About Our School
Valencia envisions a future where our students see themselves as life-long learners who can participate and flourish as productive members of society in this ever-changing world. We are dedicated to helping all students reach their highest potential.
Nestled in a tranquil setting where two creeks merge, Valencia School is bordered by redwood and oak trees. Established in 1929, the school originally served K-8 students and was called Aptos Union School. The building and grounds today retain most of the original look of a small, rural school. Changes over the years include its name, grade level configuration to K-6, a more diverse student population, increased parent participation, and the best practices in teaching.
For the 2014/2015 school year, Valencia Elementary School has a student population of 540 in 20 classes for grades kindergarten through sixth and two Special Day Classes. Most students live in the immediate neighborhood, others are bussed from a labor camp and rural hills. The school serves diverse populations: ethnicity (70% White; 25% Hispanic; and 5% Black, Asian, Filipino, Pacific Islander and Native American) and socioeconomic (30% qualify for free/reduced lunch). An additional 20% of all students are English Learners.
Teaching and learning form the centerpiece of the school's work. Teachers are fully qualified, as required by the "No Child Left Behind" initiative. New teachers have a formal support structure during their first two years of teaching. Experienced teachers support one another and participate in professional growth opportunities, continuously striving to improve curriculum and instruction. A standards-based curriculum follows a seamless continuum throughout the grades and state-adopted instructional materials are available for all students. As a result of quality instruction and an exemplary staff, Valencia earned an Academic Performance Index (API) of 848. This was all accomplished while maintaining a positive, caring community.
Valencia School provides full access for students with unique learning needs: challenging the gifted, providing sheltered English strategies for English Learners, and accommodating students with physical and learning disabilities as outlined in their Individual Education Plans. The school is fully inclusive. English Learners learn in heterogeneous English immersion classes and receive extensive support as they listen, speak, read, and write in English. Many teachers and support staff are bilingual and provide support to English Learners and their parents. As appropriate, special education students are fully or partially included in general education classes, spending 50% or more of their school day with their peers.
The greater school community (parents and local businesses) actively support the school. A volunteer corps of over 100 parents regularly assist in classrooms, as well as support fundraising and community-building activities. Examples of school/community collaboration include fund development for Arts programming, Second Harvest Food Bank Food Drives, bake sales for local charities, as well as maintaining our school garden. This year, parents serve as technology experts, grant writers and education advocates. Parents and staff operate in a shared decision-making mode when planning school budgets and programs. This is exemplified in the work of the School Site Council (SSC), which consists of parents and staff elected by their peers. SSC develops and revises the annual School Plan and determines funding.
Valencia has also implemented a unique partnership where students learn choral singing under the tutelage of students from Cabrillo College’s Music Program. The Valencia Elementary Home and School Club, along with community members and local business support, raise funds each year to ensure arts education and enrichment during the school year.
One of our goals is to implement our own character program centered around values adopted by the staff: Respect, Responsibility, Kindness, and Best Effort. In addition to classroom instruction and discussion, we have a vibrant sixth grade student leadership team and sixth grade service learning program.
Valencia School embraces a true spirit of collaboration, caring, and going the extra mile to ensure that all students realize their highest potential. Students are at the heart of all of our efforts. As individuals, everyone demonstrates much good; but working together, we are GREAT!