The mission of Sunset School is to create and maintain a learning environment that enables every student the opportunity to reach their highest potential as determined by state and district standards.  We challenge our students with a strong academic program, offering differentiation at all grade levels.  We are committed to a continuous support system to achieve this outcome.  Our goal at Sunset is to have all students strive for their highest potential and our motto is “Be Your Best in Every Way”.

    At Sunset, the Instructional Leadership Team coaches and supports staff with the implementation of the State standards.  The Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) meets monthly to discuss issues, policies, and curriculum.  As a solution oriented team, the ILT helps set the tone, pace and focus of the school.  Additionally, they serve as a conduit to their grade level teams to ensure policies, issues and curriculum are discussed and followed.  The ILT is leveraged as a brainstorming outlet to create new ideas for the school, as well as a means to create pockets of innovation.  The ILT has devised the following monthly schedule for staff to follow: Two out of the four Wednesdays each month are dedicated to grade level teams engaging in collaborative conversations about teaching practices to best meet the learning needs of all students as they strive to meet proficiency levels with the California State Standards.  One out of the four Wednesdays is reserved for teachers to focus on intervention and meeting the needs of students not meeting proficiency standards.  One out of the four Wednesdays is reserved for District Workshops/Staff Development/Meeting Sessions.  The 6.5 hours of Flex Staff Development are in addition to collaborative Wednesdays and are used for teachers to avail themselves to professional development opportunities tailored specifically to their needs and personal growth goals.

    Teachers participate in several structured staff development days each year.  Professional development will include mathematics, intervention, and English Language Development (ELD) instruction.  Opportunities for teachers to self-select professional development sessions will also be provided to support individualized growth.  In alignment with differentiated professional development, teachers have been diligently working on completing their 6.5 Flex Staff Development hours. Teachers continue to participate in activities they find useful and relevant to their teaching in addressing student learning needs.  For example, attendance at a SMART goal setting workshop designed to support teachers’ professional growth in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTPs) aided teachers in identifying areas of focus, allowed for self-analysis using a rubric, and provided support in generating powerful goals for individual teachers in collaboration with the principal.  All Flex activities are pre-approved by the principal and teachers are responsible for completing a reflection before submitting paperwork for final approval.

    To ensure all English Language Learners are acquiring the English language and progressing academically, an English Language Development Implementation Plan is completed through a collaborative effort at all grade levels.  Students are grouped according to their overall California English Language Development Test (CELDT) level with no more than two adjacent levels in an instructional cluster.  A minimum of 30 minutes of designated ELD instruction is offered daily for all ELD students; the time period dedicated to ELD instruction is included on the ELD Implementation Plan.  Teachers use District adopted ELD curriculum, as well as supplemental materials, which are documented on the ELD Implementation Plan and monitored by the principal.  Additionally, teachers use opportunities within the school day, including intervention blocks four days per week, to further support progress in the English language.  Teachers make use of manipulatives to demonstrate abstract concepts, use realia, videos, scaffold background knowledge, provide visuals, anchor charts, and explicitly teach vocabulary to support development of the English language and support English Language Learners (ELLs) toward improvement in CELDT scores.

    Sunset staff provide transition strategies to assist students entering kindergarten and students moving to sixth grade.  During the week prior to the start of school, our Kindergarten teachers assessed incoming kindergarten students in order to learn about our students. The assessment process is designed to provide data for teachers on basic academic skills such as letter identification, letter sounds, number recognition, and counting.  This year we will explore the development of an assessment process for incoming kindergarten students implemented prior to the end of the school year.  This change in our assessment window will provide data in a timely manner, allowing teachers to roster students and determine groupings more effectively in effort to create balanced classes in the areas of academics, behavior, and social emotional development. 

    In an effort to support our fifth grade students to prepare for middle school, we invite our District’s middle school administrative team to visit Sunset in the spring.  This process provides important and accurate information to our students regarding middle school.

    Sunset utilizes strategies and services to increase parent/family/community involvement/education and increase opportunities for our stakeholders to have a voice in making decisions affecting our school and their student’s education.  Purposeful and meaningful outreach coupled with communication with our parents and community is integral to the overall success of our students.  In alignment with this belief, we are bringing the Fine Arts Mini Experience (FAME) art program to Sunset this year to provide parent volunteers with yet another unique opportunity to serve in partnership with our school.  In this case, parent volunteers serve as an art docent within either their child’s classroom or another of their choice through the coordination of our PTO.  Fun Runners, Garden Club, Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), guest readers, and classroom volunteer opportunities are important parent partnerships already embraced by our school.  To assure a safe and efficient method for leveraging parent and community support in our school, we utilize a computer check in system in conjunction with CiviCore. 

    Principal and staff visibility and availability to parents during peak times, such as student arrival and departure, is representative of our efforts to informally engage and converse with our families.  Additionally, we hold Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) meetings, English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) meetings, Back to School Night, Open House, and School Site Council (SSC) to foster communication and provide forums for parents.  Our school webpage is maintained and updated regularly in conjunction with communicative outreach via School Messenger, school marquee, and beautifully designed messages on our highly visible windows lining the student drop off area.