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Sierra Hills Principal Adam about respect, responsibility, safety

Elementary school starts a week later than most
By: Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer
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At Sierra Hills Elementary School, Principal Fred Adam wants his students to learn three things: Respectfulness, responsibility, and safety.

That's the motto at Sierra Hills, which kicks off the school year next week. Adam, who is also the superintendent over Placer Hills Union School District, said for kids in elementary school starting a little later makes a difference.

"They're just ready to be part of the class and focus," Adam said.

Around 380 students will attend Sierra Hills this year, down by about 14 students from last year. Like many other schools in the area, enrollment has dropped consistently for the last few years.

"It's a challenge we face here in the foothills," Adam said.

Sierra Hills is also similar to other schools in the area that will start implementing the Common Core standards this year. Adam said his teachers are already participating in professional development to adjust for the standards.

In addition from the new standards, Adam is hopeful the community and parents will be as willing to lend a hand to the school as last year. During the school year parents can be found helping out in classrooms so teachers can offer more one-on-one support to students in reading and math.

"Without that support our program would look very differently," he said.

It's largely thanks to parents and the community that students at Sierra Hills are able to go to a library staffed with a certified librarian once every week.

Last year the Placer Hills Education Foundation raised $85,000 for libraries and special programs for Sierra Hills Elementary and Weimar Middle. The Parent Teacher Club at Sierra Hills raised another $20,000 for special programs, like the library, music and art classes, Adam said.

"It's phenomenal how the parents, teachers and community here have stepped up," Adam said.

As for the upcoming year, Adam is bringing on a new Kindergarten teacher from England as part of an exchange program. No new programs will be introduced to his campus, but he's just thankful that his school is able to retain the programs it has.

Along with sticking to the school's motto of respect, responsibility, and safety, Adam would like to see his students enthusiastic about learning.

"I have felt at times that kids and families think they need to do their work to do the work, not to do the work to learn," he said. "I want kids to get something out of what they're learning and see the value in it."

Contact Amber Marra at amberm@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Amber_AJNews.