San Diego School raises the bar

February 27, 2012 by  

With sharp budget cuts in America’s education system, many can’t help but wonder if educational standards are being drastically lowered as well. The answer is debatable, but there are schools where test scores are soaring, and one of those schools is San Diego’s Sherman Heights Elementary.

Sherman Heights, without argument, is implementing one of the most bold and forward-looking curriculums in the public education system today; it’s the only school San Diego that splits the students’ learning day into two halves: English and Spanish.

Over the past two years, test scores at Sherman Elementary have increased substantially, yet that’s not the most interesting or inspiring development. The school is achieving high scores from student groups with an increased risk of failure.

According to a KPBS news story, most of the students at Sherman Heights Elementary are from low income families, and 80 percent are learning English as a second language. To make matters more difficult, roughly 8 percent, or 40 to 50, of Sherman Heights’ students are homeless.

Gina Gardner, the school’s counselor, does everything she can to make homeless students more comfortable.

“The enrollment clerk will let me know if a family needs assistance with uniforms,” Gardner said. “If I’m here on site that day, I’ll ask the student to come on back, and we’ll outfit them with a loaner uniform so that they can start their day looking like everyone else.”

Gardner’s efforts don’t stop at uniforms; she also arranges weekend food packages for students to take home, works with local shelters to help families off the streets and helps students get glasses and health insurance. A lot of these services come from the school district’s Office of Children and Youth in Transition, and printing services, such as banners and flyers, could help to raise funds for these worthy programs.

At a time when budgets are slipping, it’s comforting to know that dedicated professionals are doing everything they can to help.