The elementary school transformed into a K-8 based on community needs

Stephanie Caldwell, Calvin Peterson, Amy Callahan,Dr. Antonio Castro, Jeannette Sanchez- Palacios, Brooklynn Hall, Ms. Anna Winslow, Dr. Jerry Dannenberg and Sabrena Rodriguez at the ribbon cutting event.

Ventura City Council Member Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios, the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, and the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) Board of Education joined VUSD staff and families for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, August 30, 2022, to officially mark the opening of VUSD’s newest K-8 school. The Academy of Technology & Leadership at Saticoy (ATLAS) joins two other schools in the district, serving students in a K-8 environment.

Before COVID, families in the Ventura Unified School District requested that VUSD look into transitioning some of its elementary school sites into K-8 options, allowing for a smaller learning community compared to more traditional middle school options. The Board and VUSD staff conducted research, received feedback from staff, students, and families, and decided to transition two of its elementary schools into K-8 options. These schools joined Sunset K-8 School, located in Oak View, which has been in place for many years. Lemon Grove School transitioned to a K-8 last August 2021. ATLAS will begin with a 6th-grade class this year, add a 7th-grade class for the 2023-24 school year, and complete its transition in 2024-25 by graduating its first 8th-grade class.

“This District has a long history of providing as many options as possible for families because we understand every student is different and what they need is unique. We try very hard to offer a wide array of opportunities to really see what your child is interested in and meet them there,” stated Board President Sabrena Rodriguez.

ATLAS is a Leader in Me school. The Leader in Me program is an evidence-based, comprehensive model that builds leadership and life skills in students, creates a high-trust school culture, and lays the foundation for sustained academic achievement.

“We became a Leader in Me school in 2013. We then became a Leader in Me Lighthouse School in 2017. Being a Lighthouse School means we are in the top 10% of all Leader in Me schools in the world. There is over 5,000 Leader in Me schools in all 50 states and over 50 countries,” stated ATLAS 6th-grade student Brooklynn Hall. “I am so excited to be in 6th grade; this is a whole new start. We at ATLAS have come so far. If you think about it, we might not be standing here if Ms. Winslow weren’t our principal; we are so lucky to have her, this school, and all of the people that support us.”

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