What Makes Grant Special?
The Grant School Community, which includes students, their families, staff, and community members, will work together to create a safe and caring learning environment in which students will become self-directed learners, collaborative workers, critical thinkers, and responsible citizens. Families will share in the responsibility for their child's success through their active support of the educational process.
Grant's strength is a compilation of outstanding teaching, incredible parent involvement and wonderful students. Our diversity reflects the greater Santa Monica population. We like to say at Grant, “We have a little bit of everything.” Our teaching staff works in grade level and data teams to analyze student work and determine strategies to enhance best teaching practices.
Awards and Special Assemblies
In an effort to recognize children at Grant, there are regular Awards Assemblies throughout the year. Parents are invited to attend these celebrations. With a focus on character building, students will be recognized for the six pillars of character. (TRRFCC) Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.
Wouldn't it be nice if kids were rewarded for their good deeds more often? Our positive recognition program highlights children who go the extra mile to help a buddy in class, give service to our school, be a friend to a new student, or volunteer their time for their teacher. The 6 pillars of Character Counts are rewarded by all staff at school. Acts of positive character will result in the issuing of a Character gold slip. Regular announcements will recognize those who have been randomly selected or those who have collected the 15 slips needed to be recognized.
Grant prides itself on being a school where parents are consistently informed about events and activities taking place on campus. We encourage parent participation and have created a number of resources to “speak” to parents.
- Grant Gazette - A weekly message written by the principal to keep parents apprised of the comings and goings of Grant School.
- Website - A vastly improved online website that features all Grant Greetings, special events, newsletters, policy, staff information and much more. Parents are provided links to important organizations, testing results and district information.
- Blackboard Connect - A special communication sent by phone, email and/or text messages to every family at Grant on an as-needed basis.
- Parent Input - What helps make Grant an excellent school is the informal discussions that occur every day on campus. Parents may make appointments to speak to their children's respective teachers or to the administrators whenever there is a need to meet.
- Bilingual Community Liaison - Grant has a Bilingual Community Liaison who supports our families. This individual has an open-door policy and supports and counsels parents, works with outreach agencies and translates all oral and written communication for Spanish speaking parents. She is here on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Friday mornings.
Grant School and the Santa Monica Police Department will partner and participate in the D.A.R.E. program again this year. D.A.R.E. is a ten-week program facilitated by two SMPD officers who work with our fifth graders in order to attempt to prevent drug use, membership in gangs and violent behavior. Officers will work with each of the four fifth grade classes discussing peer pressure, cyber bullying and other critical issues. Instead of being preached to, the officers have designed a highly effective program that is based more on making good decisions and using lessons learned from different scenarios. Kids are allowed to work through the steps themselves and figure out what's the best route to take when making choices in life.
Fifth Grade Science Camp
In early Spring, our 5th graders will embark on a 3-day trip to Pali Institute. Pali Institute is located in the San Bernardino mountains near Lake Arrowhead and offers a customized program for our 5th graders that matches curriculum standards using progressive learning experiences which extend far beyond the classroom walls. Through the innovative curriculum, which includes physics, astronomy, aerodynamics, geology and more, students experience the thrill of touching, seeing and learning about the world around them. Students are given an authentic cabin experience and delicious dining as well as opportunities for social growth. Students will spend the time hiking, taking science courses, learning survival skills, working and living in cabin groups, getting to know each other better, and having a great time. The instructors at Pali Camp are young adults who have graduated from college with a degree in one of the sciences and are committed to providing an outstanding program for our students. They are accredited first aiders. These instructors have also been trained in the PaliCamp curriculum and are experienced with young pre-adolescents. The 5th grade teachers will accompany our 5th graders to camp. Many Santa Monica elementary schools attend this camping experience.
Growing Great Garden
Program Grant is very excited to continue the Growing Great program this fall with our 1000 square foot learning garden. Trained parent volunteers will provide standards-based, grade specific garden lessons to our student body. As Grant students dig in the dirt, plant seeds, and watch their harvest come to life, we hope to instill in them a heightened awareness of the importance of food choices and deepen their connection to our earth.
