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School Snapshot

About Our School

Nestled in a tranquil setting where two creeks merge, and bordered by woods on three sides, Valencia Elementary opened as Aptos Union school in 1928 serving K-8 students.  The original school building still stands housing the library and four classrooms. Currently serving over 550 students in grades TK-6, Valencia is one of the most diverse schools in one of the largest districts, both geographically and by population in the greater Bay Area.  Students live in the nearby Aptos Hills south to Sunset Beach.  15% of our students are English learners, many living in the nearby San Andreas Labor Community which houses families who make their living in the adjacent strawberry fields. 32% of our students qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch program.  We also have the largest population of special education students in the district with both a moderate/severe and a mild/moderate SDC class, two full inclusion students with 1:1 aides and 38 students receiving RSP services. In 2010, we received a grant to install a Boundless Playground – the only one in Santa Cruz county built especially to allow students with disabilities to play alongside their peers.  We view our diversity as our greatest strength and choose to nurture and celebrate this aspect of our unique school community. 


Teaching and learning form the centerpiece of the school’s work.  Teachers at all grade levels collaborate weekly, participate in professional development opportunities such as the Monterey Bay Math Project and marine science training from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  From 2008-2010 Valencia received a Cotsen Fellowship during which participating teachers, chosen for their potential for excellence, traveled to Teacher’s College in New York to be trained in the Lucy Calkins Readers’ and Writers’ workshops.


As part of our school mission we have adopted a set of Valencia Values:  Respect, Responsibility, Kindness, and Best Effort…for ourselves, for others, and for the earth. In 2012 our school earned recognition as a Santa Cruz County Certified Green Business for our efforts to limit our impact on our surrounding environment.  Everyday Green Team students can be seen composting, recycling, working in our exemplary school garden or taking walking field trips on trails in our surrounding woods built by our local Eagle Scout troop. To promote the values in our community relationships we follow the Positive Discipline model.    Effort is celebrated throughout the school year. 


The greater school community, parents, local businesses and organizations, and nearby Cabrillo College students actively support the school.  A volunteer corps of over 100 parents (and grandparents) regularly assist in classrooms as well as support fundraising and community-building activities through our Home and School Club Organization and English Learner Advisory Committee.  Parents and staff operate in a shared decision-making mode when planning school budgets and programs.  This is exemplified in the work of the School Site Council (SSC), parents and staff elected by their peers.  SSC develops and revises the annual school plan, approves funding and advocates for Valencia programs with the school district.


Valencia Elementary embraces a true spirit of collaboration, caring, and going the extra mile to ensure that all students realize their highest potential.  Students are at the heart of all of our efforts….Working together, we are better!