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Little School, Big Spirit At Farmington
Principally Speaking


Principal, Farmington Elementary School


Watch out for the green and gold ‘cause here we come,

Our school is small but we sure can’t be outdone.

Roadrunners, our Farmington school is small, BEEP BEEP!

Roadrunners, but our spirit’s very tall.


One of the charms of Farmington Elementary School is its size. Being small is an attribute that we embrace with pride and enthusiasm. As our school song indicates, “Our school is small but we sure can’t be outdone.” Creation of a positive school culture and generating student enthusiasm are important aspects of overall school health. When students and parents feel that their connection to a school is valuable, that the staff cares deeply about the children who attend, regardless of whether it’s a classroom teacher, a classroom aide, a custodian or a bus driver, the entire school benefits from the shared relationship. This school year the staff at Farmington has been working hard to create a welcoming environment for all of our students by stressing and celebrating the importance of good attendance and behavior.

One challenge shared by all schools across the country is maintaining good student attendance. The school year is approximately 180 days in length. A child who is absent two or more days a month is missing about 10 percent of classroom instruction. This can make the difference between good and mediocre or poor student academic performance. It can be easy to dismiss just how significant multiple absences can be since in the adult world, a few sick days spread across the year do not necessarily equate to significant problems in the work place. Adults are more capable of catching up in relation to their work routines than children are able to successfully learn the concepts they miss when they are out of class. Whether because of routine illnesses or as a result of families electing to take a holiday when classes are in session, the result is the same: lost opportunities and children who struggle more than needed.

Educators are by nature problem-solvers. At Farmington the staff made a commitment to improve student attendance by both traditional and non-traditional means. At the outset of the 2019-2020 school year we decided that focusing on perfect attendance through routine recognition of students would help our students to understand that coming to school every day is critical for their long-term development. Our teachers have reinforced that idea in the classrooms and supported administration’s efforts to organize perfect attendance assemblies. We wanted to be sure that all students would have an opportunity to participate in the celebration of perfect attendance. Realizing that illnesses and family emergencies can create circumstances that prevent our students from realizing their goals, we created a unique program that has permitted them additional opportunities to earn perfect attendance and, more importantly, provides them with additional instructional time.

Our program is called “Success on Saturday” or “SOS.” At the middle and high school level Saturday school is assigned when students have unexcused absences or because of disciplinary reasons. Saturday school is therefore a concept that is thought about in punitive terms. In contrast, at Farmington SOS is rewarding. Students come to school on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and work with a teacher to catch up and move ahead. Our program celebrates students for coming to school on a Saturday! It would not be possible without the participation of teachers, aides, cafeteria and office staff as well as parents who transport their children to school. Teacher and aide volunteers give up a portion of their weekend to work with students of varying grade levels with English, Math, Social Studies or Science. Students who attend SOS make up time lost to illness or other reasons, and are included in our celebrations of perfect attendance. The results have been impressive. Farmington School’s student attendance numbers are thus far the most improved within the Escalon Unified School district for 2019-2020 and second in San Joaquin County.

Student behavior is also a crucial component of a school’s environment and culture. We want our students to take ownership of their behavior and think critically about the choices, big and small, that they make every day. One way to help remind our students about making good decisions is through a series of positive behavior posters our staff developed. Students are encouraged to display appropriate behaviors throughout the school, from the classroom to the cafeteria and the playground to the office. Students are routinely nominated by their teachers or aides for demonstrating good behavior and recognized for the good choices they make whether large or small. Our positive behavior posters serve as gentle reminders that good attitudes can lead to desired results. Superintendent Ron Costa is fond of saying that an attitude of satisfaction with being good can prevent someone (or something) from being great. Our school song embraces striving for greatness and self-improvement. At Farmington we cannot and will not be satisfied with being good. We shall continue to commit ourselves to excellence and do our best to lead our students toward success.


We’re the best there’s ever been, we’re on a roll,

We protect our pride, we’re always in control.

Roadrunners, our Farmington school is small, BEEP BEEP!

Roadrunners, but our spirit’s very tall.


Principally Speaking is a monthly article, contributed by principals from Escalon Unified School District sites, throughout the school year. It is designed to update the community on school events and activities.