James Leitch Elementary School is unique as the only kindergarten through third grade school in our district. Our vision states that "James Leitch Elementary is a safe, nurturing, and motivating learning environment where all students meet or exceed state standards". This can be demonstrated with a walk through scenario that begins as you enter our school greeted by a picture of our mascot, Harry the Tender Hearted Dragon. Harry's motto is, "Leitch Loves Learning!" You would next view our community courtyard which is home for our parents as they drop off and pick up students each day and converse with each other well beyond the instructional day. Our courtyard with picnic tables and beautiful landscaping exists due to the volunteer efforts and donations of our local rotary club, parents, and staff. Some students enter campus through our Valet Program in which parents drive up, students are happily greeted by parent volunteers, and exit their vehicles to go to the playground before school begins. Parents and smiling children are plentiful on our campus each morning and our biggest challenge is to keep them from running from place to place because they are excited to be at school. At the sound of the bell, students freeze, and are directed to line up where their teachers welcome them with hand shakes, greetings, and high fives to start their day on a positive note. Within minutes of entering, students are involved in highly engaging activities in classrooms that honor their efforts with displays of student work. The school day has begun.
It is easy to maintain a positive school climate because the Leitch community works as a team. We have highly qualified teachers, an excellent support staff, very involved parents; and site committees of parents and teachers that all contribute to our student successes. Leitch teachers are known for their collaboration efforts. Weekly grade level meetings allow them to plan instruction and share ideas. Our teachers are all CLAD (Cross Cultural Language and Academic Development) certified and GLAD (Guided Language Aquisition Design) trained. Our three Special Day Class teachers coordinate with general education teachers to provide mainstreaming opportunities for their students and provide ability awareness trainings yearly for our students. We are fortunate to have additional support from our Speech and Language Pathologist, School Psychologist, and Resource teacher to help students with special needs.Site committees consisting of parents and staff such as our School Site Council, English Language Learner Committee, and Safety Committee are dedicated to providing a safe and successful learning environment for our students. At Leitch, no one works in isolation and we all rely on the support of all team members to promote student success. As written in our vision statement, "Our success is based on the dedication, involvement, and collaboration between students, staff, and families to promote our children's well rounded development".
We have many things to be proud of that further demonstrate successful student achievement at Leitch Elementary. Our API (Academic Performance Index) continues to climb to our current status of 987. In 2011, we are selected as the National Blue Ribbon School. In 2010, we were awarded the California Distinguished School Award. Our visitors were very impressed with our Leitch Language Institute which is a pull out program for Level 1 and 2 English Language Learners taught by a CLAD and GLAD credentialed teacher. We are certain this has attributed to our students' success with language acquisition. A Kindergarten Readiness Academy s provided in the summer for pre-kindergarten English Language Learners to help them gain the vocabulary, knowledge, and confidence to succeed in Kindergarten. Equally impressive was the evidence in our school plan demonstrating our successful efforts over the past few years to research, find, and implement a writing program to improve our students' writing. To assist students at risk, Leitch has a student assistance program called TALK (Teachers Asssting Leitch Kids) that has successfully supported students for eight years. Our Head, Heart, and Hands Character Education Program teaches the traits of good citizenship and all students participate in service learning projects that provide learning opportunities for the classroom while contributing to our community. We are also fortunate to have excellent technology that is used to reinforce and teach skills. Every classroom has one teacher computer and five student computers. Our Computer Lab has thirty new IMacs thanks to parent donations and fundraising efforts. All of these assets contribute toward our vision that, "our children demonstrate a love for learning, strong self esteem, and good citizenship".