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Principal's Message 

It is an honor to be in my eighth year as the Principal at Gardenhill Elementary, my eleventh year at the site, and my twenty-third year in the NLMUSD school district.   This dedicated school community has made tremendous strides in academic achievement and I am committed to continuing on the same path of excellence.  Our school is celebrating their great scores on the California Dashboard!  This outstanding achievement is due to our hardworking teachers, students and parents!  The continued focus on professional learning communities, high quality instruction in literacy, critical thinking, writing, differentiated instruction, and meaningful assessments are all part of our success.  These strategies will continue to help ensure that in the future all students will meet or exceed standards and prepare students as they strive to meet the Common Core Standards.  As the children of Gardenhill progress through their K - 5 school career, our school strives to instill in them a lifelong love of learning.  Through cooperation, resilience, excellence, creativity and dedication, our school community will continue to provide a challenging and rewarding academic experience for the children of Gardenhill.

We have many accomplishments many at Gardenhill,  first and foremost, outstanding academic scores! We have immersed ourselves in STEM Education and our TK - 5th grade teachers have all been trained in Project Lead the Way (PLTW), and all student participate in these modules each year.  Our fifth graders also use the PLTW units in robotics. We are so excited to have all of our students working with real-world problems using science, technology, engineering and math. Gardenhill is also a 21st Century School.  As a 21st Century School, we realize that we cannot continue to educate in the same manner that we have for nearly the last 100 years.  Our focus will begin to shift from simply giving the facts to teaching students how to sift through and analyze information to become critical thinkers.  Information is readily available at our students’ fingertips, and it is our job to continue to challenge them into making meaning of the information they have access to.  Learning needs to become more relevant, active, instantly useful and FUN!  With district support, we have received extra technology for all classrooms, and our teachers have been trained throughout the years on how to utilize these devices for instruction, enhancement, and differentiation.   We are also a model school for BIOLA University, and work closely with the university to train our future teachers. 

 Implications for Gardenhill Classrooms:

 Today’s students- TK through college - represent the first generation to grow up with access to various forms of technology.  Today’s students are called “Digital Natives”. These natives spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age.  Computer games, email, the Internet, cellphones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives.  To those who have not grown up with these technologies on a daily basis, the term“digital immigrants” has been given. Gardenhill is ready to join the“natives” in the 21st Century!  We couldn’t be more pleased to be selected as a 21st Century School and hope to truly begin to integrate more technology and projects into our curriculum, while keeping the balance of using technology for enhancing learning, not replacing it.  


Our site established a parking committee that met several times during the 2008-2009 school year and created an effective and safe parking plan, that has been revised yearly with support of our community and district departments.  This committee was comprised of Public Safety Officers, officers from the Sheriff's Department, parents, teachers, and administration.  We appreciated the community input on our Parking Committee Survey.  The committee was charged with trying to create safer parking situations before and after school.  With 85% of parents being in agreement to drop and pick up their child(ren) at a designated gate that corresponds with specific grade levels,the team designed drop-off and pick-up points for each grade level.  We know many families have several children at Gardenhill, so it is important to choose a drop-off and pick-up spot that is the safest for your family.  We ask that Kindergarten and First Grade Parents use Gardenhill and Heflin Drive as their designated area for drop-off and pick-up.  Second and Third Grade Students may be dropped off on Gardenhill Drive or in the parking lot on Gardenhill Drive as well or in our back "kiss and go" lot along Heflin Drive.  Fourth and Fifth Grade Students are asked to use Valeda Drive as their drop-off and pick-up points. Students may use the walkway ramp on Burgess Drive and the back stairs on Valeda Drive to enter the campus.  The district has also provided crossing guards for Biola, Heflin/Gardenhill, and Valeda to support families and students walking to and from school each day. We thank you for your support in helping us have a safe parking situation at Gardenhill.

Attendance is an important part of learning. We have supervision on campus at 7:45.  We ask our students to line up early and to be ready to start school on time! Our warning bell rings at 8:10 and school starts promptly at 8:15.  Our campus is a closed campus and all guests must enter through the front office door and sign in and wear a "visitor" badge while on campus.  

Due to the huge budget needs, we are asking parents to partner with us in many areas. In coordination with our wonderful PTA, we will be doing several fundraisers, and asking for volunteers and partner with our parents to continue our outstanding professional learning community.  At Gardenhill we believe that children are best served and supported when parents and teachers work as together, and we are excited about enhancing the home/school connections at Gardenhill.  Parental involvement in a school is an extraordinarily valuable positive feature, and we encourage you to work with our PTA and classroom teachers on ways you can support!  I look forward to another great year working in partnership with the Gardenhill community achieving academic excellence!


Sarah Gilbert, Principal