Gardenhill Elementary School

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Principal's Message

Principal's Message 

It is an honor to begin my first year as Gardenhill's Principal.  This dedicated school community has made tremendous strides in academic achievement and I am committed to continuing on the same path of excellence.  Our school is celebrating an API score of 915!  This outstanding achievement is due to our hardworking teachers, students and parents!  The continued focus on professional learning communities, high quality instruction in literacy, critical thinking, writing, differentiated instruction, and meaningful assessments are all part of our success.  These strategies will continue to help ensure that in the future all students will meet or exceed standards and prepare students as they strive to meet the Common Core Standards.  As the children of Gardenhill progress through their K - 5 school career, our school strives to instill in them a lifelong love of learning.  Through cooperation, resilience, excellence, creativity and dedication, our school community will continue to provide a challenging and rewarding academic experience for the children of Gardenhill.


Accomplishments
We accomplished many things at Gardenhill.  First and foremost, an API score of 915! We have immersed ourselves this summer in STEM Education and our K - 4th grade teachers have been trained in Project Lead the Way (PLTW).  Our fifth graders will now also use the PLTW units in robotics  We are so excited to have all of our students working with real-world problems using science, technology, engineering and math. Gardenhill is also a 21st Century School.  A 21stCentury School realizes that we cannot continue to educate in the same manner that we have for nearly the last 100 years.  Our focus will begin to shift from simply giving the facts to teaching students how to sift through and analyze information.  Information is readily at our students’ fingertips. It is our job to continue to challenge them into making meaning of the information they have access to.  Learning needs to become more relevant,active, instantly useful and FUN!  With district support, we are now receiving extra technology for 2nd and 4th grade classrooms, and our teachers will be trained throughout the year on how to utilize these devices for instruction and differentiation.   We also are a model school for BIOLA University.  The "Introduction to Teaching" course is taught on our campus. 

 Implications for Gardenhill Classrooms:

 Each classroom will have:  3 Computers;5 iPads; 1 iPad; 1 Printer.  Students today are not the same students that we taught 100 years ago.  Not only do they look different,but they think and process information dramatically different. Today’s students- K through college - represent the first generation to grow up with new technology.  Today’s new students are called “Digital Natives.” These natives spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toy sand tools of the digital age.  Computer games, email, the Internet, cellphones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives.  To those who have not grown up with these technologies on a daily basis, the term“digital immigrants” has been given. Gardenhill is ready to join the“natives” in the 21st Century!  W ecouldn’t be more pleased to be selected as a 21st Century School and hope totruly begin to integrate more technology and projects into our curriculum.  This is a great step in helping us fulfill our newly revise dvision which emphasizes advancing students’ skills in a technological world.

 Biola University partners with Gardenhill and uses our campus as a “lab” school.  Gardenhill is considered a “Clinical Model School.”  The “Introduction to Teaching” course is taught by Professor Botka on the Gardenhill campus.  During the semester, Biola students learn hands-on the best instructional strategies, management skills, academic rigor, and engagement from our Gardenhill teachers.  The Biola students not only do observations for their“Introduction to Teaching” class, but they have 10 additional hours that they spend in our classrooms working with students.

 Safety

Our established parking committee that met several times during the 2008-2009 school year created an effective and safe parking plan.  This committee was comprised of a Public Safety Officer, two officers from the Sheriff's Department, parents, teachers, and administration.  We appreciated the communities input on our Parking Committee Survey.  The committee was charged with trying to create safer parking situations before and after school.  With 85% of parents being in agreement to drop and pick up their child(ren) at a designated gate that corresponds with specific grade levels,the team designed drop-off and pick-up points for each grade level.  We know many families have several children at Gardenhill, so it is important to choose a drop-off and pick-up spot that is the safest for your family.  We ask that Kindergarten and First Grade Parents use Heflin Drive as their designated area for drop-off and pick-up.  Second and Third Grade Students may be dropped off on Gardenhill Drive or in the parking lot on Gardenhill Drive.  Fourth and Fifth Grade Students are asked to use Valeda Drive as their drop-off and pick-up points. Students may use the walkway ramp on Burgess Drive and the back stairs on Valeda Drive to enter the campus.  Also, the Heflin parking lot will now be reserved for staff parking and the Gardenhill parking lot will be for visitors. We thank you for your support in helping us have a safe parking situation at Gardenhill.

Attendance is an important part of learning. We have supervision on campus at 8:00.  We ask our students to line up early and to be ready to start school on time! Our warning bell rings at 8:10 and school starts at 8:15.  Our campus is a closed campus and all guests must enter through the front office door.

Due to the huge budget needs, we are asking parents to partner with us in many areas. In 2015-2016 Gardenhill was given a budget of approximately $77.000.  We will be doing several fundraisers, asking for volunteers and partnering with our parents to continue our outstanding professional learning community.  At Gardenhill we believe that children are best served and supported when parents and teachers work as partners, and we are excited about enhancing the home/school connection at Gardenhill.  Parental involvement in a school is an extraordinarily valuable positive feature!  I look forward to another great year working in partnership with the Gardenhill community achieving academic excellence!

Sincerely,

Sarah Gilbert, Principal