Hope principals set goals high

Students aren’t the only ones that have to make the grade to be successful. Last week principals from the three Hope District schools presented their goals and plans to the Board of Trustees.

One of the themes that resonated throughout all of the presentations was the desire, as Monte Vista principal Judy Stettler put it, “to better address the individual needs of each child by challenging all students while meeting the academic needs of the high, average and low achievers and also teaching and valuing the whole child through the cultural arts, technology and health and fitness.”

That includes addressing the special needs of English learners, students with disabilities, those who are economically challenged, as well as GATE (gifted and talented education) students.

“It’s really a mandate that comes out of our data. It has to do with making sure that we are able to fulfill the performance goals for our significant subgroups,” said Vieja Valley principal Barbara LaCorte, who is working with staff to create a new model for the school’s GATE program.

To develop and promote moral and character education is another priority for the schools. While both Vieja Valley and Monte Vista plan to address concerns about bullying on campus this year, Hope School principal Patrick Plamondon said, “I don’t feel we have a bullying problem. I attribute a lot of behavior on the playground to the Character Counts program.”

Plamondon also said Hope School has a school-wide commitment to “every child a reader,” a program he attributed in part to librarian Mary Jo Chrestenson. “We have more volumes at Hope Library than at La Colina Junior High School,” he said.

All three principals praised their teaching staffs and gave kudos to parents for being involved in the schools both in terms of working in the classrooms and helping to fund many of the enrichment programs.

These presentations are part of a comprehensive process to better inform the Trustees and the community about each school’s yearly progress and goals, said Board President Joseph Liebman. The next board meeting will be on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Hope District Board Room, 3970 La Colina Road.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon on December 2, 2004.

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