrner said Kings Beach Elementary will use the companies Frenchtoast and Land’s End because they will give back a certain percentage of the sales to the school, which will be used for a scholarship fund for families that can not afford the outfits. However, Fahrner noted that the uniforms will be reasonable, with pants costing around $7.50.

Diana Cristales-David, a parent whose twin girls will be fourth graders next year at Kings Beach Elementary, said she is in favor of the uniforms and even approached Fahrner about it. She said she supports the idea to decrease gang influence and representation in the schools and to cut down on the obvious disparity of the “have” and “have nots” in the community.

“It’s good for their self-esteem because there is a stronger sense of self worth when you are not comparing yourself with others who noticeably have more,” Cristales-David said. “I’m really excited about it. When you wear an uniform, it’s a different world.”

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