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Principally Speaking Van Allen's Place In History
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Van Allen School was established in 1861 as a one-room schoolhouse. The cornerstone was the partnership of home, school, and community to provide a first class education. That philosophy still continues to be a driving force in the success of Van Allen School. Today, Van Allen School is home to 167 kindergarten through fifth grade students. We have a total of seven classes, one class for each grade level and a Kindergarten/First Grade Combination Class. The school is staffed by a Principal, ten teachers, one full-time custodian/bus driver, three part-time custodians, eight instructional assistants, two food service employees, and the world's best secretary (Louise Spurgeon, most tenured employee in the district).

Van Allen School is a great place for all students to receive an education that is well-rounded and meets the needs of the whole child. All students receive instruction in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Fine Arts, and Physical Education. Since January, our kindergarten through second grade students have received lessons in Music and Motion from a professional artist. The third through fifth grade students are receiving weekly lessons from a visual artist. All students at Van Allen School participated in the Star Lab, which gave them a greater understanding of the night sky and the astronomical objects within it. The third through fifth grade students are benefiting from the teachings of our TOPS (Teaching Opportunities for Partners in Science) Partner. All students participated in our school's Winter Program where they danced and sang the songs of the holiday season.

The Van Allen staff recognizes that parent involvement is an essential part of a successful school and encourages it in a variety of ways. Our staff invites all parents to volunteer in the classroom on a regular basis. The school hosts a variety of parent events throughout the year to form the partnership between home and school. These events include but are not limited to Family Reading Night, Science Night, Math Night, Back to School, and Open House. The school library is open for family nights on the third Thursday of every month between the hours of 2-5 p.m. We provide Spanish translation and childcare for all of our events in order to encourage all parents to attend.

The staff of Van Allen School realizes the importance of rewarding its students for academic and social excellence. The Viking Awards Assembly is held at the conclusion of each trimester and honors are given to students in the following areas: Viking Quality Awards (respect, responsibility, generosity, thoughtfulness, honesty, helpfulness, cooperation, and perseverance), A.C.E. Awards (Academic, Citizenship, and Effort), and the Principal Awards for Academic Excellence in the areas of Mathematics and Language Arts.

Parents at Van Allen School take enormous pride in their school. Volunteers consistently participate in the school program by working in classrooms, organizing special events and participating in the highly supportive and active Parent Faculty Club. The Parent's Club makes it possible for the students at Van Allen to participate in a variety of extra-curricular activities throughout the year. All fundraiser proceeds go directly to the students of the school. Last year the parents club purchased an entire playground structure for the school. This year they are planning on purchasing and upgrading the technology at the school.

Many Van Allen students are the third and fourth generation in their family to attend the school. Having a long and rich history has built a strong bond between the school and the Van Allen community. This positive relationship has created a sense of community and pride for all. At Van Allen School we assist all students in meeting or exceeding state grade level content and performance standards. We continuously seek to improve and build upon the strong educational foundation.

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.