Greetings! Can you believe it’s already time to start another school year? Granted, for some, it can be sad to say goodbye to vacation schedules, sleeping in and relishing a more relaxed lifestyle. For others, however, the opposite is true. As I was standing on Lake Marie’s front steps, greeting students and parents on the first day of school, I was flooded with smiles, greetings, and hugs and began to grow increasingly excited about starting another year. One young man flung his arms around me and when I asked if he had a good summer, he replied, “I was so bored and I’m SOOO glad to come back to school!” Naturally, this was music to my ears—and evidence of the fact that Lake Marie’s students simply love being here.
As we enter the 2014/15 school year it feels great to reflect on the progress we made over the past few years. Simply put, Lake Marie continues to be a great place for students to learn and the community to gather in a welcoming, academically rigorous, arts-focused environment because of efforts of a very committed team of professional educators and staff. In its third year as an Arts for All School, Lake Marie continues to move forward in giving its students access to learning in visual and performing arts, from the experiential study of a series of master artists to school-wide field trips to various performing arts venues, such as the Ruth B. Shannon Theater, Rio Hondo Symphony and various museums in the Southern California area. This year brings an even more exciting prospect of having a resident artist work with our upper grade students in a project based learning experience focused on outdoor muralism (we anticipate the installation of the mural in the late spring).
Instructionally, Lake Marie continues in its school-wide focus on Direct Interactive Instruction, Thinking Maps and creativity in the classroom—evidenced by the continued increase in our percentages of students performing at advanced and proficient levels on the CSTs. This year, all Lake Marie K-3 teachers will join the district initiative to exclusively teach the rigorous new Common Core State Standards, to be followed by the upper grade teachers in the next school year. We believe the new standards will help our students think differently as 21st century learners, allowing them to develop a more competitive edge in critical thinking, creativity, and navigating complex information systems in the modern age.
Finally, Lake Marie continues to thrive under the partnership of several key community members and local agencies, such as Biola University, The Ruth B. Shannon Theater, Arts for All, Rio Hondo Symphony, Norman Carter (local McDonalds owner) and Michael Seril Fitness of Whittier. We are grateful for the many hours (and dollars) spent in providing a well-balanced education to our kids.
So, if you’ve never visited Lake Marie, please do so—I’d love to show you around. I think you’ll find it refreshingly different--a place where the culture of the three Rs sets the tone for students daily: Relationships, Responsibility and Respect. You’ll see why Lake Marie’s students actually enjoy coming to school each day!
Wishing you a prosperous, successful, and exciting academic year,
Principal, Lake Marie Elementary