Parent volunteers and Harbor View Principal Todd Schmidt presented the Thanksgiving gift to Pomona Elementary School’s principal on Tuesday.
“Wow,” said Pomona Principal Megan Brown. “You guys went above and beyond. Thank you so much — it makes all the difference.”
In previous years, Harbor View families collected food items for Thanksgiving baskets for Pomona families. Last year, the school’s Parent Faculty Organization’s outreach coordinator, Sandi Marino, suggested raising money for school supplies instead.
Harbor View children performed chores and raised money, most bringing in $5 donations, and last year Harbor View contributed $1,000 to Pomona. The money funded supplemental programs that are tied to the Lexia computer literacy program supplied by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, Brown said.
“With the Harbor View money, I could give the teachers free range to use as much paper and toner as needed,” she said. Teachers could print supplemental reading exercises aimed at helping students who struggled with particular skills.
Brown said the program played a role in the school’s improved state Academic Performance Index scores last year. The school’s API scores rose from 734 in 2011 to 743 in 2012, according to a California Department of Education website. Brown said if scores continue to increase, the school could shed its Program Improvement status, which indicated that the school had failed two years in a row to meet improvement standards.
Test scores and improving the school’s academic standing are important, Brown said, but they are big-picture concerns.
“We don’t hyper focus on the tests,” she said. “We hyper focus on the student.”
Most of Pomona’s students –86 percent — are from Spanish-speaking homes and have been identified as English Language Learners. Reading programs that help students become identified as proficient in English can open doors at the high school level, said Harbor View Principal Schmidt.
“It’s life changing,” he said. “It really puts them on a path for a whole new set of opportunities.” Advanced Placement and honors classes, for example, are not open to ELL students.
This year’s $1,600 donation will go toward purchasing classroom sets of paperback books, Brown said. Last year, the school was able to buy book sets for the fourth, fifth and sixth grade classrooms, but second and third graders now will have sets, and the older grades will get new books. Some of the money also will go to purchase reams of paper and other supplies.
Read about last year’s gift here.