Ponderosa Elementary Principal Elizabeth Sloan and Assistant Principal Kami Guarino presented at the National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Conference, held Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in Orlando, Florida. Ponderosa, which was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2013, is a Title I school where students speak 60 different languages and 72% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, an indicator of poverty.
Sloan and Guarino focused on the school’s Excellence Team, which is the driving force in creating a positive school climate and culture. By filtering their work through an equity lens, the team ensures inclusive excellence and equity by empowering teachers and other staff members to reflect on instructional practices, their own culture, relationships, data and specific skills needed for students to succeed. The team’s leadership is responsible for establishing school-wide consistency with expectations, maximized teaching and learning time, creating access and opportunity resulting in increased achievement for all students.