McKinley Elementary is aggressively cute.
It’s a neighborhood school in the most classic sense – a school connected to the surrounding community, and the community to it. Kids walk or ride bikes through North Park and South Park on their way to school. Parents are rumored to hang out with one another outside of school functions.
“McKinley is like a throwback to the ‘60s,” said its principal, Deb Ganderton.
There’s nothing particularly fancy about its outward appearance. Walk in, and the place still has that schoolhouse smell of sawdust and warm crayons. But the atmosphere is somehow hipper and more vibrant.
Down a hallway you’ll find the teacher’s lounge – recently renovated by a robust parent-teacher club. Home Depot donated the hardwood floors, and parents installed it. With the wooden tables one dad made, the lounge looks a bit like an IKEA kitchen display.
Past the library, stuffed with books and staffed every day, doors open into a courtyard with flowers tended by parent-members of McKinley’s beautification team.
Help Us Raise $100k By the End of May
Good to know that you're alive and well.
Bad part is knowing that Andrew Sharp is still controlling the information.
This story is Straight Outta Com...munications Department.
In fact, I think they gave it to Maureen Magee over a year ago.
Take affluent parents, a gentrified neighborhood, a foundation to supplement the academic program, an active parent group....
I have an idea. Why don't we spread the magic, big dreaming to Hamilton, Euclid, Ibarra, Edison, Central...
How is Central doing these days? Now there's a story.
Hi, @francesca, always a pleasure. Certainly the foundation, affluent parents, etc played a role in the turnaround, which I why I spent a good bit of space explaining how it came together. But, respectfully, I don't think it's as simple as adding all those ingredients together. I can think of several schools with foundations and engaged parents, but not the same welcoming school culture that parents rave about at McKinley.
Still, your point about how this can happen in a school with very different demographics is a good one, and one I'll explore plenty more in stories to come.
Welcoming culture...or maybe it was that principal who went up on the roof dressed like a chicken.
Speaking English helps, when it comes to academic achievement.
Yet, Marten recently closed down the Newcomers Center at Crawford High School.
I'd love to read an interview where she explains why.
A large number of parents protested the closing at the last school board meeting. They were ignored.
How can schools in poor neighborhoods raise money for their own IB programs? Can they gouge out-of-neighborhood students as UCSD does for out-of-state students?
it is heartening to see the progress at Mckinley. Thirty years ago my wife, twin 9 year old boys and I moved to San Diego. We wanted to live in an inner-city neighborhood and send our kids to a pubic school. We tentatively picked-out a house to purchase in Burlingame, an historic neighborhood on the rebound. However, when we went on a tour of Mckinley Elementary, our kids' prospective school, we were taken-back. The classes were over-crowded and unruly. When we asked the principal why there were no teacher aids in the classrooms, we were tole that it was not worth the extra paperwork to obtain permission to hire such staff. Consequently, we realized that, if we wanted to send our kids to a public school, we could not live in that neighborhood. It is great to read how the school administration and parents have worked together to turn things around!