INTRODUCTION TO WEBSTER
At Webster Elementary School, staff, parents, and community members work together...
Our Vision Statement begins with these words and there is no better way to begin to describe our school. Webster’s students take great pride in their school, in their learning, and in themselves because they are immersed in an environment where it is abundantly clear that everyone around them cares very deeply about their happiness and success. Our teachers welcome every child into their classrooms and provide a stimulating and challenging curriculum as they strive to ignite the passion for learning that lives within their students. The children see their parents volunteering as classroom volunteers, guest speakers, traffic monitors, playground supervisors, and Webster supporters! Our students interact regularly with community members who contribute their knowledge, energy, and talents to their educational experiences. These include Deputy Jake, the Sheriff’s STAR Program deputy, Pepperdine students who serve as reading tutors, and the representatives of non-profits like Shane's Inspiration and Bookends, with which our students are involved.
That first sentence of our Vision Statement concludes with “... to create a joyous and caring learning environment in which all students are supported, challenged, and successful.” We chose the words “joyous and caring” and “all students” very carefully and strive to give them life every day. Virtually everyone who visits our school comments on how happy and purposeful our students are. They are surrounded by teachers who are passionate about teaching meaningful content via processes that support student engagement. They are also taught by specialists whose love of art, music, gardening, and technology is communicated unmistakably in every lesson. Our students and their families share memorable events, a sampling of which include the annual Halloween costume parade, Bingo Night, Movie Night, Astronomy Night, the Talent Show, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, the Jogathon, and the Multicultural Pot Luck Dinner. Our students are well-known and cared for as the unique individuals they truly are.
Our Vision Statement continues with “Webster students master the New California Standards, develop higher level thinking skills, and connect their learning to the real world in all areas of academic study, the arts, technology, and character development.” Our staff has no illusions about the magnitude of this challenge. Our school has embarked on a comprehensive effort to make this promise a reality for every student. The elements of this effort include State-adopted standards-based instructional materials at the heart of the instructional program, a variety of supplemental materials, a consistent focus on professional development, and the regular use of assessment data to inform and guide instruction. Six Webster classroom teachers and our Literacy Coach have achieved National Board Certification, this is more than half our teaching staff! Webster was also recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2010 and 2014, based on the work our staff does on a daily basis with our students.
It is a further source of pride that our students are able to maintain this high level of academic achievement without being deprived of regular involvement with the arts. In fact, we believe that these experiences contribute to their success. Music, dance, and visual arts are a high priority in our school community. Beautiful murals appear throughout our school. Students often work outside in our Poets' Park or Butterfly Garden. Our 5th grade students participate annually in a ten-week ballroom dance program. 3rd and 4th grade classes also receive dance instruction in District-sponsored programs. Every class receives art instruction via a scheduled rotation. Every 4th and 5th grade student participates in two weekly music lessons, either instrumental or vocal, taught by a credentialed music teacher. Transitional Kindergarten-2nd grade classes are also provided vocal music lessons.
Connecting learning to the real world is another hallmark of the educational experience for Webster students. Field trips clearly connected to classroom instruction occur regularly at all grades. Our 4th graders attend Astrocamp for three days and our 5th graders travel to Yosemite for a week every June for outdoor environmental education. Character Counts is an integral part of the life of our school as we prepare children to evolve into responsible parents and citizens. Transitional Kindergarten-2nd grade classes participate monthly in our gardening program completely run by volunteers. Every class attends Computer Lab lessons every week.
Webster families view our school as a highly valued partner in the challenging, satisfying work of raising their children. Parents at Webster have very high expectations for us, but these are matched by their personal involvement and support. The most often-repeated comment from parents at Webster is, “I wish I could go to school here!” We regard that as high praise indeed.