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Diamond Valley School is among top 2 percent of California elementaries

by Terrie Peets

The California Department of Education has officially recognized Diamond Valley School (DVS) as a Distinguished School in the year 2000.

This honor is given to the top 2 percent of California elementary schools throughout the state every other year. This award is an indication that DVS has done well in every area and was considered as particularly strong in developing community partnerships, parent involvement, technology, and serving differing student needs.

State Superintendent Delaine Eastin congratulates the winning schools, saying, “These schools are committed to a superior standard of education, making them leaders in the education community. The schools we celebrate are a tribute to California. Parent participation, school staff commitment, professional development, community involvement and academic achievement is exemplary in these schools. They are living proof of what is possible when people are committed to meeting high standards.”

Representatives from the school will be honored at an awards ceremony on Friday, May 5, at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. Each school will be presented with an award plaque and a distinguished school flag.

Distinguished schools underwent a rigorous selection process conducted by the California Department of Education with the help of county offices of education and local educators. These schools were selected after their program applications were judged to be exemplary at a state-level competition. Each school underwent a site visit to validate the information provided in the application.

Katherine Hadley, Diamond Valley School principal, said, “There are so many people who deserve credit for this accomplishment. Our results were truly a team effort. All portions of the school community had input into the application.”

This school community includes Superintendent Jim Parsons, whose vision and efforts over 10 years took the school this level. His commitment to putting children first is been an integral reason why DVS is an exemplary school. Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator Dan Makley provided support and guidance throughout the application process.

Key within the school are dedicated, talented teachers who spend so many hours working with and for students both during and outside the school day. The ACUSD school board has provided guidance in the right direction. Board members have both led and supported the school in many ways. The business office helped maintian financial stability even when funding has suddenly changed. One noted school strengths is technology, this due to careful use of funds and grants and the knowledge of district technology specialist.

The support staff who keeps the buildings and grounds in top shape are also important. School Secretary Karen Robinson provides warmth, Band-Aids, information, schedules, and dozens of other services for students, teachers, and parents. The school cook, Linda Edwards, keeps the children and staff well nourished. Librarian Ruth Doty constantly promotes the literacy of our children through her library programs.

The instructional aides, the bus drivers, the district office personnel all work together helping to clear away the obstacles so that teachers can teach and students can learn. Reading tutors help with homework, both at the school and at the Washoe Indian Education Community Center. Former school community members like Sandy Cowen, Lance Pearson and Lynn Watson also deserve a share of the credit.

The Student Council helped by working on the award application. Students who attend Diamond Valley School are cooperative and work hard to learn.

Other contributors include the special services teachers, the Community Day School, Opportunity Class and Bear Valley High School Teachers. Part-time help from the band teacher, nurse and counselor provide that extra support for kids. Community support and involvement from Tobacco Education, the Sheriff’s Department, Alpine Children’s Center, County Health and Social Services also contributed to the school’s success. The Alpine Enterprise and The Record Courier helped too publicizing school events over the years.

Of course, parents play a central role in any school’s success. The Parent’s Club, School Site Council and Washoe Parents Advisory Committee all have played a part. They are interested, helpful and supportive. The community that supports the school’s activities and fund-raisers are extremely important members of the team.

Finally, Katherine Hadley, the current DVS principal, had the positive attitude and faith in this community to apply for the distinguished school award. After only six months as principal, she recognized the quality educational program that DVS provides for students. Her perceptiveness and courage were the factors that enabled the school to take the chance.

– Terrie Peets is secretary to the Superintendent of Diamond Valley Schools.