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Mariposa Elementary

Motivated principal travels the globe for her students

photo
Ronald McDonald with
Mariposa Elementary students


"All kids can learn, you just have to believe in them," said Principal Granitz, of Mariposa Elementary School. In its transition from a "C" school in 2002 to an "A" school in 2003, Principal Granitz started with the basics. She has hired a reading coach and a reading specialist for the lowest performing 25% of students. Her teachers also gather 45 minutes before school and during other scheduled times to plan reading lessons. She was so serious about reading that she hired a full-time teacher for the media center. This allowed the media center to operate from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Principal Granitz also did something very unusual in her search for improvement. Several years ago, she decided to visit the country with the world's highest literacy rate. She was interested learning about the country's approach to teaching reading and writing to their children. Her search brought her to New Zealand. She brought home the experience of the Reading Recovery Program. She was so excited about her experience that over the years, Principal Granitz has taken three groups of her teachers to New Zealand. They have even created a teacher exchange program.

Principal Granitz believes very strongly in encouraging her students as well. They participate in a variety of reading challenges. One in particular features Ronald McDonald who visits the school to take part in a 45-minute reading challenge with all of Mariposa Elementary's 750 students. This year, students are challenged to read at least 2003 books in one month. If they do, Principal Granitz and Media Specialist Jeanne Ziemba will have to work at McDonald's as cooks and cashiers.