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I can new mentality at Lloyd G. Cunningham
Cunningham pic
Students in Michelle Kuchan’s second grade class at Lloyd G. Cunningham Elementary School read along to a spooky Halloween story during story time on Tuesday. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal

In giant letters on a white board in Al Silveira’s office the words “I can’t” are crossed out. That message seems to be the whole mentality shift at Lloyd G. Cunningham Elementary School.

Even the 20 members who put together the new strategic plan to turnaround Cunningham seemed to be on the same wave length while creating the game plan for the low-performing school on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 with their vocabulary focusing on “I can.”

“There was so much honesty and care people wanted to put into this,” Silveira said. “That is when it hit me ‘this is going to be good.’”

The 20 members of the strategic plan committee consisted of five parents, five teachers, five classified staff and five other people who included district administrators among others, took on the mission, the needs and the strengths of Cunningham in an effort to move the school in the right direction.

They spent two nine-hour days working on a new road map for Cunningham and they came out with the school’s new mission, objectives and tactics.

The new mission reads: “WE at Lloyd G. Cunningham Elementary School, a diverse community of motivated learners, supportive parents, inspiring teachers and educators, aim to empower all students to reach beyond their perceived potential to succeed and engage in their long term education by providing effective individualized instruction with increasingly demanding challenges in a safe, caring and culturally diverse environment where all are respectful, responsible, positive contributors.”

And just with the new mission, Cunningham staff are already seeing a positive shift.

“I have a very positive outlook on where Cunningham is going,” said Nicole Aviles, instructional coach for Cunningham, also part of the strategic plan team. “I know it can make such a difference and I want to be a part of that.”

The team also created three objectives that focus on each, every and all students at the school. The first objective focuses on students achieving academic proficiency or above grade level, the second objective focuses on accepting each other to work together and the third objective focuses on students setting goals.

There are also four tactics where specific events and programs will come in to place to achieve these goals. Each tactic will have a committee of about six to 10 members who will develop three to five specific results on things the school can do to achieve those tactics in the next three to five years.

Those committees will be formed soon and the specific results from each committee will hopefully be accomplished by the end of the school year, Silveira said. The specific results will be presented to the original 20 from the strategic plan committee and they will prioritize the specific results into years.

Some little changes that have already taken place to lift the spirits of those at Cunningham to move in the right direction are emphasizing the school name as Lloyd G. Cunningham to provide a sense of pride from where the school came from, having a paved parking lot for teachers and having all staff members and students take pride in their campus to keep it clean.

“The little changes have made a big difference,” said Michelle Kuchan, second grade teacher at Cunningham, also part of the strategic plan team. “I feel that the school is more positive.”

Now with a game plan, Lloyd G. Cunningham is ready to move forward from the low-achieving school they once were.

“I came out of that (strategic plan meetings) so pumped up,” Silveira said. “I couldn’t sleep because I could see how positive this is. This is not something we are going to put in a binder and forget about.”

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.