About Willow Grove Elementary School
Kimberlie Rens, Principal
Willow Grove Elementary School first opened its doors to students on August 19, 2008. The school, one of the last to be built in Poway Unified School District, is tucked into a valley surrounded by hills in the Verazano neighborhood of the Santa Luz community. One wall of each of the 5 classroom buildings serves as a destination wall, marked by a unique bright color such as Bachelor Blue or Tea Rose. An artificial turf field sits in the northwest corner, used for games, physical fitness, and more. Wandering along the southwest corner and among several buildings is an interactive garden, with wide walking trails. State of the art technology is available in each of the thirty classrooms, with interactive white boards, document cameras, wireless sound systems and LCD projectors.
The buildings surround an outdoor amphitheater with space for the entire student body and parents to assemble. The sixth building, the administrative building, boasts a computer lab with thirty work stations, an inviting library, a multi-purpose room with a stage that doubles as a classroom for band, and the main offices.
The facility is only surpassed in beauty by the heart of its students, staff and families. Our mascot, decided upon by student vote, is the Grizzly, and Grizzly Pride is evident on campus everyday! The student at Willow Grove are 51% Caucasian, 16% Asian, 10% Hispanic, 10% Nondeclared, 7% Filipino, 2% African American, 2% Middle Eastern, 1% Native American and 1% Pacific Islander. The school serves students in high socio-economic areas as well as twelve percent of our students who are receiving financial assistance. Fifteen percent of our students are classified as English Learners, with more than
14 languages spoken in our families' homes. Willow Grove is proud of the varying cultures represented in our community.
Willow Grove has 5 "roots" upon which the mission, vision and goals are built. They are:
- Professional Learning Community - Our teachers are committed to working together of the success of each child Cultural Proficiency
- We know our own values, traditions and backgrounds and recognize and respect the cultures of others College Readiness
- We prepare students so they may choose from a variety of postsecondary options upon high school graduation Rigor, Relevance and Relationships (The Three Res)
- High academic standards for all, connections between learning and the global world, and solid relationships among students, staff, families and the business community State of the Art Technology
- We assist students as they learn to learn with access to technology tools such as smart boards, document cameras and more Since opening our doors, staff has been instrumental in turning these five roots into reality.
Currently there are twenty-seven active classrooms; twenty-one single grade classes and six multi-grade classes. Of our twenty-eight teachers, two are Nationally Board Certified, twenty have masters degrees, and twenty-seven have the California Language Acquisition and Development credential. A majority of our teachers are engaged in the District sponsored Teaching and Learning Cooperatives (TLC), participating in intensive professional development throughout the year that requires new learning, application of content and reflection on effectiveness on student learning.
Willow Grove is proud that many of our teachers facilitate the TLC's or other District opportunities, such as training for instructing students who are gifted. It is not surprising that teachers are our school are sought out by District directors to be teacher leaders. The principal is a member of the Poway Professional Development Advisory Board, and has served in this role for 3 years. She also has been tapped to coach new administrators to the District and receives ongoing training for this role.
Willow Grove is proud that its staff is committed to the PUSD Strategic Vision of "College Readiness For All - Gateway to Our Students' Future" and demonstrates their understanding of what it takes to accomplish this vision.
From dawn to dusk, Willow Grove is a busy elementary school. For families needing child care for either preschoolers or school-age children, Willow Grove has two preschool options and the Extended Student Services Program (ESS), which operate from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM school days. Both programs provide safe, structured settings for our children. For our first year, we will focus on building our school culture while embracing the five roots of the school. To that end, we have committed to the following mission: We the Willow Grove Elementary School community, are committed to meeting the needs - academic, social, physical and emotional- of the whole child. Our mission is to inspire and ensure learning so that each student develops the knowledge, skills and confidence to define and achieve success in the evolving and diverse world of the 21st Century.