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School Information

Introduction

Ponderosa Elementary School, K-5, is located in the Santa Clara Unified School District, two blocks east of Wolfe Road in the city of Sunnyvale. Situated on a ten acre site, the school was constructed in 1964. Ponderosa is a clean, well-kept school located adjacent to Ponderosa Park. Ponderosa offers an extended day childcare program for its students. A pre-school class is also offered. Ponderosa has 30 classrooms, a library media center, computer lab, multi-purpose building, a science lab,  a music/ art room, and an administration building which houses the office, a nurse/ first-aid station, and teacher work areas.

Principal

Our principal, Alissa Meltzer, has been at Ponderosa since 2006. She served as a 4th and 5th grade teacher and EL Facilitator before becoming principal in 2014. 

School Vision

Ponderosa is a community-involved school where personal best is expected and where students and their parents feel comfortable and accepted. These parents perceive our school as one of the finest in the valley. We were named by the State of California as a Distinguished School in 1997 and again in 2004. We continue to focus on several important goals:

  • Maintain our caring and nurturing school environment through community support and involvement
  • Provide a challenging curriculum to meet student potential
  • Have students become competent and thoughtful language users and mathematically powerful by the end of the fifth grade.
  • Build the capacity within each child to thrive with strong social skills (respect, manners, problem solving skills).

Facility

During the summer of 2016, Ponderosa received a large renovation. Air conditioning was installed in all classrooms. New carpet, LED lights and new ceilings were added to the majority of rooms as well. During the summer of 2017, interactive projectors were installed in every classroom. In addition, over the past several years, the District has invested in a new roof, new paving, additional landscaping, painting, extensive classroom renovations, and other structural improvements. All school buildings meet or exceed the Field Act earthquake safety specifications and EPA asbestos standards. Our school participates in regular emergency drills and is inspected yearly by the City of Sunnyvale Fire Marshall. The custodial staff maintains a clean and safe school environment.  Ponderosa has made considerable investments in technology. Most classrooms are equipped with computers or access to Chrome Books, a document camera, and LCD projector unit. The school is networked to a central fileserver and mail server for student classroom use. The office maintains a separate fileserver. The library and cafeteria are computer automated.

Staff

All teachers are assigned within their field of expertise and credential specification. Tenured teachers are evaluated at least every other year, probationary teachers and classified personnel are evaluated annually by the principal. District staff development provides numerous opportunities for the staff to advance their skills. Many staff members take advantage of community staff development opportunities. Several times a year the staff meets on campus for special training related to the school's curricular goals. Mentor teachers are available for additional support. We also have several student teachers each year through a partnership through Stanford University. Qualified substitute teachers are always available to teach students in the absence of the teacher. Classes at Ponderosa average 25 students for grades K-3, and 30 students for grades 4-5.

Counseling and Student Support Service

The members of Ponderosa staff include classroom teachers, Special Education teachers, a speech/language specialist, a music teacher, classroom aides, office, cafeteria and maintenance staff. Ponderosa staff includes a part-time counselor, nurse, and psychologist. Ponderosa School uses the Student Success Team process to make recommendations to the teacher and parent, which will help the student be successful in school. Early literacy is an emphasis at Ponderosa.

Community Involvement

An active and supportive PTSA, PEPCO, and School Site Council, composed of parents, teachers, and administrators are integral to the school. There is a recognized synergy between the community and the school. In addition to regular parent-teacher conferences, parents are encouraged to attend orientation programs, classroom Open House celebrations, and other school activities such as our Science Fair,  Halloween carnival, Science Night, and other family nights. The Ponderosa Press is published regularly. After school programs such as Starting Arts, Math Olympiad, Future Scientists and Engineers of America (FSEA), Volleyball and Football are also offered.