Early Release Wednesdays
Beginning the first full week of school, the entire school participates in Early Release Wednesdays. School is dismissed on a staggered schedule. Please refer to the Bell Schedule on this website or in the weekly Gecko Gazette newsletter. The “early release” allows the teaching staff to meet on a weekly basis to engage in staff development meetings, grade-level articulation meetings, and individual and team planning. Childcare services begin at the published dismissal times at no additional cost for those already enrolled in CREST or SAP.
A school is only as good as its teaching and support staff and Grant has an abundance of outstanding educators. The teaching staff has worked together for many years, forming grade-level teams to plan and implement challenging and differentiated curricula. Our Specialized Academic Instruction program allows for all children with special needs to receive outstanding support and instruction. Every child is included a part of each day in general education classes. Our support staff includes instructional assistants in kindergarten through 3rd-grade classrooms, thanks to VSS, as well as in special education classes. Our new Literacy coaches (one full-time and one 40%) are here to build the capacity of our teachers and assistants. The support staff includes one full-time and a part-time speech pathologist, an 80% psychologist, one credentialed half-time reading teacher, primary and upper child care staff supported by both our District and our City, one part-time nurse, a part-time health aide, an office staff of 2.5 people, three fulltime custodians (one day and two night), three 5 hour PE coaches, a full-time librarian, and multiple part-time yard supervisors. Finally, Grant's administration (one full-time principal and two part-time assistant principals) is experienced, and hands-on, and provides leadership for all 560 students, 95 staff members, and almost 1300 parents and community members.
You won't find a more involved school than Grant. Over the course of the school year, we have a huge number of special events including fundraisers, awards assemblies, festivals and carnivals, bingo nights, career day, math night, science expo and coffees. At Grant, every parent has the opportunity to become an integral part of the school.
Parents, retired community members, high school and college students and businesses all contribute countless hours to work in the classrooms, chair major events and lend a hand for spirit days, fundraisers, field trips and fifth grade activities.
PTA After School Enrichment Program
The Grant PTA After School Enrichment Program offers a variety of classes for students in grades K-5. We offer three to four six-week sessions throughout the year. Children may choose classes that are interesting, challenging and fun. The classes are reasonably priced, with scholarships readily available. Qualified and talented instructors including Grant teachers have designed courses for the children of Grant.
The Quiet Center
The PTA has organized and implemented “The Quiet Center,” an alternative activity station during lunch/recess. Students may choose to play board games, work on daily art projects, fold and fly paper airplanes or work on puzzles during their recess time. Staffed by a paid playground supervisor and parent volunteers, The Quiet Center has become quite the popular place to be during lunch.
A number of years ago, all 2nd-5th grade rooms were equipped with Smartboards, LCD projectors and iBook laptops. A wireless mobile computer lab (COW Computers on Wheels was purchased. All classrooms are now wireless environments. A mini-lab was been set up in the library, but will be replaced soon. Presently every upper grade teacher has changed the direction of learning through technology. We have a lab for students and parents to use on a daily basis. In 2013-14 our District office provided us with a class set of Chrome books to use for our computerized State testing program. We are exploring the potential of utilizing iPads and iTouch hardware in the classrooms, reading labs and Specialize Academic Instruction resource centers. Through Measure ES, there is a new roll out of a technology plan for the schools to being in the 2014-15 school year, including new state of the art 21st century classroom teacher stations in grades TK-12. New student labs are expected, new library research mini labs will be replaced and the infrastructure will be improved to accommodate more technology at every school.
Visual and Performing Arts Programs
The arts program is an integral part at Grant. All 3rd graders have a weekly General Music class taught by credentialed music teachers, and thanks to funding from the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, the students receive recorders during the second half of the year. Our 4th and 5th graders will benefit from instrumental music or chorus classes twice a week taught by six of the district's credentialed music teachers. A special selection process allows the most talented musicians to participate in the district-wide Stairway of the Stars evening, taking place every spring.
In addition, the Ed Foundation funds 30 weeks of Visual and Performing Arts at elementary school, including Grant. Students in grades K-2 will receive 30 weeks of visual arts and music (15 weeks of each), while students in grades 3-5 will receive 30 weeks of visual arts, including ceramics.