PUBLISHED SUNDAY, DEC. 02, 2012This is the third in an occasional series on principals who are turning around local schools.
Maria Lewis spends much of her day on bent knee. The 44-year-old principal bends down to give direction to bigger kids and to soothe the smallest. But mostly she bends down to listen.
It's clear that kids come first on the T.L. Whitehead Elementary campus in Woodland.
"Every child can learn," Lewis said. "They may be lacking some skills. So what? Let's try to build on prior knowledge."
She must be right. The school's Academic Performance Index has grown from 704 to 793 in the two years since she took the reins of the school. On a scale of 200 to 1,000, the statewide benchmark is 800 for each school.
The increase was enough to make Whitehead Elementary the only traditional school in the four-county region to come out of program improvement this year, a designation Title 1 schools receive if state officials don't think they are improving their scores quickly enough.
"We are really proud" of Whitehead Elementary, Debra Calvin, an associate superintendent at Woodland Unified, told The Bee in October. "It's an incredibly difficult thing to do to pull a school out of Program Improvement."
Mrs. Lewis is a graduate of the Sac State BMED program. Like hundreds of other graduates she has done a great job. The program has now been terminated. For details see, The Chicano / Mexican American Digital History project. https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg/chicano-mexican-american-digital-history-project/history-of-bilingual-education-dept-at-sac-state
read the entire piece on Mrs. Lewis at the Bee. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/02/v-print/5024345/principal-put-struggling-school.html