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Q&A: San Altos Elementary School Fast Facts

Find out what's new on campus from Principal Larry Buchanan.

When the San Altos Coyotes return to campus Tuesday, they'll find new friends and plenty of familiar faces, too.

A new crosswalk will help get them to class safely, and children can count on the popular Fall Festival being just around the corner.

This year, is the new home of the school district's Special Education program, which had previously been spread across campuses. The school will continue to offer before and after school activities with the Extended Day Program, and is also planning an anti-bullying program for all grades.

Here's a look at the year ahead from Principal Larry Buchanan:

Lemon Grove Patch: Does your school have any changes in leadership? 

Principal Larry Buchanan: San Altos does not have any changes in leadership.

Lemon Grove Patch: Does your school have any new teachers?

Buchanan: The Moderate to Severe Special Education Preschool Class is moving to San Altos from Vista La Mesa Academy. With this program comes Liza Zamora, the morning certificated teacher, along with her assistants Maricella Mendoza and Daria Martinez. For the afternoon session we have Kiyomi Powers, the certificated teacher, along with her assistants, Trudy Burke and Angela Paul.

Additionally, Ms. Laura Schaefer is joining our K-3 Special Education Class as a Special Academic Behavior Assistant.

Lemon Grove Patch: What special events or programs do you have planned at your school for 2012-2013?

Buchanan: By moving the Moderate to Severe Preschool Class to San Altos, we now have a complete preschool through sixth grade Moderate to Severe Special Education Program on one campus. Three years ago, grades 4-6 were located at Golden Avenue Elementary School and the preschool was at Vista La Mesa. We moved grades 4-6 to San Altos two years ago and now are bringing the preschool over.   

The benefits of having the whole program at one site are that it provides a seamless transition from one level to the next, and it allows parents to get to know the teachers that their students will transition to ahead of time.

Additionally, San Altos is planning a school-wide anti-bullying program this year. Two of our teachers are enrolled in courses on bullying and have agreed to implement a school-wide program. 

Lemon Grove Patch: How many students do you expect at your school?

Buchanan: We expect to have approximately 380 general education students, 50 general education preschool students, and 45 special education students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade for a total of approximately 475 students.

Lemon Grove Patch: Does your school have any physical changes, such as new/remodeled buildings or major equipment?

Buchanan: All of our classes have been equipped with Interactive Promethean Boards, student computers on a 2-1 basis, laptop for teachers, and document cameras which replace the old transparency overhead projectors. Last year we added new play structures on our upper and lower playgrounds.

Lemon Grove Patch: What's changed at your school this year that parents and students should know about?

Buchanan: The city of Lemon Grove has installed a new crosswalk similar to the crosswalk on Broadway near the Post Office. This is a part of the Safe Routes to School program. Many drivers on Madera Street disregard the traditional signs of school zone and travel in excess of 40 to 50 mph even with Safety Patrol present.

Hopefully, drivers will proceed cautiously through the school zone with the addition of this new crosswalk. 

Lemon Grove Patch: Who are your PTA leaders, and what special projects do they have planned? How can parents get involved?

Buchanan: Our PTA president is Mrs. Betty Dement, a teacher who retired from San Altos and has worked with our PTA for many years.

We do two special projects each year, a Fall Festival and a Spring Jog-a-thon. Parents may get involved by joining the PTA, running for the PTA executive board, running for a position on the School Site Council, and serving as a classroom volunteer.

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