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Future Muirlands parents get education

By Natascha Vossen

La Jolla Elementary School parent, Fifth Grade Promotion Committee chairwoman

On Jan. 26, Muirlands Middle School’s foundation invited La Jolla Elementary School’s fifth-grade parents to attend an informational coffee with Principal Chris Hargrave. The principal showed a presentation about what to expect when children start middle school and then answered questions from parents.

The principal addressed the rumors that there are gangs and fights at the school. She said that adult supervision is provided in the classrooms and outside areas before and after school, during lunch and during passing time between classes. She also shared that when something happens to students after school and off campus, often Muirlands gets blamed for it.

She encouraged parents to stay involved. The middle school needs parent support as much as the elementary schools do, and it’s a great way to know what is going on at school.

A parent asked about how many kids are bused into Muirlands. Principal Hargrave shared that 28 percent of the students come to Muirlands on buses from the No Child Left Behind Program and the Voluntary Enrollment Exchange program. An additional 11 percent are enrolled through the Choice program and find their own transportation to school. Muirlands has a large campus, and it needs those extra students in order to receive adequate funds to run the school. The non-neighborhood students add to the school’s racial and socioeconomic diversity.

Muirlands has a strong academic curriculum. About half of the students are in the Gifted and Talented Education program. All of the teachers at Muirlands are GATE certified. The school has kept class sizes down to around 30 students in the core classes.

Due to Proposition S, a lot of technology is coming to Muirlands. The sixth-grade classrooms received Promethean interactive white boards, presentation stations and document cameras for the teachers. Next year, the sixth-grade classrooms will be outfitted with mobile laptop Netbooks for the students to use.

After the question-and-answer period, parents toured the campus. There are beautiful murals painted throughout the school. We saw happy students engaged in their schoolwork. The athletic field is currently under construction and will soon have artificial turf on it. This is an impressive million-dollar project paid for by Muirlands parents and our La Jolla community. After seeing the school and hearing the principal, I agree with Alison Lee, president of the Muirlands’ foundation, when she told parents: “This is our public middle school, and we all share in the responsibility for stopping rumors that are not true.”