The odds are against Euclid Elementary.
It has the third poorest student body in all of San Diego Unified. The vast majority of its students are still learning English, going home to chat in Spanish, Vietnamese or Khmer. It isn’t a celebrated magnet or a charter school. Its building in eastern City Heights is plain and functional.
Add all that up and you might expect Euclid to be another sad story in public schooling. But it isn’t. Euclid racks up some of the highest test scores in the state for schools with high numbers of English learners and poor students, rivaling schools in middle class areas. Teachers rarely leave and suspensions are rare. Children giddily rattle off vocabulary words to Principal Vickie Jacobson on the playground.
“If Vickie can do it,” said Rupi Boyd, who oversees Jacobson and other principals, “there’s not a single school out there that cannot achieve.”
Euclid isn’t a miracle. It still falls behind far wealthier schools where kids walk in already ahead.
But it’s clearly doing something right — and it’s hard to pinpoint what at a glance. It doesn’t have special programs or unusual freedoms. It hasn’t been overhauled with new staff. And that defies the conventional wisdom about what school reform looks like and how it should be done.